China's RTX 4090D Secret: Overclockable to Match Banned RTX 4090 Performance

The stratospheric rise of NVIDIA in the data center and AI market has had some significant collateral side effects on the gaming market. It's not only in gaming products utilizing AI such as DLSS 3, but also in the availability of some of its GPUs. NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4090D, released in China to circumvent some of the bans that took place, came under-powered compared to its namesake GeForce RTX 4090. 

The bans initiated by the U.S Government are meant to deprive the Chinese market of NVIDIA's most powerful GPUs, namely the data center products. The GeForce RTX 4090 happens to be powerful enough, with its 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM, that it became entangled in the same net. 

Well, it appears that an overclock may bring the gimped GeForce RTX 4090D closer to its full strength counterpart. HKEPC Hardware was able to overclock the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090D with ASUS GPU Tweak III software, unlocking its restricted performance. It is unknown if other brands or models of the GeForce RTX 4090D will have similar capabilities. 

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NVIDIA's AD102-250, as pictured by HKEPC Hardware

The GeForce RTX 4090D has its spec trimmed compared to the full version, such as having only 14,592 CUDA cores versus 16,384 CUDA cores. Boost clocks and VRAM specs remain similar, but Tensor cores mark a significant reduction from 512 to 456. 

While the GeForce RTX 4090D seems different on paper, the ASUS ROG Strix model tested appears to respond well to tinkering. With the release of the GeForce RTX 4080 Super, the performance gap has certainly closed amongst the upper tier of NVIDIA GPUs. The GeForce RTX 4090D still remains ahead, just shy on average 5% to 10% to its RTX 4090 sibling when stock. 

This performance changes when overclocked, as in what this particular ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090D is able to do. Power limits can be lifted, thus widening its performance potential significantly to bring it up to par. Consuming around 558.4 watts when its GPU clock received a 200MHz boost brought synthetic performance much closer to the GeForce RTX 4090. 

With NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 50 Series on the horizon, the GeForce RTX 4090 may finally have met its match performance wise. In the mean time, enterprising users will continue to tinker with existing designs when needed to these restricted products to lower the performance penalties.