Just a few days ago, we saw the birth of a new business in China: dismantling GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards to transform them into graphics cards focused on AI. The reason is clear – to meet the demand in a country where the United States is expanding restrictions to weaken China’s computing power.
Essentially, they are removing the massive cooling systems from gaming graphics cards and replacing them with systems more suited to professional use. As expected, these designs only occupy two PCI slots and utilize a single blower fan to expel hot air directly out of the system.
This is how a GeForce RTX 4090 designed for the AI market looks
In terms of design, as can be seen, the repurposed GeForce RTX 4090 for AI offers a very generic design. Obviously, it is meant to be a work tool, so there’s no need for fancy aesthetics or unnecessary lighting. The card is created to function within systems with decent cooling. This means operating at high temperatures but without reaching critical levels that could lead to performance loss. Considering that exporting these GPUs is already prohibited in China, obtaining one of these GPUs for AI acceleration remains crucial.
While the image shown is only one of many designs produced by different Chinese factories, this one aims to remind us that it is based on an RTX 40 Founders Edition GPU. However, the design features a smooth casing and maintains a very subtle design line. At the back, there is a short PCB designed to cool the surrounding areas of the chip, specifically where the VRM and VRAM components generate the most heat.
Regarding cooling, it is quite simple. An aluminum radiator, presumably with a vapor chamber, is accompanied by a blower fan. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the bracket, which presents large gaps for more efficient heat expulsion while leaving minimal space for maintaining video outputs.
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Although the GeForce RTX 4090’s graphics chip and GDDR6X memory have been extracted and added to other PCBs according to AI clients’ requirements, these GPUs remain functional for their original purpose. It is logical to think that in the future, when China has access to more modern and profitable technology, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of these GPUs will begin to enter the second-hand market. This will generate additional revenue for companies to invest in upgrading their hardware.
A clear example is the graphics cards displayed by I_Leak_VN, which show at least 20 boxes full of RTX 4090 GPUs for AI purposes. Considering the weight of each GPU, despite the “thinning” of the cooling system, one can estimate the quantity. We could easily be talking about more than 100 modified RTX 4090 GPUs for a single AI customer.
This post about GeForce RTX 4090 GPUs being repurposed for the AI market first appeared on El Chapuzas Informático.