Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition Full Review

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Does your graphics card have to have a lot of power to do its job? As in: do you enjoy a lot of power? Your next GPU may be the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Supreme X 24G if you fall into that category. Every productivity benchmark we could throw at it, as well as gaming tests, were crushed by the power-hungry RTX 3090 Supreme. In addition to its pricing ($1,799 MSRP), the RTX 3080 Founders Edition is a perfectly adequate gaming beast for a fraction of the cost ($699, assuming you can locate one). For video makers and gamers with unlimited budgets, there is no better choice on the market. As the top of the stack, this overclocked mega-card more than justifies its position. Also, you can see the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super Review: Best Budget Graphics Card



The following are the highlights of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition Full Review:



Founders Editions Design:

As with the RTX 3080, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition has the finest cooler design Team Green has ever produced. Despite its size – the graphics card is 12.3 inches in length and has three slots – it is not without its flaws. No scale here, and Nvidia doesn’t specify the weight, but it’s more than 7 lbs, at the very least! Also, you can see the best graphics card for gaming in 2021

There are two fans on either side of the GPU, which is comparable to the RTX 3080 Founders Edition’s color combination of black and gunmetal grey. Similar cooling principles apply here as well – draw air up through the graphics card and exhaust it towards the top of the case. Because of its large surface area, the heatsink is also more efficient at cooling.

This cooler design required a full reworking of the PCB in order to enable air to travel through the graphics card’s rear. The result was a new 12-pin PCIe power connector, rather than the twin 8-pin connectors you may have been expecting from the company. However, there are some bespoke cables in the works from companies like Corsair that will accommodate this new power connection. You don’t have to worry about it, for now, thanks to Nvidia’s inclusion of a 2-to-1 8-to-12-pin power connection in the package. 

But it’s a bit ugly, and it’s difficult to maintain the same level of cable cleanliness as you would normally. In any case, third-party graphics card makers continue to use the same 8-pin power connection.

But it’s a bit ugly, and it’s difficult to maintain the same level of cable cleanliness as you would normally. In any case, third-party graphics card makers continue to use the same 8-pin power connection.

Performance:

The inaugural Ampere GPU—hailed by Jen-Hsun as the flagship card of the new RTX 30-series despite knowing the RTX 3090 was following a week after the initial launch— already delivers gen-on-gen performance to make the RTX 2080 Ti look like a mid-range GPU. That’s no mean feat from a card that’s almost half the price. Also, you can see Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 Price, Specification: A Complete Review

Aside from its gaming capabilities, the RTX 3090 is a beautiful new GPU from Nvidia. AMD, on the other hand, is facing a tough struggle in October/November with its RDNA 2 and Navi 21 cards.

This brings us to our next question. For one thing, it isn’t significantly faster. For the typical player, this isn’t enough to justify the price tag. For completeness’ sake, I did test 1080p performance. You should be slapped for utilizing an RTX 3090 to power a 1080p panel. Even if Football Manager 2020 runs at 4K, I’m still happy with the results.

Because of this, the RTX 3090 has a performance boost of just 7.28 percent at 1440p on average throughout my test suite, compared to the RTX 3080, which is practically CPU-bound at that level in many games. RTX-enabled games like Horizon Zero Dawn and Metro Exodus have frame rates that are no better than 12.

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Pro rending:

Now, this is where things get a little more complicated, and I’ll have to venture a little off the beaten path for PC Gamer and into rendering territory. With the most current upgrades and RTX rendering plug-ins, I’ve put Maya and Blender through their paces to see what 24GB of frame buffer would get you.

You’ll see faster rendering times and get access to features that would otherwise take a long time to develop. You’ll also be able to manipulate scenes with large data footprints in real-time. 

RTX 3080 already accomplishes a lot of stuff, to be honest. The RTX 2080 Ti is beaten in every test by the cheaper Ampere card, and the RTX 3090 isn’t far behind. Maya’s data points don’t speak to the experience of working with a graphically complex scenario.

You may not be able to change the depth of field or focal lengths in real-time with an RTX 3080, but you will have to wait a long time. You may be surprised at how quickly that 10GB frame buffer runs out. Then it begins to chug. Its ability to contain such scenes fully within the frame buffer will save you a lot of time during construction, if not during rendering.

4k benchmarks:

Only 11.16 % quicker on average in 4K compared to its somewhat older Ampere brother. Metro Exodus RTX takes the top spot again, but only by 16 percent above the RTX 3090. 

In addition to 8K gaming, Nvidia claims that the RTX 3090 can offer passable frame rates with ray-tracing enabled at that astronomical resolution. Although it’s a niche market, it’s also true. The answer is yes, under specific conditions. 

For 8K, Nvidia has introduced DLSS Ultra Performance. A 1440p gameworld is upscaled to 8K at 9x AI super-resolution, allowing for smooth 8K gaming. When 8K pictures are upscaled from native 1080p or native 4K, DLSS 8K is supposed to give better image quality. 

However, I can testify to the real performance, with a margin of approximately 3 percent variation due to DSR utilizing the Nvidia driver. In any case, using Wolfenstein Youngblood’s normal DLSS, I obtained a fairly respectable 45fps @ 8K. Nazi robot dogs ran at 77fps after switching to the new Uberperformance setting in the new DLSS. 

Keep in mind that 8K is 33 million pixels in size. Each frame is a picture. That’s four times as many raw pixels as 4K requires.

DLSS Ultra Performance is not yet supported by all games, not even those that support DLSS. So it’s still a touch too narrow to justify a $1,500 purchase, despite its strong start. 

This isn’t exactly a card for gamers. The GeForce Titan will sell well to PC gamers, and I’m sure that high-end system designs from boutique PC makers will also do well, but these are practically by-products of Nvidia putting the GeForce name on a real Titan card and admitting as much in the process.

Thermals and Power:

Final note: This 350W TGP card uses a lot of electricity. The Asus TUF Gaming RTX 3080 and Colorful RTX 3080 cards, both of which have lesser specifications, were just slightly faster in my tests.

Features:

As with the RTX 3080, the RTX 3090 is based on Nvidia’s Ampere architecture and uses the GA102 GPU in its entirety. There will be 82 Streaming Multiprocessors, which will add up to 10,496 CUDA cores, 328 Tensor cores, and 82 Real-Time Cores in the next generation.

A slight increase in SMs from the Nvidia Turing Titan RTX 72 may appear insignificant at first, but the Ampere architecture allows both datapaths on each SM to perform FP32 workloads, which is a game-changing feature. This doubles the number of CUDA cores per SM, explaining why the RTX 3090 is such a rendering powerhouse. 

Having 24GB of video memory on a 384-bit bus, that’s 936GB/s of memory bandwidth – or about 1TB of data every second. Anyone who conducts extensive 3D rendering work in programs like Davinci Resolve and Blender would profit greatly from this. You’ll save money in the long run if you’re using these programs in your business. The RTX 3090 is a great value for the money, especially when you consider that it costs less than the Titan RTX.

If you’re working with Ray Tracing apps, your system manager (SM) will cast a light beam and then offload ray tracing tasks to the RT cores, who will compute where the beam hits the scene, and then return that information to the SM. It used to be very difficult to perform ray tracing in real-time, as the SM was responsible for performing the entire computation by itself, on top of whatever rasterization it was required to perform at the time.

Even though the RT Core handles a large portion of the effort, ray-tracing is still a computationally costly technique. As a result, DLSS is becoming increasingly essential, both in gaming and in applications like D5 Render, because of its performance benefits. 

Turing Tensor Cores in Nvidia Ampere graphics cards have also experienced a huge performance boost. In contrast, the performance of DLSS hasn’t been boosted by two times because each SM now has a single Tensor Core, previously Turing had two. 

But they’re used for more than simply DLSS. Nvidia Broadcast, one of the most underappreciated aspects of this generation, is also enabled by this technology. 

Our meetings and late-night Discord hangouts have been using Nvidia Broadcast for the last several weeks, and it does a fantastic job of filtering out undesirable noise and switching your background when you’re in the 50th Zoom call of the week and you’ve run out of energy to clean. 

We’ve all been working from home for so long that anything that makes video conferencing less stressful is a major benefit. And that’s likely to continue. Anyone with an Nvidia RTX-powered device may make use of this technology. 

We do, however, need to address the issue of power usage. It reached its greatest power consumption of 357 Watts throughout our tests. The battery life is impressive, especially if you couple it with a fast CPU. A power supply of at least 750W is recommended by Nvidia, however, we’d recommend a power supply of at least 1,000W with this card, just to be on the safe side.

Specifications:

Graphics CardRTX 3090 FERTX 3080 FETitan RTXRTX 2080 Ti FE
ArchitectureGA102GA102TU102TU102
Process TechnologySamsung 8NSamsung 8NTSMC 12FFNTSMC 12FFN
Transistors (Billion)28.328.318.618.6
Die size (mm^2)628.4628.4754754
SMS82687268
GPU Cores (FP32)10496870446084352
GPU Cores (INT32)5248435246084352
Tensor Cores328272576544
RT Cores82687268
Base Clock (MHz)1395144013501515
Boost Clock (MHz)1695171017701635
VRAM Speed (Gbps)19.5191414
VRAM (GB)24102411
VRAM Bus Width384320384352
ROPs112969688
TMUs328272288272
TFLOPS FP3235.629.816.314.2
TOPS INT3217.814.916.314.2
Tensor TFLOPS FP16 (Sparsity)142 (285)119 (238)130114
RT TFLOPS69.558.149.245.7
Bandwidth (Gbps)936760672616
TDP (watts)350320285260
Launch DateSeptember 2020September 2020December 2018September 2018
Launch Price$1,499$699$2,499$1,199

Pros:

  • The most powerful gaming processor
  • Stunning work by the creator
  • On the market, the best GPU performance
  • Excellent cooling ability
  • For creative workers, this is a fantastic deal
  • You can set it and forget it. Gaming in 4K

Cons:

  • Simply enormous
  • The RTX 3080 isn’t far behind in terms of performance
  • Excessively costly
  • Card with a very huge size

Verdict:

This is a tough one since I would only suggest the $1,500 RTX 3090 to a select few folks. None of them are gamers, either.

Jen-Hsun predicted that this would be a Titan card, and she was right. It’s a creator’s card, with a shockingly strong GPU and a frame buffer that enables personal creativity on a scale seldom seen on a GPU this cheap. I hesitate to speak to any value proposition here, but for someone working on paid 3D art or high-end video editing projects, a $1,500 graphics card with this much capability might help pay for itself in a pretty short period.

However, in terms of gameplay, the RTX 3090 provides no more performance than the considerably more cheap RTX 3080, and I’m not sure why you’d spend the additional cash if all you wanted to do was play Night City in 4K. But again, I’ve never been the kind to rationalize such extravagant hardware purchases only for the sake of having the newest, quickest, and most expensive.

Perhaps this is why I have a problem with the GeForce branding on a Titan class GPU. It’s a Titan, so keep it that way. Keep it nominally for the creators, but with a nod to the die-hard fans. Again, I know some of those folks, people who are ready to spend whatever it takes to be at the cutting edge of gaming, people who would truly regret purchasing an RTX 3080 if an RTX 3090 was available with better frame rates.

However, Nvidia claims that by giving it the GeForce brand, it will be able to move it out of the Titan’s exclusive realm—where it is only available in Nvidia trim, from Nvidia’s store—and make it available to third-party AIBs to develop their versions. That’s good if it means more cards are available for people who want them, but I can’t help but think we’ll see RTX 3090s priced perilously close to $2,000 merely for the sake of a pointless factory overclock. Possibly even more.

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