Some RTX 4090 Graphics Cards Recommend a 1200W Power Supply

Palit GeForce RTX 4090 Game Rock OC
(Image credit: Palit)

Its no secret that Nvidia's GeForce RTX 4090 will require some serious power supply hardware. It's following in the footsteps of the RTX 3090 Ti, and we expect it will soon sit atop the GPU benchmarks hierarchy while also being the fastest of the best graphics cards. Still, Nvidia's AIB (add-in board) partner's have wildly varying PSU recommendations for their various RTX 4090 models.

Some AIBs follow Nvidia's standard PSU recommendation of just 850W, but quite a few list 1000W as the recommended PSU capacity, and a few even go up to a staggering 1200W. We've referenced all of Nvidia's partner cards below, mostly sticking with each AIB partner's flagship card, to see just how far the companies are ready to push the RTX 4090 and Nvidia Ada Lovelace.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
GeForce RTX 4090 PSU Wattage Requirements
ModelsTarget Board PowerMinimum PSU Wattage
Asus RTX 4090 ROG Strix OCUnknown1000W
Aorus RTX 4090 MasterUnknown1000W
MSI RTX 4090 Suprim X, Suprim Liquid XUnknown850W
PNY RTX 4090 Verto Epic-X450W850W
Zotac RTX 4090 AMP Extreme, Trinity450W1000W
Galax RTX 4090 SG, STUnknown850W
All Colorful RTX 4090 ModelsUnknownUnknown
Inno3D RTX 4090 X3 OC iChill BlackUnknown850W
Palit RTX 4090 GameRock OC450W1200W
Gainward RTX 4090 Phantom GSUnknownUnknown

Starting with Asus, for its ROG Strix model, the company recommends a 1000W PSU. Asus does note that it assumes users will be overclocking both the CPU and GPU, which of course would increase potential power use. The recommendation ends up 150W higher than Nvidia's reference Founders Edition. The same 1000W PSU recommendation can be found on Gigabyte's Aorus Master and Zotac's AMP Extreme/Trinity RTX 4090 graphics cards.

For MSI, PNY, Galax, and Inno3D's flagship 4090 GPUs, all these models step down to Nvidia's reference PSU recommendation of 850W. That's probably more reasonable, though we'd caution against trying to use a cheaper 850W model — 80 Plus Gold or higher should be the minimum for this level of GPU.

But, the star of the show — or perhaps the supernova in this case — is Palit, with its RTX 4090 GameRock graphics card recommending a whopping 1200W PSU. That's by far the most demanding spec we've ever see from any graphics card company so far, though quad-SLI GTX 980 Ti back in the day could use more power. That's obviously with four GPUs instead of just one, however.

Palit neglected to share its reasoning behind the monstrous 1200W PSU recommendation, but it could be due to a number of reasons. It's possible that with a test setup that includes a power hungry CPU like a Core i9-12900K, heavily overclocked, it might feel 1200W is warranted. Or maybe it's based on what you might see from extreme cards like a Galax Hall of Fame (HOF). Except Palit also lists a TBP (Total Board Power) of just 450W on its cards.

Gainward and Colorful neglected to share any power supply recommendations or graphics card power requirements for now. Note that Palit is the parent company of Gainward (and Galax, KFA2, and a few others).

Thermaltake Toughpower TF1 1550W

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

How Much Wattage Do You Really Need?

This wide variety of power ranges can be confusing for consumers. Using the wrong PSU could create problems, and in a worst-case scenario, it might even result in a non-working system. It's why PSU companies like to push things like 1550W power supplies. But how much power do you really need?

Most of the RTX 4090 model's referenced above are flagship GPUs designed to push the RTX 4090 GPU core as hard as possible, while staying within Nvidia's strict power and thermal guidelines. These cards are designed to push the 4090 beyond its reference or "default" specifications. Usually this is done with overbuilt power delivery, very large coolers, and higher power limits. As a result, power requirements have to go up, and on a GPU that pulls 450W as a baseline, that could mean we'll see RTX 4090 cards routinely pulling 500W or more.

Thankfully, almost all of Nvidia's AIB partners have "normal" RTX 4090 SKUs available that stick to Nvidia's reference power requirements and only recommend an 850W PSU. But its worth noting that PSU wattage isn't the entire story.

Recommended wattages should be taken with a grain of salt, since they won't apply to everyone's personal rig. Some might have a Core i9-12900K overclocked to 5.5GHz that consumes over 300W of power at its peak; others might be running a Ryzen 7 5800X3D that consumes less than 100W of power while gaming. Meanwhile, a Core i9-10980XE with a full blown RAID 10 setup and 10 hard drives could consume gobs of power. All of these combinations result in different levels of PSU power, regardless of what the AIB partner suggests.

We might also be seeing an effort to reduce support calls by recommending significantly more PSU than what most people would actually need. A 450W card with a high-end CPU plus the rest of the system could easily breach 750W under load, which is likely where Nvidia gets its 850W recommendation. But not all 850W PSUs are created equal, so suggesting a 1000W or 1200W PSU gives a bit of breathing room.

And if you thought that wasn't enough, there's also the brand new ATX 3.0 power supply specification. These new power supplies are designed specifically with next-generation GPUs in mind, like the RTX 40-series. They should handle these super powerful GPUs and come with new technology standards to handle things like super large transient spikes. They should also be equipped with the new 12VHWPR connector that can provide up to 600W over a single cable — and incidentally also get rid of the nightmarish 4-tentacle octopus adapters that ship with the 4090 cards. (Seriously, just try making your cable management look nice with that adapter!)

In short, if you plan on shopping for a new RTX 4090 card next week, you'll also want to have a good power supply. Anyone with the funds for a GPU that costs $1,600 or more shouldn't have too much trouble picking up a $200–$300 power supply to go with it. Any of the best PSUs rated at 850W or higher ought to suffice, unless you're running an HEDT platform (may it rest in peace).

Aaron Klotz
Contributing Writer

Aaron Klotz is a contributing writer for Tom’s Hardware, covering news related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.

  • bigdragon
    1200W? This is beyond ridiculous now. The monthly cost to power an RTX 4090 rivals the subscription fees of some creative software. Nvidia, and their partners, are going in the wrong direction with these GPU designs.
  • Lol. Going the way of 3dfx. Don’t worry there. Next version is going to require a molten salt reactor

    none of this is sustainable, and none of it makes any sense because all they’re doing is building a bad reputation
  • Math Geek
    none of the top tier cards have ever been about need. it's a matter of "if we build it, they will buy it" mentality.

    so long as there is another box to check in the game or some other unneeded "feature" folks will line up to pay whatever to be able to say they got that thing.

    most of us laugh at it, but they are still going to sell out, mega psu's will still be needed and bought to run them and some really insecure people out there will continue to measure their worth by the pc on the desk.

    enjoy it i guess, but know we all see through the smoke and are laughing at you to your face :)

    well at least i am laughing to your face anyway.... hahahahahahaha
  • To be totally honest, graphics have been good enough since the Xbox 360 for me and it’s all been gravy since. so I don’t even see the need to game on a PC

    I agree with you, I don’t need those extra features, nor do I even care. I just think it’s ridiculous with the power requirements.
  • The Historical Fidelity
    Mandark said:
    Lol. Going the way of 3dfx. Don’t worry there. Next version is going to require a molten salt reactor

    none of this is sustainable, and none of it makes any sense because all they’re doing is building a bad reputation
    Nonsense, Nvidia is doing all of us a solid and providing dual use value!!! Graphics card with space heater capability!!! Thanks Nvidia for being so in tune with what us small fries need!
  • Remember with the 3DFX cards— the power requirements were getting ridiculous and Nvidia came along and put them out of business?
  • peterf28
    1200W is the new 600W
  • Dark Lord of Tech
  • Phaaze88

    See folks? This is one of the reasons the concept of futureproofing doesn't work.
  • MaddMurdock
    If this is the route PC gaming is headed, then PC gaming is soon to be dead. Normal people can't afford a $1600 GPU, that requires a $200+ PSU, on top of all the other system components. This is just absurd, and Nvidia is either out of their minds, or simply don't know how to innovate any longer. Hell, even their lower tier options are ridiculously overpriced.

    Anyone can buy a (hopefully soon, anyways) $500 gaming console and enjoy solid performance on their existing TVs. At these price points, why would anyone want to game on PC anymore? I hope Intel (eventually), and AMD stomp Nvidia into the ground. Screw Jensen and his dumbass leather jacket.