Nvidia's 2-4x RTX 4090 performance claims don't hold up in current games
Many games are achieving a less than 2x performance boost
Published: 21st September 2022 | Source: Nvidia |
Don't expect Nvidia's RTX 4090 to have a 2-4x performance boost in games without heavy ray tracing and DLSS 3.0
When Nvidia revealed their RTX 4090 GPU, they used the slide below, claiming 2-4x performance gains over their RTX 3090 Ti graphics card. This was a lofty claim, setting expectations high for the company's RTX 40 series. In reality, Nvidia's RTX 40 series will offer gamers lesser performance gains in most modern games, as Nvidia's data heavily relies on games that make heavy use of ray tracing and games that feature DLSS 3.0.
With DLSS 3.0, Nvidia can utilise a technique called DLSS Frame Generation (more details here), which can effectively be used to double the framerate of content by using AI generated frames. 60 FPS games can be transformed into 120 FPS games, effectively giving Nvidia's RTX 4090 a 2x performance boost. For games without DLSS 3.0, this 2x performance boost is not possible.
Most of the architectural benefits of Nvidia's RTX 40 series Ada GPU architecture are designed to deliver improved ray tracing performance and boosted AI performance, which means that games that do not support ray tracing or DLSS 3.0 will not receive gargantuan performance benefits from Nvidia's RTX 40 series. That said, large performance gains are still possible.
Nvidia's real RTX 40 series performance claims
In the graph below, Nvidia has separated its performance numbers into two sections "Today's Games" and "Next-Generation" games. Nvidia's "Next-Generation" games make use of heavy raytracing workloads or full-on path tracing and DLSS 3.0, fully utilising the architectural benefits of Nvidia's Ada graphics architecture. In these games, Nvidia's RTX 4090 can deliver 2-4.3x performance gains over their RTX 3090 Ti, but the same is not true for "Today's Games".
When looking at Nvidia's "Today's Games" section, it is worth noting that both Microsoft Flight Simulator and Warhammer 40,000 Darktide are confirmed DLSS 3.0 titles (read more here), which means that their performance data is likely influenced by DLSS 3.0. We know that Microsoft Flight Simulator's data is impacted by DLSS 3.0, as Nvidia has showcased the game running with DLSS 3.0, though we cannot be certain about Nvidia's Darktide data.
Resident Evil Village is a game that makes light use of ray tracing, and Assassin's Creed Valhalla and The Division 2 are games that do not utilise ray tracing. These game showcase 50-75% performance gains from Nvidia's RTX 4090 over their RTX 3090 Ti, revealing the real performance gains that gamers should expect from Nvidia's RTX 40 series in normal games.
50-75% gains are still massive!
Nvidia's 2-4x performance claims do have merit, but not when applied to most modern games. DLSS 3.0 is a technology that delivers a 2x framerate boost and is the reason behind the bulk of Nvidia's performance claims. Without DLSS 3.0, Nvidia's performance claims don't hold up, and for games that don't make heavy use of ray tracing, Nvidia's 2-4x performance boost claims are downright inaccurate. That said, 50-75% performance gains are nothing to scoff at, and are much larger than what most gamers should expect from a single generational performance leap.