Nvidia's $40K AI GPU fails at gaming, but that’s to be expected

Image of Nvidia H100 AI GPU on white surface with emoji drop on left side
(Image credit: Geekerwan / Future)

For whatever reason, someone has decided to use Nvidia’s super expensive AI GPU to play PC games, and the results are predictably dire. While it sounds weird saying that the RTX 4060 could potentially run rings around a $40K graphics card, things are a bit clearer when you look at what the H100 is actually meant to be. Still, it’s fun to playfully roast cutting-edge tech, and new benchmarks naturally help with the dunking. 

It might not be too obvious, but despite being literally called graphics processing units, some of the best graphics cards out there aren’t built with producing visuals in mind. As such, it’s more appropriate to call expensive cards like the H100 Hopper an ‘AI-accelerator’ or ‘general purpose’ GPU, as they’re meant to live within advanced data centers rather than your gaming PC

Yet, that’s not to say you can run your Steam library using the Nvidia H100, as even though the card completely lacks HDMI and DisplayPort, Twitter user I_Leak_VN points out that YouTuber Geekerwan has managed to do so anyway. Rather than popping the card onto a PCIe slot and installing some drivers, the enthusiast had to add a fan to the card (as it doesn’t have one) and trick it into using another GPUs video output, but the end result is something that functions like a traditional graphics card.

I say traditional, but if the Nvidia H100’s benchmarks are anything to go by, it acts more like an iGPU than the likes of the GeForce RTX 4090. The card manages to “achieve” a 3DMark TimeSpy score of 2,618, which is less than the AMD Radeon 680M. Again, this is to be expected, as while the expensive part boasts 80GB HBM3 memory and 14,592 CUDA cores, it wields fewer raster operating units and lacks game-optimized drivers. 

Running gaming benchmarks using an Nvidia H100 is ridiculously silly, but you could say the experiment is somewhat educational. If you’re well versed in the realm of PC hardware, the fact you shouldn’t use a $40K graphics card to play Red Dead Redemption 2 should be obvious. However, the reasons why are perhaps less so, and Geekerwan’s venture ultimately hammers home the technological differences between a data center GPU and your faithful GeForce card whirring away in your rig. 

If you are looking for an affordable way to play all the best PC games and boost fps, you’re in luck, as graphics cards are finally getting cheaper. Even the recently released Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti price has already dropped, so you won’t even have to go hunting on the second-hand market.

Today's best graphics card deals

Looking for a far cheaper and more effective way to play PC games? Check out the best Alienware gaming PC builds for a selection of reliable rigs. Alternatively, have a gander at our best gaming laptop picks for portable options armed with mobile Nvidia GeForce GPUs.

Phil Hayton
Hardware Editor

I’ve been messing around with PCs, video game consoles, and tech since before I could speak. Don’t get me wrong, I kickstarted my relationship with technology by jamming a Hot Wheels double-decker bus into my parent’s VCR, but we all have to start somewhere. I even somehow managed to become a walking, talking buyer’s guide at my teenage supermarket job, which helped me accept my career fate. So, rather than try to realise my musician dreams, or see out my University degree, I started running my own retro pop culture site and writing about video games and tech for the likes of TechRadar, The Daily Star, and the BBC before eventually ending up with a job covering graphics card shenanigans at PCGamesN. Now, I’m your friendly neighbourhood Hardware Editor at GamesRadar, and it’s my job to make sure you can kick butt in all your favourite games using the best gaming hardware, whether you’re a sucker for handhelds like the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch or a hardcore gaming PC enthusiast.