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Nvidia is releasing a slower RTX 4090 in China to comply with US restrictions

Nvidia is releasing a slower RTX 4090 in China to comply with US restrictions

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The China-specific RTX 4090D comes with fewer CUDA cores than its RTX 4090 counterpart.

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The GeForce RTX logo on the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Nvidia is launching a graphics card specifically for China to comply with US export controls. In a product page on the Chinese version of Nvidia’s website, the chipmaker introduces the RTX 4090D: a GPU that’s less powerful than the flagship RTX 4090 it sells elsewhere.

The RTX 4090D has fewer CUDA cores than its RTX 4090 counterpart, topping out at 14,592 as opposed to 16,384. It also has a slightly lower power draw at 425W instead of 450W. Although most of the other specs remain the same between the two versions of the chips, the RTX 4090D is still around “5% slower in gaming and creating,” Nvidia spokesperson Benjamin Berraondo said in an emailed statement to The Verge.

Image: Nvidia China

Nvidia launched the GPU after the US tightened export restrictions on high-end chips shipped to China. Not only do the new restrictions prevent Nvidia from selling the less-powerful H800 and A800 AI GPUs it developed for the Chinese market, but they also bar the company from selling the RTX 4090 in the country.

“The GeForce RTX 4090 D has been designed to fully comply with U.S. government export controls,” Berraondo said, adding that the company “extensively engaged with the U.S. government” when developing the chip.

Image: Nvidia China

The RTX 4090D will be available in China starting in January for ¥12,999 (~$1,836 USD). Its release may help quell the increasing demand for powerful graphics cards in China, which has reportedly led some factories in the country to dismantle and repurpose the banned RTX 4090 for AI.

Update December 29th, 1:13PM ET: Added a statement from Nvidia.