Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU is already on sale – but you can’t buy one

Gigabyte RTX 4090 Gaming OC Graphics Card shown front-on
(Image credit: Gigabyte)

Nvidia’s RTX 4090 doesn’t hit the shelves until October 12, which is still a couple of weeks away, and yet it seems that at least one person has been able to buy the GPU early.

As VideoCardz reports, over in Hong Kong a retailer is selling the Gigabyte RTX 4090, with evidence provided at LikHK (an online forum in Hong Kong, which is essentially like Reddit). This includes photos, and plenty of them, showing the Gigabyte Gaming OC 4090 graphics card in question.

Obviously, stay skeptical around any leak like this, but we already know there are flagship GPUs being sent to reviewers - who obviously need to get the cards in good time to prepare their evaluations for publishing at launch.

However, even if you could get hold of an RTX 4090 – if you’re in Hong Kong, and could find the retailer that jumped the gun – it’s a pointless purchase right now, because without the new graphics driver that supports next-gen Lovelace, the product simply won’t work.

Although you could get a head-start when it comes to looking at how this chunky GPU will fit in your PC case, maybe?

Chatter from the rumor mill points to the Gigabyte card being sold for 20,000 Hong Kong dollars or thereabouts, which translates to about $2,500 in US currency (or £2,300, AU$3,800); way over the official MSRP, of course (in excess of 50% more in fact).

Still, what a person is willing to fork out to get a pre-release card obviously holds no real meaning, and besides, third-party models have their own recommended pricing (though the Gaming OC variant is historically not one of the costlier Gigabyte brands).

Analysis: A hopeful hint for the other Lovelace GPUs, then?

What does hold some meaning, perhaps, is the fact that RTX 4090 third-party graphics cards have already shipped to retailers a good while before that official launch date. And with any luck, that means we can expect a decent amount of stock right from the off.

There are caveats here, naturally, and with its price tag being so high, the RTX 4090 GPU will be a niche proposition, so Nvidia will hardly be churning them out by the bucketload. Also, Team Green won’t feel selling out is a bad thing either – it makes the cards look popular, and indeed if they don’t sell out, it could be regarded as a negative for the perception of the Lovelace flagship’s launch.

Even so, this is still a hint that Team Green is well prepared for the initial launch, and that bodes well for RTX 4080 stock, the slightly more affordable high-end GPUs (there are two of them, including a 12GB model that hides a dirty little secret). Those products will follow the RTX 4090 and go on sale in November.

As for the really key GPUs, which let’s face it, will be the RTX 4070 and 4060 – they’ll have much more palatable price tags – there’s probably plenty of time before they launch yet, so Nvidia should hopefully be able to build up considerable inventory. It’s very likely that we won’t see either of those mainstream graphics cards until 2023, and we’re guessing at a January reveal for one of them, or maybe even both.

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).