Before we go further, it is essential to distinguish between graphics card power limits and TDPs. The power limit will be the maximum wattage the GPU can run at by design and defined in the card’s BIOS. High-end cards with the best coolers might be able to run at somewhere near to the power limit; they might offer higher power limits and be pushed quite a distance further by the tinkering of extreme overclockers. On the other hand, mainstream consumer cards will have TDPs that are probably significantly lower than the maximum possible power limit for the GPU.
Nvidia’s next-generation graphics cards are said to be power hogs. We addressed power rumours, possibilities, and likelihoods in depth in a recent “all we know” post regarding Nvidia Ada Lovelace and the GeForce RTX 40 Series. Kopite7kimi(opens in new tab) released some numbers earlier today that suggest some of our higher estimations were overly conservative.
Thankfully the AD102 GPU’s power limit, hinting at huge TDPs, is an outlier in the Ada Lovelace generation. Moving down a peg to AD103, this second rung GPU will probably see service in an upcoming GeForce RTX 4080 and others. The power limit shifts down a gear dramatically to 450W, according to today’s leak. For reference purposes, current gen GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 reference cards have BIOS-defined max power limits of 400W and 370W, respectively. We have tabulated Kopite7kimi’s latest aspersions, alongside some other essential stats. Please note that these are a collection of rumors, best guesses, etc., so add some salt.
AD102 is likely to appear in an upcoming GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card with somewhere between 132 and 140 SMs enabled (from a maximum of 144), according to our best knowledge. The weight of previous rumors suggests RTX 4090 cards will ship with TDPs of under 600W. However, Kopite7kimi reckons that the underlying GPU will have a power limit of an astronomical 800W.
We just mentioned the power gulf between Ada desktop and mobile, but what might be most interesting to PC enthusiasts is what AMD can manage with RDNA 3, with much more sober power limits being rumored. A recent leak suggested that RDNA 3 graphics cards, i.e., the Radeon RX 7000 series, won’t have much higher TDPs than their predecessors. Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
One of the more interesting revelations in the data today concerns the Ada Lovelace mobile GPUs. No Nvidia laptop partner wants to tame a GPU pulling more than 175W, so this stat anchors the top RTX 40 mobile GPUs. With the massive difference between desktop and laptop power limits, we should expect the platform performance gulf to get even wider in the upcoming generation.