Last updated on October 6th, 2023 at 09:16 pm
The RTX 4090 as of right now is one of the most powerful GPUs on the market. However, getting this much performance from a top-tier GPU would also mean it would need to use a lot of power. This is why the RTX 4090 has a power consumption or TDP of 450 watts.
In most cases, the more performance a graphics card spits out the more power it will need. This is something that is shown time and time again as graphics cards tend to become more powerful every year.
However, with Nvidia’s latest 40-series line up they have shown that they can produce GPUs more potent than ever before, without the need for a high-wattage power supply.
So why is this? Well… we will get into the details throughout this article.
How Many Watts Does The RTX 4090 Use?
The Nvidia RTX 4090 has a power draw of 450 watts. However, it can see spikes that produce a higher wattage, but that is more uncommon with Nvidias 4000 series cards. When idle you can also expect to see the RTX 4090 to consume around 21 watts of power.
When looking at the power draw of any GPU, the manufacturer provides a TGP or TDP of the base power and wattage that the GPU will use.
- TGP means (Total Graphics Power)
- TDP means (Thermal Design Power)
These can be used interchangeably as they mean the same thing when talking about graphics cards!
However, you should know that every GPU is different, and each one will have its own individual wattage, that’s why it’s good to not only look at the TGP of that specific model but also at the average power draw of the GPUs in certain tasks.
We will look at:
- Idle Power Consumption
- Multi-monitor power consumption
- Media Playback
- Gaming wattage
- Peak Maximum Wattage
|GPU Model||TGP/TDP||Average Power Consumption While Gaming||Idle Power Consumption||Multi-Monitor Usage||Media Playback||Transient Power Spikes|
|RTX 4080||320 Watts||251 Watts||13 Watts||25 Watts||21 Watts||490 Watts|
|RTX 4090||450 Watts||346 Watts||21 Watts||28 Watts||26 Watts||500 Watts|
|RX 7900 XTX||355 Watts||345 Watts||28 Watts||48 Watts||48 Watts||425 Watts|
|RX 7900 XT||315 Watts||320 Watts||11 Watts||85 Watts||75 Watts||412 Watts|
|RTX 3090 Ti||450 Watts||400 Watts||21 Watts||40 Watts||26 Watts|
Although the RTX 4090 is one of if not the most powerful graphics cards on the market right now, the amount of power it needs to run is a very high amount.
The RTX 4090’s TDP beats out AMDs most powerful GPU the RX 7900 XTX by almost 100 watts which is just insane, considering that they produce similar performance.
When we look at the other categories of power consumption however, we can see that it has done a very good job at reducing uneccessary wattage. Especially when idle, or during media playback.
Transient Power Spikes and GPU Safety
One thing you will need to watch out for with this GPU specifically is when the wattage spikes.
This is called a transient power spike, and if you don’t plan for this then it can damage either you GPU or PSU. (Which you don’t want to happen.)
Transient power strikes happen when there is a sudden surge in electrical power through your GPU.
Although these spikes are fairly uncommon there are multiple different scenerios where a power spike can occur, with overclocking, and running large applications being the most common for a graphics card like the RTX 4090.
When a transient power spike occurs you can expect your GPU to spike up to around 500 watts, which is 50 more than its advertised TDP.
Power Supply Units (PSUs) play a crucial role in safeguarding electronic devices from such erratic power fluctuations by incorporating various safety mechanisms. These may include surge protectors, voltage regulators, and filters designed to absorb or mitigate the excess energy and prevent it from reaching sensitive electronic components.
Furthermore, PSUs often feature over-voltage, under-voltage, and over-current protection circuits to ensure that the output power remains within safe operational limits.
The PSUs job is to protect your computer when these kind of things happen stopping potential damage, or data last. This will also help with the stability and longevity of your computer.
Power Supply Recommendations For The RTX 4090?
Cooler Master MWE
Nvidia recommends an 850-watt power supply for the RTX 4090. This much wattage in a PSU will give you some wiggle room just in case you want to overclock your system, or if you want to do any upgrades in the future.
For this reason, I would recommend buying Cooler Master MWE Gold 850 V2 Full Modular, 850W, 80+ Gold
Cooler Master is a very reliable brand and this PSU specifically is 80 Plus Gold Certified, which means it is very debendable and power efficient.
When looking for a reliable PSU learning how the Power Supply Ratings Work is very important.
ASUS ROG STRIX
For those of you who have a more powerful system, you might need to consider purchasing a 1000W power supply.
Although, an 850W power supply is good enough for the average person. For someone who is using a high end CPU such as a Ryzen 9 or an Intel core i9, that uses a lot more power, you might need to consider a 1000W power supply.
Once again Asus is a very reliable brand that you can trust. This PSU comes with a 10 year warranty and is 80 Plus Gold Certified.
If you are looking for a high quality 850W PSU, and are willing to spend a little extra cash then the Corsair RM850x is a very good option.
This power supply comes with everything the Cooler Master comes with and more!
The RM850x is fully modular, and has fantastic airflow. Doesn’t make that much noise and can handle just about anything.
Why is Your Power Supply So Important?
Something you might be asking yourself right now is “Why is the power supply you choose so important?”
Well… Let me just tell you a story.
When I built my first PC, I didn’t see the importance in needing to buy a super reliable PSU, so I purchased the cheapest one I could find.
How did this end up?
Not too good…
The power supply broke and I was left with a computer that didn’t function for 6 months. I am just glad the PSU didn’t break any other componenets in my system.
Navigating the Power Demands of Overclocking the RTX 4090
Overclocking your GPU can be very effective at increases its performance. However, the affects it can have on your power consumption can also fluctuate greatly.
The RTX 4090, already has a very high TDP to begin with, once you implement overclocking you will also see a noticeable difference in the amount of power it’s consuming.
Balancing Performance and Stability
The elevated power demand during overclocking can introduce a series of potential risks, such as straining your PSU, increasing system temperatures, and potentially impacting the stability and longevity of your system. It’s not just about achieving higher frame rates or better rendering times; it’s equally about maintaining a stable, reliable system that operates within safe thermal and electrical thresholds.
Guiding Your Overclocking Journey Safely
- Reliable Power Supply: When picking out a PSU you need to make sure that not only does it handle the base power requirements of your RTX 4090, but also has enough flexibility to handle the increased power consumption when it is overclocked. Doing so will lower the risks of damaging your system when the power spikes. That’s the reason why I recommended the Cooler Master MWE Gold 850.
- Effective Cooling: Overclocking will also generate additional heat, necessitating a cooling solution capable of managing elevated temperatures to prevent thermal throttling or damage. Consider enhancing your system’s cooling with efficient case airflow, aftermarket coolers, or even liquid cooling solutions to manage the additional thermal output effectively.
- Monitoring and Testing: Keep a close eye on your GPU’s power consumption, temperatures, and system stability during overclocking. Utilize monitoring tools to track these metrics and ensure they remain within safe limits. Additionally, thorough stability testing post-overclocking ensures that your system remains stable and reliable under the enhanced load.
- Conservative Approach: Even though overclocking provides a lot of excitement, the best approach might be to be a little more conservative when overclocking. You will still get a slight performance increase, but this won’t spike your power consumption. You can continue to monitor how your RTX 4090 is being affected and tweak the overclocking slightly until you get a performance range that is comfortable.