The next generation of graphics cards are expected to draw a lot of power, but I hadn't expected to see one of today's best and brightest sapping so much from the wall. An Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti has been modded to unlock a 890W power limit, nearly double the card's usual 450W limit.
Why you'd do such a thing is to prepare your graphics card for extreme overclocking—I'm talking liquid nitrogen overclocks to break world records, and those which run the risk of frying or freezing your pricey components for good. Sport overclocking, if you will.
Unlock 3090Ti power limit to 890W！ pic.twitter.com/6VtyEF184IMay 5, 2022
The aptly-named MegaSizeGPU has posted a screenshot of what they claim to be an Asus RTX 3090 Ti TUF running with a power limit of 890W, as spotted by Videocardz (opens in new tab). The outlet also says the user has confirmed the GPU is operational, despite being far in excess of even the power limits of the more extreme RTX 3090 Ti models available.
I'd usually steer clear of images taken of a screen as proof of anything—these can so easily be faked—but there's good enough reason to believe that such a feat could be possible with a specialised BIOS.
The exact BIOS used by MegaSizeGPU has since been uploaded to TechPowerUp (opens in new tab), courtesy of its creator, and has been designed for Asus Strix LC, Asus TUF, and Founders Edition models. These sorts of BIOS, known as XOC (extreme overclocking), are used relatively often in record-breaking attempts, and allow for greater power delivery when pushing silicon to the extremes.
That means you could try this BIOS out for yourself, though I wouldn't recommend you do. You run the significant risk of bricking your chip without due care and skill, and even then it's still really risky.
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Even if you wanted to give it a go, most RTX 3090 Ti graphics cards are ill-equipped to receive that much power; not only in how they deal with that power through the onboard VRM components but through the cables themselves. The standard RTX 3090 Ti connector can receive up to 600W through a single 16-pin connector.
Some cards designed for extreme overclocking do get around this, however, including EVGA's RTX 3090 Ti Kingpin and Galax's HOF OC Lab Edition. These two cards come with twin 16-pin PCIe power connectors, which in theory max out at a whopping 1200W when combined. The EVGA card even has a XOC BIOS (opens in new tab) that unlocks a 1000W power limit. Crikey.
You could also solder your own mods to a PCB and try and inject more power that way, but that's not your everyday upgrade.
A graphics card actually running at 1200W is probably not likely from this generation, no matter how much liquid nitrogen you throw at it. Rumour has it Nvidia could be playing with the idea of a 900W GPU (opens in new tab) with the next generation, known as Ada Lovelace, but that's surely just for funsies in the lab, surely?