Nvidia RTX 4070 and 4080 GPU launch date depends on one key factor

Nvidia graphics card rendering
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Keen to learn more about the Nvidia RTX 4070 and 4080 graphics cards in terms of their potential launch timeframe? Well, Moore’s Law is Dead (MLID), a regular source of hardware leaks on YouTube, has just discussed this very topic at length in a freshly uploaded video.

MLID believes the situation is that Nvidia is set on launching next-gen Lovelace in October, and has told its graphics card making partners this, but exactly how that launch might progress is still up in the air.

The RTX 4090 is almost 100% confirmed as arriving in October, the leaker asserts, but as to the RTX 4080 and 4070, and whether there’ll be more than the one Lovelace GPU appearing this year, Nvidia still hasn’t decided.

MLID notes that Nvidia still needs time to shift current excess RTX 3000 stock, in the midst of a GPU mining crash – which has meant far more used Ampere graphics cards are being sold off, providing unwanted competition for new stock – as we’ve already heard multiple times on the rumor mill. And how fast that sell-off proceeds in the next month or so will be crucial for how the staggered release of RTX 4000 GPUs is staged.

In theory, we’ll be able to tell how things are progressing going by when Nvidia officially announces Lovelace: if it’s early September, things are most likely going well with the RTX 3000 stock clearance, but late September could indicate the opposite.

What MLID then foresees is Nvidia claiming the performance top spot with the RTX 4090 in October, ahead of AMD’s next-gen RDNA 3 range purportedly launching in November. If RTX 3000 stock is in good shape for October, in terms of bringing it down to acceptable levels in warehouses and still on shelves, we’ll get a full RTX 4080 and 4070 launch following pretty swiftly, likely by the end of October or thereabouts.

Remember, exercise a whole heap of skepticism with all this, as MLID admits these are just theories, but if it goes the other way with RTX 3000 stock, and there’s still too much hanging around, we might be in a situation where Nvidia just ‘paper launches’ the RTX 4080 and 4070 near the RDNA 3 release (supposedly November). The full release of those two GPUs may then be pushed back to 2023, as per some recent speculation.

Analysis: Next-gen launch timing is a seriously thorny puzzle for Nvidia?

For the uninitiated, a so-called paper launch means that the RTX 4080 and 4070 could go on sale in November, just not in any meaningful quantity. Like just a few hundred units here or there, so they’ll sell out in a flash, but as a function of low supply rather than huge demand (but seeing as the latter is likely to be the case, too – particularly as the RTX 4070 promises to be something truly special – there’s no way of telling what’s actually going on behind the scenes).

The idea – and again, we should underline that this is all just MLID’s theorizing – is that Nvidia wouldn’t actually do the full (high-volume) launch until 2023, as mentioned, but the presence of some GPUs going out against RDNA 3 in November would be more assurance to persuade folks to wait for the RTX 4080 and 4070, rather than buying an AMD RDNA 3 product there and then. Either that, or avail themselves of a bargain RTX 3000 GPU – which Team Green could encourage by further dropping prices on Ampere models that still have to sell through in November.

Another alternative MLID proposes is that Nvidia may not go the paper launch route, and might decide that a ‘controlled leak’ of a seriously tempting nature, maybe around the promising RTX 4070, or the 4080 – or both – might be enough to capture interest from would-be buyers and keep them away from an RDNA 3 purchase.

These theories around getting folks to hold off, one way or another, make some sense, and certainly, Nvidia does need to consider what’ll happen when AMD pushes out RDNA 3 in a few months’ time – as the RTX 4090 will not be enough to hold the GPU ground.

No matter how impressive its performance turns out to be, the Lovelace flagship will still be a very niche (seriously expensive) product, so Nvidia will need more than this to live up to its position as the desktop GPU giant (it’s the dominant power by far compared to AMD). Team Green surely won’t want the public perception of its GPU dominance to be affected.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).