Fasten the seat belt. So insane is Nvidia’s new beast of a graphics card
Nvidia is finally ready with the new RTX 4000 series. The top model RTX 4090 is a thermonuclear performance bomb – but the power consumption is second to none.
It would take more than two years before Nvidia could finally be ready with a replacement for the world’s strongest graphics card in the RTX 3000 series.
But now it is ready, the monstrous GeForce RTX 4090 as the spearhead of the brand new RTX 4000 series.
Here, the graphics specialist delivers the first look at its brand new architecture, dubbed ‘Lovelace’, which in addition to offering copious amounts of raw power also gets a revised process for ray-tracing, which paves the way for more lifelike lighting in games.
In addition, there is a new generation of the AI-driven upscaling, DLSS version 3.0, which gives a sharper result when the resolution is increased, without requiring much more computing power – with higher frequency as a result.
The many improvements provide a card that Nvidia itself promises delivers two to four times higher performance in selected benchmarks.
The dry numbers
Measured in terms of raw computing power alone, the RTX 4090 delivers roughly double what its predecessor offers.
Now 16,388 graphic computing cores spin at up to 2.52 GHz, compared to 10,752 in the RTX 3090 Ti, which work at a leisurely pace of up to 1.86 GHz.
At the same time, the number of transistors on board has tripled: 76.3 billion compared to 28.3 for the outgoing grandmaster.
This increases the theoretical performance from up to 40 teraflops to now 82.58 teraflops.
The muscular processor is still powered by 24 gigabytes of GDDR6X memory, which communicates through a 384-bit wide data bus, which can potentially trigger bottleneck problems. However, these are addressed by a much larger L2 cache of 96 megabytes against six previously.
New performance heights
That architecture and the highly pumped processor provide cash benefits when it comes to performance in games.
Here, the RTX 4090 card delivers performance that is generally 1.5 to 2.2 times higher than the previous top model.
However, those gains only apply in current games, where, on the other hand, much higher gains are promised when the raytracing functions are turned on.
Performance gains of a completely different order of magnitude are promised here, with three to four times higher performance than last year’s top model.
The RTX 4090 is also joined by two new RTX 4080 models, which land a level below the new performance king.
Here, the strong RTX 4080 with a 16 gigabyte ram lands a bit above the RTX 3090 Ti, where the smaller model with 12 gigabyte ram does not always rise above the outgoing top model.
Swallows well with power
With the RTX 4090 unprecedented performance comes an extra bill in the form of a massively increased power consumption.
Here, the RTX 4090 series requires 450 watts from the PC’s power supply, while a power supply of at least 850 watts with a 16-pin power connector according to the new ATX 3.0 standard is recommended. Alternatively, three times 8-pin connectors must be used.
After power supply power loss, the new graphics card itself can end up drawing half a kWh every hour – something that can be noticed in the electricity bill.
The RTX 4080 16 gb and RTX 4080 12 gb will also require a well-grown power supply with their respective power consumption of 320 and 285 watts.
However, both cards consume less than the RTX 3090 Ti and RTX 3080, which are reported to draw 350 and 320 watts respectively from the power supply.
With the wild performance comes an equally wild price tag.
The debut price of the RTX 4090 is therefore 1,599 US dollars – a third more than the RTX 3090 At launch price. This corresponds to a Danish price of DKK 12,000, of course before VAT and customs duties are included.
The RTX 4080 series starts at 899 US dollars for the 12 gigabyte variant, while the tuned 16 gigabyte variant costs an additional 300 dollars.