Nvidia kills off NVLink on RTX 4090

Redux tubes for AIO water cooler.
(Image credit: Chuong Nguyen)

What you need to know

  • NVLink is no longer supported on the Ada Lovelace GPU architecture that powers Nvidia's flagship RTX 4090 graphics.
  • Replacing NVLink is the PCIe Gen 5 standard.
  • Nvidia will use the freed up space from the removal of NVLink to cram in more AI processing capabilities.

Addressing reporters following the launch of the flagship GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang confirmed that the company is doing away with its NVLink bridge. Replacing NVLink is PCIe Gen 5, which Huang and Nvidia claimed will be sufficiently fast to connect multiple GPUs together, and in the place of the NVLink connector is freed up space to handle more AI computing.

"The reason why we took [NVLink] out was because we needed the we needed the I/Os for something else, and so, so we use the I/O area to cram in as much as much AI processing as we could," Huang confirmed and explained of NVLink's absence. 

For gamers, creators, and workstation users who want a multi-GPU setup with the latest RTX 4000 series, Nvidia is switching from NVLink as a bridge to the PCIe Gen 5 standard.

"Because Ada [Lovelace] is based on PCIe Gen 5, we now have the ability to do peer-to-peer cross Gen 5 that's sufficiently fast, and that's a better trade off," Huang added. 

Compared to PCIe Gen 4, PCIe Gen 5 doubles the bandwidth with additional direct access lanes to the CPU. The standard has the potential to deliver huge speed benefits to storage, GPUs, and memory. 

Given the high price tag of the RTX 4090 at launch, and the generational performance jump that the new GPU delivers, Huang also declared Moore's Law dead. Price increases across the supply chain along with the huge generational performance improvements make it impossible to deliver the same performance at half the price or double the performance at the same price as the prior generation RTX 3000 series, Huang said. 

Chuong Nguyen

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails.