The Nvidia RTX 4080 is allegedly getting a new GPU spin that could bring down costs – but any price cut will likely be very small, unfortunately, if it happens at all.
Tom’s gear (opens in a new tab) reported this rumor – and treat it with care, like anything from an ever-turning mill – that comes from HKEPC (opens in a new tab) (Hong Kong technical site), claiming that while the current RTX 4080 graphics card is built on the AD103-300 chip, Nvidia intends to use a slightly different GPU in the future, namely the AD103-301.
Tom’s points out that there is now more evidence that this is the case: graphics card maker Galax has the GPU as “AD103-300/301” in its RTX 4080 product detail list.
Moreover, VideoCardz (opens in a new tab)who also spotted it, informs us that another card maker, Gainward, has also listed the updated AD103-301 GPU variant in their product specs.
Since two independent graphics card manufacturers mention this new GPU rotation in their specs, it seems quite likely that this is the case – but of course Nvidia has to confirm it.
HKEPC further claims that the upcoming RTX 4070 (the vanilla version of the RTX 4070 Ti that has just been revealed) could also take the approach of having two different chips, which in this case would theoretically be AD104-250 and AD104-251. The difference is that that the former supposedly uses a comparator circuit, but the latter does not and would use a different circuit board, potentially lowering the cost of making the card.
The same goes for the RTX 4080 and the new AD103-301, potentially lowering the cost of building them (BOM or Bill of Materials as it’s known in the industry). The key question is: if all of this applies to either or both GPUs, how much cheaper can the other variants be?
Analysis: Does this mean cheaper graphics cards – or is it false hope?
HKEPC believes that the difference in cost between the alleged different versions of the RTX 4070 could be as little as $1 in terms of bill of materials, which is obviously a small amount and would probably not make the slightest difference in the price the consumer is paying. The source used by VideoCardz also says that any difference in cost would not be significant.
We haven’t been given any figures on the potential cost difference to build an RTX 4080 build, but the new AD103-301 could cut bills further and possibly mean a graphics card will be cheaper for the consumer. However, it could similarly be a very minor BOM reduction that would no doubt have little effect on the price of a second round on the RTX 4080.
Time will tell, but given Nvidia’s stance on Lovelace GPU pricing, it’s hard to be optimistic.
Another question is about changing the RTX 4080 chip, will it affect performance? Rumor mill is quite clear that this will not be the case, and the AD103-301 chip will not be more efficient than the existing AD103-300. This makes sense, as Nvidia would probably be wary of throwing remorse on those who have already spent a fortune on the RTX 4080 and spent a large wedge of cash on it.
The overall impact of this is likely to be graphics cards with the same level of performance – or so similar as to be negligible – and small cost savings for motherboard developers that are unlikely to be passed on to consumers. Hopefully, a more favorable situation may work out in terms of cost, though, so keep your fingers crossed if you’re looking for a high-end GPU.