In the fast-evolving landscape of graphics cards, a unique trend has emerged in China that caught the attention of tech enthusiasts and gamers alike. Nvidia, a prominent player in the GPU market, introduced mobile versions of the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 graphics cards in early 2023. However, what’s making waves is the unexpected repurposing of these laptop GPUs for desktop use, a phenomenon witnessed on Goofish, a popular Chinese internet shop.
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The Unusual Transformation
RTX 4090M and RTX 4080M for Desktops
In a surprising move, Chinese firms are now offering laptop versions of Nvidia GPUs, namely the RTX 4090M and RTX 4080M, repurposed for desktops. This unconventional approach has sparked interest in the tech community, raising questions about the performance, pricing, and practicality of such adaptations.
Desktop Powerhouse: RTX 4090M
The ‘new’ RTX 4090M graphics card designed for desktops boasts 16GB of GDDR6 memory. Reports suggest that numerous desktop RTX 4090s have found a second life, powering China’s AI computing infrastructure. This trend appears to be a response to US restrictions limiting the sale of powerful Nvidia GPUs within the nation.
The repurposed RTX 4080M is priced between 2800-3000 CN¥, approximately $400 in the US. On the other hand, the RTX 4090M commands a hefty price tag of 13800 CN¥, equivalent to around $1900 or more. The surprising aspect is that the laptop version seems to surpass the desktop counterpart in cost, emphasizing the unique market dynamics in China.
Performance and Peculiarities
RTX 4090M vs Desktop RTX 4090
While the repurposed RTX 4090M is an intriguing offering, it comes with its own set of peculiarities. The laptop GPU, originally designed for energy efficiency, consumes significantly less power and requires only a twin fan for cooling. It makes it an attractive option for those seeking a balance between performance and power efficiency.
Trade-offs in Performance
However, the performance of these mobile RTX 40 graphics cards is not on par with their desktop counterparts. The number of CUDA cores and VRAM has been scaled down, with the RTX 4080M featuring 12GB of GDDR6 VRAM compared to the 16GB on the authentic desktop RTX 4080.
A closer look at these GPUs reveals a potential concern regarding authenticity. The Nvidia logo on these cards, as seen by the fans, raises suspicions, indicating that they may not be genuine GPUs manufactured by approved AIB partners of Nvidia, such as MSI, Gigabyte, Asus, and others. The absence of clarity on warranty coverage adds another layer of uncertainty.
Consumer Perspectives and Recommendations
For enthusiasts in China, the allure of owning a desktop card born from a laptop GPU might outweigh the performance trade-offs. The lower power consumption and unique cooling requirements make these GPUs particularly attractive for a niche market segment.
Consideration for Mainstream Gamers
However, for the broader base of PC gamers, careful consideration of alternatives is advised. Opting for GPUs like the RTX 4070 or exploring Nvidia’s recently introduced lower-cost RTX 4080 Super and other revised variants at CES 2024 might be a more sensible choice.
In conclusion, the emergence of laptop-based GeForce RTX 4090M and RTX 4080M desktop GPUs in China adds an intriguing chapter to the ever-evolving GPU market. While the repurposed GPUs offer a unique blend of energy efficiency and desktop power, potential concerns regarding performance and authenticity should not be overlooked. As technology continues to surprise us, the question remains: What’s next in the dynamic world of graphics cards?