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The RTX 4090 might be the most power-hungry PC component ever

TechRadar logo TechRadar 2/23/2022 Jackie Thomas
Nvidia 5 Nanometer GPU To Honor Ada Lovelace © Provided by TechRadar Nvidia 5 Nanometer GPU To Honor Ada Lovelace

While we're still waiting for Nvidia to actually release the RTX 3090 Ti it announced during CES 2022, we're starting to see some rumors peeking their heads around the corner. And right now, it looks like the RTX 4090 might be one of the most power-hungry graphics cards of all time. 

These leaks come from known Twitter hardware leakers @greymon55 and @kopite7kimi. The former suggests that Lovelace, the architecture behind Nvidia's next-gen graphics cards, will be out in September 2022, and will have a TGP up to 850W. @kopite7kimi replied to this, saying this is just a rumor and that they heard up to 800W for the RTX 4090 instead. But whether the next-generation flagship is 800W or 850W, that's going to make for an extremely power-hungry graphics card. 

Now, September 2022 is still 7 months away at this point, but this is when we'd expect to start hearing juicy rumors about Nvidia's next graphics cards. But, at this point, it's important to take everything you hear with a giant heap of salt. Nothing has been confirmed by Nvidia, and it'll probably be a while before we hear anything solid from Team Green. 

Besides, even the rumors are going to massively shift before any actual information surfaces. 

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Analysis: hold on, how much power? 

It should be obvious, but a 850W TGP for a single piece of hardware is an extremely high requirement. Right now, the most power-hungry consumer GPU is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, and even that graphics card has a TGP of just 350W. If the RTX 4090 does have that steep of a power requirement, it would require an absolutely immense power supply. 

With the RTX 3090, Nvidia recommends a PC power supply no less than 750W, and that's with a 350W TGP. If Nvidia were to increase the power budget of the RTX 4090 to 850W, it's likely that you're going to need a massive 1,200W power supply or more in order to even drive it. That's a beefier power supply than I use in my lab. 

The folks over at Wccftech posit that the new cards would be using PCIe 5.0 in order to drive that much power, and even posted screenshots of some power cables that would provide up to 600W each to the GPU. However, these have yet to be proven to be real, and even if they were, requiring that to drive a new graphics card would be problematic to say the least. 

It reminds me of the months leading up to the RTX 3080 announcement, when everyone was worried that they'd have to upgrade their power supplies in order to upgrade their graphics card. Eventually that rumor got dismissed when Nvidia bundled in an adapter for its funky new power connector and every other aftermarket GPU manufacturer didn't even bother with it. 

I really don't think Nvidia is going to release a graphics card with this high of a power requirement. The company would be alienating thousands of customers with existing power supplies. Not to mention that it would come with a huge environmental impact, as not only would more graphics cards be manufactured, but it would create a ton of waste in used power supplies, and would massively increase the amount of juice gaming PCs use. 

Plus, there are going to be plenty of PC gamers that want the latest graphics cards, but won't be able to use something that's exclusively using PCIe 5.0 tech. After all, the only platform where that's supported is Intel Alder Lake, and that further limits the market for these graphics cards. 

I don't want to count anything out, but there's a reason you can install an RTX 3080 into pretty much any gaming PC with a PCIe slot. 

Via VideoCardz

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