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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090
NVIDIA Ampere 2nd Gen RTX 3090
Gaming hardware is getting seriously interesting, wouldn't you say? NVIDIA has fired the first shots in the next-generation battle in the form of a new-and-improved Ampere architecture that raises the bar for PC gaming to hitherto undreamt heights.
The party started with GeForce RTX 3080, a $699 GPU that smashes through the benchmarks and heralds a new era of 4K UHD gaming with all the ray-traced bells and whistles. Said GPU was merely a taster, mind, as there's now a new king in town going by the name of GeForce RTX 3090
|RTX 3090||RTX 3080||RTX 3070||RTX 2080 Ti||RTX 2080 Super||RTX 2080||RTX 2070 Super|
|Launch date||Sep 2020||Sep 2020||Oct 2020||Sep 2018||July 2019||Sep 2018||July 2019|
|Die Size (mm²)||628.4||628.4||392.5||754||545||545||545|
|Base Clock (MHz)||1,400||1,440||1,500||1,350||1,650||1,515||1,605|
|Boost Clock (MHz)||1,695||1,710||1,725||1,635||1,815||1,800||1,770|
|L2 cache (KB)||5,120||5,120||4,096||5,632||4,096||4,096||4,096|
|Power Connector(s)||8/12-pin||8/12-pin||8-pin||8-pin + 8-pin||8-pin + 6-pin||8-pin + 6-pin||8-pin + 6-pin|
|Founders Edition MSRP||$1,499||$699||$499||$1,199||$699||$799||$499|
With a price tag of $1,499, RTX 3090 is proof that there's more than just a little left in Ampere's silicon tank. Appreciating that the full implementation of the GA102 die carries 84 streaming multiprocessors (SMs), NVIDIA is able to produce multiple GPUs of varying grades. RTX 3080 employed 81 per cent of the available SMs (64) but RTX 3090 punches higher by activating 98 per cent (82 SMs), representing almost a full complement.
And the knock-on effect speaks for itself. A monstrous 10,496 shaders, 328 texture units, 112 ROPs, 328 tensor cores and 82 dedicated RT cores. Those 28-billion transistors represent a Titan of the modern generation in everything but name, and the backend certainly has Titan-like credentials. Paired to the GPU via a wide 384-bit bus is a whopping 24GB of GDDR6X memory clocked at an effective 19.5Gbps.
Such huge memory potential does raise some interesting questions. While the RTX 3090 will undoubtedly be the quickest gaming GPU to date, it is fair to assume that most titles, even at a 4K resolution, will show relative performance gains that are at odds with the $800 price premium over the RTX 3080. Rather, the 24GB behemoth is better equipped for forward-looking 8K gaming - remember that all Ampere GPUs offers full support for HDMI 2.1 - or creative workloads with large datasets that stand to benefit from the huge memory pool.
Note that RTX 3090 is the first Ampere-based graphics card to support SLI - meaning two can be strapped together for maximum pleasure - and the card will be available in both Founders Edition guise and with custom coolers from a wide roster of add-in-board partners. The impressive-looking Asus ROG Strix model is pictured above, and do be aware that NVIDIA recommends a 750W power supply when RTX 3090 is paired to an Intel Core i9-10900K processor.
You often hear talk of diminishing returns as you approach the ultra-enthusiast end of the market, and benchmarks from leading review sites suggest that while the RTX 3090 is the best GeForce GPU to date, the performance uplift of around 10 per cent comes at a heavy cost. Still, the best of the best tends not to come cheap.
There's no doubt about it, the era of silky-smooth 4K UHD gaming is officially upon us, and though RTX 3080 continues to stand out at $699, there's no denying that the RTX 3090 raises the bar another notch or two.
We've spoken about RTX 3090's value outside of gaming, and certain benchmarks highlight the advantage of a 24GB card. The above Octane Render test is tasked with a 14GB project that forces the RTX 3080 to switch between VRAM and system RAM to complete the task, taking a little over nine minutes. RTX 3090, meanwhile, is able to load the entire scene onto VRAM, reducing total render time to an astonishing 37 seconds. Make no mistake, RTX 3090 is good for gaming, but potentially incredible for heavy-duty creativity.
There are, and always will be, two types of enthusiast PC gamer. Some will look to combine ultra-high-end performance with decent value in the form of RTX 3080. That's fine, but others won't accept second-best and will naturally lean toward the mighty impressive RTX 3090. NVIDIA's biggest and best of the Ampere generation is the most capable, most future-proof GPU to date, but snap it up quickly as content creators and prosumers will be just as eager to get onboard.
A wide range of GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards are available to purchase right here at Scan Computers.