Reference cooler for the new generation of Nvidia graphics cards photographed
The news of this week is that the new GPU generation will not be waiting for September, with Nvidia planning to release (or at least unveil) the new Lovelace architecture and the first GeForce RTX 4000 graphics in July. And indeed, the leaks are starting to pour in. After the specs leak, a photo of the cooler for the top-of-the-line GeForce RTX 4090 or 4090 Ti Founders Edition cards directly from Nvidia has also surfaced.
This leak is somewhat reminiscent of the surprising leak of the Founders Edition cooler designed for the GeForce RTX 3080 (which was still months from release) two years ago. The photos have again appeared on the Chinese website Chiphell. We don’t think we can completely rule out the possibility that these are fakes. But producing such a fake would probably require intensive effort, which reduces the chances that anyone would be willing to invest time in such a job. We don’t see anything suggesting it’s not a legitimate mock-up or a prototype made by Nvidia.
According to the photos, Nvidia will be using the same cooler concept it introduced for the Founders Edition RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 cards, i.e. a characteristic heatsink with diagonal fins and fans on both the top and bottom. This particular design is very similar to the one used by the newly released GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, but there are differences.
For example, the fins seems to be packed more densely (the number of fins went up a bit). Notably, the coldplate that will transfer heat from the GPU to the heatsink is also changed. The RTX 3090 Ti cooler had a smaller coldplate and the memory was cooled only by the baseplate around it (you can compare with TechPowerUp’s photos). The leaked cooler has a much wider coldplate that directly reaches the memory as well. GDDR6X cooling could be improved thanks to this.
The cooler continues to employ the design where one fan at the bottom of the card blows through the heatsink in the usual way (but it then pushes some of the hot air out of the case through the PCIe slot brackets), while a second fan mounted at the top of the card sucks air from the heatsink underneath through the back of the card. The warm air from this part of the cooler therefore rises further up the case into the CPU cooler area, from where it can be more easily removed by case fans.
It must be said that this concept of a “window” in the back of the card was not entirely Nvidia’s invention, but the reversed fan mounting and the overall design and combination of elements that the Founders Edition cards use are original.
RTX 4090 or RTX 4090 Ti?
In the images shown on Chiphell, there is also a frame imprinted with a SKU designation, according to which the cooler belongs to the GeForce RTX 4090 Ti graphics. That’s interesting, because last time, we heard about the specs of “GeForce RTX 4090” without the Ti, and we were surprised that they said the card uses a relatively heavily cut-down version of the AD102 chip. So maybe it really won’t be the highest end model, and there’s already this higher RTX 4090 Ti SKU with even more performance in the pipeline.
Of course, it’s also possible that the images are just a cooler design produced somet time ago, when the names of the cards weren’t decided yet, and that “RTX 4090 Ti” (unless it’s a photoshopped 3090 Ti…) is mainly a placeholder text with the purpose of showing what the imprint on the frame would look like.
Two years ago, the leak of this very distinctive looking cooler met much doubt at first, but then it turned out to be exactly the design that Founders Edition cards eventually launched with. Nvidia has used a new look for each generation lately (Pascal, Turing and Ampere have all had a new Founders Edition card design, with only the Maxwell generation in 2014 adopting the design already shipped before on the GeForce GTX Titan card of the Kepler generation). But the look and construction introduced with Ampere is perhaps the most successful and interesting approach so far, so it would be far from bad decision to keep (and perhaps improve) it for another two-year cycle.
English translation and edit by Jozef Dudáš, original text by Jan Olšan, editor for Cnews.cz