EK is explaining that the Founders Edition of the launch RTX 30 series cards are the first graphics cards from NVIDIA to distinctly separate the term Founders Edition and reference.
In previous releases, NVIDIA’s Founders Edition cards are also based on their reference PCB, something which is usually found across most reference cards from their partners. That changes with the RTX 30 series.
The flow-through design and reduced footprint of the PCB is custom to NVIDIA as well as their 12-pin MicroFit power connector. Reference and AIC RTX 3090, RTX 3080 and RTX 3070 cards can use the 12-pin connector but will be available mostly in the standard 8-pin connectors.
With that said, a standard reference PCB design is still present and will be available throughout vendors.