NVIDIA RTX 4090 D ‘Dragon’ to Beat US Sanctions in China Reportedly Coming

nvidia geforce rtx 4090
Image Courtesy: NVIDIA
In Short
  • Nvidia stopped selling RTX 4090 in China because of US sanctions that have come into effect.
  • But now, it looks like RTX 4090 is coming back to the country in the form of a slightly nerfed 'RTX 4090 D Dragon' variant.
  • Specs are not confirmed yet, but this is expected to be a fully legal high-end GPU complying with US sanctions.

All the hardware enthusiasts and high-end PC gamers in China can breathe a heavy sigh of relief! A new report indicates that Nvidia might be looking forward to launching a slightly nerfed version of its flagship GPU RTX 4090, which was banned in China.

Why did US sanctions affect RTX 4090 availability in China? You see, the RTX 4090 is quite powerful and can be used for AI computing. Biden-led US government does not want several countries (including China) to prosper in terms of AI innovation.

So, a gaming graphics card is banned in China because it’s too powerful. Looks like Nvidia has a trick up its sleeves to solve this problem. A new report via tech media outlet WCCFTech claims that Nvidia is bringing back its flagship gaming GPU to China! As we mentioned, this new GPU is expected to be a nerfed version and fully comply with US Sanctions.

After the US sanctions, many RTX 4090 units were getting ‘rebuilt’ into dedicated AI compute graphics cards | Image Courtesy: Baidu & Chiphell Forums

It could be called Nvidia Geforce RTX 4090 D, with the D standing for ‘Dragon,’ as mentioned in the report. This label will be clearly mentioned in the new retail boxes. This will be a China-exclusive GPU and not come with any price cuts – it is expected to come at 12,999 CN¥, which is equivalent to ~$1834 in the US. By the way, RTX 4090 launched at $1599 MSRP last year, and the US market is seeing prices as high as $2000 (as an aftermath of the sanctions). The existing AIB brand partners (such as Colorful, Asus, etc.) are reportedly going to sell this new Nvidia RTX 4090 D ‘Dragon’ GPU.

The report mentions that Nvidia’s upcoming RTX 4090 D is targeting the consumer segment and not the AI space. Let’s talk about performance now. Sadly, we could be seeing lower performance on the new RTX 4090 variant for China due to the AI computing curbing. But the VRAM advantages will hopefully still hold true. The RTX 4090 boasts an impressive amount of 24GB GDDR6X video memory.

The RTX 4090 D launching for China (exclusively) basically needs to have a lower number when considering its Total Processing Performance (TPP). This is a metric that the US government is using to determine whether or not a graphics card is allowed for export to China. Hopefully, we will hear some official news on this matter soon. For now, take things with a grain of salt, as things could change.

However, hardware leaker on X (formerly Twitter), known as @MEGAsizeGPU did comment on this topic recently. He mentioned the internal GPU processor expected to be used in the new China-exclusive RTX 4090 D ‘Dragon.’ Moreover, this X user also replied to a post asking about this GPU’s specs. He said that the detailed specifications of RTX 4090 D have not been confirmed yet.

What does AD102-250 mean here? The original Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 GPU internally uses the AD102-300 chip. The RTX 4080, on the other hand, uses the AD103-300 chip. Essentially, the internal GPU chip of RTX 4090 D will be somewhat different (lower) to be under the US sanction requirements for a ‘legal GPU’ that can be exported to China.

How much of a performance hit do you think Nvidia’s China-exclusive RTX 4080 D ‘Dragon’ will receive? Doesn’t this remind you of the mining craze back when Nvidia released LHR variants to ensure gamers can actually buy a decent graphics card without miners buying them all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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