Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review


Often when a new architecture is released hot on the heels of the previous generation you don’t get a quantum leap forwards. Equally, when a manufacturer spends a significant portion of their time talking about a new way of doing something we already have – in this case DLSS – we’re naturally wary. After all, we all remember how PhysX was going to revolutionise gaming.

With the RTX 4090, as you saw throughout our testing today, the thing that impressed us most wasn’t just how well the new DLSS 3, and in particular DLSS 3 with Frame Generation, performed, but how well the card did in every scenario.

This isn’t a card that just promises extra performance in DLSS capable games. Often when that is the case you check the supported games list for your favourite title and discover it’s not on there, so you end up getting nothing. Be in no doubt the new Ada Lovelace architecture is insanely good at DLSS supporting titles. The addition of Frame Generation, which we saw in Cyberpunk 2077 and F1 2022, is a game changer. Frame rates which are already far beyond the card alone reach heights that seemed impossible a few months ago. All well and good for those titles, but the impressive thing about the RTX 4090 is how it’s also a complete monster in regular titles too. When you get 50 FPS more in The Witcher 3 at 4K than the RTX 3090 Ti gave us, it’s fair to say that there is raw performance to go with Nvidia’s newest AI tricks. 

With regards to the latency implications of Nvidia’s DLSS 3 Frame Generation technique, we would go as far as saying that the latency impact of DLSS 3 is effectively a non-factor for most single-layer games. DLSS 3 makes Nvidia Reflex a mandatory addition to games, effectively cancelling out any click-to-screen latency penalties that DLSS 3.0 brings to the table. With that added latency cancelled out, DLSS 3 offers higher framerates and a smoother gaming experience, with latencies that are similar to DLSS enabled without Frame Generation or Reflex. This is a big win for Nvidia, but those who want the lowest click-to-screen latencies (if you are playing competitive online games for example) will want to disable DLSS Frame Generation and enable Nvidia Reflex in games where it is available. 

Naturally it is not a big piece of breaking news to say that the latest flagship Nvidia graphics card is a staggeringly good performer. That has been the case for a while now. What constantly dropped our jaw was precisely how powerful it was when compared to the already fast RTX 3090 Ti. In every scenario, every resolution, whether you could leverage the updated DLSS 3 or not, the RTX 4090 just sat at the top of the graphs no matter what we threw at it.

As you saw from our Blender result, the calculation horsepower isn’t just limited to games either. GPUs are utilised in everything from encoding and decoding of video, to giving you live 3D Renderport views, to crunching numbers behind the scenes. The RTX 4090 and its 16384 CUDA Cores has your back.

Obviously there are a few things to take in to account. The price is the elephant in the room, but seriously expensive flagship cards has become the norm and if you’re on a tight budget then you wouldn’t be looking at this anyway, beyond building a wishlist. The power requirements are solid, but surprisingly light considering how much additional performance this has over anything else. Best of all when we gradually turned on its unique elements – DLSS and Frame Generation – the power use fell. Lastly the RTX 4090 is so insanely capable that we genuinely struggled to overheat it, so those of you with a demand for a cool and quiet card should take a serious look at the Nvidia Founders Edition.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition is a massive step forward in calculative horsepower which brings benefits regardless of your use case. From the newest games with all the ray tracing and DLSS support you could wish, through to games with get their frames per second the old fashioned way, the RTX 4090 is a premium card with a premium price and wins our OC3D Performance Award.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review  

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