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The Nvidia RTX 4070 leak is shocking, but we shouldn’t write this GPU off just yet

We’ve seen leaked specifications for Nvidia’s entry-level RTX 4070 graphics card, which has been flying under the radar as of late because everyone’s attention has been on the 4070 Ti, which is said to be close to debut.

The news isn’t fantastic at first glance, as frequent GPU leaker Kopite7kimi on Twitter claims that the RTX 4070 will be significantly underpowered compared to the RTX 4070 Ti.

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At least in terms of CUDA cores, as you can see the RTX 4070 is only supposed to run with 5,888 cores, which is a significant decrease from the AD104 GPU the 4070 cards are built on’s maximum loadout of 7,680 cores (the configuration the rumour mill believes the 4070 Ti will tout).

Don’t forget that this number for the RTX 4070 is identical to the RTX 3070, which has 5,888 cores; however, keep in mind that architectural improvements and other specs (like clock speeds) mean a 4070 configured as this leak reckons will still be a good deal faster (there’s no chance Nvidia would have it otherwise, of course).

The good news is that instead of the 10GB of VRAM that had been speculated for the RTX 4070 (which would have caused a lot of animosity in GPU-related online debates), this leak suggests that the 4070 will have a 12GB loadout. Also, it has supposedly got a 192-bit memory bus, which is great news because lower bandwidths have been, uh, tossed around before.

In any case, price will be crucial

We have also learned that Nvidia has been struggling to decide where to price the RTX 4070 and whether to release a lesser or stronger product in this mid-range segment (or upper-mid-range, we suppose).

Moore’s Law is Dead speculated a few months ago that Team Green would wait to see how powerful RDNA 3 cards would be before settling on a final specification, and that wait may continue. However, there is a pretty strong indication that AMD is squarely targeting the RTX 4080 with its flagship RX 7900 XTX.

That is to say, perhaps Nvidia is now self-assured enough to release the significantly less powerful RTX 4070, which has a lot less CUDA Cores than the 4070 Ti. It’s a bit of a stretch, and we shouldn’t get too excited just yet, but this report does seem to indicate that Nvidia isn’t putting in its all to create the RTX 4070 a graphics card that even comes close to the Ti model.

As we discussed just now, even if this is the case, the remaining specifications of this RTX 4070 match those of the 4070 Ti, including 12 GB of VRAM and a 192-bit bus (leaked specs, that is). There is still some doubt about the cores’ performance, even if they are chopped extremely deeply. Additionally, a graphics card with somewhat lower performance than the RTX 4070 Ti can wind up being an excellent relative bargain if it ends up being priced significantly lower.

However, with so many RTX 3000 cards remaining on the market, we doubt that Nvidia will be able to provide competitive pricing very soon. The issue will be price/performance, and how much Nvidia charges for however strong this GPU ends up being, but this rumour has brought a lot of gloom to the internet about the RTX 4070, and we can see why. To be honest, we’re more inclined to take the pessimist’s position on this and aren’t holding our breath for a positive outcome.

The only thing that may possibly alter this is if the expected price drop on the RTX 4080 materialises, followed by a price drop on the RTX 4070 Ti. If that’s the case, perhaps the RTX 4070’s pricing will be more reasonable…

In the meanwhile, how long till the 4070 Ti and 4070 are released? Since the latter is expected to debut in January, does this mean that the entry-level RTX 4070 will also be delayed until then? Given how underreported it has been, it seems doubtful, and March 2023 release dates that have been bandied about for the RTX 4070 could be closer to the mark (again, particularly if Nvidia needs to make more time to sell through remaining RTX 3000 stock).