NVIDIA's next moves in the GPU space have been under scrutiny lately, with a whole bunch of recent rumors about possible refreshes of the RTX 4070 and 4080 - and now we're hearing speculation on where Team Green could go with pricing.
This comes from Moore's Law is Dead (MLID), who reasons his way through a theory - and it is just that, theorizing, albeit based on commentary from multiple trusted sources - as to what NVIDIA's pricing strategy might be going forward this year into next.
We've already been hearing about the effects of the US ban on the RTX 4090 GPU in China - well, technically the AD102 chip, we should clarify - and MLID reckons this is going to have, shall we say, interesting ramifications for the graphics card world.
The ban means that RTX 4090s are flying off the shelves in China now, and prices are shooting up as a result, as folks scramble to get their Lovelace flagship before the ban. Post-ban, there will likely be demand for RTX 4090s in nearby countries, with one of MLID's sources noting that the likelihood is Hong Kong will provide a way to get the GPU (smuggled) into China.
At any rate, rising demand will force up prices in Asia, and NVIDIA's plan is to also increase the RTX 4090 pricing elsewhere to be in line with that - or that's the purported idea anyway. With Team Green hoping consumers in the US and Europe will just put these hikes down to demand and holiday pricing, as the end of the year rolls towards us.
The theory then is that with the RTX 4090 spiking up a bit in price, maybe by closing on 10% - as NVIDIA will charge card makers more, with that cost passed on to consumers, naturally - this will have a positive effect on the RTX 4080.
In short, the theory is that NVIDIA believes this will make the RTX 4080 more popular. Right now, according to MLID's sources - and indeed a lot of chatter elsewhere on the grapevine - sales of the RTX 4080 have been pretty awful. Indeed, an insider at one large graphics card maker told MLID that the 4080 was the worst-selling high-end card in the company's history - which is going some. Another source at a retailer said things are so bad, it has stopped ordering RTX 4080s.
As we've discussed before, part of the problem with the RTX 4080 is that those looking for a powerful graphics card are stepping up to the RTX 4090 instead - but if the price of that is pushed up, NVIDIA's apparent hope is that it'll make those buyers settle for a 4080. And that this increased demand might finally push the price of the RTX 4080 up a bit. Basically, the 4090 hike will be pulling the 4080 along with it to some extent.
This way, it gives NVIDIA breathing room to launch the purported RTX 4070 Super (or Super Ti, or whatever spin it puts on the top 4070 refresh) at a price that looks very reasonable (relatively). As MLID points out, if the RTX 4070 Super is $900, and the RTX 4080 isn't much more than a grand, the former is going to look rather silly. But if the RTX 4080 is pushed more back up to its MSRP of $1,200, in that case, the 4070 Super looks a much better value proposition at $900.
Yes, this is a lot of speculation and guesswork ultimately, but it does make some sense based on what sources are saying, and the situation in China.
About all we can do is watch Lovelace pricing and see, but it's going to be an interesting few months on the run up to the announcement of the RTX 4070 Super (and maybe other refreshes - though MLID reckons NVIDIA still very much hasn't decided exactly where these new cards will be pitched spec-wise).