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Nvidia RTX 4090 vs Nvidia RTX 3090? Which is best?

The Nvidia GTC 2022 Keynote event revealed the newest batch of next-generation GPUs with the RTX 4000 Series, alongside the flagship Nvidia RTX 4090.

After a long wait, Nvidia has finally announced its next-generation graphic cards, with two releases: the Nvidia RTX 4090 and the Nvidia RTX 4080.

The latest GPUs come with a new architecture, also known as Ada Lovelace, and boast new features like DLSS 3 and 3rd-generation ray tracing.

But with a new batch of GPUs, it calls into question whether the last generation is still worth buying. If you’re interested in seeing how this years flagship scores against the Nvidia RTX 3090, keep reading, as we’re going to be breaking down the specs and performance claims.

Price

The Nvidia RTX 3090 came out in September 2020 with a starting price of £1399/$1499. Since it’s been available for two years, it can now be found on third-party sites, like Overclockers and eBay, for under £1000.

The RTX 4090 will be available to buy from 12 October 2022. The starting price for this GPU will be £1679/$1599, making it the most expensive option out of the two.

Specs

The Nvidia RTX 3090 uses Ampere architecture, which has since been taken over by Lovelace. Ampere uses Samsung’s 8nm process, with the RTX 3090 coming with 10,496 CUDA Cores. It also packs Micron’s 24GB GDDR6X video memory.

It also requires a 12-pin PCle power adaptor, with the GPU featuring a 350W power draw.

The Nvidia RTX 4090 comes in just one configuration – unlike the Nvidia RTX 4080 – and has a CUDA Core count of 16,384. We can see that it packs a lot more cores than its predecessor.

Lovelace chip Nvidia
Credit: Nvidia

It’s built upon Lovelace architecture, which features TSMC’s 4nm process node. Nvidia was able to include 76 billion transistors on the GPU, which is leaps and bounds more than the 26 billion that feature on Ampere. Generally, more transistors result in faster performance, since the data can be processed and transferred at a faster rate.

The RTX 4090 comes with a massive amount of memory at 24GB GDDR6X, putting it on par with the RTX 3090. This makes both of these graphic cards a great option if you’re craving lots and lots of memory.

However, the RTX 4090 requires even more power than its predecessor, at 450W. This is one of the highest requirements for GPUs and requires 100W more than the RTX 3090 – it may be time to upgrade your PSU.

Performance

Since we have not been able to review either of these graphic cards just yet, we can’t make any claims on which is more powerful right now. Despite this, we can use the specs provided by Nvidia to get an idea of which GPU has the most power.

The latest flagship comes with a lot more CUDA Cores than its predecessor, which should result in a faster card. CUDA Cores are developed by Nvidia and they are essentially the GPU equivalent of CPU cores, with more cores allowing for more data to be processed at once, which is ideal for graphically intensive games.

Moreover, Lovelace seems to massively outpace Ampere in terms of its performance. The smaller node and the huge amount of transistors on the RTX 4090 mean that processing can be done faster and more efficiently. The graph below shows how much power the Lovelace chip has compared to Ampere, further suggesting that the latest GPU will be able to massively outpace the RTX 3090.

Lovelace comparison to Ampere
Credit: Nvidia

Plus, the RTX 4090 comes with features that are exclusive to the RTX 4000 Series. Two of the most important features are DLSS 3 and 3rd-generation ray tracing. The former will help to push up frates rates to new heights, while the latter will enable even better visuals with advanced lighting effects.

Until we get the chips in for testing, we cannot definitely claim that the RTX 4090 offers improved power performance over the RTX 3090. But, looking at the updated architecture and the added CUDA Cores, it seems likely that the RTX 4090 will massively outpace the RTX 3090, and will probably be the best option for anyone looking for the most powerful Nvidia graphics card.

Nvidia also claims the RTX 4090 is between 2x and 4x faster than the RTX 3090 Ti, depending on the game. If accurate, this means we can expect a sizeable performance increase for the RTX 4090 compared to the standard RTX 3090.

Make sure to visit Trusted Reviews soon, as we hope to review these graphics cards over the coming weeks and months to see which one offers the best performance.

Nvidia RTX 4090 and Nvidia RTX 3090 specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
Ports
Power Consumption
Video Memory
Boosted Clock Speed
CUDAcores
Architecture
Ray Tracing?

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