The launch of the RTX 4090 marks the landing of NVIDIA’s first Ada Lovelace GPU. Leveraging TSMC’s N4 node to squeeze in nearly twice as many transistors as its predecessor, the AD102 die takes a somewhat 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). In this review, we’ll pit the GeForce RTX 4090 against the RTX 3080 Ti in ray-traced titles with and without DLSS. 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: Ultrawide Gaming Benchmarks
We’ll start with the titles supporting DLSS 3 from day 0. 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 existing Ampere GPUs currently on the market. NVIDIA has focused on ray-tracing performance (courtesy of the 3rd Gen RT Core), and it shows. Looking at these numbers, it’s clear that AMD will need nothing short of a miracle to compete appropriately with Lovelace. 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. Didn’t think we’d get here with a single generational uplift. 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 maintained a lead of 70-100% over its Ampere predecessors. Dying Light 2, Hitman 3, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Metro Exodus EE benefitted handsomely from the RT core and 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.
NVIDIA RTX 4090: Clocks, Thermals, and Power
The GeForce RTX 4090 is surprisingly power efficient for the performance it delivers. In most cases, we’re looking at an average TBP of under 400W. You’ll see the power consumption hover between 350-400W in almost every game. The peak draw didn’t come anywhere close to the 450W limit. As for the clocks, the GPU core ran just under 2.7GHz, never crossing it in our testing. In line with the power, the thermals were very disciplined as well. Even with ray-tracing maxed out, the RTX 4090 Founders Edition operated below 70C. In most scenarios, you’re looking at averages of 58-64C.
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.