Prices aren’t the only surprising things about the new Nvidia graphics cards. After the company made the public announcement of the GeForce RTX 4080 and 4090 at GTC, its manufacturing partners (or at least the ones that remained) showed off their custom designs based on Nvidia’s GPU. And “excessive” doesn’t quite cover some of these graphics cards.
GamersNexus details all of the manufacturing partner designs that have been revealed so far. Most are simply huge and power-hungry: with a base power consumption of 300 to 450 watts without overclocking, the heat sinks, heat pipes, and fans on the air-cooled models mean they need to take up between three and four storage spaces. PCIe slot on your motherboard. Rest in peace, small and powerful ITX gaming PCs.
But that’s just the beginning of the excess. The whole point of manufacturers customizing Nvidia card designs is, well, customization. It’s worth going through the entire Gamers Nexus video to see all the embarrassing details, if only to watch Steve absolutely freak out trying a direct read of some of the marketing copy.
Take the Palit “GameRock OC” version of the 4090, for example. Featuring signature riffs across 80 hair metal bands, the 3.5-inch-wide, 329.4mm-long card is covered in a layer of faux crystals around the fans. Naturally, there are RGB lights underneath, giving your graphics card all the glamor of a bassist on his second trip to rehab this year.
But that’s just the aesthetic choice. Galax is no better, with its hacker-inspired branding Anonymous, but for the “Serious Gaming” version of the RTX 4080 the company decided that three fans on the main cooler weren’t enough. It has an optional fourth fan on the baseboard of the card – you might want to move whatever is above the first PCIe slot on your PC case. And what’s underneath too: the card has an optional “Dark Obelisk” holder to hold most of the card, complete with RGB lighting. Galax claims the Kubrickian stand can support five kilos, 11 pounds.
Maybe it does. Because on top of all that, Galax cards will come with an optional adapter if your power supply doesn’t support the new ATX 3.0 12+4 power rail. It splits the power requirements between four eight-pin PCIe rails – yes, that’s 32 power pins, as much as connecting the primary power supply for a high-end modern motherboard. Yup.
But all this is just adding volume and shine to conventional refrigerator designs. Gigabyte RTX 4090 Aorus Master cards feature “Bionic Shark” fans, some of which have LED lights flashing directly from the fins. But wait, there’s more! The massive design includes a postage stamp-sized LCD screen on the edge, facing the glass side of your PC to display statistics or an animated GIF. And yes, it does come with “anti-sag support” because the whole thing is too heavy for your motherboard to handle on its own.
But the award for the most ridiculous letter of this marketing cycle probably goes to Colorful’s Vulcan series. In addition to having a larger 800×216 LCD, it can be magnetically repositioned depending on how you mount your card, parallel or perpendicular to the motherboard. But what if you don’t want to position your massive gaming PC so you can read internal temperatures directly from the graphics card? Then just plug in the included USB display dock and place an extra little display on your desk.
Nvidia’s XX80 and XX90 series of cards have always been designed for gamers more interested in excess than practicality. But between crash-defying prices and box-breaking sizes, the next generation of GPUs is getting absolutely bonkers. Hopefully AMD and Intel can offer less bombastic, smaller, and cheaper options in the near future – and maybe Nvidia will sell an RTX 4070 that can fit in two PCIe slots at some point.
For even more information, check out our roundup of 6 key RTX 40 series details you might have missed.