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Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090’s ridiculous power could leave AMD in the dust

an image of an MSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090
(Image credit: MSI)

We were already expecting Nvidia’s rumored RTX 4000 GPUs to be powerful, but a new leak suggests that those planning on getting the top-of-the-range GeForce RTX 4090 may also want to invest in some serious cooling to go with it.

Last month, the reliable GPU leaker kopite7kimi (opens in new tab) posted that the AD102 chipset should find it “easy to reach 2.8GHz” or “at least not very hard.” Then, last week, the leaker added another tweet to the chain stating that “we can expect a much higher frequency.” While kopite7kimi doesn’t provide figures, that suggests a boost clock that comfortably breaks the 3GHz barrier.

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On top of that, HardwareTimes (opens in new tab) believes that this adds up to a GPU with a massive 100 teraflops of power. To put that into context, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 gives you ‘just’ 37.6 teraflops, while the PS5 boasts 10.3. 

Expensive to buy; expensive to run 

Before you imagine just how many frames-per-second you’d be able to generate with that kind of hardware in your PC, it’s worth reflecting on the likely costs involved with such monster hardware. Even though the GPU shortages are coming to an end, a top of the range Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti will still set you back at least $2,000, so consider that a starting point.

And it’s not just upfront costs you need to worry about, either. Hitting 3GHz of speed will generate a lot of heat. So you’ll want to make sure your cooling is up to snuff — maybe a liquid cooling solution to be safe. 

It will also likely be enormously power hungry, and we’ve previously been bracing ourselves for a TBP (total board power) of 600W for the card — quite an increase on the 350W required by the already power-hungry RTX 3090.

Bear in mind that this is the power demand of the theoretical GPU alone, and with your processor, RAM, storage and peripherals, you’ll probably need a 1,000W PSU to ensure everything has enough headroom to function. That, at a time when energy prices are soaring worldwide, is quite a big ask.

Until Nvidia officially announces new hardware, this is all speculation of course. But after the shortage-induced price gouging of the current generation, it looks like the next one could be out of reach of most gamers for entirely different reasons.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.

  • Western Farmer
    Ok, I have to ask. Why does everybody seem concerned about 1000 watt computers?

    Thats 1Kw an hour. On my last bill I paid $0.08 per Kw/h.

    So let’s say I use the computer 2 nights a week for 3 hours. That’s 312 hours a year costing me $25 a year.

    That seems inconsequential compared to the 2k+ price a 4090 will cost plus water cooling plus almost 1k for a worthy cpu + DDR5 + PCIe 5 hard drives + worthy monitors.

    In short most people will probably have a 5-6k computer so $25 for power shouldn’t even register? Basically the operating cost of your computer will rise $0.04 an hour.
    Reply
  • Marklahn
    Western Farmer said:
    Ok, I have to ask. Why does everybody seem concerned about 1000 watt computers?

    Thats 1Kw an hour. On my last bill I paid $0.08 per Kw/h.

    So let’s say I use the computer 2 nights a week for 3 hours. That’s 312 hours a year costing me $25 a year.

    That seems inconsequential compared to the 2k+ price a 4090 will cost plus water cooling plus almost 1k for a worthy cpu + DDR5 + PCIe 5 hard drives + worthy monitors.

    In short most people will probably have a 5-6k computer so $25 for power shouldn’t even register? Basically the operating cost of your computer will rise $0.04 an hour.
    I fully agree with your assessment that it doesn't matter for the people who can afford such expensive gpus in the first place, but some places the kWh price soared to $0.45. It's a lot more than the peanuts you are lucky to pay
    Reply
  • Joseph_138
    Western Farmer said:
    Ok, I have to ask. Why does everybody seem concerned about 1000 watt computers?

    Thats 1Kw an hour. On my last bill I paid $0.08 per Kw/h.

    So let’s say I use the computer 2 nights a week for 3 hours. That’s 312 hours a year costing me $25 a year.

    That seems inconsequential compared to the 2k+ price a 4090 will cost plus water cooling plus almost 1k for a worthy cpu + DDR5 + PCIe 5 hard drives + worthy monitors.

    In short most people will probably have a 5-6k computer so $25 for power shouldn’t even register? Basically the operating cost of your computer will rise $0.04 an hour.
    No, most people do NOT have a $5k computer. That's crazy talk. Most people have a computer in the $1k-$1500 range, if they're lucky. Many have to make do with whatever they can manage to cobble together, on an even more limited budget, even if it means buying used.
    Reply