Although we have limited information at this time, the GPU’s massive dimensions may help shed light on who it is not intended for. A lot of work is being done in the Ars Technica GPU testing salt mines (not to be confused with the mining for which GPUs were originally developed). After completing our analysis of the Intel Arc A700 series, we returned immediately to testing the Nvidia RTX 4090 we’ve had in-house for the past few days.
Nvidia sent this beast of a GPU to Ars Technica for review, but at a price that puts it out of reach for most consumers, even in a category where prices are generally rising. Although we are not at liberty to discuss the results of our testing at this time, our upcoming articles will reflect this GPU’s actual price range of $1,599 and up.
Meanwhile, we figured that by opening up Nvidia’s “founders edition” of the 4090, we could give you an idea of who this GPU is probably not for. The Nvidia RTX 4090 appears to be a technological powerhouse, with specifications that far outstrip those of the already-excessive RTX 3090 Ti released in the first half of 2022.
The 4090 has roughly 50% more CUDA cores and between 25-33% higher counts in other significant categories, particularly cores dedicated to tensor and ray-tracing calculations (which are also updated to new specs for Nvidia’s new 5 nm process). The type and amount of VRAM (video random access memory) in both the 3090 and 3090 Ti are, however, identical (once again, 24GB of GDDR6X RAM).
However, Nvidia is sticking to a power maximum of 450 W, despite the card outperforming the 3090 Ti in many performance-impacting specs. It’s still a power hog, to be sure, but the results may push a new level of efficiency for a high-end product.
Obviously, if the power limit isn’t going up, the size of the new chassis has to increase, and that means you’ll need three full PCI-e slots in your preferred gaming case on top of the extra length you already need. The new Intel Arc A770 is a relatively standard-sized GPU, so you can get an idea of how much room you’ll need for it by comparing its length (304 mm) and depth (137 mm) to the dimensions of your own case (pictured in the above final gallery).
In addition, the case you choose must accommodate at least three cables with standard 8-pin power connectors, each of which can be connected to an ATX 3.0 12-pin adapter (pictured in the second-to-last gallery). Images in our size comparison gallery range from a plastic Yoshi toy to a banana and from a single Xbox controller to an entire Xbox system.
Leave a comment below if there’s anything else you’re dying to know about the RTX 4090, whether it’s because you want to buy one or you’re curious about how its release will affect other future GPU technologies. Our upcoming review, scheduled to go live next week ahead of the GPU’s October 12 release date, will go much further than this unboxing, which is limited to discussing features and specifications.