New Nvidia RTX 4070 variants feature a significant secret change

Don't expect RTX 4080 performance, though.

CyberpowerPC MSI Infinity Elite gaming PC's RTX 4070 Super Ventus 2x graphics card.

If you’re considering buying a new Nvidia RTX 4070, you may notice a change in current models. According to some hardware deep-diving, some GPUs have changed from the standard AD104 die to an underutilized AD103.

First spotted by Techpowerup, some new RTX 4070 models are actually utilising the larger AD103 die (found in the RTX 4070 Ti Super and RTX 4080) in a much more restricted capacity. In fact, half of this GPU’s shaders are manually disabled, meaning that this silicon now acts as its smaller AD104 version.

Specifically, the new AD103 variants run the same 5,888 CUDA cores, meaning roughly half as many as the 10,240 CUDA cores that the GPU is capable of. That means you won’t necessarily notice a change between the dies as technical spec tweaks are identical to its predecessor. Whether you’ll be able to override these settings manually to enhance performance is currently anyone’s guess.

GPU-Z reveals that the die swap was inside MSI RTX 4070 Ventus 3X 12 GB OC, and we don’t currently exactly how many others there are out in the wild. It’s also unclear who made the change, whether it was the aftermarket partner or Nvidia’s own instructions. Regardless, the move is likely to combat low AD104 availability. The die has become more limited as Ada hardware has been available for nearly two years. Nvidia may save its AD104 stock for newer RTX 4070 Super cards, which are the same prices with 20% more CUDA cores.

While these new RTX 4070 variants won’t exactly rival the best graphics cards in the industry, this change shows a cost-saving measure. Hopefully, it means the graphics card will be cheaper, especially following RTX 4070 Super launching earlier this year. You can find the base model discounted through retailers such as Amazon, Newegg, Micro Center, and Best Buy.

Aleksha McLoughlin is an incredibly experienced hardware editor and writer. She's previously been the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming, GamesRadar, PC Guide, and VideoGamer. She's also contributed hardware reviews and coverage for Dexerto, PC Gamer, Android Central, and Expert Reviews.