Worried about Nvidia RTX 4090 melting cables? Leaked RDNA 3 flagship pics could prove a tonic

A prototype AMD graphics card has been spotted – purportedly a Navi 31 model, presumably the RX 7900 (we’ll come back to that point) – and it shows that the GPU will run with a pair of 8-pin power connectors.

The image was aired on Twitter by hardware leaker HXL, who’s a regular contributor to GPU spillage, and supposedly it comes from a QQ chat group (over in China). So, hefty seasoning is required here, but that said, the pic does appear to be genuine (if faked, it’s a good effort with some attention to detail).

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The graphics card is obviously an engineering (pre-release) sample as it sports a red board design (the finished product won’t), as well as voltage contact points (for engineers to use for debugging and so forth) as VideoCardz, which spotted the tweet, points out.

As you can see, it’s a triple fan card, slightly bigger than its Navi 21 predecessor, and with red stripes on the heat-sink as seen on AMD teasers for its next-gen GPUs in recent times.

Analysis: This is good to see, but triple 8-pin could still happen

We already knew AMD wasn’t going the same route as Nvidia’s RTX 4090 in terms of using the 16-pin power connector (and therefore 12VHPWR power adapter for use with traditional ATX 2.0 power supplies) with the RDNA 3 flagship, as the company has recently confirmed that.

The reason that announcement was greeted with a sigh of relief was twofold: due to the cable melting incidents we’ve seen with the 4090, and also because it indicates power needs won’t be as great as Nvidia’s (in case you were in any doubt of that).

So, it’s great to see a Navi 31 graphics card with just a pair of 8-pin connectors required for power. Especially as recently, we’d been chewing over speculation of whether this might be the case, or whether we could see 3 x 8-pin connectors for the RDNA 3 flagship. That said, there’s another rumor that there might be a turbocharged version of AMD’s next-gen flagship, an XTX variant, which confuses things slightly – and that could have a trio of power connectors as mentioned.

To break this down a bit, 2 x 8-pin connectors equates to a 350W graphics card most likely, or thereabouts (each connector supplies 150W, which makes 300W, plus 75W fed via the PCIe slot for a maximum of 375W). Based on churnings from the rumor mill, the 7900 XT – rumored to be one of the first graphics cards to arrive for AMD’s RDNA 3 range for ages now – is set to be a 350W card, hence the reasonable conclusion that this is what we’re looking at here.

If there is a more powerful RX 7900 XTX spin, that could demand considerably more wattage (400W to 450W perhaps) and would therefore need the 3 x 8-pin connectors to supply enough juice, so we could still see such a board alongside the vanilla 7900 XT.

In all honesty, though, we’re not convinced about that XTX speculation, and it seems more likely that such a GPU, whether it’s a 7900 XTX or a 7950 XT, would come further down the line with its triple 8-pin power setup. However, this is clearly all guesswork at this point.

What we do know is that we’re about to find out what AMD has up its sleeve for the initial release of RDNA 3 at a big event later this week (November 3). But these images showing a 2 x 8-pin Navi 31 board – assuming no fakery – are a good sign in terms of pointing to that power setup being employed rather than a trio of 8-pin connectors. (Although as we just discussed above, that configuration could still show up in a more powerful Navi 31 model).

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