NVIDIA might have officially launched its next-gen flagship GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, but we're still a week out from the review NDA being lifted... but today a different embargo lifts GeForce RTX 4090 unboxings.
I received my sample of NVIDIA's in-house GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition late last week, and have been playing with it for a few days now (more on that next week). Yesterday, the first wave of custom AIB models started arriving: first, MSI's air-cooled GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X, minutes later the AIO-cooled MSI RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID, and then I'm not even kidding... minutes later, the new flagship ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition was at my doorstep.
Here are the cards we'll be unboxing today:
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition
- ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition
- MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X
- MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X
But, as courier magic would have it... as I came back to finish the second half of this article, a couple more custom GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards arrived at the door. I've now got the custom COLORFUL iGame GeForce RTX 4090 -- which rocks a wicked DETACHABLE display -- and the new GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom HOF.
NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards start from $1599, and go on sale October 12 -- our full review on all of these cards (and more) will be on the same day.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition
Right out of the gate we've got NVIDIA's brand new GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition graphics card, which rocks a considerable amount of grunt -- not just in GPU silicon, but cooling technology, design, and more -- which shouldn't be a surprise. NVIDIA's in-house Founders Edition graphics cards are some of the best you can get, and I'm sure NVIDIA is keeping the best-binned AD102 GPUs for its own GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition ;) Let's dive right in:
This is actually the very first GeForce RTX 4090 that I received -- and that shouldn't come as a surprise -- but it has been the best-packaged RTX 4090 that I've got so far (and I've got 5 custom RTX 4090 cards now). You can see in the above photo that the box is huge, but let's unwrap it.
NVIDIA has an interesting box design around the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition graphics card, a big upgrade on the usual retail packaging that the company has had on previous-gen FE variant graphics cards. Inside you'll find a 16-pin to 4 x 8-pin PCIe power adapter, too.
Yeah, here's that much-talked-about 16-pin PCIe 5.0 power connector (the card itself is PCIe 4.0 x16) that converts over to not one, not two, not three, but a whopping four 8-pin PCIe power connectors (450W TDP). If you want to read more on the new 16-pin PCIe power cable issues, read below:
NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition graphics card is a damn good-looking card, with NVIDIA not changing much between the previous-gen Ampere-based GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition cards, and the new Ada Lovelace-powered GeForce RTX 40 series Founders Edition cards... and that's not a bad thing.
You will notice that the "GeForce RTX" font is different... something that I've been covering for a while now, but here it is in reality, instead of just leaks.
It's a damn thick card, but it's not too much thicker than the GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition graphics card...
NVIDIA hasn't -- very, unfortunately, but I'll go into that more in a minute -- changed the display connectivity on its new GeForce RTX 40 series Founders Edition, which means at an architectural level we won't see DisplayPort 2.0 connectivity until NVIDIA's next-gen GPUs (hopefully). DP2.0 is capable of 4K 240FPS and 8K 120FPS through a single DisplayPort 2.0 cable... and NVIDIA's latest and greatest GPUs simply don't have it.
The fans have been slightly upgraded on the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition graphics card, but I can't go into the thermal results (they're freaking good, trust me) just yet.
Some additional shots (there will be more in the full review).
ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090
ASUS ships its new ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition graphics card in an absolute unit of a box, it's just massive... the pictures simply don't do it justice. The card itself is big -- and we'll get to that in a moment -- but the box is HUGE.
Inside, your new ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition graphics card is waiting... but enough of the retail packaging, let's get it out of the box!
I'm a fan of the look ASUS is going here with its custom ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition graphics card, at least from the front. It drops the curves for some straight edges, and while it'll have its haters, ASUS ROG products also have their fans. The triple-fan cooler keeps the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 4090 nice and cool, while being silent when it's not under load.
The backplate not only keeps the critical components on the back of the card safe, it has to look good as it's the side of the card that most people will see from your gaming PC. The end of the card looks fantastic with the ROG eye and general aesthetic that ASUS is going for here.
ASUS isn't messing around here with its ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition graphics card, where you'll need a chunky 4-slot space in your PC. The heat sink itself is 2.5 slots of that thickness, while the (almost comically huge) cooling shroud takes up the rest of the space (again, it'll have its fans).
If there is a part of the card that I absolutely love -- no, adore -- its the end of the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition. I love that grille on the end, it is a really nice touch.
The back of the card once again, with that ROG eye lookin' back at you.
NVIDIA might not have added DisplayPort 2.0 (DP2.0) to its Ada Lovelace GPU architecture and new GeForce RTX 40 series graphics cards, but ASUS does things different with its higher-end graphics cards: dual HDMI 2.1 ports. HDMI 2.1 is capable of 4K 120FPS+ and 8K 60FPS through a single cable, to a high-end TV or gaming monitor that features HDMI 2.1 connectivity.
ASUS gives you not one, but two HDMI 2.1 ports so you can have two TVs at once, or a 4K 120Hz+ TV and HDMI 2.1-capable gaming monitor at the same time.
MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X
ASUS isn't the only one shipping its new custom GeForce RTX 4090 in a ridiculously huge box, with MSI joining in on the fun with its liquid-cooled GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X graphics card. The card itself is much smaller, but you wouldn't think so from the size of the box.
MSI gives you a cool little addition to hang on your wall, or along with the boxes (that you might) collect for your PC purchases.
MSI's new custom GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X graphics card is a fantastic-looking new RTX 4090 graphics card, with an exquisite external design that makes it one of the best-looking custom RTX 4090s so far. MSI is using an aluminum metal cover on the front here, which looks great in the flesh.
The new custom MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X graphics card features angle-beveled edges with light-gold colored polish, with an octagon-shaped fan cutout as well as an illuminated chevron next to the single fan on the front of the card.
On the back the SUPRIM logo concept is inspired by diamond crystals and geometry, which MSI says represents the high-quality materials and construction of SUPRIM graphics cards, like the new enthusiast-class GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X graphics card.
MSI's new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X graphics card is cooled by a 240mm AIO radiator, so you'll need to make sure you've got the room inside of your PC for that. It might be hard with an AIO-cooled CPU, but you've been warned.
Because MSI is liquid cooling the card, it moves the cooling side of the RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X off to the AIO cooler, meaning the card itself can be shrunken down to a thinner dual-slot RTX 4090. It looks nice and tight like this, where I'm interested to see how it'll perform inside of a mini-ITX gaming PC (as long as you can find a good enough PSU for it).
There's no changes here to display connectivity: 1 x HDMI 2.1 connector, and 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 (all capable of 4K 120FPS+ and 8K 60FPS+).
MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X
MSI provided something special for reviewers, where inside of the packaging for both the GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X and the liquid-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X, we got a beautiful plaque (that's now sitting on my shelf, thanks, MSI!) to commemorate the GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards from MSI.
Inside, the new MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X is jam-packed: you've got the 16-pin to 4 x 8-pin PCIe power adapter, as well as a wicked SUPRIM X gaming mouse pad, too. MSI's retail packaging for its new air-cooled GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X isn't as crazy as the new RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X beast.
If you've seen previous MSI GeForce RTX series graphics cards and the flagship "SUPRIM" around the place, or maybe you even own one, the new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X is more of an evolution than a revolution. The revolution for RTX 4090 + MSI = SUPRIM LIQUID X. That's not a bad thing, and we're only talking about it from the front so far.
Around the back, we can see MSI is continuing that tweaking of the SUPRIM X design with its new RTX 4090 SUPRIM X (just like the liquid-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X). MSI is using high-quality materials and construction lines that are emphasized by the geometry of points, lines, and planes.
It's a thick card, but not that much thicker than previous-gen SUPRIM X designs.
I can't talk about the performance of NVIDIA's new flagship GeForce RTX 4090 -- but I will say this, it's f***ing fast -- for another week yet... but so far, I'm very impressed. All of the designs that I've got so far are fantastic, with thermal results that will surprise.
NVIDIA's new flagship GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition is a treasure: it is the first, and it's one of the most powerful. It has a design that can't be mistaken, something NVIDIA is confident with as the design wasn't tweaked too much between RTX 30 FE and RTX 40 FE. I'm still a huge fan, with the small design tweaks very welcomed. I can't wait to deep dive into this card next week.
You can't go past the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition, which is a beast in its own right: from the retail packaging to the card, you're going to have a smile on your dial. The design tweaks are interesting, and while it might push some people away, ROG will always have its fans. Speaking of fans, there's three here on the cooler of the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 4090 graphics card.
The card is big, but there are some really nice touches across the card that look fantastic -- the end grille for example, is awesome. I wish I could have the card mounted vertically, and see top-down into the chassis... now that, that would be very cool.
Out of the custom GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards that I've unboxed for this article so far, MSI's new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X graphics card has to be my favorite -- simply because of its dual-slot design.
Sure, you need a bigger AIO cooler inside of your PC, but you're going to (well, I don't know yet, I haven't tested this one so far) see some truly wicked-low temperatures on the RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X... and I can't wait to play around with it (and overclock to high hell).
Lastly, we've got the air-cooled MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card that has had some design tweaks to set it apart from the current-gen Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti SUPRIM X graphics cards from MSI. I'll spend some time once this article is done taking some pictures of both of the cards (MSI RTX 4090 SUPRIM X vs MSI RTX 3090 Ti SUPRIM X) in a follow-up article soon.
For now, I hope you've enjoyed the journey of unboxing four new custom NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards, as we're now just a week away from the big review NDA being lifted where I'll be able to share every single detail with you. Not only on the cards you see here, but a few more custom RTX 4090 designs, too.