Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Review [22 Games Tested]

According to Nvidia, the RTX 4090 is supposed to be the fastest and most amazing ultimate GPU that you can possibly get your hands on. To be honest, they’re not really wrong. I have tested 22 different games on three different resolutions, and I can’t remember the last time I was this impressed with a graphics card and the performance leap it made in just one generation.

Nvidia RTX 4090 Founders Edition Overview

The RTX 4090 Founders Edition is a massive card, measuring approximately 30 centimeters in length and having a substantial thickness. It weighs around 2.2kg and features an improved heatsink and fan design.

Apart from that, its appearance is quite similar to last year’s model. It incorporates a significant amount of metal, giving it a sturdy feel. The card retains the flow-through design, necessitating sufficient free space and airflow at the top of your GPU within your case.

It utilizes the new 16-pin 12-volt high-power connector, simplifying cable management with a single cable. On the back, there is a single HDMI 2.1 connection and three DisplayPort connections available.

Nvidia RTX 4090 Specifications

RTX 3090RTX 3090 TiRTX 4090
GenerationAmpereAmpere(N)ada Lovelace
CUDA Cores104961075216384
Tensor Cores328336512
Ray Tracing Cores8284128
Boost Clock1700 MHz1860 MHz2520 MHz
Memory Bus384-Bit384-Bit384-Bit
Fab. ProcessSamsung 8nmSamsung 8nmTSMC 4nm
TDP350 W450 W450 W
Launch Price$1499$1999$1599

If you examine the specs, the Ada chip of the RTX 4090 looks quite impressive. It has a lot more cores than previous RTX 3090 cards, as well as an increased number of RT and Tensor Cores. Moreover, it runs at significantly higher clock speeds. The card retains 24GB of GDDR6X memory, which appears to be more than enough. In terms of power consumption, it has a TDP of 450 Watts, slightly higher than the 3090 but similar to the 3090 Ti.

Test Bench

I have tested the Nvidia RTX 4090 Founders Edition card against the fastest Nvidia GPU I have, which is the MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM X 24G, as well as the fastest AMD card I have, the Gigabyte Radeon RX 6600 XT. Below are the full specifications of my test bench.

CPU: Intel Core i9-12900KCheck on Amazon
RAM: 32GB DDR5-6000Check on Amazon
Motherboard: Asus ROG Crosshair VIII HeroCheck on Amazon
Cooling: NZXT Kraken X73Check on Amazon

22 Game Benchmarks

Cyberpunk 2077 RTX 4090

At high settings, Cyberpunk 2077 is primarily limited by the CPU at 1080p. However, at 2K resolution, it achieves 150 FPS, which is more than 31.5% higher than the 3090. At 4K resolution, it reaches 93 FPS, making it nearly 66% faster than the 3090 and twice as fast as the 6900 XT.

God of War RTX 4090

In God of War, there is significant scaling across all three resolutions, ranging from approximately 38% improvement at 1080p to around 53.2% improvement over the RTX 3090 at 4K resolution.

Spider-Man Remastered  RTX 4090

Spider-Man Remastered encountered CPU bottlenecks even at higher resolutions. However, it still performed well, achieving almost 200 FPS on all three resolutions. This represents a 64.1% improvement over the 3090 at 4K and a 113.3% improvement over the 6900 XT.

Dying Light 2 RTX 4090

Dying Light 2 is an extremely challenging game to run, with last-gen cards barely achieving 65 FPS at 4K. However, the 4090 graphics card almost doubles that performance with an average of 113 FPS. It maintains the same level of performance across the other two resolutions as well.

World War Z RTX 4090

In World War Z, there is a slight improvement at 1080p, with a 6% increase over current generation cards. At 1440p, the improvement is even more significant, surpassing the performance of the 3090 and 6900 XT. Moreover, at 4K resolution, the performance nearly doubles that of the 3090 and 6900 XT, indicating strong Vulkan performance as well.

Outriders RTX 4090

In Outriders, the 4090 stands out as the fastest card overall, with a 58.8% and 88.1% performance increase over the 3090 and 6900 XT, respectively, at 4K resolution.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider RTX 4090

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, while becoming older, still scales effectively with both CPU and GPU upgrades. There is a CPU limitation noticeable at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions. However, at 4K resolution, the 4090 outperforms with 212 FPS, compared to 132 FPS and 125 FPS achieved by the other cards.

Doom Eternal RTX 4090

Doom Eternal runs at extremely high frame rates, so the advantage of having even more FPS is currently limited until even faster monitors become available. However, it still demonstrates significant scaling, even at 1080p resolution.

Far Cry 6 RTX 4090

Far Cry 6 places more emphasis on the CPU, especially at lower resolutions, and it slightly favors AMD GPUs, although the differences are small. However, at 4K resolution, the 4090 easily outperforms, providing a 44% improvement over the 3090 and an impressive 63.5% advantage over the 6900 XT.

Watch dogs legion RTX 4090

Watch Dogs Legion exhibits similar characteristics with CPU limitations observed at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions. However, at 4K resolution, the 4090 emerges as a standout performer.

Assassin's Creed Valhalla RTX 4090

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is a game that typically favors AMD GPUs, as evident from the 6900 XT surpassing the 3090 at 1080p and 1440p. However, the 4090 stands in a league of its own, outperforming the 6900 XT by a significant margin across all three resolutions, with an impressive lead of around 37.7% at 4K.

Assassin's Creed Odyssey RTX 4090

In the slightly older Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the performance of the 3090 and 6900 XT appears more balanced. However, once again, the 4090 stands significantly ahead in terms of performance.

The Division 2 RTX 4090

The Division 2, despite being an older title, remains highly popular. The CPU becomes a bottleneck at 1080p and 1440p, yet there is still a noticeable advantage for the 4090. At 4K resolution, once again, the 4090 outperforms the 3090 by 55%.

Anno 1800 RTX 4090

Anno 1800 is not a particularly demanding game, so any of these GPUs will perform adequately. However, the 4090 does exhibit a significant lead, with a 66.4% advantage over the 3090 at 4K resolution, and it surpasses the performance of the 6900 XT by more than double.

Control RTX 4090

In Control, there is a slight improvement at 1080p, with a CPU limitation holding it back. However, there is a significant jump in performance at both 1440p and 4K resolutions.

Borderlands 3 RTX 4090

Borderlands 3 follows a similar pattern, with a small increase at 1080p, a significant jump at 1440p, and a substantial leap at 4K resolution, boasting a 70.6% improvement over the 3090 and an impressive 76.4% increase over the 6900 XT.

Troy Total War RTX 4090

In Troy: Total War, there is consistent scaling across all three resolutions, indicating that all three cards will effectively utilize the current fastest 4K screens.

Wolfenstein Youngblood RTX 4090

In Wolfenstein Youngblood, it is genuinely surprising to observe such a significant jump, with frame rates increasing from 189 FPS to 335 FPS at 4K resolution and from 345 FPS to 560 FPS at 1440p.

Dirt 5 RTX 4090

I tested Dirt 5 with RT Reflections enabled. At 1080p, there was an okay jump in performance, followed by a significant improvement at 1440p, which would have been even more substantial if a faster CPU were available. Moreover, at 4K resolution, there was another notable 72.4% increase over the 3090.

FI 2022 RTX 4090

In F1 2022, when playing on ultra high settings that include some Ray tracing features, the 4090 scales perfectly across all resolutions. It boasts an almost 78.8% improvement over the 3090 at 4K and is a staggering 257.6% faster than the 6900 XT.

Counter Strike RTX 4090

CS:GO, being a CPU-heavy game, exhibits only a slight improvement at 1080p and 1440p, which is not particularly surprising.

Rainbow Six Siege RTX 4090

In Rainbow Six Siege, there was no significant difference at 1080p, but there was a noticeable improvement at 1440p.

22 Games Summary

RTX 4090 - 1080p gaming summary
At 1080p, RTX 4090 is 21.5% faster than RTX 3090

After testing games at 1080p resolution, I was pleasantly surprised by the noticeable improvement in performance with the 4090 compared to other graphics cards. While it is true that 1080p gaming can be limited by the CPU, the 4090 outperformed other cards by a significant margin. However, I want to emphasize that I am not suggesting that everyone should purchase a 4090 solely for 1080p gaming. The impressive 21.5% increase in overall performance should certainly be taken into consideration by professional gamers.

RTX 4090 - 1440p gaming summary
At 1440p, RTX 4090 is 39% faster than RTX 3090

At 1440p resolution, I observed a significant 41% performance improvement compared to the previous generation of graphics cards. Among the 22 games tested, 16 of them showed gains of over 30%. Notably, Dying Light 2, a recent title, particularly showcased the impressive capabilities of this card.

RTX 4090 - 4K gaming summary
At 4K, RTX 4090 is 58% faster than RTX 3090

Undoubtedly, the 4090 truly excels at 4K resolution, exhibiting an outstanding 58% performance boost compared to the previous generation card. This level of improvement is quite uncommon and noteworthy. Moreover, the 4090 exceeded expectations by delivering around 50 FPS or more in 17 out of the 22 games tested, which is undeniably impressive. It’s worth mentioning that this assessment was conducted against the overclocked third-party RTX 3090 Suprim, which already outperforms the 3090 Founders Edition.

5 Game Benchmarks with Ray Tracing & DLSS

In Control, high refresh rate 4K gaming with ray tracing, the RTX 4090 is now approximately 50 FPS ahead. However, we did encounter a CPU limit at both 1440p and 1080p resolutions.

Wolfenstein Youngblood, once again, scales extremely well and serves as an excellent showcase for Nvidia’s next generation of RT and Tensor cores. The 4090 demonstrates performance ranging from double to two and a half times that of the 3090.

Previously, to play Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K resolution, you would need to enable DLSS and disable ray tracing. However, now you can comfortably enable both and still have a very smooth experience.

With RT and DLSS enabled in quality mode, Dying Light 2 once again showcased an impressive performance increase, jumping from 55 FPS to 102 FPS at 4K resolution, which is approximately 85.4% improvement.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider demonstrates a notable improvement, but it also poses a challenge for NVIDIA and their current generation of DLSS. The game reaches CPU limits even at 4K resolution.

Thermals & Noise

Nvidia RTX 4090 Thermals

When it comes to thermals, the Founders Edition performs quite well. Under load, the GPU cores stay at around 64 degrees Celsius, while the memory and hot spot temperatures remain just around 75 degrees. With a noise level of 39.3 decibels at a distance of 40 centimeters, it may not be the quietest card available. However, if you are bothered by the noise, you can adjust the fan speed to reduce it, taking advantage of the ample thermal headroom this card offers.

Power Consumption

RTX 4090 Power Consumption

When it comes to power consumption, I was genuinely surprised to find that while gaming, the 4090 often consumed less power than its specified TDP suggests.

In F1 2022 at 4K resolution, it averaged around 425 Watts, which is not significantly different from the 421 Watts drawn by the RTX 3090 Suprim. Considering that the 4090 is significantly faster, this is quite impressive.

Pricing & Conclusion

Price is something I cannot ignore, and with an MSRP of $1600, it is an extremely expensive option. This high price point makes these cards out of reach for many users. Additionally, considering that the prices of previous generations have dropped, the price-to-performance improvement may not be worth it for many potential buyers.

However, on the other hand, individuals who desire the absolute best and have the financial means, especially those who already own a RTX 3090, may still choose to purchase this card based solely on its impressive performance. Similar to previous flagship cards, these products are not intended to make sense for everyone but rather to showcase their capabilities. In this regard, the RTX 4090 absolutely excels and delivers outstanding performance.

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