Nvidia’s next-gen flagship RTX 4090 might have surprising power usage, at least according to the latest rumor – but there’s more to it than meets the eye (as well as some better news further down on the RTX 4000 will vary).
This all comes from a well-established hardware leaker on Twitter, Kopite7kimi, who outlined some alleged power details for Nvidia’s Lovelace chips, from AD102 (the flagship) on down (as seen by VideoCardz (opens in new tab)).
A truth. Power limits: AD102, 800W; AD103 (DT), 450W, AD103 (mobile), 175W; AD104 (DT), 400W, AD104 (mobile), 175W; AD106 (DT), 260W, AD106 (mobile), 140W. But I don’t think we need to use the maximum power cap.June 18, 2022
The theory, then, is that the AD102 GPU will have a ‘power cap’ of 800W, which sounds seriously heavy and worrying (and goes back to the earlier days of speculation that Lovelace will be too power-hungry).
However, what we must keep in mind here is that this power cap refers to the maximum possible power for the GPU, and in reality the rated TDP will be considerably lower than for baseline graphics cards. We’ll come back to discuss more about what this means in a moment.
The best news is that while the AD102 is up there at 800W, Nvidia is reportedly going a long way with the GPU that is supposedly the engine of the RTX 4080, with the AD103 sitting at 450W (again, that’s the maximum possible power). The AD104 is then fixed at 400W and the AD106 at 260W.
Kopite7kimi also mentions mobile GPUs, with the mobile AD103 and AD104 chips apparently set to run with a ceiling of 175W, and with the AD106 mobile we are theoretically looking at 140W.
Analysis: Putting things in perspective in terms of power
Okay, so before we get too worried about the massive 800W figure on the AD102 chip, let’s remember that this is just a rumor, and we’ve seen a lot of speculation about where Lovelace’s power usage might end up. But other than that, that doesn’t necessarily mean the RTX 4090 – which is supposedly the first graphics card Nvidia will release with the next generation of the Lovelace family – will be a power-hungry monster.
As noted above, 800W refers to the maximum possible power for the GPU, and the rated TDP will be less than that, with only more advanced 3rd party graphics cards speeding things up much faster with clock speeds (and robust cooling) getting close to that ceiling (also leaving room for overclocking too).
The other key point with the AD102 is that the RTX 4090 will have a scaled-down version of the GPU, with rumors believing it will run on 16,384 CUDA cores (the maximum for the chip is 18,432). There will be other models, probably an RTX 4090 Ti, and we might even see an RTX Titan for Lovelace above that – and perhaps only the Titan will strive to fully exploit that maximum power cap.
When you allow for these two factors, the RTX 4090 will likely go a little lower in terms of actual power usage, and it will be the fat-packed AD102 models – and the faster high-end cards, for that matter – that will increase its consumption. to get closer to that 800W mark (if indeed this is correct in the first place).
So don’t start worrying about the RTX 4090 on the power front just yet – the GPU could easily line up with some of the other recent rumors we’ve heard, like 600W for the TDP, although speculation around 450W TDP seems shakier in this new light (these TDPs are also claims by Kopite7kimi, in fact, and RedGamingTech on YouTube in the latter case).
Another interesting point to note here is that the maximum power drops to 450W for the RTX 4080. Very recently, Kopite7kimi said that the 4080 could nestle around 420W for its TDP, but this new information offers a tentative suggestion that it it might be a little lower than that (previous rumors had us predicting around 400W). And that would be better news for a much larger number of gamers who will want to buy an RTX 4080, compared to the niche RTX 4090 with its arguably exorbitant price tag.
To sum it up, we’re not going to get carried away by any concerns regarding potential power demands just yet, although the possibility of necessary PSU upgrades – and indeed better cooling solutions to keep the inside of the PC at a reasonable temperature – clearly remains. being a concern for those looking for a next-gen Lovelace GPU.