Nvidia RTX 4080 GPU rumor could make you think about a power supply upgrade

An RTX 2060 graphics card in a PC
(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia’s RTX 4080 graphics card could crank up power usage to 100W more than the RTX 3080, if the GPU grapevine is on the money.

This latest rumor about next-gen Lovelace GPUs comes off the back of a great deal of speculation on the topic of power consumption (or TGP), and Twitter-based leaker Kopite7kimi now believes that the RTX 4080 will demand 420W from the power supply (PSU).

Obviously, this is just a rumor, so remain skeptical as ever, but as a general suggestion of where things may be heading with RTX 4000 power usage, it doesn’t sound too comforting on the face of it.

Remember that the RTX 3080 draws 320W (the original 10GB incarnation, that is), so as mentioned this is a theoretical 100W increase.

In fact, the RTX 3090 pulls 350W, so the 4080 is well ahead of that, and not too far off the level of the RTX 3090 Ti which has a TGP of 450W – and Nvidia recommends a PSU of 850W for that GPU, no less. (Remember, that’s a minimum spec too, meaning those who are going to be pushing things with faster top-end CPUs and overclocked components in their PCs would be wise to go for some decent headroom over and above that).

Analysis: A bitter PSU pill to swallow? Possibly, but that’s no real surprise

Does that mean we’re looking at an RTX 4080 which requires a power supply of 800W, then, or thereabouts? Well, that seems a likely possibility if that figure of 420W for the TGP is correct.

All this may seem rather outlandish, but it’s not really a surprise. There’s been plenty of talk about major power draw for Lovelace on the grapevine for ages now, as Nvidia apparently looks to put the pedal firmly to the metal in terms of accelerating performance. And regarding the RTX 4080 specifically, we’ve previously been given the expectation of something like 350W to 450W for the TGP. We were hoping 400W would sit about right if that guestimate turns out to be correct, but 420W isn’t far off.

Of course, that doesn’t mean this won’t be a bitter PSU pill for some gamers to swallow, as far from everyone has an 800W+ unit nestling in their PC. And it’s not just about extra cost with a power supply upgrade, as it’s one of the fiddlier procedures to undertake in terms of the cabling; the whole thing’s a bit of a faff.

The TGP situation could’ve been worse by all accounts, though, because Kopite7kimi was still talking about the possibility of the RTX 4080 hitting 450W not much more than a few days ago.

Naturally, it might be the case that this speculation, or the leaker’s sources, are considerably off the mark, but at this point, that seems unlikely (and the rest of the rumor mill doesn’t disagree, broadly). Furthermore, Kopite7kimi asserts that they are 99% confident in this most recent 420W prediction, which is a pretty strong statement to make.

Another interesting point here is that if the RTX 4080 does end up at 420W, for argument’s sake, where does that leave the RTX 4090? Most recently we’ve heard that the flagship will demand 450W, which isn’t all that much more than the purported draw for the 4080 – just 30W.

That has led some to suggest that we might be looking at more like 500W for the 4090, but that’s not necessarily the case. There could be only a 30W difference between the RTX 4080 and 4090 going by Nvidia’s past form, because indeed if you look at the 3080 and 3090, the gap was exactly that – a 320W power consumption for the former, and 350W for the latter. The obvious problem now, though, is that rather than just flagship territory – which is expected to be difficult and demanding GPU terrain – we’re looking at the xx80 tier supposedly calling for what could be an 800W (or maybe even greater) PSU requirement.

Whatever the case, these RTX 4000 graphics cards don’t sound like they’re going to be an easy ride for PSUs. The nearer we get to the Lovelace launch, the more accurate these predictions should theoretically be – and if the rumor mill is right about Nvidia’s planned release timeframe, the RTX 4090 could land as soon as August, which isn’t far off now.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).