Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Evaluation Roundup

The sale of the GeForce RTX 3090 from Nvidia has already started (and is of course sold out). The company's most powerful GPU, outperforming the flagship RTX 3080, is proving to be a popular option for more than just avid PC gamers. Creatives, data scientists and artificial intelligence workers are sure to find the unique technology of the RTX 3090 useful.

At $ 1,499, the RTX 3090 costs more than double the price of the RTX 3080 for $ 699. Although it is certainly Nvidia's fastest gaming silicon right now, is Nvidia's powerful GPU a boon that gamers should take into account? Here are the things that initial benchmarks, tests, and reviews say about the RTX 3090.


Although Nvidia calls the RTX 3080 its flagship second-generation ray tracing GPU, the RTX 3090 is the most powerful card in its amp lineup. In keeping with its performance, the card comes in a sturdier package that is both longer and larger than the RTX 3080. Nvidia's new metal-clad design features cooling fins and a new fan arrangement. Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, called the RTX 3090 its "BFGPU" (big, wild GPU) when the card was announced for its rugged triple-slot design.

As a result, some publications, including PC Gamer, have been surprised by the size of the card. The size means your rig should be big enough to hold the card if you are after Nvidia's finest silicon. Therefore no compact desktops have to be used here. Even if you have a desktop with room for the BFGPU, you may not want to move your rig too often to keep the card from moving and damaging your PCIe slot.

If you opt for a multi-GPU setup, keep in mind that the new fan design means hot air is blown back into your PC case rather than venting with a traditional style of blower. For a single GPU setup, the fan design was very effective, according to PC World. It consumed more than 500 watts and ran at only 68 degrees under load.

Made for creative people

Although Nvidia markets the RTX 3090 to gamers, the card is actually the successor to the Titan RTX, a Turing-based GPU that is part of Nvidia's RTX 2000 series and is geared towards professional use. Given the RTX 3090's legacy, performance in the creative workflow will be excellent as the new card outperforms the Titan RTX by as much as 50% to over 100% in a number of synthetic benchmarks.

As expected, the RTX 3090 does well in a number of creative and professional benchmarks. Since this is already a more robust version of the RTX 3080 – with 24 GB of RAM to boot – we can assume that the 3090 will outperform the flagship. Now we know that, according to PC Gamer, this card achieves a performance advantage of 21% over the RTX 3080 in the SANDRA GPGPU test and achieves twice the performance increase compared to the Titan RTX and RTX 2080 Ti. This is a huge leap and will be beneficial for professionals who use GPUs as tools for their workflows.

With its 24GB of fast GDDR6X memory, additional cores, and architecture changes from Turing to Ampere, the GeForce RTX 3090 performed excellently in the Blender rendering tests. Here, Hot Hardware found that the card was three to four times faster than the RTX 3080 or Titan RTX. The RTX 3090's performance was significantly better than that of the Titan RTX in tests such as OTOY Octane Render, OctaneBench, IndigoBench and others. In Blender, TechRadar stated in its test that the RTX 3090 is up to twice as fast as the RTX 2080 Ti when rendering, as amps handles FP32 operations.

Using OctaneBench, PC World found that the RTX 3090 performed 86% better than the RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 3090 was also 19% better than the RTX 3080 on this benchmark. The other tests in the release showed that the RTX 3090 performed best on benchmarks such as Puget System's SPECviewperf 13 and DaVinci Resolve Studio.

But when the GPU is taxed more heavily, the RTX 3090 really starts to shine. Under heavy creative stress, the RTX 3090 seems to offer a significant leap in performance over its competitors, as the PCWorld test with the DaVinci Resolve Studio tests shows. With the results of Open FX and Temporal Noise, PCWorld found that the RTX 3090 really outperforms its competitors.

For professionals, the increase in performance of the RTX 3090 offers excellent value. With faster rendering, motifs can save a lot of valuable time in your workflow.

4K games

As expected, the 4K gaming performance was excellent, although gamers playing at 4K resolution or below won't see a significant increase in performance compared to the cheaper RTX 3080. Compared to the older RTX 2080 Ti, you are with Nvidia's top-notch graphics, which can boost performance by up to 30%, but you pay a high premium here. Most gamers using an RTX 2000 series or older will likely be content with saving money and upgrading to the RTX 3080 instead.

In Horizon Zero Dawn, you get a 12% performance improvement, according to PCWorld, even though the boost was only 5% at 1440p. This shows that the RTX 3090 investment will only pay off if you are playing games that really put a strain on the GPU. The situation was similar with Gears Tactics, Metro Exodus, Borderlands 3, Strange Brigade, Total War: Troy, F1 2020 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. In all of these titles, PCWorld's tests have shown that the RTX 3090 is the most powerful graphics card and delivers better frame rates in both 4K and 1440p gaming.

However, given the cost of the card, you still get a lower marginal return compared to the flagship RTX 3080.

HotHardware found that the RTX 3090 outperforms the RTX 3080 in Metro Exodus by a little more than 14% when using the Ultra Quality preset in the game with 4K resolution. Compared to the Titan RTX, the RTX 3090 had a better minimum frame rate, showing that you're getting an improved gaming experience and that the amp line will usher in 4K gaming.

Because of its strong hardware capabilities, the effect on performance with ray tracing enabled is not quite as dramatic as with RTX 2000 series cards. The RTX 3090 also performs better than the RTX 3080 at 4K resolution and ray tracing enabled. You won't find that so many frames were deleted with the more expensive card. In fact, the second generation ray tracing hardware is so good that Huang stated that his Ampere cards perform better in games with more ray tracing elements. We don't deny these claims, especially with the RTX 3090, where its powerful hardware can handle the tax demands of ray tracing, an area where weaker GPUs have struggled.

The RTX 3090 was still playing at 72 fps (frames per second) and activated ray tracing with DLSS, compared to just 63 fps for the RTX 3080 and 55 fps for the Titan RTX at Metro Exodus. With ray tracing, you're still making a tradeoff on frame rates for better graphics, but overall performance is better. In general, with RTX and DLSS enabled, the RTX 3090 did 13% better than the RTX 3080, according to Hot Hardware.

Performance for 8K games

To get to 8 KB, the RTX 3090 A.I. Upscaling graphics to 8K, resulting in sharper scenes by using DLSS Ultra Performance mode. The new DLSS 2.1 specification uses what Nvidia calls 9x AI Super Resolution by using hardware to render images at 1440p and then upscaling those images to 8K mode.

Although the RTX 3090 offers strong 4K gaming performance over its competitors in the Nvidia graphics family, performance was a bit more inconsistent at 8K. While the RTX 3090 crushed the competition in some games, it hardly surpassed the RTX 3080 in other titles.

An example of this is Middle-earth: Shadow of War. In this title, the RTX 3090 ran at 38 fps, compared to just 31 fps on the RTX 3080 and below 30 fps on the Titan RTX. This means that the RTX 3090 performs 22% better than the RTX 3080. In Gears Tactics with 8 KB, however, the RTX 3090 ran at 22 fps compared to 21 fps and 19 fps in the RTX 3080 and Titan RTX.

It should be noted that many of the reviews did not test gaming performance on an actual 8K monitor. Instead, most reviewers rely on Nvidia's 4X Dynamic Super Resolution software to unlock the 8132 x 4320 resolution on a standard 4K screen. The result is that few games – GTA V and F1 2020 – have been played with or around Nvidia's stated promise of 60 fps in Ultra settings. However, most games, including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Gears Tactics, were played at around 30 fps in this setting, according to PCWorld tests. The release stated that it is quite sluggish and artifacts could be present in the lower frame rates.

Some titles we tested, such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Gears Tactics, have dynamic resolution scaling that provides better performance. However, the downside is blurring as the feature doesn't use Artificial Intelligence or DLSS 2.0 to clean up the scenes. PCWorld warned that blurring can become very evident in these scenes.

Many gamers will likely no longer have to worry about blurring or even 8K gaming at this point. Most gaming monitors, especially those that support Nvidia's G Sync, offer 4K resolution, while many mainstream gamers will still play at 1080p or 1440p resolution. Given that 8K panels are still geared towards professional workflows, existing monitors often have slower refresh rates that make them less ideal for gaming, and the benefits of upscaling to 8K and then downscaling to a 4K screen are still there not proven.

It is unclear whether gamers appreciate dynamic resolution scaling or whether more titles incorporate it. Until we see 6K or 8K panels designed specifically for gaming with high refresh rates, faster response times, and minimal lag, we won't be able to really take advantage of Nvidia's game-ready 8K GPU.


The RTX 3090 is a monster GPU that matches its BFGPU moniker. From these round one ratings, its gaming and professional benchmarking performance shows that it will be spoiled for choice of undoubtedly beating all of its competitors. Gamers upgrading from an older generation GPU will easily see the appeal of the RTX 3090 despite its sky-high price. What you should definitely check out, however, is the significantly cheaper RTX 3080. Given that the RTX 3090 costs more than double the RTX 3080 and only 10-20% faster performance, gamers can get this card despite its powerful performance probably best to skip it.

Unless you're a state-of-the-art gamer who needs the best of everything, it will take time for 8K games to become a reality without resorting to upscaling tricks and affordable 8K monitors making the appearance. By choosing the RTX 3080, you really don't lack much, even if it isn't the best silicon from Nvidia. The RTX 3080 is the more sensible alternative, as it can now process 4K games at 60 fps without any problems.

For creatives, the RTX 3090's strong performance makes it easier to justify business costs – the card can analyze data, render images and videos, and get things done faster, making it a real time saver. And when time is money, the initial expense of the card can easily be made up for by increased productivity for business use.

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