I never wanted the RTX 3090 Super but I'm gutted to miss out on the cancelled prototype's stealthy all-black aesthetic

Nvidia RTX 3090 Super prototype
(Image credit: KittyYYuko | X)

New images have appeared online purporting to show a prototype RTX 3090 Super graphics card (via Videocardz), and honestly, I think it's gorgeous. I am very much a fan of the design of Nvidia's last two generations of Founders Edition cards—though I do still find the sheer scale of the RTX 3090, RTX 4090, and RTX 4080 absolutely ludicrous—but I think I would be even more down for this all-black design.

It's a world away from the original Super series of cards Nvidia released for the RTX 20-series generation. Those used the standard cards' shroud, itself reminiscent of a twin burner camping stove, and then added a mirror finish and a green negative space "super" logo.

And I hated them. It wasn't just that they were horrible to photograph for a review, but that mirror finish just made them look so damned tacky. 

If Nvidia had done the same thing with the otherwise good-looking RTX 30-series refresh I would have been suitably unimpressed.

This isn't the first time we've seen snippets of the cancelled RTX 3090 Super design, but this is absolutely the best look we've got at the thing as a whole. And in my head I can't shake the comparison between Threepio and Triple-Zero from Star Wars when it comes to the different Super designs.

RTX 2070 Super and Dave

(Image credit: Future)

In the end, despite many rumours, Nvidia didn't release a Super serious of refreshed RTX 30-series cards with speedier Ampere GPUs, instead it opted to squeeze more Ti cards into the range. And they all lined up behind the top GPU in town, the RTX 3090 Ti. Which was stupidly priced because of the chip shortage and pandemic, and relatively quickly superseded by Ada and the RTX 40-series.


Best CPU for gaming: Top chips from Intel and AMD.
Best gaming motherboard: The right boards.
Best graphics card: Your perfect pixel-pusher awaits.
Best SSD for gaming: Get into the game first.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.