MSI has quietly introduced its new Ventus Essential series of graphics cards that will complement the company's regular Ventus family of boards (as noticed by @momomo_us). The new Ventus Essential cards will offer almost exactly the same specifications as normal Ventus add-in-boards, but will likely have a different bill-of-materials (BOM), which will make MSI's costs slightly lower.
MSI's Ventus Essential lineup currently consists of the GeForce RTX 4070, GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, and GeForce RTX 4090, which rank among the best graphics cards. All boards have the same clocks and cooling systems as standard Ventus cards, but Ventus Essential features two DisplayPort and two HDMI outputs, whereas regular Ventus boards have three DisplayPort and one HDMI output. Essential obviously points to something basic, but this may not be the case.
"It has slight structural improvements over Ventus but mostly the same design/specs," wrote Hassan Mujtaba of WccfTech. Note that MSI does not officially disclose any differences between its Ventus and Ventus Essential graphics boards, so let us try to speculate a little.
The display outputs are an interesting change. Right now, DisplayPort on RTX 40-series cards remains on the DP1.4a spec, which has a maximum data rate of 25.92 Gbps using 8b/10b encoding. HDMI 2.1 meanwhile offers up to 42 Gbps data rates using 16b/18b encoding. That's 62% more bandwidth, which means HDMI 2.1 can output up to 8K 120 Hz using DSC (Display Stream Compression), while DP1.4a tops out at around 8K 72 Hz using DSC. But HDMI typically costs more for licensing than DisplayPort, which makes this particular change a bit odd.
Besides the video ports, modern graphics cards are highly complex devices that use hundreds of components. Custom graphics cards, such as MSI's Ventus series, tend to slightly change the bill-of-materials over their lifetimes because some components may get cheaper and others may disappear from the market. But it looks like MSI wants to concurrently offer Ventus and Ventus Essential parts, possibly with slightly different bundles and slightly different BOMs.
Such an approach allows MSI to be flexible with its costs and offer its GeForce RTX 40-series products at more competitive prices. Of course, it remains to be seen whether these Ventus Essential boards will be significantly cheaper than non-Essential Ventus cardsbut the key point is that with more SKUs the company will be able to pick the right series and produce it if it finds it more suitable.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.