NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3090 Ti graphics card is without a doubt the most power-hungry graphics card ever launched, sipping over 500 Watts of power and requiring insanely massive GPU cooling solutions to keep the heat in check. But at the same time, it can be tuned to become an efficiency monster in the high-end graphics card segment.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti Graphics Card Tuned To 300W TDP, Offers Higher Efficiency & Faster Gaming Performance Than AMD 6900 XT
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti has a reference TGP of 450W and most custom models are close to or over 500W. The graphics card is supplemented such high amounts of power through the new PCIe Gen 5 16-pin connector which is to accommodate TGP requirements of future graphics cards that would consume up to 600 Watts of power.
While the graphics card is a power-hungry beast, it can be tuned to become an efficient monster too. As tested by Igor Wallossek from Igor's Lab, the graphics card can be limited to a 300W power limit, a 37% drop in its TGP rating. This testing was done using the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Ti SUPRIM X graphics card which features a 480W TGP. It is one of the bulkiest graphics cards ever made. The testing was concluded not only with a reduced power limit but also with an adjusted VR Curve which is carried over from the RTX A6000. The RTX A6000 is another card that features the full-fat GA102 GPU core but has reduced core and memory clocks.
For testing, a total of 10 games were tested at 4K resolution. The power-limited GeForce RTX 3090 Ti graphics card was not only compared to the fully unlocked RTX 3090 Ti but other NVIDIA & AMD graphics cards too. The results are very interesting.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti '300W Power Limit' Gaming Benchmarks (Image Credits: Igor's Lab):
At 4K, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti with a power limit of 300W offers almost the same gaming performance as the RTX 3080 Ti while featuring a 50W lower limit. The card also ends up a tad bit faster than the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT too. But these are just the power limits, the actual power consumption is a whole different story.
In terms of power consumption, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti consumes 6W lower power than the Radeon RX 6800 XT while being 16% faster on average. The Radeon RX 6900 XT consumes 50W higher power while the 3080 Ti consumes 100W more power. The full 3090 Ti consumes around 150 Watt more power while offering just 12% more performance. This makes the RTX 3090 Ti the most valuable high-end graphics card in terms of average watts per frame provided to end-users.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti '300W Power Limit' Power Consumption (Image Credits: Igor's Lab):
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti '300W Power Limit' Watt/FPS (Image Credits: Igor's Lab):
Now enthusiasts don't buy a graphics card such as the RTX 3090 Ti or RX 6900 XT to throttle them down from their base specifications. They do so to utilize all the extra juice that they can get out of it. This demonstration isn't a practical use case but it does show that NVIDIA and its partners went all out with power and cooling designs to extract everything out of the Ampere GA102 GPU core to remain on top of the game. It is good for efficiency demonstrations but other than that, the testing is only good for demonstration purposes.