Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 3080, 3090: is your PC compatible with the new graphics cards?

Nvidia’s new graphics cards, the RTX 3070, RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, are raising a lot of questions from PC gamers. Those most interested in particular wonder if their PCs will be able to manage these new products. Power supplies, boxes, motherboards, we take stock of compatibility issues.

Geforce RTX

Nvidia this week introduced a new generation of graphics cards for gamers: the RTX 3070, RTX 3080 and RTX 3090. The three new products are of interest to many gamers who are already thinking about renewing their PC configuration. Questions of compatibility with existing equipment arise immediately. In particular that of the power supply, since these three cards are announced with increasing consumption.

Is My PC Power Supply Sufficient For The New GeForce RTX 3000?

The first compatibility problem that can arise is that of the power supply. On its site, Nvidia indicates that it is necessary to have a power supply of at least 650 W for the RTX 3070 and 750 W for the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090. Figures that quickly made the rounds of the web, but on closer inspection, Nvidia specifies that this is an indicator given with a configuration based on the Intel Core i9-10900K processor. The consumption of this processor, estimated at 125 W by Intel, which is much higher than most processors on the market (a Ryzen 7 3700X is announced at 65 W). We are therefore in the “worst possible scenario” imagined by Nvidia to estimate the recommended power supply. This also means that a power supply below 750W can perfectly power the new cards from Nvidia, but not in all cases.

Nvidia recommends a 750 W power supply // Source: Nvidia

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  • Assess The Consumption Of Components :

To know if your power supply will withstand the shock, you must assess the consumption of your new PC by adding that of your current components with one of the new cards from Nvidia. Several sites like OuterVision offer tools to easily assess the consumption of a PC by indicating your different components.

In the absence of a tool like that, you have to assess the consumption by hand, with a necessarily less precise calculation. Here are the approximate consumption levels of the main components of a typical PC.

  1. Processor: take the value of “TDP” indicated on the product sheet of your processor (its name is indicated in the Windows system parameters, or in the task manager).
  2. Intel: from 65 to 125 W depending on the range.
  3. AMD: 65 to 105 W depending on the range.
  4. Fans: 5 W per fan.
  5. Motherboard: 50W.
  6. Storage:
    • SSD : 2 – 10 W.
    • Hard drive: 5 – 15 W.
To this must therefore be added the consumption of our new cards.
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 : 220 W.
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 : 320 W.
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 : 350 W.

As you can see, it is really the central processor and the graphics card that are the two main contributors to the consumption of a PC.

For example with a configuration based on a Ryzen 5 2600 (65 W) and with an RTX 3070, we end up with an estimated total consumption of around 460 W (65 + 220 + 5 + 50 + 10 + 10). This is still an approximate method, and we recommend using more precise tools like OuterVision above.

  • Evaluate The Power Offered By The Power Supply :

To find out if your power supply is compatible, there are first two characteristics to note, either from the label placed on the power supply, or from its characteristics indicated on the brand’s website if you know the product reference. First we want to know the maximum power offered in watts. It’s pretty straightforward, it’s usually written in large letters, and it’s also mentioned in the product name.

To go further, we can make sure that the power supply provides enough current on the + 12V rail, which is used by the processor and graphics card in particular. Here on the power supply pictured, the + 12V rail provides an intensity of 70.8A or a power of 850W (12 x 70.8 = 849.6). It is this number that can be compared more directly to the addition of the consumption of our processor and our graphics card.

  • Compare The Result :

In our examples, we therefore have a PC whose components would consume 460 W and a 600W power supply. Our PC should therefore function correctly, with a good margin.


  • What About 8 Or 12 Pin PCI-E Connectors?

Cards manufactured and marketed directly by Nvidia (Founder’s Edition) use a new 12-pin power connector. Don’t panic though, a 12 pin adapter to two 8 pin PCI-E connectors is included in the box. This new connector should therefore not pose any compatibility problems.

In addition, most cards released by other brands (Zotac, ROG, etc.) do not appear to use the new connector. They continue to use the two 8-pin connectors.

Is My Box Compatible ?

Once we have cleared the complex issue of power, we have to ask ourselves if the card will really be able to fit into the PC case. Here, it is quite simple since you have to take the dimensions of the graphics card and measure the space in its case to find out if it is compatible. The size depends on the card model you are going to choose, which may change depending on the manufacturer of the graphics card. We have gathered here the dimensions of the cards manufactured by Nvidia:

  • RTX 3070 : 242 mm x 112 mm x 2 slots.
  • RTX 3080 : 285 mm x 112 mm x 2 slots.
  • RTX 3090 : 313 mm x 138 mm x 3 slots.

The blocking point is generally the length of the card (from 242 to 313 mm in our case), especially in cases where the hard disks are placed in front of the graphics card. You must also take care to have the necessary height space, which is 2 or 3 PCI-Express slots wide. This is generally the case in cases for gaming PCs.

The GeForce RTX 3090 is particularly bulky // Source: Nvidia

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Is The MotherBoard Compatible? What IsThe Differences Between PCI Express 3.0 And PCI Express 4.0?

Is there anything else to be wary of to know if the new GeForce RTX are compatible with a computer? The new graphics cards use a 16-lane PCI Express 4.0 port, a relatively recent generation of PCI Express on computers (only AMD B550 and X570 motherboards handle it, the situation is more complex at Intel). However, the PCI Express protocol is backward compatible, and RTX 3000 cards can be used with motherboards using much more popular PCI Express 3.0 ports (since 6th Generation Intel Core processors, and AMD Ryzen processors).

PCI Express is backwards compatible // Source: Asus

Is it bad to use a new graphics card with a PCI Express 3.0 motherboard? According to Nvidia, the difference in performance will on average be in the order of just a few percentages. We’ll have to wait for further press testing to be sure, but it does seem like using an older motherboard isn’t a problem.

That being said, in the long run, this could be problematic with the use of RTX IO in games, which allows the bandwidth of NVME SSDs connected in PCI Express to be managed, through on-the-fly decompression performed by the devices. graphics cards. In any case, such a problem should not arise for several years, when game developers have fully embraced the architecture of the new consoles, and DirectStorage. What to amortize the purchase of its graphics card, and to wait before changing platform AMD or Intel.

Conclusion :

Once you have verified the compatibility of its power supply, its case and its motherboard with the new graphics cards from Nvidia, you’re done. This does not mean that the change will necessarily be appropriate, perhaps the performance in game will be limited by your processor, your storage or your RAM. We will also have to wait for press tests to verify the performance of each of these cards in many scenarios.


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