NVIDIA’s RTX 4090 is the fastest gaming GPU on the planet, period. At its $1,599 price tag, it offers capital 4K gaming performance for wealthy enthusiasts. Leveraging TSMC’s N4 node to squeeze in nearly twice as many transistors as its predecessor, the AD102 die takes a fresh approach to solving the problem of low frame rates. In addition to the usual increase in IPC and core counts, “fake” or extrapolated frames will be inserted in between (DLSS 3). This comparison test will pit the GeForce RTX 4090 against the RTX 3080 Ti in ray-traced titles with and without DLSS at “3440×1440” QHD Ultrawide. The AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT will be AMD’s champion throughout the testing.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X.
- Mobo: MSI MEG B550 Unify-X.
- Memory: 8GB x2 DDR4-4000 CL18.
- Power Supply: Corsair HX1000i.
- Resolution: 3440×1440.
- Graphics Setting: Max (RT Ultra).
- Analysis using CapFrameX
NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs. RTX 3080 Ti: Which GPU is Faster?
We’ll start with DLSS 3 titles. These include A Plague Tale: Requiem, Cyberpunk 2077, and F1 2022. As you’ll see, the GeForce RTX 4090 is 2 to 3 times faster than the RTX 3080 Ti with the latest iteration of DLSS. The Radeon RX 6800 XT is more like cannon fodder here:
Even at native ultrawide, the RTX 4090 is nearly twice as fast as the RTX 3080 Ti. NVIDIA has focused squarely on ray-tracing performance (courtesy of the 3rd Gen RT Core), and it shows. You can read more about the Ada Lovelace architecture and the 3rd Gen RT Core powering it here:
To go from just 65 FPS to over 160 FPS in Cyberpunk 2077 with ray-tracing cranked up to ultra is a sight to behold. You can see that it’s truly next-generation hardware, albeit at a hefty $1,500+ price point. The RTX 4090 is 2.5x and 2x faster than the RTX 3080 Ti with DLSS 3 and native, respectively.
F1 2022 shows similar results as the RTX 4090 is over two times faster with DLSS 3 and roughly 70% at native, once again indicating rather selective changes to the graphics engine.
Coming to relatively older ray-traced titles, the Ada Lovelace flagship maintains a lead of 70-100% over its Ampere predecessors. Dying Light 2, Hitman 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Metro Exodus EE benefit handsomely from the 3rd Gen RT core and L2 cache upgrades.
There are a few anomalies, namely Ghostwire Tokyo and Far Cry 6. The former sees nominal differences between the Radeon RX 6800 XT, the RTX 3080 Ti, and the RTX 4090, which is a little hard to digest considering what we’ve already seen. Far Cry 6 is a true abomination. All three GPUs net the same frame rates indicating a broken ray-tracing implementation which is not a surprise from what I’ve seen of the game.
The GeForce RTX 4090 is a massive upgrade over the RTX 3080 Ti/3090, especially in ray-traced workloads, which will account for almost every future AAA game. Factor in DLSS 3, and you’ve got a multi-generational uplift in select titles. A new GPU flagship rarely holds up to rumored performance expectations, and this is one of them. Perhaps not every game, but the RTX 4090 does manage to run most ray-traced games at twice the frame rates as its predecessors.