This GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card is enormous. At least, that’s what we all believed when it was released. Now that the GeForce RTX 4090 is available, the previous generation’s “BFGPU” looks positively puny. The size of high-end graphics cards has been growing for some time. The Aorus Twitter account of Gigabyte decided to poke fun at the trend with the tweet shown below.
The image at the top of the page is embedded in the tweet, which you can click to view in higher resolution. Aside from the jokes, it appears to be some sort of industrial cooler or ventilator, but the three large axial fans arranged in a row and rectangular casing give the impression of a monstrous graphics card. It appears to be being installed at or close to a power plant.
GPUs are growing in size as their power requirements increase. More power results in more heat, which necessitates more mass to dissipate the energy. The increased power consumption of graphics processors is due to diminishing returns from foundry advancements. As progress slows and dies shrinks offer less and less benefit, it becomes necessary to create ever-larger, more power-hungry GPUs to maintain a constant rate of performance growth.
The CEO of NVIDIA, Jensen Huang, used this exact argument when he declared Moore’s Law dead. Moore’s Law refers to an observation made by Intel founder Gordon Moore that the number of peak transistors roughly doubles every two years. Ironically, the GeForce RTX 4090 contains well over double, and nearly triple, the number of transistors as the GeForce RTX 3090, its predecessor by approximately two years. Nonetheless, Huang attributes the majority of Ada Lovelace’s performance boost to AI and other advancements, as opposed to process technology alone.
Aorus attributes the meme concept to /u/AngryPotato8 on Reddit, although the image has been a popular (albeit low-effort) meme post on the PC Master Race subreddit for quite some time. AMD and NVIDIA, having launched their halo products, will focus on midrange and high-end products for the foreseeable future, if you’re tired of graphics cards that cost more than a thousand dollars and consume more than 350 watts. We hope to see GPUs with impressively high efficiency in the first half of 2019.