NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review - Impressive Performance (2024)

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review - Impressive Performance (1)509Architecture»

Introduction

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review - Impressive Performance (2)

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 "Ada Lovelace" turns the page, introducing a new generation of graphics hardware that promises not just fast gaming performance, but also makes real time ray tracing practically "free." In this RTX 4090 Founders Edition review we'll see that besides a big generational performance uplift, Ada also promises revolutionary improvements to NVIDIA's DLSS capability—generating entire frames only using AI, without involving the GPU's main graphics rendering machinery. This in itself is so significant, that the company is referring to it as "neural rendering," and placing it alongside the two other key graphics rendering techniques—rasterization and ray tracing. With the new GeForce RTX 4090, NVIDIA is promising a generational performance uplift of the kind we were seeing when Moore's Law still worked for GPUs—nearly 50% generation over generation.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review - Impressive Performance (3)

The GeForce "Ada" graphics architecture, named after Ada Lovelace, considered to be the first computer programmer; heralds the 3rd generation RTX real time ray tracing technology, which combines classic raster graphics with certain real-time ray traced elements to significantly improve visual realism. Generationally, Ada enables visual artists and game developers to add even more ray traced effects to their games, and introduces new fixed function hardware to render them. The "Ada" CUDA cores in addition to significant frequency and IPC uplifts over "Ampere," introduce Shader Execution Reordering, a new SIMD optimization that improves the performance of the shader-side of ray tracing by three times, and in-game framerates by 25%. Ada also introduces the 4th generation Tensor Cores, with support for even more math formats such as FP8, improving tensor math performance uplifts by five times over the previous generation. Bringing this all together is the new TSMC 5 nm EUV foundry node that is capable of GPU clock speeds as high as 4 GHz for this generation.

NVIDIA carved the GeForce RTX 4090 out of the 5 nm "AD102" silicon, its largest for this generation. It is endowed with a massive 16,384 CUDA cores (out of 18,432 present on the silicon), 512 out of 568 Tensor cores, 128 out of 142 RT cores, 512 TMUs and 192 ROPs. The card uses the same 24 GB of GDDR6X memory as the RTX 3090, which ticks at the same 21 Gbps speed as the RTX 3090 Ti, producing 1008 GB/s of bandwidth. There are several innovations made at the silicon level, which we'll detail on the next page of this review; enabling NVIDIA to actually generationally lower the memory bandwidth, as you'll see in the RTX 4080 series, and the other SKUs from this generation.

The GeForce RTX 4090 is NVIDIA's flagship graphics card for this generation. The company is changing the launch order this time. With the RTX 30-series, NVIDIA launched the RTX 3080 as flagship first, and added the RTX 3090 / 3090 Ti later, as a halo product to replace the TITAN. With Ada, the RTX 4090 debuts this generation, with the RTX 4080 series slated for November 2022. The RTX 40-series launches in an interesting time in the market—cryptocurrency mining is dead, and with it, demand for high-margin flagship GPUs from miners. The PC industry is in a state of slump due to weakened demand; most of the tech industry is trading red; and people's disposable incomes are strained. NVIDIA is positioning the RTX 4090 at $1,599 (baseline MSRP), and pricing for most custom-design boards should be within a few hundred Dollars.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition in this review follows a long line of well-designed graphics cards by NVIDIA that are technically custom-design, but are de-facto reference. With this generation, NVIDIA improves upon the Dual Axial Flow Through cooling architecture it introduced with the RTX 30-series "Ampere." While the GPU uses a PCI-Express Gen 4 host interface, its power architecture meets the PCIe Gen 5 standard, with the new 12+4 pin ATX 12VHPWR power connector being standardized across the RTX 4090 series, including with custom-design cards from partners. NVIDIA is placing the RTX 4090 at the baseline price of $1,599. This is the only card we are allowed to publish reviews of today (October 11), you'll have to check back tomorrow for reviews of custom-design 4090s—we'll test eight models, from all the big manufacturers.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Market Segment Analysis
PriceCoresROPsCore
Clock
Boost
Clock
Memory
Clock
GPUTransistorsMemory
RTX 2080$4002944641515 MHz1710 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3060 Ti$4504864801410 MHz1665 MHz1750 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6700 XT$410
2560642424 MHz2581 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2217200M12 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RX 6750 XT$470
2560642495 MHz2600 MHz2250 MHzNavi 2217200M12 GB, GDDR6, 192-bit
RTX 2080 Ti$5504352881350 MHz1545 MHz1750 MHzTU10218600M11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit
RTX 3070$5305888961500 MHz1725 MHz1750 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3070 Ti$6006144961575 MHz1770 MHz1188 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6X, 256-bit
RX 6800$5803840961815 MHz2105 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6800 XT$60046081282015 MHz2250 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3080$6608704961440 MHz1710 MHz1188 MHzGA10228000M10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit
RTX 3080 Ti$850102401121365 MHz1665 MHz1188 MHzGA10228000M12 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit
RX 6900 XT$68051201282015 MHz2250 MHz2000 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RX 6950 XT$95051201282100 MHz2310 MHz2250 MHzNavi 2126800M16 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3090$950104961121395 MHz1695 MHz1219 MHzGA10228000M24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit
RTX 3090 Ti$1200107521121560 MHz1950 MHz1313 MHzGA10228000M24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit
RTX 4090$1600163841762235 MHz2520 MHz1313 MHzAD10276300M24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review - Impressive Performance (2024)

FAQs

Is the RTX 4090 Founders Edition the best? ›

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition, or FE, might just be the most desirable air-cooled RTX 4090 on the market. For example, both the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC and ASUS TUF RTX 4090 OC GPUs that we reviewed are great, but NVIDIA has its own cooling solution that makes the FE card more compact.

Is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 any good? ›

GamesRadar+ Verdict. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 is unarguably the best graphics card ever made for the consumer market, but at $1,600 and so powerful that the rest of your PC might not be able to keep up, this really is for those who have a high-end rig to put it in.

Which version of RTX 4090 is best? ›

The ASUS TUF GeForce RTX 4090 OG OC Edition is one of the fastest RTX 4090 SKUs on the market, dwarfed only by its more enthusiast-grade RTX 4090 Strix OC alternative.

Does the 4090 Founders Edition run hot? ›

The front side of the RTX 4090 Founders Edition has its hottest point at the top middle but the blow-through area is also warm which means that the heatpipes are doing a good job of pulling the heat out that direction.

What is special about RTX Founders Edition? ›

As for our own Founders Edition GeForce RTX graphics cards, they're the first NVIDIA-designed gaming graphics cards to launch with a factory overclock for superior out-of-the-box performance, and the first to feature dual fans for cool-yet-quiet gaming.

What PSU do I need for RTX 4090 Founders Edition? ›

450W 850W

Is RTX 4090 too much for gaming? ›

The RTX 4090 drives such high frame rates that it would be a waste to have anything other than a 4K monitor, especially one with a refresh rate under 144Hz. In our testing, the RTX 4090 consistently reached 100+ fps at 4K and the highest graphics preset (DLSS and ray tracing off) in most of the games we tested.

How many monitors can the RTX 4090 support? ›

4 independent displays at 4K 120Hz using DP or HDMI.

Is the 4090 worth it for 4K? ›

The RTX 4090 has a significant lead at all resolutions, even 4K—by a whopping 34fps! If you're gaming on a 4K 144Hz monitor, the RTX 4090 will come closest to taking advantage of it.

Do all 4090s have coil whine? ›

Coil whine happens on virtually every card some more audible than others. There is no rhyme or reason, you can take 2 exactly identical cards one can have really loud coil whine and the other may be virtually silent.

What is the best motherboard for RTX 4090? ›

Best all-around motherboard for RTX 4090: MSI MEG Z790 ACE

Coming in at an E-ATX form factor, this motherboard features a top-of-the-line 24+1+2 VRM design for monstrous overclocks. Moving to the RAM, we get DDR5 memory slots, supporting bus speeds of up to 7800MHz, and a total bandwidth support of 128 GB.

Does 4090 have heating issues? ›

Remember the RTX 4090 cable-melting fiasco? Way back in November 2022, following the launch of Nvidia's mighty new flagship RTX 4090 graphics card, there were scattered reports of the GPU's power connector overheating and melting, effectively rendering the $1,599 (£1,519/AU$2,959) component unusable.

What issues does the RTX 4090 have? ›

Nvidia's RTX 4090 quickly became the source of controversy not long after its launch thanks to instances of melting cables – a problem that you might think is well in the past, but it turns out that isn't the case.

Do you need water cooling for RTX 4090? ›

The custom water cooling is mainly for effects and isn't needed, the AIO will work just fine, as the rtx 4090 (when your getting it from third parties) usually has a 3 fan cooling system and the beefy processer with the cooking system would make a difference, but really isn't necessary, but the server hosting speed is ...

What is the difference between 4090 and 4080 Founders Edition? ›

Real World Performance of the RTX 4090 and 4080

As you might expect from the lopsided specifications, the RTX 4090 is by far the more powerful card, delivering greater frame rates at all resolutions and detail settings than the RTX 4080, and especially so when ray tracing is enabled.

Is the RTX 4090 FE good for gaming? ›

The RTX 4090 FE is a solid GPU for building a high-end gaming PC. Although it does not pack any extra flares, it looks stealthy when paired with any build, and its performance is on point.

What is the difference between RTX founders edition? ›

Founders Edition cards traditionally come with a blower-style cooler, while third-party cards feature multiple fans and custom cooling solutions. With the introduction of dual-fan systems, newer Founders Edition cards offer improved cooling performance and reduced noise levels.

Does the 4090 FE have good cooling? ›

Our HEATKILLER V PRO for RTX 4090 FE cooling block clearly dominated the competitors in this comparison. Across all measured values, whether it be flow rates, ram temperatures or GPU core temperatures, our HEATKILLER V PRO demonstrated a top performance.

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