Nvidia’s RTX 4090 GPU launched on October 12. And, just as expected, many third-party companies have already released many of their designs. All these cards contain the latest in Nvidia’s RTX technology. This includes DLSS Frame Generation, third-generation RT cores, a fourth-generation Tensor core, and Shader Execution Reordering (SER) capabilities.
Considering Nvidia’s legendary status when it comes to GPU technology, it’s no surprise that all these renditions boast next-level performance. The areas in which these cards differ are mostly aesthetics, size, and cooling methods.
However, it’s safe to say most of these cards are essentially huge and will require some kind of support bracket. Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the gigantic options on offer.
ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 4090 O24G
- NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture
- PCIe 4.0 support
- 24GB GDDR6X RAM
- HDMI 2.1a and DisplayPort 1.4a
- 3rd Generation RT Cores and 4th Generation tensor cores
- 2.64GHz clock speed
- Vapor chamber with milled heatspreader to lower temperature
One of the largest and heaviest RTX cards comes courtesy of ASUS, with the ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 4090 O24G. Quite the mouthful, this card has a shroud made entirely of metal, and a sleek design with RGB LED lighting and black, blue, and red accents. This, combined with the matte alloy of the shroud, give the card a look very reminiscent of cyberpunk.
The card itself is immense, with a 3.5 slot thickness supporting 3 Axial-tech fans, meaning that, realistically, this card is going to take up 4 slots in whatever system you have. The 7-blade fan design reportedly gives 23% more airflow than previous designs. There are also 7 heat pipes that sink into the vapor chamber, allowing more efficient heat transfer to the heatsink fins.
This allegedly gives a 5C cooler operating temperature at a 500W thermal load compared to more conventional vapor chamber designs. Since the card is 35.5cm in length and weighs a massive 2.5kg, it’s not much surprise that it’s being shipped with a support bracket.
Please note, as of 7/14/23, Amazon only has one of these GPUs in stock. So if you can’t find it elsewhere, be sure to check back.
Galax RTX 4090 Serious Gaming
As the name suggests, you’re going to have to be serious about your gaming to consider forking out a small fortune for a card this big. This card has a 3.5-slot design, similar to the ASUS’ offering, 3 102mm fans, and 8 heat pipes, even more than the previous.
There’s even an optional clip-on fan for the back if the other 3 simply aren’t enough. The new WINGS 2.0 technology reportedly increases the air intake and heat dissipation efficiency of the card substantially, giving 25% increased airflow compared to their previous series.
Coming in at around 33.6 cm in length, this card is comparable in size to the ASUS, and external support is basically a requirement. Luckily, the card comes shipped with a support bracket, mysteriously termed the ‘RGB Dark Obelisk’ support stick. This is probably essential, as it’s likely the PCIe bracket just won’t be enough to hold this massive GPU in place.
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming OC 24GB
- GPU Clock Speed: 2.54 GHz
- 4th Generation Tensor Cores: up to 2x AI performance
- 3rd Generation RT Cores: up to 2x ray tracing performance
- Integrated with 24GB GDDR6X 384-bit memory interface
Gigabyte has released the first of their RTX 4090 GPUs, the GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming OC 24GB card. This is still a humongous card, coming in at 34cm in length, 2.02 kg in weight, and requiring 4 PCIe slots to be occupied. The card is factory-overclocked, like the name suggests, and contains 16,384 CUDA cores, just like Nvidia‘s reference Founder’s edition.
Like all these cards, cooling the system is a priority, and this is accomplished through the use of Gigabyte’s WINDFORCE cooling system. 3 110mm fans are utilized, with the central fan spinning in the opposite direction of the other two, apparently helping to minimize air turbulence.
Ten copper heat pipes are present in this card, which, along with the huge heatsink, are responsible for most of this card’s size. Fortunately, the back of the card features a metal backplate, offering much-needed rigidity and stability for such a large heatsink. The anti-sag bracket shipped with the card is also a necessity for reducing stress on the PCIe slots.
MSI GeForce RTX 4090 Suprim X
Weighing 2.4kg and being 34cm in length, the RTX 4090 Suprim X from MSI is one of the larger cards available, bigger than Nvidia’s reference card, and will still require 4 PCIe slots for installation. The design is very similar to its predecessors in the RTX 30-series, featuring a brushed aluminum metal cover and octagonal fan cutouts.
Cooling is achieved through the use of flow-through ventilation, thermal pads located underneath the metal backplate, and the innovation of the TRI-FROZR 3S design. The three TORX 5.0 fans are claimed to increase airflow by 23% compared to an axial fan.
The blades of the fans are tilted at 22 degrees. This helps them maintain high-pressure airflow even when they’re operating at a lower rotational speed. Ten heat pipes are present, containing a squared section that directly touches the vapor chamber. This increases the contact area and allows for the more efficient spreading of heat along the heatsink.
Needless to say, this card is packaged with a support bracket but, depending on the system you’re using, you may not have sufficient space to install the bracket. In this case, you’ll want to opt for purchasing a GPU support stand to support the card from the bottom, as GPU sagging is definitely inevitable considering the size and weight of this card.
Colorful Technology iGame GeForce RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V
The Vulcan card from Colorful Technology is specified at 2.5kg in weight, 33cm in length, and requires 4 slots to install, so not much surprise there. There is some surprise, however, with the detachable iGame Smart LCD display that’s included, which allows for the viewing of real-time GPU monitoring.
This display can be attached to the GPU or put onto a stand, which is luckily included in the box. The color theme is mostly grey and black, enhanced by RGB lighting and sharp angles.
The Vulcan GPU uses 9 heat pipes, comparable to others in this list, a set of 3 104mm fans, and what is called ‘iGame Vacuum Copper Plate Technology.’ This is essentially a copper plate filled with condensate liquid, similar to many other RTX 4090 models. With its huge dimensions, even though the card has been strengthened to mitigate sagging, you’re probably going to want to buy a GPU stand for some peace of mind.
Palit GeForce RTX 4090 GameRock OC
Also known as the ‘Midnight Kaleidoscope,’ this version from Palit is named so because of its ‘Starlight Black’ design. The model appears to be twinkling with stars when RGB lighting is turned off, resembling a kaleidoscope with RGB lighting turned on. RGB can also be customized as the player sees fit, with adjustable colors and lighting modes.
To aid cooling, a ‘Gale Hunter Fan’ is used, concentrating airflow through winglets on the fantail and bringing air to the GPU smoothly and stably. A metal backplate is utilized, so not much change there, but Palit’s plate is engraved and comes with a gloss coating, bringing a sense of brightness in dark conditions.
While the GameRock OC is significantly lighter than some other options, weighing just under 2kg, you’re still going to need substantial space to install this GPU, as the thickness is 3.5 slots. A support bracket is included with the shipment, so that’s definitely a bonus.
Zotac GAMING GeForce RTX 4090 AMP Extreme AIRO
- NVIDIA Ada Lovelace Streaming Multiprocessors: Up to 2x performance and power efficiency, 4th Generation Tensor Cores: Up to 2X AI performance, 3rd Generation RT Cores: Up to 2X ray tracing...
- Boost Clock 2520 MHz, 24GB GDDR6X, 384-bit, 21 Gbps, PCIE 4.0
- IceStorm 3.0 Advanced Cooling, SPECTRA 2.0 ARGB Lighting, 2x 110mm 1x 100mm dual ball bearing fans, FREEZE Fan Stop, Active Fan Control, Metal Backplate
- 8K Ready, 4 Display Ready, HDCP 2.3, VR Ready
- 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a, 1 x HDMI 2.1a, DirectX 12 Ultimate, Vulkan RT API, Vulkan 1.3, OpenGL 4.6
Zotac’s first RTX 4090 release arrives in the form of the Zotac GAMING Geforce RTX 4090 AMP Extreme AIRO. Named as such because of its ‘AIR-Optimized’ design, it reportedly boosts the aerodynamics of the card, allowing for enhanced airflow movement and cooling of the GPU core.
The card certainly looks to fit the bill, with a smoothed-out exterior being a contrast to the sharp edges and rigid designs of many of the other RTX 40 cards. Increased fan height and a deeper fan shroud also enable a more focused airstream and stable airflow. These are staples of its newly refined cooling system.
Icestorm 3.0. 9 copper heat pipes are used once again, along with a vapor chamber and aluminum fin stack, so cooling capabilities are expected to be similar to other RTX 40-GPUs. A notable difference is the front shroud, which is made of plastic rather than metal.
Being of colossal size (measuring 35.5cm in length) and requiring four-slot installation, it’s very fortunate that this Zotac card comes with a GPU support stand. One potential drawback is the location of the RGB lighting on the top of the card. Since a lot of gamers will be looking to mount this GPU vertically, it’s likely the lighting won’t be visible at all.
We’ve given a brief overview of some of the RTX 4090 GPUs currently released, and explained why support brackets are needed for the gigantic RTX 4090 graphics card. And while there are some key differences between the models, some commonalities are obvious.
There’s simply no getting away from the fact that all of these are absolutely massive compared to the 30- series. If the model you go for isn’t shipped with a GPU support bracket, you’re undoubtedly going to want to purchase one to increase the longevity of your system, especially considering the rather enormous price tag.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Aleksandr Grechanyuk/Shutterstock.com.