Nvidia RTX 4090 Review
The Nvidia RTX 4090 is Nvidia’s newest flagship graphics card, released in October 2022. As the successor to the RTX 3090, it represents the pinnacle of Nvidia’s consumer GPU offerings and is aimed at enthusiasts, hardcore gamers, and content creators. In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the RTX 4090 and see how it performs in games, creative workloads, and more.
The RTX 4090 is built on Nvidia’s new Ada Lovelace architecture and TSMC’s 4N fabrication process. It features a whopping 16,384 CUDA cores, 24GB of GDDR6X memory with a 384-bit bus, and a base clock of 2235 MHz that boosts up to 2520 MHz.
Some key specs:
- CUDA Cores: 16,384
- Boost Clock: 2520 MHz
- VRAM: 24GB GDDR6X
- Memory Interface: 384-bit
- Memory Bandwidth: 1TB/s
- TDP: 450W
Compared to the previous generation RTX 3090, the 4090 has nearly twice the number of CUDA cores and memory bandwidth. It requires a huge 450W of power and needs a new 16-pin power connector, but offers potentially massive performance gains.
Design and Connectivity
The RTX 4090 sticks to Nvidia’s familiar triple slot, dual axial flow design. It measures 304mm long, 137mm tall, and 61mm wide. The shroud features a ridged metal frame with cutouts for airflow, while the backplate is solid aluminum for rigidity.
For connectivity, the 4090 offers the latest display outputs:
- 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
- 1 x HDMI 2.1
It can drive up to four 4K 120Hz displays or up to two 8K 60Hz displays. The HDMI 2.1 port allows connection to high-end TVs and monitors.
The massive size and power requirements mean the RTX 4090 requires a large PC case. You’ll want to make sure your power supply has a 16-pin 12VHPWR connector and is rated for at least 850W. Proper cooling is a must as well.
Thanks to its souped-up specs, the RTX 4090 is an absolute beast when it comes to gaming performance. In test benchmarks, it’s able to deliver buttery smooth framerates well above 100fps at 4K resolution with max settings in today’s most demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Red Dead Redemption 2.
Compared to the previous RTX 3090, most reviews show anywhere from 50% to 100% better 4K gaming performance depending on the specific game and settings. At lower 1440p resolution, the 4090 is totally overkill and can hit frame rates upwards of 200fps+ where the graphics card is no longer the bottleneck.
The 4090 also handles real-time ray tracing incredibly well. Games like Control and Cyberpunk 2077 with all ray tracing effects enabled still run well above 60fps. DLSS 3 is supported too, which uses AI frame generation to boost performance even further.
For creative workloads like 3D rendering and video editing, the RTX 4090’s CUDA core count gives it tremendous processing power. In benchmarks like Blender, OctaneBench, and Premiere Pro, it provides massive time savings that make workflows much faster.
Overclocking and Thermals
The RTX 4090 already runs at very high clock speeds out of the box. But with its beefy cooling solution, there is still some overclocking headroom to push the performance even further.
In reviews, most overclocking results added around 5-10% higher clock speeds and performance. This isn’t a huge uplift, since the 4090 already performs so well at stock settings. Overclocking does require cranking up the power limit and fan speeds.
Thermally, the RTX 4090 runs quite hot due to its extremely high power draw. It easily reaches 80C in gaming workloads even with the stock fan curve. Manual fan curves can improve temperatures at the cost of noise. The cooler itself does work very well at keeping the high heat in check.
Overall, overclocking potential is a bit limited on this 350W+ GPU. But prudent tuning can extract a bit more performance if desired. The cooler is handling the big heat output as expected.
The Nvidia RTX 4090 successfully delivers a huge generational leap in performance and efficiency. It provides buttery smooth 4K gaming, incredible ray tracing capabilities, and massive performance for creative workloads.
Priced at $1599, it certainly isn’t cheap, but represents Nvidia’s uncompromised vision for a no-compromise GPU. For enthusiasts who want the ultimate top-tier card with all the latest features, the RTX 4090 delivers. It’s a technology showcase for the future of gaming graphics.
Some downsides like the massive size, power draw, and pricing do make this a niche product only suited for high-end systems. For most gamers, the RTX 4080 16GB model offers nearly as impressive performance for $900 less. But if you want the pinnacle of GPU technology today, the RTX 4090 is unrivaled.