Rumors began swirling last week about potentially cheaper versions of Nvidia’s RTX 40-series GPUs, the AD103 and AD104 chips found in the RTX 4080 and upcoming RTX 4070, respectively. now confirmed, which will certainly help reduce production costs, but whether this will translate to cheaper graphics cards is another matter.
Nvidia’s AIB partner Gainward was according Igor’s laboratory (opens in new tab)the first to confirm news of the new stepped GPUs, followed by MSI, Galax and Colorful (via El Chapuzas (opens in new tab)). Each has been given the green light for when the new versions of the GPUs will appear.
These are not slimmed-down versions with fewer cores, by no means. However, by rearranging the PCB design, Nvidia and its partners can omit some unnecessary components, such as the comparator circuit, which helps regulate voltage, and reduce manufacturing costs somewhat. To be clear, these new stepped GPUs are not an uncommon way for companies to refine and simplify production and cut costs.
It’s possible that Nvidia started the work to encourage loyalty from its AIB partners. Something that no doubt weighed through the minds of the Nvidia staff EVGA withdrew (opens in new tab) of the GPU game, due to a lack of profit from increasingly expensive graphics cards.
Anyway, it seems that one day we will see the RTX 4070’s AD104-250 chip switch to an AD104-251 version, with the RTX 4080’s AD103-300 also getting an AD103-301 variant .
Whether these will eventually replace the current chip in the RTX 4080 is unclear, although Igor’s Lab is confident that the -251 variant of the RTX 4070 will enter production within weeks of the standard version.