Nvidia’s RTX 4070 is in the pipeline – we know that, of course – but it might not be here for quite some time yet, and there are doubts as to just how powerful the graphics card will be too. It could be a beast of a mid-range GPU, mind you (more on that later).
This is the latest from a popular YouTube hardware leaker, Moore’s Law is Dead (MLID), whose latest video (opens in new tab) discusses a number of aspects related to the RTX 4070. Keep that salt shaker handy, as always, with GPU vine material.
One of the main points raised here is not to expect this graphics card anytime soon. MLID calculates that a possible release deadline is the end of the first quarter, ie March, so there are still five months to go.
The theory is that Nvidia still has plenty of current-gen RTX 3000 stock to switch over, so to ensure these Ampere GPUs sell, Team Green will reportedly be limiting the amount of RTX 4090 and 4080 cards hitting shelves this year progresses ( and we enter 2023).
A source told MLID that this issue should be resolved by the end of Q1, so this is the likely release date for the RTX 4070, which will only come out when Ampere’s stock is sufficiently clean. Worryingly, the end of Q1 is the best-case scenario for the rumor mill, so we could see an even longer wait for this (relatively) more affordable Lovelace GPU.
The small caveat here is that a ‘paper release’ could come a little earlier – perhaps even as late as 2022 – but that would only represent a reveal and perhaps minimal starting inventory. So we’d be in that familiar situation where a GPU launches, sells out instantly – with scalpers involved, no doubt – and it’s still a waiting game for the actual volume release of the product.
Another key takeaway from this latest video is that the RTX 4070 still looks very uncertain about specs. Apparently, what won’t happen is what some have suggested elsewhere: that Nvidia can just take the RTX 4080 12GB and push it like a 4070.
Mainly because work hadn’t really started on making the 12GB RTX 4080 cards, or not that much had been done anyway, before it was cancelled. Mind you, this was just a companion card partner product – which means Nvidia wasn’t making its own Founders Edition. And this is all in part because Nvidia canceled this card – although it was relatively easy to do so, following the backlash to the GPU as being seen as an RTX 4070 that had been disguised as a lower-tier RTX 4080 to put a higher price tag. heavy on him.
And because of that perception, that’s exactly the reason why Nvidia can’t just release an RTX 4070 with the same spec as the 4080 12GB – because then it would be pretty obvious that this was actually the 4070 in the first place, so many (including us themselves) previously theorized.
The result is that the 4070 specification will certainly need to be different from the ‘unreleased’ 4080, even if it uses the same chip (AD104).
The specification matters
Now as to what exactly that spec might be, MLID believes Nvidia doesn’t know yet and it will depend on how strong the RDNA 3 graphics cards will be (the latest rumor is that the RX 7000 GPUs may be more powerful than many thought. , by the way).
MLID further theorizes that we could see a weak RTX 4070 sauce, which would be a 10GB model with a reduced amount of CUDA cores (not the full 7,680, but maybe 7,168 as that’s a core count that has been released in the past for the 4070 on the vine). This would be the path Nvidia might want to take if the RDNA 3 doesn’t look so good – either from a performance standpoint, or even because of its price/performance ratio or overall value proposition – and indeed if the Ampere sales are faster and better than expected.
Another path that MLID foresees as a possibility is for Nvidia to make an RTX 4070 which is a 12GB card and is almost equal to the canceled 4080, but reduces the CUDA Cores a little (maybe only to 7424 for example). This would allow Team Green to argue that it’s not simply a repositioned 4080 12GB and take that perception further, even if we all know what really happened behind the scenes, let’s face it. This would be the way if the AMD RDNA 3 comes out reasonably strong at launch, in theory, and Nvidia feels the need to be more competitive.
Another option MLID mentions is whether RDNA 3 exceeds expectations for performance and value (as per the latest rumor). In that case, Nvidia might want an RTX 4070 Ti that actually outperforms the 4080 12GB (perhaps with faster VRAM, he suggests).
The leaker says this is the least likely possibility, and in fact, we can’t see it happening. (“Oh, here’s an RTX 4070 variant that’s actually faster than the lower-tier 4080 model we unveiled and abandoned a little while ago” — doesn’t make sense. Although you could argue that Nvidia didn’t make sense with some too if moves in the past; but that’s another story).
Analysis: Patience is a virtue
What to do with all this? Well, the gist of it is that Nvidia is still making a lot of decisions about the placement of the RTX 4070, and it might not decide until the RDNA 3 GPUs are released. So this need is further delaying the RTX 4070, which has yet to make room for the RTX 3000 models to sell and so we shouldn’t expect the 4070 for some time.
In short, as much as we’d like the RTX 4070 (and indeed 4060) to be released soon, theoretically we’ll have a big wait – maybe until March 2023, or even further. A wait that can be even more painful because, based on some pics, the MLID also provides for the RTX 4070 – images supposed, add extra salt here naturally – it looks like it has a big fan and streamlined airflow, rumored to that in tests, the graphics card is getting pretty cool.
We could be looking at quite a GPU if Nvidia decides to go down the path of a more powerful RTX 4070, as discussed above – and it’s a well-cooled, relatively high-performance graphics card that will have gamers eager, of course. Except we’ll have to be patient for the GPU to show up, and maybe very patient…