The ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3090 Trinity looks identical to the RTX 3080 Trinity we reviewed last week. It features a more traditional-looking card with a triple-slot, triple-fan setup of three 90 mm fans blowing air onto a pair of aluminium fin-stack heatsinks skewered by copper heatpipes that pull heat from the GPU through a vapor-chamber plate.
Dimensions of the card are 32 x 12 cm.
Installation requires three slots in your system.
Display connectivity options include three standard DisplayPort 1.4a and one HDMI 2.1. Interestingly, the USB-C port for VR headsets, which NVIDIA introduced on Turing Founders Editions, has been removed—guess it didn't take off as planned. The DisplayPort 1.4a outputs support Display Stream Compression (DSC) 1.2a, which lets you connect 4K displays at 120 Hz and 8K displays at 60 Hz. Ampere can drive two 8K displays at 60 Hz with just one cable per display.
Ampere is the first GPU to support HDMI 2.1, which increases bandwidth to 48 Gbps to support higher resolutions, like 4K144 and 8K30, with a single cable. With DSC, this goes up to 4K240 and 8K120. NVIDIA's new NVENC/NVDEC video engine is optimized to handle video tasks with minimal CPU load. The highlight here is added support for AV1 decode. Just like on Turing, you may also decode MPEG-2, VC1, VP8, VP9, H.264, and H.265 natively, at up to 8K@12-bit.
The encoder is identical to Turing. It supports H.264, H.265, and lossless at up to 8K@10-bit.
The card takes in two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. This setup is rated for 375 W.
The GeForce RTX 3090 supports SLI and features a newer-generation NVLink bridge interface, which means you can't use your NVLink bridge from your Turing cards. Be warned that with Ampere, NVIDIA isn't supporting SLI as in implicit multi-GPU (SLI as you know it), but explicit multi-GPU developed and supported by game developers. With multi-GPU game support being pretty much non-existent, this basically means SLI is dead. Perhaps creative and 3D modeling applications that support explicit multi-GPU can benefit from SLI.
Disassembling the ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3090 Trinity is fairly straightforward. The cooler features seven heatpipes and three 90 mm fans.
Once the main heatsink is removed, a metal frame that provides rigidity for the card becomes visible. It also helps cool the VRM circuitry.
The backplate protects the card against damage during installation and handling. Punched-in holes towards the end have airflow from the third fan go right though. Since the RTX 3090 has memory chips on both sides of the PCB, the backplate plays an important role in cooling.