Card Layout and Photos
If you saw any of the 3000 series Founders Edition cards the styling used on the new RTX 4090 Founders Edition is going to be familiar. Its design has an external heatsink design combined with an hourglass-like outline that splits everything up. The hourglass or infinity shape is all cast metal and has a silver finish that looks great against the blacked-out heatsinks over the rest of the card. Like with the 3000 series cards the RTX 4090 Founders Edition also has a dual fan blow-through design that is possible because of a shorter PCB design that goes from the rear PCI bracket to the end of the X shape in the middle. It also has a V shape to the end of the PCB to help leave room for the second fan. The biggest thing here though is the card itself which is similarly sized to the RTX 3090 Founders Edition which was a big departure from the standard card sizes that Nvidia has restrained itself to in the past. Make no mistake, this thing is huge and with the design being almost all heatsink and the rest of the design being all metal it is a heavy card as well.
While the cooler design from the outside isn’t different from the 3090 Founders Edition, this time around Nvidia did pack in a larger fan size which is around 115mm. You can see how the larger fan has changed the design with the infinity loop on the left, top, and bottom all having notches cut into it to fit the new fan. Beyond that, each gap in the cooler has a heatsink fit into it. The fan on this side blows against the PCB but is also the most important with it being right over top of the GPU. The heatsink layout around it is designed to push most towards the rear out of the rear PCI bracket but the rest does go into the two 45-degree heatsinks which vent to the top and bottom of the card. The right side is the blow-through portion which has a V-shaped heatsink for the fan on the rear. The overall length of the card is 336mm which is longer than our ruler. The card is 140mm tall and 60mm wide making it a full 3-slot design. A small touch that I really like is if you look closely at the infinity loop on the front you can catch the RTX 4090 branding debossed into it.
The back side of the RTX 4090 Founders Edition has similar styling to the front with the same all-metal infinity loop that goes around it. This side however has a solid backplate filling in the area where the fan was on the front and it has the RTX 4090 branding printed on it here upside down so that it is easier to read when installed in most cases. The backplate fills in the triangle-shaped areas in the middle as well then at the back we have another large fan. This is the blow-through fan that cools the cooler that sticks out past the end of the PCB which when you look through the heatsink there you can see the six heatpipes that pull heat from the GPU and memory out across the cooler. The silver infinity loop does have another hidden gem with the Nvidia logo debossed into it similarly to the 4090 name on the front.
Looking around on the edges of the RTX 4090 Founders Edition the infinity loop areas extend across the edge of the card to the other side and here the silver finish has a little bit darker of a finish that looks different depending on the lighting and the angle. This view gives a better idea of the cards 3 slot size with it being a full 60mm thick. The silver goes under the heatsink in the middle on the top and bottom with the exposed angled heatsinks. Then on the end, the has a removable plate that covers up the rear support screws. This plate looks like it would be hard to remove but it is held in place by two magnets and if you have nails can be pulled out. Of course, I scratched the end of our card up before I figured that out fitting something else in there. The end also shows how the shape of the top and bottom has a little bit of an hourglass shape which is a nice touch.
Up on the top edge of the RTX 4090 Founders Edition, the power connection is the farthest point back that the shortened PCB reaches. The power connector is similar to the 12-pin that the RTX 3090 FE had only this one has an additional four pins on the PCB side. The new plug isn’t positioned at an angle this time around which is a weird decision as far as space goes. Before with the angle, the cable wouldn’t stick directly up which combined with the height of the card is going to be tight for cases that barely fit the large card. The top also has the GeForce RTX branding at the end over top of the fan, this is backlit like last generation's higher-end cards.
For the rear I/O and the PCI bracket, the RTX 4090 shares its 3-slot design with the RTX 3090 and the 3090 Ti, beyond that no other Founders Edition or reference cards have had a 3-slot design. Nvidia has been careful to also not to block the airflow with this bracket. Rather than have a series of smaller holes the RTX 4090 Founders Edition has just four holes which take up most of the rear bracket. Below those it has a standard layout of display connection options with three DisplayPorts and one HDMI down at the bottom, the same layout that Nvidia used in all of their 3000 series cards and not having the HDMI in the middle like in the 2000 series. The bracket also has the model and serial number information etched on it as well as the certification logos that it is required to have which keeps all of that visible but also hidden away from being on the rest of the card. This and the 3090 FE models are the only Founders Edition cards that also go beyond the “standard” height of a card with the top of the card sitting 30mm above the top of the PCI bracket when normally that is less than 10mm. This isn’t unusual for any of the aftermarket cards, in fact, a lot of those cards go well above this but I am surprised Nvidia has gone this direction with OEMs in mind, especially with the power plug also on top adding more height when plugged in.
Speaking of the power plug on top, here is a look at the included adapter which takes the new compact connection and uses four traditional 8-pin plugs. This is the 12VHPWR power connection and it can support up to 600 watts. It is standard on ATX 3.0 power supplies which are coming out now. The four-way adapter works for now, but using the proper 12VHPWR cable in the future will be a lot more compact.
The RTX 4090 Founders Edition sticks with the same lighting setup as last year's cards. The Geforce RTX logo on the top edge is backlit which is the only branding that is backlit. Then the X shape in the middle of the infinity rings on both sides has just a slight amount of backlighting. I hate companies using lighting just to show off their branding and the mix here is near perfect. By default it is all lit up in white but like with last generation's cards I imagine that RGB is there for the software that has access to it like iCue.