Nvidia RTX 4090 vs RTX 3080 Ti: Which to Buy in 2023?

Estimated read time 5 min read

It seems that Nvidia is engaged in a competition it has brought upon itself with the RTX 4090 and the RTX 3080 TI graphics cards. The contest between these two revolutionary GPUs appears to revolve around factors such as pricing, performance, TDP, and other aspects related to their cutting-edge GPU technology.

The RTX 4090 is a more powerful GPU, because when I compared RTX 4090 to the RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti, it was around 50% better at 4K resolution. And maybe you will see the same situation in this comparison as well.

RTX 4090 vs. RTX 3080 Ti: Specifications

RTX 4090RTX 3080 Ti
GPU AD102GA102
ArchitectureAda LovelanceAmpere
Manufacturing process technology4 nm8nm
Thermal design power (TDP)450 watt350 watt
Memory capacity24 GB GDDR6X12 GBGDDR6X
Memory speed21 Gbps12 Gbps
CUDA cores16384 CUDA10240 CUDA
Boost clock speed2520 MHz1665 MHz
Core clock speed2235 MHz1365 MHz
Bandwidth1081 GB/s912.4 GB/s
Tensor cores576328

The RTX 4090 utilizes Nvidia’s new Lovelace architecture, while the 3080 TI uses Nvidia’s Ampere architecture. Ada Lovelace’s microarchitecture is based on 4 nanometer N4 technology, which is half the size of the previous generation Ampere chip based on Samsung’s 8 nanometer process used in the 3080 TI. This smaller nanometer size resulting from an improvement in the node process enables the 4090 and all RTX 4000 series cards to deliver more power while occupying less space.

The 4090 has a base clock speed of 2235 MHz, which is 870 MHz or 64% faster than the 3080 Ti’s base clock speed of 1365 MHz. The RTX 4090 also has a boost clock speed of 2520 MHz, which is 855 MHz or 51% faster than the RTX 3080 Ti’s boost clock speed of 1665 MHz. This means that the 4090 can handle higher workloads and deliver better performance.

The 4090 has 16384 CUDA cores, which is 60% more than the 3080 Ti’s 10240 CUDA cores. Having a greater number of CUDA cores means more data can be processed in parallel, which is significant when playing graphically demanding games.

When it comes to memory, the 4090 beats out the 3080 Ti in every single category. The 4090 comes with 24GB of RAM, which is twice as much as the 3080 Ti. It also has 21 GB/s of memory output, which is 11% faster, and 1081 GB of memory bandwidth, which is 12% faster.

Test PC Specifications

Before showing benchmarks, following are the Test PC Specifications:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3DCheck Price
RAM: 16GB DDR4Check Price
GPU: MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 4090Check Price
GPU 2: ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 TiCheck Price

RTX 4090 vs. RTX 3080 Ti: Benchmarks

Let’s start with talking about Far Cry 6, as you can see in the first game, the RTX 4090 has taken the lead. On average, the RTX 4090 is giving 120 FPS, which is 60% faster than the RTX 3080 Ti. The RTX 3080 Ti seems to have more consistent 1% lows as the GPU only dropped to 17 FPS, whereas the RTX 4090 went as low as 63 FPS.

The RTX 4090 outperforms the RTX 3080 Ti by a wide margin in Rainbow Six Siege. On average, the RTX 4090 is running at 410 FPS, while the RTX 3080 Ti can only manage 254 FPS, giving the RTX 4090 a 61.4% lead. In terms of 1% lows, the RTX 4090 dropped to 338 FPS, while the RTX 3080 Ti dropped to about 208 FPS.

Next up, Days Gone, another easy win for RTX 4090. The RTX 4090 was 73% faster than RTX 3080 Ti. And when we see 1% lows, RTX 3080 Ti dropped to 60 FPS and RTX 4090 to 82 FPS.

Watch Dogs Legion is considered one of the most visually stunning open-world games. The RTX 4090 can run the game with an average of 102 FPS, while the RTX 3080 Ti can only achieve an average of 59 FPS. This means that once again, the latest generation RTX 4090 outperforms the RTX 3080 Ti by a significant margin of approximately 72.8% in terms of FPS.

During the entire gameplay, the RTX 4090 maintained an average of 116 FPS while running God of War. On the other hand, the RTX 3080 Ti could only achieve an average of 65 FPS. Overall, the RTX 4090 remains ahead of its competition by a significant margin of approximately 78.4%.

RTX 4090 vs. RTX 3080 Ti: Price Comparison

While writing this article, the RTX 3080 Ti graphics that I’ve tested here goes for $1200 USD, while the RTX 4090 goes for $1900. The price of both of these GPUs will of course change over time, so refer to the below links for the latest price:

One thing to note is that if you get a build with the RTX 4090, it will make your overall rig more expensive because you would need to pair it with the latest processor such as the i9-13900K and also require a power supply of more than 850W to power such a beast PC.

From a cost per frame perspective, the RTX 4090 actually ends up with slightly better value, despite the fact that it costs $700 more. After I compared the RTX 4070 against the RTX 3070 Ti, I’m happy just to see any kind of improvement! And the bonus cherry on top is that the improvement is still pretty decent.

RTX 4090 vs. RTX 3080 Ti: Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier, the RTX 4090 is expected to outperform the RTX 3080 Ti. However, it depends on your personal preference as to which GPU you should choose. If you’re only interested in gaming, then the RTX 3080 Ti should suffice, but you may need to play games at medium settings to achieve playable frame rates. On the other hand, if budget isn’t an issue for you, or you need a PC that can handle both content creation and gaming, then the RTX 4090 would be a better option for you.

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Jaskaran Singh

Jaskaran, a tech enthusiast from childhood, inspired by his father, began his tech journey by rooting Android phones. He now writes on various tech topics, aiming to simplify complex ideas for a broad audience. His writing is direct, concise, and flows effortlessly, making tech topics accessible and engaging.

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