Nvidia’s RTX 4090 graphics card is a power-hungry beast, that’s for sure, but we didn’t expect to see some of the numbers that third-party card makers are recommending for the power supply (PSU) power required for this GPU. .
In some cases, we’re looking at a 1000W recommendation, and one company even pushed the order to 1200W, no less, an unthinkable wattage requirement not too long ago. (Note that this is PSU power, not card usage).
You should be aware that Nvidia’s official recommendation is an 850W PSU, and in fact, that’s the level that some 3rd party graphics card manufacturers are keeping with some of their RTX 4090 cards (even far from entry-level versions). ).
As Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab) points out, which includes MSI (with the RTX 4090 Suprim X), PNY (Verto Epic-X), Galax (SG, ST), Inno3D (X3 OC iChill Black). They all have an 850W requirement.
Then there are the graphics cards that stipulate a 1000W PSU, which would be models from Asus (ROG Strix OC), Gigabyte (Aorus Master) and Zotac (AMP Extreme, Trinity).
And finally, there’s Palit who advises buyers of their GameRock OC version of the RTX 4090 to have a 1200W power supply.
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These are all high-end graphics cards from the respective manufacturers (or high-end models, at least), as Tom points out, so these will be the most thirsty graphics cards (when they release next week).
The entry-level RTX 4090 models do indeed follow Nvidia’s 850W recommendation, but with these supercharged third-party creations, with sophisticated cooling and beefed up clock speeds, it’s no surprise that they’re power-guzzlers. And we can see the logic in providing increased power requirements more safely than sorry for the manufacturer.
Particularly when these models are the graphics cards that are likely to be bought by the really zealous overclocked PC enthusiasts, then the GPUs are likely to be pushed hard and perhaps partnered with a power-hungry Intel CPU. (The Alder Lake Core i9 offerings increase power usage, and the Raptor Lake in ‘extreme performance’ mode is believed to go even further with its power consumption.)
What card makers are thinking is that they might need to take into account what can happen in these types of scenarios where high-powered GPUs and CPUs are running in combination, when the system is running a demand game or heavy duty application. some sort – and everything is overclocked to boot. As Tom notes, Asus has actually said that it’s assuming 4090 owners will overclock their graphics card and processor, and as noted, that’s very likely when it comes to this high-end territory.
As for why Palit increased its requirements to 1200W, the company hasn’t shared its thinking with this move, and it’s not very clear. The Palit GameRock OC ramps up to 2610MHz, which is faster than some RTX 4090s for sure, but 30MHz below the pace of the Asus ROG Strix OC, which follows a (mere, ahem) 1000W recommendation. We can only imagine that plenty of caution is being exercised here by Palit, or perhaps there was a mistake (or slip of the switch) with the spec sheet here.
All of this highlights what minefield power requirements are becoming with contemporary PCs, when you have graphics cards that take that kind of toll on the PSU, not to mention the main processors that can pull around 250W (Intel’s 12900K – while the input 13900K, as mentioned, is rumored to hit over 350W in that performance mode).
Not to mention that getting a PSU isn’t as simple as buying, say, an 850W model. You need to secure a high-quality power supply, rated gold (at the very least) and one made by a reputable brand (like the ones chosen from our list of the best PSUs). These manufacturers offer the products that have been tested and approved by the enthusiast community and offer the best experience in terms of stability which is a must especially when you are overclocking high performance hardware.
We always suggest factoring in some headroom when it comes to the PSU recommendation, and it looks like card makers are proactively doing this with their fastest RTX 4090s with all the whistles and bells. But enthusiastic overclockers will be well aware of this anyway, and this territory is hardly the domain of the average consumer, of course.