Nvidia RTX 4090 vs 3090 – Ada vs Ampere top end


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We now take a look and see what the next-gen has to offer against the current. We compare the RTX 4090 vs 3090 with how they are likely to line up.

As the RTX 4090 is yet to be confirmed or the specifications released we go off the rumors. Although these are likely to change before the release we will keep our relevant pages updated.

While the RTX 3090 came out in September 2020 as part of the 30 series. Whereas the RTX 4090 is expected out in the second half of 2022, most likely further down the line.

Although the 3090 was the flagship initially the 3090 Ti took that spot. And it’s likely that the 4090 will be the flagship for the RTX 4000 series initially.

Both are at the forefront as the best graphics card for their generation.

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio 24G

Clock Speed

1785MHz Boost Clock (OC)

Thermal Design

TRI FROZR Cooling Solution

Architecture

The two cards are from two different generations. With an architectural and foundry change again for Nvidia. Changing the core processing at the heart of the card.

The 3090 is based on the Ampere architecture, with the GA102-300 GPU variant. Created with Samsungs 8nm process it creates a die of 628mm² in size with 28.3 billion transistors.

Whereas the 4090 is going to be on the Ada/Lovelace architecture with the AD102-300 chip. Which itself has been moved back to TSMC and its 5nm process. With a die size of 611mm² but with an unknown number of transistors.

Although the newer chip may be smaller, it does have a more compact build. So it is possible to fit more inside of it and so it will likely feature a higher count of transistors.

RTX 3090 side on

Specifications

RTX 4090 RTX 3090
GPU AD102-300 GA102-30
GPU process TSMC 5nm Samsung 8nm
CUDA cores 16,384 10,496
Base clock 2,235 MHz 1,395 MHz
Boost clock 2,520 MHz 1,695 MHz
Memory 24GB GDDR6X 24GB GDDR6X
Memory clock 21 Gbps 19.5 Gbps
Memory bus 384-bit 384-bit
TDP 450W 350W

These are the rumored specs so these may change and are not final. But we can compare and see what to expect from the upcoming model.

Seeing how they compare on the key features we may know about. As well as informing you why they are important.

CUDA cores

CUDA stands for Compute Unified Device Architecture. These are parallel processors on Nvidia graphics cards working on creating the final image.

They are responsible for all the processing aimed at the graphics card. Along with count number, there can be changes in efficiency improving graphics performance.

The older Ampere card features 10,496 cores. Whilst the Ada card could potentially feature 16,384. A significant increase likely leading to improved performance.

RTX 3090 close up

Frequency 

Also known as the clock rate of the processor, it’s the speed of processing. With how quickly the graphics and instructions get done through the card.

It is how quickly the silicon crystals flip that determines the stat. The spec can be played with and is often subject to overclocking. But does lead to increased temperatures and power providing those extra frames.

If the current rumors are correct, then the new gen offers much faster speeds. With the rates increasing by nearly 1,000 MHz.

With the 4090 base clock at 2,235 MHz up from 1,395 MHz. Whilst the boost clock up from 1,695 MHz to 2,520 MHz.

Which will improve the performance with higher framerates and lower frame times.

VRAM

Video memory is the RAM of the graphics card. It is utilized as a frame buffer and pixel store for improving framerates.

It’s most important for higher resolutions. Reaching 4k and beyond will need more pixels and therefore capacity and speed to keep it going.

Between the two the VRAM is kept the same. With 24GB of GDDR6X as well as using a 384-bit memory bus.

Where they differ is the memory clock. There the new gen card improves the speed by over 2 Gbps. Reaching 21 Gbps over 19.5, further increasing the quickness of the Ada cards.

TDP

The thermal design power of a card is the total energy consumed under full utilization. It is the maximum it will consume at any point.

This also determines how much heat the card gives off. Coming from the work the chip does in such a small area.

So comparing the two we see a large increase in power consumption. There is a likely 100W difference between the two GPUs.

With the 4090 the one reaching to 450W. Closer to the consumption of the 3090 Ti than the 3090.

This has led to much larger cooling solutions like 4 slot cards. So it is important to consider where you’re putting it or consider water cooling your card.

RTX 3090 Ti GPU 13

RTX 4090 vs 3090 performance

We have to wait for the new card to come out before we get an in-game performance. However, there are some preliminary performances and benchmarks we can find.

There are some leaks as to the Time Spy Extreme scores that the card can achieve. Part of 3DMarks benchmarks, it gives GPUs a graphics score for comparison.

And although it may yet change it does give an idea. Supposedly the 4090 achieves a score of 19,000 whilst the 3090 currently gets 10,440. That is an 82% increase in the performance.

Although this may change with the release and depend on what they are paired with. 

Price comparison

This is a stat we can only speculate on. As before release, it is a rather volatile thing that can change right to the end.

So the 3090 launched with an MSRP of $1,499USD/£1,399. And that is likely to be the starting price point of the 4090 as well.

It is likely to cost in the range of $1,499-$1,999USD/£1,399-£1,999. As with improved performance, increasing costs, and inflation it wouldn’t be a surprise to see an increase in the cost.

Zotac RTX 3090

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 Trinity

Clock Speed

1695MHz Boost Clock (OC)

Thermal Design

IceStorm 2.0 Cooling Solution

Is the 4090 worth it over a 3090?

Overall, comparing the 4090 vs 3090 is a hard thing right now. But if you do require so much fast memory for projects like rendering and modeling it might be worth it.

Although the 3090 will likely hold up, especially as it receives discounts before the launch of the next generation. As the 4090 is likely to increase in price it can be even less appealing to a lot of users.

So although both are likely to be more premium high-end choices we have to wait and see what the new one can achieve.


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