Tech

Next-gen GPUs look big and hungry, and that’s bad news

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Hot potatoes: Gamers who thought the current crop of RDNA2 and RTX 30 series GPUs were already in demand may be surprised if the latest drop in leaks is to be believed.

Both kopite7kimi and Greymon55, established leaders in their own right, seem to agree that some of Nvidia’s upcoming Lovelace GPUs will land somewhere north of the 400W range. Presumably, these numbers refer to the top-end RTX 4000 series models built on AD102 silicon, the successors to the RTX 3080 / Ti and RTX 3090.

In addition to maximizing the load on the GPU core, a significant portion of that budget will come from the constant use of hot and power-hungry GDDR6X memory in Nvidia’s top models.

Bondrewd left the Beyond3D forums separately hints on Navi 31, the top SKU in the AMD RDNA3 lineup, assuming a multichiplet GPU will have less than 500W for total board power consumption and less than 350mm² per GPU die.

Assuming 600-650mm² for only two GCDs and possibly 800mm² for the entire GPU (including MCD with Infinity Cache), 3Dcenter believes that Navi 31 will be in the region of 450-480 watts for the total power of the board.

While GPUs aren’t ready for release yet, those numbers are already worrying. In addition to increasing stress on power supplies and cooling in smaller chassis, the increasing power consumption of GPUs is increasingly leaving gaming laptops behind.

The size and weight constraints of gaming laptops limit their cooling capacity, and as a result, the TDP stubbornly stays fixed: mobile GPUs rarely get more than 150 watts of power to run, and these are bulkier and more cooled models.

That was enough when 180W GTX 1080 was the bar, but RTX 2080 required 215W and RTX 3080 required 320W, taking gaming laptops from near par to half the power of a desktop card in just a few generations.

That’s not counting how the growing die sizes have completely blocked the upper GPUs from laptops, as the RTX 3080 and RX 6800M laptops actually use a lower-end chip than their desktop counterparts. Or how partner cards typically consume even more power reference values, such as the EVGA FTW3 boosting the RTX 3080 to nearly 400W.

Of course, GPUs of 400W and above are unlikely to cause problems with top-end combat stations with impeccable cooling and kilowatt power supplies. But for casual gamers – those who use smaller cases, or on laptops, or hold in their hands old reliable 500W PSUs – These are becoming a serious problem.

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