RTX 4090 review: Spend at least $1,599 on Nvidia’s biggest deal in years

Enlarge / The Nvidia RTX 4090 Founders Edition. If you can’t tell, those lines are drawn, though the weight of this $1,599 product might convince you that they reflect actual motion blur when viewing. opening this huge box.

Sam Mashkovech

The Nvidia RTX 4090 makes me laugh.

This is partly due to its size. When a standalone GPU is as big as a modern video game console – its overall volume is almost the same as the Xbox Series S and more than twice the size of a Nintendo Switch – it’s hard not to laugh. with disbelief. None of Nvidia’s highest-end “reference” GPUs, previously called “Titan” models, have ever been this massive, and things only get more ridiculous when you go beyond “Founders Edition” from Nvidia and learn about AIB options from third-party partners. (We haven’t tested any models other than the 4090 FE yet.)

However, after figuring out how to safely mount and power the RTX 4090, the laughs turn decidedly different. You will constantly laugh withnot atthe RTX 4090 either in glee or excited disbelief.

The RTX 4090 is the biggest holy cow leap in GPU performance over its contemporaries in recent history. It probably even exceeds the Nvidia 1000 series Titan X in this regard. Think of any current PC gaming workload that includes “future-proof” overpower settings, then imagine the RTX 4090 simulating like Grave Digger and smashing through those tests like abandoned cars on a rally monster trucks.

You’re hoping for results like that of a $1,599+ GPU, but remember, when it launched, Nvidia’s Titan-like RTX 3090 disappointed price-performance compared to the RTX 3080. Additionally, the RTX 3090 only got away with its inflated price due to the large GPU shortage. (Emails I sent to many desperate friends during dark times boiled down to “if you have to spend over $1,000 on a new GPU, consider getting a 3090 at MSRP.”)

For anyone even considering the 4090 at its crazy price, you at least get what you pay for (despite the AIB markups). The RTX 4090 is as impressive as it is reasonably priced, at least until AMD’s competition tries to catch up. But this review is also for anyone wondering what the “Ada Lovelace” generation of Nvidia GPUs can possibly deliver at lower price points – in particular, a bold new flavor of Nvidia’s “DLSS” system – and whether the 4090’s stunning successes will trickle down to the rest of us. Because for these customers, expecting higher performance and fair, realistic pricing is no easy feat.

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