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The Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti may be housing a juicy secret inside

Nvidia’s latest overly powerful and expensive GPU, the RTX 3090 Ti, has been out for almost a week. As curious PC enthusiasts have taken this mysterious GPU apart, its internals may have revealed some juicy secrets about the next generation of RTX graphics.

Upon close inspection of the printed circuit board (PCB) and the engineering beneath, some close observers on Twitter have noted that there are spaces on the RTX 3090 Ti’s board for more power delivery. They’ve noted that some AIB (add-in board) cards even have room for a second 12VHPWR, the Intel named PCIe 5.0 connector that can power 600 watts. Why? Well, it may function as the bridge between the current generation of GPUs and the next.

If AD102 and GA102 are pin-compatible and AIBs reuse RTX 3090 Ti PCB designs for AD102 cards, I think we can guess why so many of them have spots for extra power delivery components

— Charlie (@ghost_motley) April 2, 2022

Twitter user @ghost_motley, who is a moderator of PC hardware sub-Reddits, noted that if the AD102 GPU matches the power pin layout as the GA102 used in Ampere cards, it would make it easier for board partners to build cards for Lovelace GPUs.

In fact, some RTX 3090 Ti graphics cards (specifically EVGA) have an unpopulated ATX 3.0 connection that would theoretically give it access to over 1,200W of power.

In February, Igor Wallossek also wrote on his website that the RTX 3090 Ti could be a “learning object” for board partners to create power-hungry graphics cards. Theoretically, the GA102 and AD102 GPUs sharing pin layouts would allow partners to reuse current cards without having to totally redesign the cooling solutions.

The recent Nvidia hack provided some juicy information about the possible capabilities of the RTX 4000-series GPUs. The RTX 4090 is rumored to be twice as powerful of the current RTX 3090. Given the 750W power requirements for the RTX 3090 Ti, one could see 1000W and over requirements for the RTX 4090.

In the meantime, the king of the performance hill is ludicrously expensive and heavy RTX 3090 Ti. If you’re planning on picking this up for some reason, you’re probably likely to upgrade your power supply anyway. Consider it an investment in the future once the Lovelace GPUs see the light of day.

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David Matthews
David is a freelance journalist based just outside of Washington D.C. specializing in consumer technology and gaming. He has…
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