ASUS China recently tested and released the RTX 4060 Ti GPU, a highly innovative graphics card of the year. This GPU features an M.2 slot, serving not only for storage but also for expanding system capability through external GPU support, as demonstrated in the latest video.
The recently introduced ASUS RTX 4060 Ti DUAL SSD boasts a redesigned PCB and cooler, tailored to house a full-sized M.2 2280 storage. It can seamlessly support PCIe Gen4 devices through this interface, efficiently handling power and thermal considerations, especially in the context of SSDs.
The RTX 4060 DUAL series utilizes all 16 PCIe lanes of the motherboard slot, with only 8 electrically connected to the GPU. This implies that the remaining lanes are dormant, solely functioning as physical GPU support. However, in the DUAL SSD variant, not all lanes go to waste, as four of them are linked to a built-in M.2 slot.
Tony Yu, the Product Manager for ASUS China, consistently presents intriguing content in his videos—whether confirming leaks or showcasing unique setups. In his latest video, he paired the RTX 4060 Ti with RTX 4090 GPUs, utilizing just one PCIe slot on the motherboard. The connection between RTX 4090 and RTX 4060 Ti is established through an M.2 to PCIe Gen4x4 adapter, effectively transforming the RTX 4090 into an external and secondary GPU.
Regrettably, both cards are constrained by PCIe Gen4 specifications and its associated bandwidth limitations. This implies that out of the 16 available lanes, only 8 can be utilized by RTX 4060 Ti, and merely four by RTX 4090 (due to it being in an M.2 slot). This restricted bandwidth is not sufficient to fully unleash the performance potential of RTX 4090.
The question is why someone would attempt to combine both graphics cards in this manner. We struggle to envision any scenario that would rationalize such an installation, given its lack of sense and impracticality. Nevertheless, this showcases that the M.2 slot provides comprehensive support not only for storage but also for high-performance graphics, exemplified by the inclusion of the RTX 4090 in this instance.
Before its launch, ASUS made several modifications to the PCB of the RTX 4060 Ti DUAL SSD graphics card. The design overhaul involved relocating the M.2 slot closer to the card’s interface, ensuring the shortest signal path and minimizing errors during the connection of supported hardware. It’s crucial to consider the quality of the riser in this implementation, as it can impact GPU performance.
An additional noteworthy aspect is that the M.2 slot is compatible with PCIe Gen5 specifications, provided the device on the other end supports this technology. This capability was exemplified by the Crucial MP700 SSD, which achieved a speed exceeding 12.4 GB/s through this implementation.
Nevertheless, there is a restriction specific to this graphics card. The M.2 slot is compatible only with Intel Z790, Z690, and H770 motherboards, as B-series motherboards do not support PCIe lane splitting. Notably, this limitation doesn’t extend to the AMD platform, where lane splitting is supported across the stack. Tony points out that any X670, B650, A620, or B450 will fully support this GPU.
The RTX 4090 eGPU configuration was demonstrated as functional, yet specific performance metrics were not disclosed, apart from Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay at approximately 150FPS with undisclosed settings. Nevertheless, the essential point was established – it works, showcasing another triumph for the underlying technology.