Things in the gaming world have been in an uproar since the launch of the 40-series graphics card of NVIDIA. Prior to this, the RTX 3090 Ti was considered the gold standard as the high-end-ultra-go-to graphics card but things changed
It is quite obvious that every new GPU generation comes with additional features and specifications. However, the best thing is that the RTX 4090 is not even the price is a major concern. The performance of the RTX 4090 proves that it is just perfect for the extra bucks.
Now, there are several other things that you must consider when choosing a GPU for your gaming requirements. In this article, we will cover all questions regarding which is better: RTX 4090 or NVIDIA RTX 3090 Ti.
What is the RTX 4090?
Launched in October 2022, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 is one notch higher and termed as the ultra-high-end graphics card. It is the first card to be launched in the 40-series and is regarded as the best-performing graphics card available for users.
It is based on NVIDIA’s ‘Ada Lovelace’ architecture and uses the 4N process of TSMC. Combining fancy machine learning with rasterization, it offers a flagship gaming experience. This card has a plethora of new specifications which makes it much superior to the RTX 3090 Ti.
What is the NVIDIA RTX 3090 Ti?
Launched in March 2022, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti marks its way as a high-end graphics card. It was the best-performing or flagship graphics card until the RTX 40-series card was introduced and the astonishing price tag vouched for this.
This card works on NVIDIA’s ‘Ampere’ architecture and is designed using the 8N process of Samsung. It combines innovative machine learning technology with raw rasterization horsepower for upscaling and ray tracing, which makes it compatible with all kinds of games at any resolution and graphics setting.
Specifications and Features
Now, as we have cleared what we mean by the terms RTX 4090 and NVIDIA RTX 3090 Ti, let us get into the specifications and the features of these GPUs. There is a long list on which these GPUs will be compared to help you reach a conclusive decision. Let us go through each one of them.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 comes with the latest Ada Lovelace architecture, which is revolutionary in its build and offers much better performance. This architecture ensures quieter operation and better cooling. It is quite an eminent update from the precursor and also makes it the best graphics card in terms of performance available in the market.
On the other hand, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti is enabled with Ampere architecture which implies that it is equipped with cutting-edge and innovative technology that provides power efficiency and incredible performance. The latest tensor and RT cores take care of the speed and efficiency. Also, the NVLink interface and new memory controller ensure enough bandwidth to support a 4K resolution gaming experience.
2. GPU Code
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 performs on the basis of the graphics processor variant of AD102. The AD102 graphics card processor is one of a kind large chip which features 76,300 million transistors and has an area of 608nm. It is compatible with all games and ensures that they run without any lag.
On the other hand, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti features the GA102 graphics processor. It consists of 28,300 million transistors and has an area of 628nm². It is also compatible with all modern games.
3. CUDA Cores
The primary working principle of NVIDIA’s GPUs seems similar and is designed on a basic working pattern. All the GPUs feature memory and processing units that transmit and compute the graphical data and deliver it to the screen. The CUDA cores are the processing unit used to determine the performance of the GPUs. NVIDIA uses the CUDA cores as the measuring unit for all their GPUs.
When considering this, the value for the RTX 4090 is 16384 while that for the RTX 3090 Ti is 10752. As the CUDA cores are about 62% higher in the RTX 4090 compared to the RTX 3090 Ti, it guarantees better performance by the RTx 4090.
4. PCIe 4.0
The PCIe version is the only way to connect the graphics card to the system. The PCIe interfaces on the motherboard are manufactured keeping in mind the devices that are compatible with those versions. Over several years, like every other computer part, the PCIe versions have also gone through several upgrades. The latest version of the PCIe upgrade is the PCIe 4.0 ports and most motherboards of the computer system feature these.
When talking about the concerned GPUs, they are both compatible with PCIe version 4.0 with backward and forward compatibility. This means that they are also compatible with the previous and future generations of PCIe slots.
5. Core Clock Speed and Boost Clock Speed
The core clock speed and the boost clock speed are the major influencers in determining the speed of the GPU. The clock speed is the same in definition as it is for a CPU. The clock speed determines the speed at which the card functions. The unit of measurement is MHz for the clock speed.
When you are looking at the working speed of the GPU, you need to look at the core clock speed and the boost clock speed. Now, this is a major point of difference as the base clock speed and boost clock speed of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 are 2235MHz and 2520MHz while that of the RTX 3090 Ti is 1560MHz and 1860MHz. The greater clock speed ensures better performance and yields a better output in the case of the GPU. The stark difference between the two GPUs makes the former much better.
6. RT and Tensor Cores
One of the major differences between the RTX 40-series and RTX 3090 Ti are the RT cores and the Tensor cores. The RTX 4090 comes with 128 RT cores as opposed to the 84 RT cores in the RTX 3090 Ti and has 512 Tensor Cores as opposed to the 336 Tensor Cores in the RTX 3090 Ti.
On top of that, the RT cores of the 40-series GPU are 3rd generation which is double in performance with respect to the ‘Ampere’RT cores. The latest RT cores offer two latest hardware parts: a displaced micro-mesh engine and an opacity micro map engine. The brand assures the smoother transmission of the alpha textures for an immersive experience in gaming.
Now, for the Tensor cores, the RTX 4090 features the fourth generation Tensor cores that come with premium features such as Optical Flow Accelerator, which makes the function of the DLSS 3.0 smoother.
This is another segment of the GPU that influences the overall performance and functionality in a huge manner. The working is similar to the RAM contained in the computer and stores the data processed by the CPU. Like the RAM, the memory of the GPU stores the data that the GPU processes. The memory available for high-end graphic cards is quite high. Let us explore the details concerned with memory.
- Type: The kind of memory featured on the GPU is a major factor as it determines the speed and performance of the GPU. At the moment, the most common memory type for GPUs is the GDDR6 while the latest and the best interface in the market is the GDDR6X. The nomenclature of both these might lead the users to think that they are similar, but in reality, that is not the case. The latter transmits faster than the former and requires 15% lesser power. Also, it is better in performance and ensures higher speed. Both of the GPUs have the GDDR6X memory module.
- Capacity: Along with the kind of memory, the speed and performance are influenced by the capacity as it determines how efficiently the GPU can tackle the load. While gaming, the graphical assets and textures are stored in the memory before they are displayed on the screen so more capacity will ensure faster load and no buffering during the game. In the case of these GPUs, both have the same capacity of 24 GB. so, there is no difference marker here.
- Bandwidth: The bandwidth defines the speed with which the data can be transmitted between the GPU memory and the GPU processor. The higher bandwidth will make sure more data can be transmitted within the given time at a greater rate. Therefore, better bandwidth reduces the lag while playing games due to the fast load time. In the case of bandwidth too, both the variants of NVIDIA’s GPU feature the 21 GBps
- Bus Width: The bus width is quite similar to bandwidth and directly influences the performance of the GPU. It indicates the data lines through which the graphic data is transmitted. So, the wider bus width will increase the speed at which the data is transferred as more data will be enabled at the given time. Comparing the bus width will not yield anything conclusive as both offer the same result of 384-bit.
8. Output Ports
For the GPUs, the ports act as the sole connectivity option between the display monitor and the GPU. So, when looking at the output ports, you need to consider the version of the port, type of display output port, number of ports and most importantly, the compatibility of the port with the devices.
DisplayPort and HDMI are the most versatile output port options for GPUs. More ports will enable users to connect monitors or TVs with the same GPU.
There are an equal number of output ports when talking about the RTX 3090 Ti and RTX 4090 GPUs. The Founder’s edition for both have 1 HDMI 2.1 port and 3 DisplayPort 1.4a. Also, OEM manufacturers can change the number of output ports for their GPUs.
9. Thermal Design Power
The Thermal Design Power, more commonly known as the TDP is also a major consideration when talking about the GPU, more so when dealing with high-end graphic cards like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 or RTX 3090 Ti. If you are using a high-end CPU, there are several components like faster RAM and better storage which take up most of the power, so it is suggested to go for a GPU which features lower TDP so that it is compatible with lower power units and develops less heat.
In the case of both RTX 4090 and RTX 3090 Ti, they work at a TDP of 450 Watts which means that there is no difference marker concerning this criteria.
Comparison RTX 4090 vs NVIDIA RTX 3090 Ti
|Specifications||RTX 4090||RTX 3090 Ti|
|Core Clock and Boost Clock||2235MHz and 2520MHz||1560MHz and 1860MHz|
|RT and Tensor Cores||128(3rd Gen) and 512(4th Gen)||184(2nd Gen) and 336(3rd Gen)|
|Memory||24GB GDDR6X||24GB GDDR6X|
|Memory Speed||21 GBps||21 GBps|
|Memory Bus Width||384 bit||384 bit|
|Output Ports||1 HDMI 2.1; 3 DisplayPort 1.4a||1 HDMI 2.1; 3 DisplayPort 1.4a|
When it comes to performance, the RTX 4090 really has the upper hand in case of 1440p resolution and even more so in case of 4K resolution. For the 1080p resolution, however, NVIDIA’s RTX 4090 is overkill, as is the RTX 3090 Ti.
In 1440p resolution, if you want high refresh rates with intensively graphic tiles, then the more expensive RTX4090 is the one for you. However, if you are willing to reduce the settings for the high frame rates, then you can settle for the RTX 3090 Ti and save several bucks.
In 4K resolution, the RTX 4090 is highly superior. It offers 60% to 68% better performance and delivers high refresh rates at all times with 4K ray tracing.
Also, enabled with DLSS 3.0, the RTX 4090 is 50% or even sometimes 100% better in performance compared to the RTX 3090 Ti enabled with DLSS 2.0.
When talking about the true test for both the graphic cards, the 3090 Ti and 4090, it is the real-world benchmarking gaming performance. As both the cards are high-end graphic cards, the users anticipate nothing less than stellar performance, with enabled ray tracing and through all the mainstream resolutions.
When talking about gaming, we have compared both graphic cards based on benchmark results and discussed a comparison that will be suitable for most gamers to choose their best GPU keeping various systems in mind.
If you plan to be gaming at a resolution of 1080p, then both these high-end graphic cards are overkill. Both 3090 Ti and 4090 GPUs provide a high refresh rate for all levels of gaming at 1080p graphics settings.
Regarding 1080p resolution, the RTX 4090 is ahead of RTX 3090 Ti by only a marginal 25%. Both these GPUs are more than required for 1080p, so it is not wise to suggest the more expensive one for gaming at this resolution.
|Call of Duty: Warzone||354.58||262.99|
For the 1440p resolution, both these graphic cards are highly favourable but the difference between them is more evident than it was at the 1080p resolution. At maximum settings, both the 3090 Ti and 4090 offer over 100fps for all the major games.
Now, at the 1440p resolution, the 40-series card is 40% better and faster than the 3090 Ti. Compared to maximum settings, the RTX 3090 Ti might offer 150 fps on a single game while the RTX 4090 can average 210 fps. So, it is better to go for the RTX 4090 as it provides superior frame territory for 144Hz and 120Hz gaming monitors.
|Call of Duty: Warzone||303.46||219.46|
When gaming at the 4K resolution, the choice of RTX 4090 over RTX 3090 Ti makes the most sense.
The 4090 is 60% superior to the 3090 Ti at the 4K resolution. Yes, the RTX 3090 Ti can net over 100fps for less demanding games on maximum settings. But, they stumble to hit 100 fps in high-demand games and often fail to clock even 60fps for the worst-case scenarios.
We get a huge difference when we compare the numbers with the RTX 4090. At maximum settings, the 4090 hit well over 100fps in demanding games. In less-demanding games, it can go up to 200 fps while for more challenging games, it will still be close to 100 fps and never go down to 60fps.
|Call of Duty: Warzone||217.53||144.02|
2. DLSS and Ray Tracing
The Nvidia develops the technology of DLSS, RTX 4090 enables DLSS 3.0 for their gaming performance which enhances the frame rates evidently when tested against the RTX 3090 Ti’s DLSS 2.0. The framerate is almost doubled with the use of DLSS 3.0 compared to DLSS 2.0. So, the RTX 4090 performs 40% with ray tracing and DLSS 3.0 when compared to RTX 3090 Ti with ray tracing and DLSS 2.0.
When ray-tracing is concerned, the RTX 4090 is way ahead of the RTX 3090 Ti which says a lot as the latter was regarded as the flagship in ray-tracing performance before the launch of the 40-series.
At native resolution, the RTX 4090 is 50% better than the 3090 Ti on average as it is enabled by ray tracing. With the ray tracing performance hit, the difference can be as significant as competing between 50fps and 85fps.
When we look at the design of the two GPUs, at first glance, one would feel that both are the same, but there are nuanced differences in the way their fans are manufactured. The RTX 4090 features new fans with an extended blade design that feel like they are protruding onto the railing. Also, the blade is flatter than the ones in RTX 3090 Ti. This enables the cooling performance in the RTX 4090 to be enhanced by 10% from the RTX 3090 Ti.
4. Power Consumption
When talking about power consumption, the RTX 4090 is highly impressive as they offer all the extra features maintaining almost the same power consumption of 450 watts. Therefore, power consumption has improved quite a lot in just a span of one upgrade. NVIDIA suggests that users should use 850W PSU for both graphics cards.
Overclocking the GPU means gradually increasing the speed of the GPU through the process. This enables the GPU to enhance the performance of the graphics card. Overclocking is a process that increases the core frequency of the graphics card and then tests the stability with a set benchmark and makes sure that it is not rapidly heating up.
Overclocking for 4090 is not worth the hassle as changing the overclocking settings can be very tedious, and it is maxed at 450W. Overclocking the RTX 3090 Ti is also not advisable as it might reduce the lifespan of the GPU.
Another aspect when looked at is the launch price of both GPUs. When launched, the price of RTX 3090 Ti was $1,999 retail which was a direct $500 increase from the earlier version of RTX 3090. This made it to be one of the most expensive graphics cards to be released.
On the other hand, the RTX 4090 was released at a much more palatable launch price of $1499, similar to the launch price of the RTX 3090. The price difference at the launch makes it feel like that NVIDIA is moving in the right direction but it is after they received the backlash from the regular users and due to the increased contempt among GPU buyers.
The low increase of the price for the high-end cards enable the low-end profile graphics cards to be available at a better value.
Both the GPUs, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, are high-end graphics card that provides the user with satisfying gaming performance with compatibility and reliability with all modern games. They are more suitable for 1440p and 4K resolution gaming as it is not really required if you are gaming at 1080p resolution.
If you want to base your choice on performance and specifications then the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 is racing ahead with new features and unmatched speed. The DLSS 3.0 and Ada Lovelace architecture also add to the benefits.
We have tried to cover everything regarding the topic: RTX 4090 vs NVIDIA RTX 3090 Ti. If you still have doubts, please write to us in the comments section below.