Nvidia's RTX 5090 might not be the jumbo big boi we were all expecting

 Nvidia RTX 30 series cooler.
Nvidia RTX 30 series cooler.

We expect Nvidia's next-generation flagship graphics card to be a powerful beast. In terms of pixel-pushing power, it surely will be. But aside from being fast, will it end up as the big, hot, power guzzling behemoth that we're expecting?

Perhaps not, according to reliable leakster and Kimi Raikkonen superfan Kopite7kimi. They suggest that Nvidia's hypothetically named RTX 5090 could actually end up with a dual -slot, twin-fan cooler. That would fly in the face of current thinking, when even 250-300W cards are commonly equipped with very large triple fan coolers that can take up over three slots.

Now it may be that Nvidia is able to extract a lot of performance from the Blackwell silicon without having to push 450 watts through it. That's the rated power consumption of the RTX 4090, which features a triple slot cooler.

But, if Nvidia could shrink the RTX 5090 cooler down to two slots, I can't imagine it being a 450W card. If so, that opens up new lines of speculation. Would it mean the RTX 5090 will not use the high end GB202 chip? Or if it does, are an unusually high number of shader units disabled?

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It's all speculation for now, but I would contend that the rumor of a dual slot cooler could simply be an unintentional mis-statement. Manufacturers are often generous when reporting a card's width. A dual slot card could be 2.5 or 2.7 slots in width, even though it takes up three in reality, as the extra fraction means an adjacent PCIe slot cannot be used.

We know Nvidia has tested a very large quad-slot cooler with a perpendicular mounting. It looks like the kind of cooler that could handle a ludicrous 600W TDP.

Whatever form Nvidia's cooler takes, partner cards are certain to push the envelope. There are several quad slot cards on the market already, and Asus even has a five-slot RTX 4080 complete with Noctua fans. We can expect more of the same when it comes to next generation behemoths.

From what we can gather, the launch of Nvidia's next-gen Blackwell-series graphics cards is not imminent. There are plenty of rumors, but with many months remaining, take any rumors with a grain of salt for now.

What is certain is that the RTX 5090 will be a fast card. But how fast? We look forward to finding out.