The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is unarguably the best graphics card ever made for the consumer market, but at $1,600 and so powerful that the rest of your PC might not be able to keep up, this really is for those who have a high-end rig to put it in. If that’s you, though, this graphics card has no equal.
Best in class performance
Not as expensive as the RTX 3090 Ti
DLSS 3 with Frame Generation is incredible
Still wildly expensive compared to other GPUs
12VHPWR power connection
CPU might throttle real-world performance
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The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is unquestionably the most powerful GPU that a PC gamer can buy, offering an incredible gen-on-gen performance improvement over the RTX 3090 and even putting the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti to shame.
There’s even a case to be made that the Founders Edition’s $1,599 / £1,599 MSRP offers a compelling value as the card’s performance-to-price ratio is much better than the RTX 3090 or RTX 3090 Ti. And unlike those cards, the RTX 4090 stacks up very well against other next-gen cards it’s competing against, though it still loses out to the likes of the RTX 4070 Ti and the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX.
Still, for raw performance, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 has no equal. But just like trying to put a race car engine into a Fiat hatchback, the best graphics card on the market might just be too powerful for a lot of gamers to really take advantage of.
The Nvidia RTX 4090 Founders Edition will look very familiar to anyone who has been staring at and refreshing Nvidia’s shop page in the last couple of years hoping to buy a new GPU.
Featuring the same silver-trim-and-black-heat-sink design of its predecessor, it still sports two fans, one on the front and one on the back, and it is noticeably bigger than the RTX 3090. It’s a chonky boi, for sure, and it’s the first graphics card I’ve tested that absolutely must have a GPU support bracket of some kind to secure it inside your case. Fortunately, there are screw holes along the back of the card where a bracket can be installed, which is really the only other visible difference between the RTX 3090 and RTX 4090.
GamesRadar Test System
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D
CPU Cooler: Corsair iCue H150i Elite Capellix 360mm AIO
RAM: Corsair Vengeance LED DDR4-3200
Motherboard: Gigabyte Aorus Master X570
SSD: Samsung 980 Pro 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Corsair AX1000
Case: Praxis Wetbench
Nvidia goes with a 12VHPWR power connector rather than the standard 8-pin ATX 2.0 connectors used by many other graphics cards, and you may have heard some concerns about these cables shorting out and melting. The official explanation is essentially user error - namely that users did not properly secure the power connector to the card before using it - and given that we haven’t seen many other reports of additional problems in the months since the initial controversy, it looks like the concerns over the 16-pin connector have been largely put to rest.
That doesn’t mean that the four-to-one 16-pin adapter that comes with the card isn’t a nightmare when it comes to cable management. If you have an ATX 3.0 power supply with a single 16-pin cable, things will be much easier, but this also starts stacking on additional expense on top of the RTX 4090’s luxury pricing.
The RTX 4090 is Nvidia’s first card using the new Lovelace GPU architecture, which implements fourth-gen tensor cores and third-gen ray tracing cores to incredible effect.
Whereas the RTX 3090 Ti’s GA102 GPU was fabbed on Samsung’s 8nm process node, the RTX 4090’s AD102 was produced on TSMC’s 4nm node, so it is both much faster as well as being much more energy efficient. Both cards have a TDP of 450W, so the amount of performance Nvidia is able to squeeze out of the same amount of power draw is remarkable.
As far as speed goes, the RTX 4090 has a base clock of 2,235 MHz, and a boost clock of 2,520 Mhz, compared to the RTX 3090 Ti’s 1,560 MHz base clock and 1,860 boost. Add to this a 52.38% increase in CUDA cores over the RTX 3090 Ti (16,384 to 10,752), and the incredible performance gains made by the RTX 4090 aren’t as surprising as they appear.
The RTX 4090 also has 24GB GDDR6X VRAM running at 1,313 MHz with a memory bandwidth of 1,008 GB/s and an effective memory speed of 21 Gbps, which is identical to the RTX 3090 Ti. Still, the size and speed of the available memory make this one of the few cards that could truly handle 8K gaming at this point. Unfortunately, it is limited to 60Hz at 8K due to it only having DisplayPort 1.4a output, as opposed to the AMD RX 7900 XTX, which uses DisplayPort 2.1, which maxes out at 165Hz for 8K.
What the RX 7900 XTX doesn’t have though is Nvidia DLSS 3 with full frame generation, which is a huge improvement over DLSS 2.0. It hasn’t been implemented in a whole lot of games yet, but in the limited number of games like Cyberpunk 2077 where I’ve been able to test it fully, frame generation can give you a roughly 2x increase in frames per second over DLSS 2.0, which was already incredible tech, to begin with.
On its gaming merits, the Nvidia RTX 4090 runs circles around the competition. It is the only graphics card on the market that can run the best PC games in native 4K resolution with ray tracing with no upscaling and get something approaching a decent frame rate. And DLSS 3 technology takes this even further, at least in those games where the tech is implemented.
And while the MSRP for the Founders Edition card I reviewed is $1,599 / £1,599, this card actually offers a very compelling performance-to-price ratio, offering many more frames per second for every dollar/pound spent than its predecessor.
RTX 4090 benchmarks
Fire Strike Extreme (1440p): 36,594
Fire Strike Ultra (2160p): 23,975
Time Spy (1440p): 27,207
Time Spy Extreme (4K): 13,982
Port Royal: 25,490
No matter what game we threw at the RTX 4090, it managed to score between 25 to 50 frames per second more than either the RTX 4080 or RX 7900 XTX, and this gap only widens when it comes to ray tracing performance. In fact, the RTX 4090 is the only graphics card that can run Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with every setting maxed out with ray tracing set to Psycho and get above 30 fps without using DLSS.
Overall, I tested the RTX 4090 across several in-game benchmarks, including Cyberpunk 2077, Hitman 3, and Guardians of the Galaxy, and found that, on average, it put out about 120 fps at 4K with the highest settings without DLSS. This puts it about 16% faster than the RTX 4080 (103 fps), about 52% faster than the RTX 3090 Ti (79 fps), and about 62% faster than the RTX 4070 Ti (74 fps). It is also about 33% faster than the best AMD graphics card, the RX 7900 XTX (90 fps).
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 game benchmarks
2160p Ultra (Psycho ray tracing) DLSS on: 48/105 fps (Min/Avg)
2160p Ultra (Psycho ray tracing) DLSS off: 30/39 fps (Min/Avg)
1440p Ultra (Psycho ray tracing) DLSS on: 48/105 fps (Min/Avg)
1440p Ultra (Psycho ray tracing) DLSS off: 44/75 fps (Min/Avg)
Hitman 3 (Dubai):
2160p Ultra (Extreme ray tracing) DLSS on: 91/146 fps (Min/Avg)
2160p Ultra (Extreme ray tracing) DLSS off: 41/65 fps (Min/Avg)
1440p Ultra (Extreme ray tracing) DLSS on: 101/149 fps (Min/Avg)
1440p Ultra (Extreme ray tracing) DLSS off: 93/116 fps (Min/Avg)
Guardians of the Galaxy:
2160p Ultra (ray tracing) DLSS on: 83/152 fps (Min/Avg)
2160p Ultra (ray tracing) DLSS off: 74/98 fps (Min/Avg)
1440p Ultra (ray tracing) DLSS on: 84/154 fps (Min/Avg)
1440p Ultra (ray tracing) DLSS off: 77/154 fps (Min/Avg)
All games tested at their highest possible settings; DLSS set to 'Performance' mode unless otherwise stated.
In short, the RTX 4090 is the best graphics card for gaming you can buy. Unfortunately, it is literally so powerful that on a number of games the GPU was far outpacing what the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D in my test bench was capable of, so the performance on less GPU-intensive games - one of the best CPUs for gaming - like Tiny Tina’s Wonderland was effectively CPU-locked, with even Guardians of the Galaxy with full ray-tracing on ultra settings running into a rather hard ceiling regardless of resolution.
This is a problem with any graphics card (at least theoretically), but it’s a problem that a lot of gamers who might not have the best processor in their rig are going to encounter a lot more often with the RTX 4090. This presents a real problem if you’re looking to upgrade an older GPU but have a Ryzen 3000-series or ninth-gen Intel chip, and it might make more sense, in that case, to go for a less powerful Lovelace or RDNA 3 graphics card like the Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti or the AMD RX 7900 XT than go all in on the RTX 4090.
It should also go without saying that the RTX 4090 is meant to power the most graphically demanding content, and that if we’re being honest, this is only a gaming graphics card by virtue of the very tight overlap between gaming and 3D content creation that this card is actually designed for.
This is Pixar or James Cameron’s graphics card more than it is for even the most fanatical 1% of gamers out there, so unless you absolutely must have the fastest frame rates possible in Cyberpunk 2077, you are probably better off looking a bit lower down the GPU stack for your gaming PC, especially if you spend the vast majority of your time playing less demanding indie games or esports titles.
Should you buy the Nvidia RTX 4090?
All that said, if you want the very best and you’re willing to splurge on a whole new setup with the latest processors, DDR5 RAM, and all the rest, then the Nvidia RTX 4090 is absolutely worth the premium investment and will likely be chewing through the most advanced PC games for the rest of the decade without breaking a sweat.
How we tested the Nvidia RTX 4090
To get the best measure of the Nvidia RTX 4090’s performance in both raw and real-world terms, I put the RTX 4090 through an extensive regimen of benchmark tests and actual gameplay. This includes synthetic tests like 3DMark and Blender’s benchmarking tool, as well as several in-game benchmarks for Cyberpunk 2077, Hitman 3, and Guardians of the Galaxy with the highest settings possible. I tested both 1440p and 4K gaming performance, with and without DLSS upscaling, and compared it to similar results from the last-generation flagship RTX 3090 Ti, as well as the current-gen Nvidia and AMD cards to see how well the RTX 4090 stacked up against rivals cards.
You can find out more about how we test graphics cards in our full GamesRadar Hardware Policy.
If you're looking for other top components with which to upgrade your rig this year, then check out our rundowns of the best RAM for gaming and best SSD for gaming that money can buy right now.
The RTX 4090 delivers on the technological and performance fronts, easily besting previous generation offerings. With major enhancements to all the core hardware and significantly higher clock speeds, plus forward looking tech like DLSS 3, the new bar has been set very high — with an equally high price tag.How much faster is the RTX 4090? ›
At 4K with all settings at Ultra, the RTX 4080 can almost hit 60 FPS average, but not quite. That gives it a 10-20% advantage over last-generation standouts like the RTX 3090 and 3080 Ti, making for a noticeable, if not revolutionary upgrade. The RTX 4090 is that much faster again, hitting close to 80 FPS on average.Is there a better graphics card than RTX 3090? ›
The RTX 4090 is, without doubt, the fastest graphics card ever made, and considering its big uplift in performance, it's actually more cost-effective on a dollar-per-frame basis than the RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti, despite being significantly more expensive.Which is better for gaming RTX 3080 or RTX 3090? ›
Compared to the slower RTX 3080, the 3090 offers 10 - 20% higher gaming performance, but only above 4k. Still it has not enough power for 8k gaming at maximum detail settings. The RTX3090 is rated at 350 Watt but the power efficiency is still quite good.Is a 4090 overkill for gaming? ›
Nvidia's RTX 4090 is currently the worlds fastest gaming GPU. This card is definitely overkill, but it won't leave you disappointed. In terms of hardware, the 4090 is sporting the most RT and CUDA cores we've ever seen, with 191 and 16384 respectively.Is 4090 overpriced? ›
Nvidia's RTX 4090 is intensely powerful, but at the first glance, it's hard not to call it overpriced. Spending upwards of $1,600 on a graphics card is a lot, especially if you consider that you can build an entire gaming PC for the same amount of money.Is the RTX 4090 good for gaming? ›
The RTX 4090 is a beast of a gaming card. It is designed around high performance and delivers it in spades. Like the Founders Edition, the Gaming OC features 16,384 CUDA cores, the main drivers of non-ray traced performance, and 24GB of ultra-fast GDDR6X video memory.Should i buy the 4080 or 4090? ›
RTX 4090 vs RTX 4080 Performance Difference
At 1080p resolution, the RTX 4090 is only around 7% faster than the RTX 4080. There's really no point in getting either. Upgrade your monitor if you are planning on getting one of NVIDIA's latest GPUs. Moving up to 1440p, the RTX 4090 is around 13% to 15% faster.
RTX 4090 vs RTX 3080: specs comparison
As you may have sussed out, the RTX 4090 is substantially more powerful than the RTX 3080, especially when it comes to 4K performance, but more on that later. This is due to roughly double the amount of CUDA cores combined with a larger die, and over double the available memory.
The RTX 4090 is both a complete waste of money and the most powerful graphics card ever made. Admittedly, that makes it a difficult product to evaluate, especially considering how much the average PC gamer is looking to spend on an upgrade for their system.
At 4K the RTX 4090 edged a bigger lead, but the RTX 4080 was still significantly faster than other cards, with a 21 percent lead over the RTX 3090 Ti's minimum 99th percentile.Is 4090 better than 3090 Ti? ›
When fps are not CPU bottlenecked at all, such as during GPU benchmarks, the 4090 is around 75% faster than the 3090 and 60% faster than the 3090-Ti, these figures are approximate upper bounds for in-game fps improvements.What is the current best GPU? ›
If you're looking for the best GPU, we recommend the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX. It's not the fastest GPU, but it's also not the most expensive. Then there's the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090, which is the most powerful GPU around. You'll also be paying an arm and leg for the luxury.Will 4080 be better than 3080? ›
Both share the same TDP of 320 watts, demonstrating how impressive the RTX 4080 is when considering it is often double or more the performance metrics versus the RTX 3080.How much will the RTX 4080 cost? ›
At the recommended list price, the RTX 4080 costs a whopping $1,199 for the Founders Edition card, and some of Nvidia's partners bump that price up by as much as a few hundred dollars.Is 4090 worth it for 4K gaming? ›
If the performance gains at 1440P with the RTX 4090 are getting close to 50 percent at times, they've even bigger at 4K. Out of the games I've been testing, the RTX 4090 delivers around a 70 percent jump in performance at 4K over the RTX 3090. It's truly a beast of a card for 4K gaming.
The NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 4090 lets you play, capture, and watch in 8K HDR. That's 4X as many pixels as 4K, and 16X as many pixels as 1080p, for incredible levels of detail. Add the stunning contrast of HDR, and you have a whole new level of gaming brilliance.Is RTX 4090 future proof? ›
The new Nvidia RTX 4090 looks to be absurdly powerful. It's a hot and power-hungry card too, and even without third-party benchmarks to confirm it, it's already clear that the RTX 4090 is leaps and bounds ahead of even the best cards from the previous generation.Is RTX 4090 good for 4K? ›
Testing by Quasarzone shows that the RTX 4090 loses almost no performance with its peak power budget cut to 300W. The GPU is 98% as fast at 4K on average across five games, with the graphics settings maxed out. With the power limit reduced to 60%, the GeForce RTX 4090 is 94% as fast at 4K across the same five titles.What power supply do I need for RTX 4090? ›
With that in mind, Nvidia recommends at least an 850W power supply to run an RTX 4090.
It's powered by the NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture and comes with 24 GB of G6X memory to deliver the ultimate experience for gamers and creators.What games to play with 4090? ›
- Cyberpunk 2077. Trailer. 78 % 3/5. ...
- Microsoft Flight Simulator. Trailer. 91 % E. ...
- Control. Trailer. 83 % M. ...
- Red Dead Redemption 2. Trailer. 93 % M. ...
- Marvel's Spider-Man. Trailer. 88 % T. ...
- F1 22. Trailer. E.
Even without DLSS, the RTX 4090 almost manages to deliver native 4K ultra ray tracing performance of 60 fps or more. Certainly the performance is playable, at 40 fps or higher in all of the games. DLSS 2 Quality upscaling pushes that to 100 fps on average, and all of the DXR tests are now well above 60 fps.How much will the 4090 series cost? ›
The Nvidia RTX 4090 price is $1,599 USD / £1,679.00 GBP, making the Lovelace flagship more expensive than its Ampere predecessor.Are 4090 sold out? ›
The Nvidia RTX 4090 is largely out of stock, but Nvidia says its graphics card situation will return to normal in early 2023. In spite of its lofty price tag, the green team reveals that the high-end Ada GPU sold out within the first two weeks, unlike its less popular Lovelace sibling.Is 4090 the best GPU? ›
Starting off this roundup is the RTX 4090 Founders Edition as the best overall card. Interestingly, Nvidia have had issues with thermal design when looking at their Founders Edition cards, but the new RTX 4000 series are very solid when it comes to thermals.Is the 4080 16gb worth it? ›
“The Nvidia RTX 4080 has plenty of performance, but for the price, it falls too far below the RTX 4090.” Nvidia's RTX 4080 isn't a showstopper. In terms of raw performance, it's still one of the best graphics cards you can buy, only taking a back seat to the behemoth RTX 4090 in performance.How much faster will the 4090 be than the 3090 in ray tracing? ›
NVIDIA RTX 4090/4090 Ti Reportedly 2.2x Faster than the RTX 3090/3090 Ti in Ray-Traced Games: Nets Over 160 FPS in Control. NVIDIA's RTX 4090 will reportedly be over twice as fast as the RTX 3090 in gaming workloads.Should I upgrade from RTX 3080 to RTX 4090? ›
It has 1.7x more transistors than the RTX 3080 Ti, 6144 more CUDA cores, and up to 875 MHz higher clock speeds. Consequently, the RTX 4090 is miles ahead of the RTX 3080 Ti in gaming performance. On average, the RTX 4090 ran all 12 games with about 56.4% more FPS.How much more powerful is a 3080 than a ps5? ›
Performance. Taking a look at raw performance, the GeForce RTX 3080 makes it the uncontested champion, with nearly three times the computational power of its next closest rival. Nvidia claimed that the RTX 3080 is capable of 29.7 TFLOPs, compared to the 12 TFLOPs on the Xbox Series X and 10.2 PlayStation 5.
Both the RTX 3090 Ti and RTX 4090 are probably overkill for gaming at 1080p resolution. Both GPUs should net you high enough frames for high refresh rate gaming in any game on any graphics settings at 1080p.What is the most powerful RTX GPU? ›
- The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 is the ultimate GeForce GPU. ...
- Powered by the new ultra-efficient NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture, the... ...
- Ahead of its time, ahead of the game is the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 4080... ...
- The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (16GB) delivers the ultra performance and...
Nvidia Geforce RTX 3090 has the fastest memories, fast clock speeds, faster memory clock speeds, more Cuda cores, newest architecture, and higher bandwidth.Should I upgrade from 3090 to 4090? ›
100% yes – now that it's two years old, it's becoming a far more accessible and desirable graphics card thanks to its high VRAM (the same as the 4090) and core count. 4K gaming and RayTracing is all still possible too.Is 4090 bigger than 3090? ›
You may run into other issues, however: All RTX 4090 graphics cards are physically massive. Many people have had trouble fitting them in their cases with the side panel fully closed, as they're significantly larger than even most 3090 Ti GPUs for the third party AIB models.How much will 3090-Ti cost? ›
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti: Price and release date
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti is a premium card with an equally premium price. It went on sale on March 29 2022 for $1,999. This is $500 more than the RTX 3090, which launched at $1,499.
Yes, judging by the above facts on performance, you can say that the 4080 is more powerful than the 3090 Ti. It's not completely clear judging by specs alone, because the 3080 Ti has higher bandwidth. It also has 8GB more GDDR6X, draws more power, and has more CUDA cores.Which is the No 1 graphics card in the world? ›
|NVIDIA TITAN V|
|Frame Buffer||12 GB HBM2|
|Boost Clock||1455 MHz|
- The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 (16GB) delivers the ultra performance and... ...
- Ahead of its time, ahead of the game is the GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 4080... ...
- The GeForce RTX 3090 VENTUS 3X 24G OCis a big ferocious GPU (BFGPU) with... ...
- Get the ultimate gaming performance with GIGABYTE RTX 3080Ti Graphics...
Nvidia RTX 4090
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is simply put, the best consumer graphics card on the market by a pretty wide margin. It runs circles around the last-gen flagship RTX 3090 Ti and easily chews through any game we throw at it, no matter the settings.
The 3080 is overkill within this resolution unless you have a super-powerful monitor with at least 140Hz. If you care to use the 3080 GPU in this range, you can easily push over 100FPS even in the most demanding games.Which GPU is better than RTX 3080? ›
We expect to find it in a lot of future picks for our best gaming PCs as 2020 comes to a close and 2021 kicks off. Read next: The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 has been revealed so it may be the card to get over the RTX 3080.How much more powerful will the 4080 be? ›
The RTX 4080 is around 50 percent faster than the previous RTX 3080 in most games at 1440p and around 30–40 percent faster than the RTX 3080 Ti. That's impressive performance, but the RTX 4090 was still around 10–20 percent faster at 1440p.Is 4080 overpriced? ›
Priced at $1,200, it supports DirectX 12 Ultimate capability, exceeding the blazing performance of the previous generation's best, the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti. Despite the amazing graphics performance of the GPU and its 16GB of memory, most gamers in a recent survey felt it was overpriced.What is the cheapest GPU with RTX? ›
GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia's budget-focused RTX 3050 is a solid option for gamers on a budget — read our RTX 3050 review for a full breakdown of performance — but it's still selling for above list price. The cheapest cards run around $330, but you could spend up to $400 for an overclocked model.
The release date for the NVIDIA RTX 4090 24GB was Wednesday 12th October 2022. You can buy it now. The NVIDIA RTX 4080 16GB, meanwhile, is scheduled for a 16th November 2022 release date. You'd better start saving up now because the 4090 and 4080 RTX cards won't come cheap.Is RTX 4090 better than 3090? ›
The RTX 4090 has better specs than the RTX 3090 in all respects. It has about 50% more CUDA Cores, SMs, RT Cores, and Tensor Cores. It also has a higher base clock and boost clock than the 3090, and slightly faster memory.Is the 4090 overkill? ›
Both the RTX 3090 Ti and RTX 4090 are probably overkill for gaming at 1080p resolution. Both GPUs should net you high enough frames for high refresh rate gaming in any game on any graphics settings at 1080p.Is the 4090 the best graphics card? ›
GamesRadar+ Verdict. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is unarguably the best graphics card ever made for the consumer market, but at $1,600 and so powerful that the rest of your PC might not be able to keep up, this really is for those who have a high-end rig to put it in.Will there be a RTX 4090? ›
The release date for the NVIDIA RTX 4090 24GB was Wednesday 12th October 2022. You can buy it now. The NVIDIA RTX 4080 16GB, meanwhile, is scheduled for a 16th November 2022 release date.
RTX 4090 vs RTX 4080 Performance Difference
You'll be wasting your money since the resolution will limit these GPUs. At 1080p resolution, the RTX 4090 is only around 7% faster than the RTX 4080. There's really no point in getting either. Upgrade your monitor if you are planning on getting one of NVIDIA's latest GPUs.
|1||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 DirectX 12.0||$1599|
|2||AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX DirectX 12.0||n/a|
|3||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 DirectX 12.0||n/a|
|4||AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT DirectX 12.0||n/a|
|NVIDIA TITAN V|
|Frame Buffer||12 GB HBM2|
|Boost Clock||1455 MHz|
According to Wccftech and Chi11eddog, the RTX 4090 has sold 130K units already, 5K more since yesterday's report from GamerNexus. That is indeed an impressive number for such an expensive graphics card, but it also reveals one problem, which is a lack of competition from other companies and NVIDIA itself.