3090 vs 4090: A Detailed Comparison

3090 vs 4090 A Detailed Comparison

In the world of gaming and professional workloads, choosing the right graphics card is crucial for achieving top-tier performance.

The battle between NVIDIA’s flagship GPUs, the RTX 3090 and RTX 4090, has left many users wondering which card is best suited to their needs.

Our comprehensive comparison dives deep into each GPU’s specifications, gaming prowessAI capabilities, energy efficiency, thermal performance and much more.

Key Takeaways

  • The RTX 4090 GPU is superior to the RTX 3090 in terms of memory capacity, processing power, number of cores, and connectivity options.
  • When it comes to gaming performance, the RTX 4090 outperforms the RTX 3090 across all resolutions with significantly higher frame rates and benchmark scores.
  • Recommended use cases for the RTX 3090 include gaming at lower resolutions or content creation while professional workloads like machine learning and dual AV1 encoding favor the more powerful and efficient RTX 4090. DLSS technology also provides a significant performance boost for gamers using this card.

Understanding The RTX 3090 And RTX 4090

Memory Capacity

One of the key factors to consider when comparing the RTX 3090 and RTX 4090 is their impressive memory capacity.

The large memory capacity allows these GPUs to manage highly detailed textures, complex scenes, and data-heavy processes without slowing down.

For example, game designers working with expansive open-world environments or architects creating intricate architectural visualizations will appreciate how effortlessly these cards handle such tasks.

In addition, this generous amount of VRAM also provides a significant advantage for those utilizing applications that demand exceptional levels of detail – like video editing software or advanced machine learning algorithms.

Processing Power

In the battle between the RTX 3090 and RTX 4090, processing power is one of those aspects that sets these two graphics cards apart.

Number Of Cores

The RTX 4090 boasts a staggering 50% higher core count than its predecessor – encompassing more CUDA Cores for general-purpose computations along with additional SMs for improved parallelism.

Notably, it also features a significant increase in both RT Cores for enhanced ray tracing capabilities as well as additional Tensor Cores that help power NVIDIA’s cutting-edge upscaling technology: DLSS 3.0.

With these upgraded specifications at hand, users can expect an unparalleled gaming experience accompanied by stunning visuals throughout all resolutions – from rapid frame rates at 1080p or silky-smooth gameplay even on demanding titles set to high settings at beautiful 4K resolution.

Connectivity Options

Both GPUs have similar connectivity options, with NVIDIA providing support for HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4a protocols on both cards.

One area where the RTX 4090 stands out is in its NVLink Bridge feature for multiple GPU setups.

Gaming Performance Comparison: RTX 3090 Vs RTX 4090

Frame Rates At 1080p, 1440p, And 4K Resolutions

Here’s a comparison of the frame rates delivered by the RTX 3090 and RTX 4090 at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions.


Resolution RTX 3090 Frame Rates RTX 4090 Frame Rates Performance Difference
1080p 180-200 FPS 240-260 FPS 30-40% Faster
1440p 120-140 FPS 180-200 FPS 50% Faster
4K 60-70 FPS 100-120 FPS 60-70% Faster

RTX 4090 outperforms the RTX 3090 across all resolutions, delivering significantly higher frame rates.

This increased performance is particularly noticeable at 4K, where the RTX 4090 offers a staggering 60-70% performance boost compared to the RTX 3090. K

eep in mind that DLSS 3.0 makes 4K 120Hz gaming possible on the RTX 4090, further enhancing the gaming experience for users who opt for this powerful GPU.


When it comes to benchmark results, the RTX 4090 clearly outperforms the RTX 3090 in the most demanding gaming and professional scenarios. 


Game/Software Resolution RTX 3090 RTX 4090
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 4K (RTX + DLSS) 72 FPS 115 FPS
Control 4K (RTX + DLSS) 59 FPS 89 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 4K (RTX + DLSS) 52 FPS 76 FPS
3DMark Time Spy Extreme 4K 8536 13452
Blender 3D Rendering 48s 34s
OctaneBench 3D Rendering 673 989


The RTX 4090 consistently achieves higher frame rates and better benchmark scores than the RTX 3090. These improvements are especially notable when it comes to 4K gaming with ray tracing and DLSS enabled.

This demonstrates the considerable performance leap that the RTX 4090 brings to the table.

Recommended Use Cases

Here are some recommended use cases for each card:

For the RTX 3090:

  • Gaming at 1080p or 1440p resolutions with a high refresh rate monitor
  • Content creation, such as video editing and 3D rendering
  • Running machine learning models for hobbyist researchers or those working for small firms in AI

For the RTX 4090:

  • Gaming at 4K resolution with a high refresh rate monitor
  • Professional workloads that require significant GPU power, such as machine learning and dual AV1 encoding
  • Running large – scale machine learning models in research projects or commercial environments

Keep in mind that both cards can perform well across all resolutions and workloads, but these are our recommended use cases based on their performance capabilities.

DLSS 3.0 And Ray Tracing Performance

The RTX 4090’s DLSS 3.0 performance is significantly better than the RTX 3090, which can more than double non-upscaled frame rates. DLSS technology uses deep learning to upscale lower resolution images into higher resolutions with minimal visual quality loss, making it ideal for 4K gaming where high refresh rates and ray-tracing effects are crucial.

When it comes to ray tracing performance, the RTX 4090 also outperforms the RTX 3090. On average, they produce twice as many ray traced frames per second as their predecessors with little compromise in overall image quality or detail level.

As a result, gamers and professionals alike will enjoy smoother gameplay at higher resolutions while maintaining top-notch visual fidelity when using this card.

Professional Workloads Comparison: RTX 3090 Vs RTX 4090

The RTX 4090 outperforms the RTX 3090 in machine learning, 3D rendering and dual AV1 encoding due to its significantly higher number of CUDA cores and Tensor cores.

Machine Learning

The RTX 3090 and RTX 4090 are no exception to this trend as they both feature Tensor Cores, which are used extensively for complex machine learning computations.

However, the newer RTX 4090 has more advanced Tensor Cores than the RTX 3090 allowing for better performance per watt of power consumed.

But even without considering machine learning needs specifically, the extra performance provided by the RTX 4090’s beefier hardware should translate into improved overall processing capabilities compared to its predecessor when handling data-intensive applications like video editing or rendering software.

3D Rendering

The RTX 4090 outperforms the RTX 3090 in terms of CUDA cores and SMs, making it more efficient in handling demanding tasks such as rendering large-scale projects with millions of polygons.

The additional Tensor Cores also enable AI-accelerated workflows to speed up the rendering process by training deep neural networks for better image quality.

Although the RTX 3090 performs exceptionally well in most games’ graphics-intensive settings at any resolution, its performance is limited when it comes to professional workloads such as machine learning and encoding videos at higher resolutions.

Dual AV1 Encoding

While the RTX 3090 only supports AV1 decoders, the newer RTX 4090 features dual AV1 encoding, which allows for AV1 content creation.

This means that if you’re creating video content in this high-quality format, the RTX 4090 will provide a significant advantage over its predecessor.

Specs Comparison: RTX 3090 Vs RTX 4090

Let’s take a closer look at the technical specifications of the RTX 3090 and the RTX 4090 to determine which one is better suited for your needs.

TDP And Power Consumption

One of the key factors to consider when comparing the RTX 3090 and RTX 4090 is their TDP and power consumption, as this will impact the overall efficiency and potential operating costs for users.

Below is a table outlining their respective TDP and power consumption:

Specification RTX 3090 RTX 4090
TDP 350W 450W
Recommended PSU 750W 850W
Power Consumption (Under Load) 100W Less Than RTX 4090 Higher Than RTX 3090
Power Efficiency Lower Than RTX 4090 Better Than RTX 3090


RTX 4090 has a higher TDP and requires a more powerful PSU to run, indicating its superior performance capabilities. However, this also means that it consumes more power than the RTX 3090, leading to potentially higher electricity costs for users.

Despite its higher power draw, the RTX 4090 is more power-efficient than the RTX 3090, which means that it delivers more performance per watt. It’s crucial to take these factors into account when deciding which GPU is the right choice for your needs and overall system build.

CUDA Cores, SMs, RT Cores, And Tensor Cores

Both GPUs have CUDA Cores, Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs), Ray Tracing (RT) Cores, and Tensor Cores. However, the RTX 4090 has about 50% more of these cores than its predecessor.

The Tensor Cores are particularly noteworthy since they allow for upscaling images using Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). DLSS can provide a significant boost in frame rates with little noticeable visual quality loss.

In addition, the new Tensor Cores on the RTX 4090 enable deep learning to generate frames between those that your GPU renders– something that previous NVIDIA GPUs lack.

This new feature is called DLSS 3.0 and can help increase frame rates even more while maintaining or improving image quality. So, if you’re looking for a GPU with powerful AI-assisted rendering capabilities, then you might prefer the RTX 4090 over its predecessor.

Clock Speed

The RTX 4090 has a higher base and boost clock than its predecessor, with a base clock of 1815MHz compared to the RTX 3090’s base clock at 1395 MHz. This means that tasks requiring faster processing will be completed more efficiently with the newer model.

However, it’s worth noting that overall performance cannot be entirely determined by just looking at clock speeds alone as other factors such as memory capacity also play an essential role in determining performance between these two GPUs.

So while higher clocks certainly help, you should not solely rely on this metric when deciding which GPU is right for you.


While the RTX 3090 has an already exceptional 24GB GDDR6X RAM, the newer release RTX 4090 boasts an even more impressive 32GB GDDR6 RAM. This means that when it comes to processing large workloads and dealing with high-resolution gaming or multiple applications at once, the RTX 4090 outperforms its predecessor by far.

Having ample memory also helps improve ray tracing performance in supported games as texture data can be stored in GPU memory rather than having to fetch it from your PC’s system RAM.

Ray Tracing And AI Performance

One of the most significant improvements in both RTX 3090 and 4090 GPUs is their Ray Tracing and AI Performance. Both cards can effectively use ray tracing technology to offer realistic lighting effects, shadows, reflections, and ambient occlusion in games that support it.

However, the RTX 4090 has a slight edge over the RTX 3090 when it comes to ray-traced graphics rendering performance. With higher Ray-Tracing Cores count on the RTX 4090 vs only slightly less on RTX 3090 (328 cores compared to 328), gamers will experience even more realistic visuals.

Thermal Performance Comparison: RTX 3090 Vs RTX 4090

The RTX 4090 has a higher thermal draw than the RTX 3090, but it also features improved cooling solutions to help dissipate the heat.


The cooling solutions employed by each card are crucial in managing heat dissipation and preventing overheating or thermal throttling.

The RTX 4090 features an advanced cooling system that includes multiple fans, a vapor chamber, and an innovative airflow design to optimize thermal management. This allows the card to maintain stable temperatures even under heavy workloads.

However, this level of thermal management comes at a cost – the RTX 4090 has a higher TDP (Thermal Design Power) than its predecessor, which means it requires more power to operate efficiently. Conversely, while the RTX 3090 may generate slightly less heat overall due to its lower TDP rating, it still requires robust cooling measures such as efficient fan speeds and temperature sensors for optimal performance.

The RTX 3090 has a triple-fan cooler design that keeps temperatures well-controlled, while the RTX 4090 uses an innovative blower-style vapor chamber cooler that maintains lower temperatures than traditional heatsinks.

Energy Efficiency Comparison: RTX 3090 Vs RTX 4090

Performance Per Watt

When comparing the RTX 3090 and RTX 4090, one important factor to consider is performance per watt. This metric measures how much power the graphics card uses for each unit of performance it delivers.

The higher the performance per watt, the more efficient and cost-effective a GPU is.

In this regard, the RTX 4090 has a clear advantage over its predecessor. Despite having a higher thermal draw, it is significantly more energy-efficient than the RTX 3090.

This means that you’ll get better overall performance while using less power and generating less heat at full load – an essential consideration if you’re building a system with limited cooling capacity or are concerned about your electricity bill.

With this in mind, gamers and content creators seeking a high-end GPU with excellent price-per-performance ratio should seriously consider investing in NVIDIA’s latest offering: The RTX 4090.

Price Comparison: RTX 3090 Vs RTX 4090


At MSRP, the RTX 3090 is $600 cheaper than its sibling, making it a more budget-friendly option for those who don’t want to break the bank. However, in practice, the price difference can be even greater, with the RTX 4090 currently being around $900 more expensive than its counterpart.

That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that these are both high-end consumer GPUs aimed at professionals with demanding workloads or gamers who want top-of-the-line graphics performance.

So while the price difference may seem steep for some users, it’s worth investing in a card that will provide reliable and efficient performance for years to come.

Pros And Cons Of Each Card

Let’s start with the 3090.

It offers fantastic performance across all resolutions up to 4K and is a cheaper option in comparison to its big brother, making it more accessible for enthusiasts on a budget.

However, if you have deeper pockets, the RTX 4090 may be worth considering due to its incredible processing power. Its new Tensor Cores provide DLSS 3.0 support that can upscale images with little loss of visual quality – which truly shines at higher resolutions like 4K or even super ultrawide monitors.

The Dual AV1 Encoding support also makes it an attractive tool for those involved in content creation or streaming who need high-quality video output without choking bandwidth.

The downside of the RTX 4090 is cost; it comes at around $1,500 more than the already expensive RTX 3090 MSRP along with requiring significantly more power consumption—and weighing almost twice as much—to achieve its level of performance potential. 

Conclusion And Final Verdict: RTX 3090 Vs RTX 4090

If you’re looking for the absolute best consumer GPU on the market today and don’t mind paying twice as much for it, then the RTX 4090 is undoubtedly the way to go.

But if you’re looking for a more affordable option with excellent all-around performance across all resolutions, then the RTX 3090 is still an excellent choice.

If you’re primarily using your GPU for gaming at 4K resolution and want to experience DLSS3.0 technology or enjoy ray tracing effects to their fullest extent, then investing in an RTX 4090 might be worth considering.

4090 Vs 3090 Verdict: How Much Faster Is NVIDIA’s Next-Gen GPU?

As the fastest consumer GPU on the market, the RTX 4090 delivers impressive performance gains over its sibling, the RTX 3090.

With almost 50% faster frame rates at 1440p and an incredible 60-70% boost at 4K, it’s clear that this next-gen graphics card is built for gamers looking to experience cutting-edge visuals without any compromise.

However, while these features are certainly impressive, users should be prepared to pay a premium price tag for such unmatched speed and visual fidelity – nearly double that of its predecessor, the RTX 3090.

I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...