Nvidia wants a head start in the next GPU war, but it's still haunted by the RTX 4080

Moody shot of an Nvidia GPU
(Image credit: Andreas Merchel / Shutterstock)

It looks like Nvidia is already thinking about its future GPUs, but CEO Jensen Huang’s recent visit to Taiwan was done under the shadow of the rather embarrassing RTX 4080 12GB drama, which saw the company dramatically pull the GPU mere weeks from launch.

As HotHardware reports, while in Taiwan, Huang apparently visited the headquarters of TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company), one of the biggest chip makers in the world, which provides chips for the likes of Nvidia, Apple and AMD. The aim of that visit appears to be to make sure Nvidia is at the top of the list to get the company’s upcoming 3nm process.

Generally speaking, smaller chips are more efficient, and can be used to create more powerful products. This new 3nm process could allow Nvidia to add more cores to its GPU lineup in the future, and this could be a decisive factor in determining the winner of the next generation of GPUs. The fact that TSMC also makes chips for Nvidia’s competitors explains why Huang was so keen to go on a charm offensive.

If successful, Nvidia’s next generation of 3nm GPUs could have a significant performance boost over the new RTX 4000 ‘Lovelace’ series, which recently launched with the RTX 4090, and is based on TSMC’s 5nm process.

However, it’s another Lovelace card, the recently ‘unlaunched’ RTX 4080 12GB, which casted a shadow over Huang’s trip.

Apology tour

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4000

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Not only is Taiwan home to TSMC, but a large number of tech companies have their headquarters there, including makers of third party GPUs such as Gigabyte, Asus and EVGA.

According to HotHardware, it appears Huang visited a few of these while he was in Taiwan, and it was likely less of an informal meet up with partners – but a spot of damage control as well. As we reported a while back, Nvidia’s decision to pull the launch of the RTX 4080 12GB at such short notice (while the more powerful RTX 4080 16GB is still on track to launch in November) isn’t just a blow to Nvidia – but it has ramifications for third party GPU makers as well, many of which will have already made their spins on the RTX 4080 12GB, along with branding, packaging and promotional materials featuring a GPU that no longer exists.

So, Nvidia is clearly keen to make amends for this inconvenience. For its part, it has promised to compensate its partners for the RTX 4080 12GB, and it’s likely this is one of the reasons Nvidia’s CEO was making personal trips to their headquarters (if the reports are accurate, of course).

Those meetings may have been a little fraught, as Nvidia’s relationship with its partners appears to be under a fair bit of strain lately, with EVGA recently announcing it was pulling out of making GPUs, despite its cards being such a big source of income for the company, and blaming Nvidia’s treatment of its partners as the reason.

Has Haung’s recent tour helped smooth things over? We certainly hope so – as more companies making their own models of Nvidia GPUs means more choices for gamers and, possibly, more products for our list of best graphics cards.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.