Enthusiast tech. spaces are abuzz ahead of pre-orders for NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 3080 going live on September 17th, with apparent demand already eclipsing that of the RTX 20-series two years ago. That being said, relatively little is being discussed regarding a crucial aspect that will go into the upgrade plans in the coming weeks: the PSU. Specifically, can your current model cope with the load of a 350W TGP GPU?
NVIDIA's RTX 3080 and 3090 have a listed Graphics Card Power of 320W and 350W respectively, comfortably ahead of the RTX 2080 Ti's 250W, and NVIDIA have been moved to recommend a 750W power supply for each of these SKUs. That in itself isn't too much of a concern; many prospective RTX 30-series owners will have relatively meaty PSUs with power delivery over-specced for their current use, but more than adequate for their forthcoming configuration. On paper at least.
One of NVIDIA's AIBs has however cautioned potential owners to not overestimate the capabilities of their PSUs, particularly those which have undergone heavy use over years of operation. In a streamed event showcasing new and upcoming products ASUS outline the following concerns regarding the RTX 30-series:
ASUS METABUFFS Stream, quote at 23:51
"As a result of the increased power demands users may need to re-evaluate the power rating of their PSUs. And even if they have a high power PSU, if it has been run hard for a number of years its voltage regulation may no longer be adequate to cope with the fast load changes. In such instances the system may crash when under load[.]"
PSU components experience wear over time, with capacitors in particular losing their efficacy. They should still serve their primary function - voltage regulation in this case - and the various protections quality PSUs have in place should still be tripped so that damage to the system doesn't occur, but overall system stability could suffer when the PSU is pushed closer to an ever-narrowing limit.
Such is the level of ASUS's concern that they've integrated an onboard circuit and indicator LED that monitors the PSU rail voltage, catching transients that result in the voltage dropping too low for operational conditions. In that eventuality the LEDs will illuminate to show that the PSU is unable to cope. This feature will be exclusive to their STRIX enthusiast-class models at launch.
If you're looking to invest in an RTX 3080 or RTX 3090 you should already be investigating a PSU upgrade if required. Power supplies over 700W aren't plentiful in many regions, particularly models with modular cabling from top-tier manufacturers, and the prices have been creeping up of late; it could easily add $100/£100 to the total of your upgrade.
Finally, when your new GPU arrives, consider not immediately returning it should you discover the sorts of issues discussed. Troubleshoot the issue instead with a particular eye towards if your PSU might be a weak link, especially if it's .
SOURCES: ASUS ROG Metabuffs Stream, GeForce RTX 30-series official page