Why China Is Ripping Out GPUs From Thousands Of GeForce RTX 4090 Graphics Cards

Sophisticated gentlemen of the gaming world know trouble when they see it. Having been battle-tested in the era of the great GPU shortage, where dwindling supply went to please the crypto-currency machine, the red flags once again are raised. The mighty NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 has been spotted potentially undergoing mass transformation from a gaming GPU, to one geared for AI in China. 

The GeForce RTX 4090 has been a powerhouse gaming GPU since its launch, with bonkers class-leading performance and a healthy 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM. This means it can not only smash frames in Alan Wake 2, but this AD102 GPU also makes a compelling case for artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

gpu 4090

The GeForce RTX 4090's AD102 GPU has also experienced availability limits with the recent bans and actions taken on such GPUs by the U.S Government in relation to China. While large enterprise will certainly prefer data center specific products from NVIDIA, the AD102 GPU has enough performance to make that list of affected products. With the GPU shortage actively happening in the data center market as we speak, these consumer AD102 GPUs also serve as a second, cheaper option. 

This is what is causing the mad- rush for adapting these products so they are better suited for machine learning use. One major reason for removing their glitzy RGB-laden stock coolers is to insert the GPU itself into a more compact blower-style design that can be jammed into tighter spaces. In such use cases, noise and aesthetics are a distant concern as long as thermals stay well-behaved. 

4090 stack

The consumer GeForce RTX 4090 rips with some intense power usage packing a 450W TDP, necessitating large air coolers with multi-fan designs. These bulky designs have to therefore be adapted to potentially noisier, and hotter running designs for enterprise setups.

What effect will this have on the gaming market itself? We've noticed that in the U.S market, GeForce RTX 4090 GPUs have increased in price and lessened in availability. If this was to potentially feed the ensuing demand in China for these products is speculative, but gamers certainly will get flashbacks to the GPU shortages of years past. Other gaming GPUs seem unaffected by this, which is good news for the consumer market overall. 

What will happen to thousands of empty coolers separated from GeForce RTX 4090 GPUs? Enterprising sellers will sell them off, of course. While it may make for some useful spare parts or beautiful wall art, we'd prefer to see these coolers slapped on gaming GPUs as intended.