Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090: a new level of graphics performance

The embargo lifts today on Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 and it’s a phenomenal achievement in terms of graphics performance – as you would hope and expect from a $1600/£1650 GPU. The full Eurogamer review will follow as soon as possible, but so much work in Digital Foundry has gone into this project that we barely managed to complete the video review in time. Minutes away from the embargo lifting, I wanted to share the review with the Eurogamer audience – and offer some personal thoughts on the product.

First off, I think it’s important to point out that the power level of this product shows a jump in performance that the surrounding components of a gaming PC may struggle to fully access. The 1080p and 1440p metrics with this product are next to nonsense – even with my Core i9 12900K overclocked to 5.2 GHz on all performance cores, I find the frame rates hit the CPU limit. This even happens on some 4K benchmarks with no ray tracing in the equation. And even if you’re using RT, opting for DLSS performance mode (with an internal 1080p base frame) can again see you reaching your CPU limits.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 – Digital Foundry’s video review.

It’s been really interesting to “live” with the card for PC gaming over the past few weeks – I’m using an LG OLED CX 4K 120Hz display, and it’s a good fit for the RTX 4090. I don’t I don’t need to worry about settings, I don’t need to worry about performance. I would venture to suggest that for non-RT games the graphical issue is “solved”. Laser trace? No worries there either, thanks to DLSS. However, if I didn’t have a 4K 120Hz display, I wonder if I would need the 4090. This is my subjective opinion on gaming with the card, but the full video review above has all the numbers you need.

Since the performance data is complete and our video capture analysis is fully integrated into the Eurogamer system, here’s how some of the benchmarks play out. The RTX 4090’s biggest generational leaps are best seen at 4K with ray-tracing workloads maxed out, so here are some RT benchmarks across all major resolutions to look at.

Dying Light 2 Ultra RT, TAA, DX12

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Cyberpunk 2077, Ultra RT, DX12, TAA

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Control, High, High RT, DX12, TAA

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There’s an interesting spread of results here with Dying Light 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 at ultra RT settings delivering big, big generational gains. The Techland showcase sees a healthy 74% increase in performance for the RTX 4090 over the last-gen champ, the RTX 3090 Ti. This increases to 94% generation over generation compared to the RTX 3090. The numbers also demonstrate the challenge AMD faces in terms of ray tracing performance – there is a mountain to climb there.

Cyberpunk 2077? A nearly 86% increase over the RTX 3090 Ti – and the new GPU is more than twice as fast as the RTX 3090. On the other hand, Control sees more modest gains in the Corridor of Doom stress test , in line with some of the boosts seen in non-RT titles.

Eurogamer’s review is a massive one, currently running to nine pages! We hope to introduce it to you soon – and it’ll also be followed by a deeper dive into Nvidia’s disruptive DLSS 3 technology. It’s weeks of content in the works and I can’t wait to share it with you. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the video review.

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