Nvidia may be mulling an RTX 4080 price cut, but not because of AMD, it swears

An angry Mr. Stonks holding an RTX 4080 looking at a red Line Going Down
(Image credit: Future)

The next-gen graphics card fight between Nvidia and AMD looks to be heating up ahead of the launch of the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX in a week's time as Nvidia is reportedly set to cut the price of its RTX 4080 in mid-December to compete with Team Red's latest flagship.

The rumor of the price cut comes courtesy of Twitter leaker Harukaze5719, who says that the price of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 will "be adjusted" in mid-December and that Nvidia isn't doing so in response to the forthcoming AMD release, but rather in response to "its own considerations", particular its price-to-performance ratio and to help improve sales.

That latter point is definitely possible since it has been reported that scalpers have struggled to sell their ill-gotten graphics cards as they've been able to do in the past. But there is no getting around the fact that AMD's next-gen GPU is right around the corner and that it is priced significantly lower than Nvidia's RTX 4080, and the rumored timing of the RTX 4080 price drop is conspicuously timed to say the least. So what's going on here?

Nvidia got the pricing of the RTX 4080 terribly, terribly wrong, giving AMD a huge opening 

AMD's Scott Herkelmann holding up the Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card

(Image credit: AMD)

Even with a price drop, Nvidia has really bungled the RTX 4080 launch. Not only did it create confusion by initially announcing two RTX 4080 cards, one with 16GB VRAM and one with 12GB, it then "unlaunched" the 12GB version, which was also the cheaper of the two cards, leaving both its next-gen cards north of $1,200 (once you factor in tax and/or shipping).

Now the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is also playing that manufacturer's game of claiming, "Our flagship card is selling for less than $1,000!" by charging exactly one penny less and declaring a $999.99 victory, but it also has the RX 7900 XT coming in at $900, which means at least one of its launch cards will sell for less than a thousand dollars, and if the performance of these two cards is anything close to what the RTX 4080 has on offer, that pricing advantage for AMD is going to make a massive difference in this kind of economic environment.

It seems Nvidia either forgot or doesn't care that nobody has any money right now to drop on a super high-end graphics card, even if it is the best graphics card in the world. Just like the World Cup, AMD can make a major advance on Nvidia's market position by simply fighting Team Green to a tie right now, or even cutting down Nvidia's lead to a narrower margin while still ultimately falling short of Nvidia's best. 

For a lot of PC gamers out here, it really is going to come down to whether something is good enough to upgrade, and since everyone missed out on Nvidia Ampere, there is almost no universe where AMD isn't going to make a super compelling case for Nvidia GTX 1650 owners to make the jump to Team Red this go around.

Nvidia RTX 4080 sales have been sluggish, which tells you everything you need to know

An Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 on a wooden desk in front of a white panel

(Image credit: Future)

Even by Nvidia's reasoning, if this report is to be believed, it needs to lower the price of the RTX 4080 to "stimulate sales." We've been keeping track of Nvidia RTX 4090 stock and RTX 4080 stock, and we saw the Nvidia RTX 4090 sell out very, very quickly.

Meanwhile, on the RTX 4080's first day of sale, there was still stock available in the UK after 24 hours and it took several hours for the RTX 4080 to sell out in the US, and that might well have been driven those poor unfortunate scalpers who now can't sell their GPUs even at MSRP.

It's something we identified immediately in our review of the RTX 4080: its MSRP killed any reason to buy the card. If you're dropping that much cash, you're just going to buy an RTX 4090. Why settle for a $1,200 second-place finish?

The sluggish sales of the RTX 4080 seem to bear this out since it really does seem like everyone is waiting to see how well the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT stack up before making a decision. No matter what happens, AMD has at least done what no one else has seemed to be able to do, which is get Nvidia to price its graphics cards more reasonably.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).