NVIDIA’s AD102 GPU Pops Up in MSI GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super Cards

As GPU families enter the later part of their lifecycles, we often see chip manufacturers start to offload stockpiles of salvaged chips that, for one reason or another, didn’t make the grade for the tier of cards they normally are used in. These recovered chips are fairly unremarkable overall, but they are unsold silicon that still works and has economic value, leading to them being used in lower-tier cards so that they can be sold. And, judging by the appearance of a new video card design from MSI, it looks like NVIDIA’s Ada Lovelace generation of chips has reached that stage, as the Taiwanese video card maker has put out a new GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super card based on a salvaged AD102 GPU.

Typically based on NVIDIA’s AD103 GPU, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super series sits a step below the company’s flagship RTX 4080/4090 cards, both of which are based on the bigger and badder AD102 chip. But with some number of AD102 chips inevitably failing to live up to RTX 4080 specifications, rather than being thrown out, these chips can instead be used to make RTX 4070 cards. Which is exactly what MSI has done with their new GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super Ventus 3X Black OC graphics card.

The card itself is relatively unremarkable – using a binned AD102 chip doesn’t come with any advantages, and it should perform just like regular AD103 cards – and for that reason, video card vendors rarely publicly note when they’re doing a run of cards with a binned-down version of a bigger chip. However, these larger chips have a tell-tale PCB footprint that usually makes it obvious what’s going on. Which, as first noticed by @wxnod, is exactly what’s going on with MSI’s card.

Ada Lovelace Lineup: MSI GeForce RTX 4070 TiS (AD103), RTX 4070 TiS (AD102), & RTX 4090 (AD102)

The tell, in this case, is the rear board shot provided by MSI. The larger AD102 GPU uses an equally larger mounting bracket, and is paired with a slightly more complex array of filtering capacitors on the back side of the board PCB. Ultimately, since these are visible in MSI’s photos of their GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super Ventus 3X Black OC, it’s easy to compare it to other video cards and see that it has exactly the same capacitor layout as MSI’s GeForce RTX 4090, thus confirming the use of an AD102 GPU.

Chip curiosities aside, all of NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super graphics cards – no matter whether they are based on the AD102 or AD103 GPU – come with a GPU with 8,448 active CUDA cores and 16 GB of GDDR6X memory, so it doesn’t (typically) matter which chip they carry. Otherwise, compared to a fully-enabled AD102 chip, the RTX 4070 Ti Super specifications are relatively modest, with fewer than half as many CUDA cores, underscoring how the AD102 chip being used in MSI’s card is a pretty heavy salvage bin.

As for the rest of the card, MSI GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super Ventus 3X Black OC is a relatively hefty card overall, with a cooling system to match. Being overclocked, the Ventus also has a slightly higher TDP than normal GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super cards, weighing in at 295 Watts, or 10 Watts above baseline cards.

Meanwhile, MSI is apparently not the only video card manufacturer using salvaged AD102 chips for GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super, either. @wxnod has also posted a screenshot obtained on an Inno3D GeForce RTX 4070 Ti Super based on an AD102 GPU.

Sources: MSI, @wxnod