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Nvidia RTX 4090 vs 4080 – how big is the difference?

We've put together a comprehensive comparison between the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080

Updated: Apr 19, 2023 8:41 am
Nvidia RTX 4090 vs 4080 – how big is the difference?

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A comparison on many people’s minds – RTX 4090 vs RTX 4080. Both the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 released in Q4 of 2022 to bring in the RTX 4000 series. We’re going to pit them against each other and figure out how much of a difference there is between them.

The upgraded architecture of the 40-series definitely brings more power to the market. So with the new cards, we look at a comparison of the RTX 4090 vs RTX 4080. Ever since the announcement of the series, we’ve been excited to compare these two graphics card giants.

Nvidia launched the RTX 4090 on the 12th of October 2022. Just like any popular recent GPU release, you might be best trying your luck with our stock tracker if you are on the lookout for one.

Since Nvidia unlaunched the 12GB model of the 4080, we of course will only discuss the 16GB card. The originally planned 12GB model ended up being replaced by the RTX 4070 Ti, which was released on January 5th, 2023.

With that we only have two cards to compare, so we see what those differences are.



Unhindered performance with a great cooling solution

Cutout cooler design allows unblocked airflow for optimal cooling

Overclocked card offers the best performance at this tier


One of the biggest cards to accomodate the cooling solution may not fit many cases

A popular card it is harder to find and usually more expensive than the other options


When it comes to the new Ada architecture, we see further improvements to the overall performance and build of the cards. Both the RTX 4090 and 4080 are built with it at the center and so we will see them both take advantage of its power.

Ada brings with it new streaming multiprocessors, they offer up to double the performance and power efficiency of the previous ones. It also comes with fourth-gen tensor cores and third-gen RT cores. These offer up to double the AI and double the ray tracing performance of the previous generation.

RTX 4090 stock tracker

The cores are built with TSMCs 4N process, moving back to the big supplier of the industry. But also offering a much more condensed package crammed full of transistors. In particular, the RTX 4090 is built with the AD102-300 variant. With a size of 608mm² fitting 76.3 billion transistors inside of it.

Whereas the RTX 4080 is built on the AD103-300 chip. Also built on the same architecture, it is a bit smaller chip than the flagship. Measuring in at 379mm², it then crams 45.9 billion transistors into it. A fair few less than its counterpart but still plenty to provide the power to the graphics.


RTX 4090RTX 4080
GPU processTSMC 5nmTSMC 5nm
CUDA cores16,3849,728
Base clock2,235 MHz2,205 MHz
Boost clock2,520 MHz2,505 MHz
Memory clock/bandwidth21 Gbps/1,008 GB/s22.4 Gbps/716.8 GB/s
Memory bus384-bit256-bit
TBP450 W320 W

There are a few differences between the cards that offer up the reason for the big price difference. As well as giving some reason to opt for either one.

CUDA cores

The primary computational power of Nvidia GPU chips is a particular processing technique found on its graphics cards. It stands for the Compute Unified Device Architecture and is the core processor of the card and allows for parallel processing. Allowing for the most efficient and fast graphics work.

Between the two cards, we see a significant difference. With a 68% drop in the count, down from over 16,000 to just under 10,000 from the 90 to 80 model. This is a lead factor of the performance differences between the cards and allows them to create the display you see. And this generation will further push the performance of what was previously offered.


Also known as the clock rate of the card, it is how fast the core processes instructions and creates the graphics you see. It is split into two options, the base, and the boost. These tell you the speed at everyday use and then when under heavy usage when you want the most out of your card. This varies the utilization so it doesn’t run unnecessarily hard when it doesn’t need to.

There are also overclocked models that will boost higher but we look at the basic offering. This shows us that the 4090 just leads ahead by a few MHz. A 30 MHz higher base clock and just a 15 MHz. So another reason the 4090 will lead ahead as it can process instructions faster and show them off much quicker giving better performance.

ROG Strix RTX 4090 8


Video memory is the buffer for the graphics card. It can store the frames for displaying your images. Helping to lower latency between the components, and getting everything ready for when it is needed. It is an important spec for higher resolutions since they will have a higher pixel count so will have more to process and send out.

Between the two cards, we see a change in both capacity and speed. The RTX 4090 has 8 GB more GDDR6X memory so it can fit more in there while using the same VRAM. Although the memory clock does increase with the lower tier card from 21 Gbps to 22.4. However, the smaller bus width does limit the bandwidth. So it goes down from 384-bit to 256 and so the throughput drops from 1,008 GB/s to 716.8 GB/s.


The total board power of a card is the amount of energy that will be used by the card at maximum utilization. So it will be the power consumption expected by the card so it can give you an idea of how much it will cost to run. But also most of it will be converted to heat energy due to inefficiencies. Giving you an idea as to why the size of cards may be so large with how to keep them cool.

And between the cards, we see a significant difference. The 4090 reaches high levels with a rating of 450 W, whilst the 4080 is only at 320 W. With a 130 W difference, there is a lot of power differential between the two of them and so you can expect a different size difference between them.

So you can find the RTX 4080 running cooler with a lower power consumption a consideration that might factor into your choice. Although in the release we have seen it no different than the more powerful card. Likely allowing the reuse of the same cooling solution without the need to change it out.

RTX 4090 vs 4080 performance

For now, we only have the RTX 4090 to review and benchmark. We don’t yet have our own review for the 4080, but there are others to look at. Such as the Tom’s Hardware review of the 4080, gives a good comparison of what the cards can achieve. As expected both new cards achieve higher frames than the previous offerings and improve further features.

The performance difference ranges from 5-25% throughout the resolutions. So you do lose out on some performance for a 33% lower price. But that price is still higher than previously as we will outline below. And so it’s no surprise the 4080 hasn’t been adopted as much as its counterpart.

Price comparison

We have the recommended pricing for both of the cards. Nvidia asks for $1,599 USD/£1,699 for the 4090 and then $1,199 USD/£1,269 for the 4080. There is an uplift in the costs of both, but more significant for the 80 series model. Although both have reached a cost that seems rather high for just a singular component. Although it is expected with inflation, technological improvements, and the past shortage shows that customers will be more than happy to pay the inflated costs.

However, the release of the 4090 has shown that the shortage and expensive cost of GPUs has not gone away. With that, we see the same issues during this launch as with the 30 series launch. Not only is it staggered releases but also stock issues and scalping. With it being a difficult task to find a 4090 at the moment.

However, the 4080 has avoided that issue. Most likely from the large price increase over the last generation and customers fed up with such. And so shelving has been full of the card as it isn’t the best of deals. Especially as some custom cards coming up to the price fo the 4090 which would offer more performance.



Excellent cooling solution to keep temperatures down

Overclo cked option allows for top tier performance


A more premium choice of card that will cost more than the rest of the selection

Is the 4090 worth it over a 4080?

When looking at the RTX 4090 vs 4080, it’s easy to see that the 4090 is the better card. However, that comes at a higher cost. It has a 33% higher MSRP than the 4080. So it will have to come down to the performance increase over the two to see if it is a justified cost. But also it will likely be that the flagship is much more than what you will need so it might be worth the wait.

And we’ve seen that the 4080 isn’t really worth it on its own. So if the 4090 is too much for you it’s worth waiting for more options. One option is RDNA 3 which is coming in mid-December, as it is a price and performance competitor supposedly. Or more cards will come in a few months likely at CES.

RTX 4090 vs 4080 FAQs

How much faster is the 4090 than 4080?

The RTX 4090 has a 30 MHz higher base clock and 15 MHz boost clock than the 4080. So it is only 1.4% and 0.6% faster than the 4080.

How much more expensive is the 4090 than the 4080?

The RTX 4090 is priced 33% (USD/GBP) higher than the RTX 4080 at MSRP. But in the current market that might not be the same case.

Should I buy the RTX 4090 or 4080?

Obviously, the 4090 is the better card, and we’d probably say it’s best to go for it if you really want to go all out. Now with the 4070 Ti here, it may just be tempting some people away from the 4080 which can be seen as overpriced.

With a background in engineering and PC gaming, Seb is a staff writer with a focus on GPU, storage, and power supplies. Also one of tech supports in the office he likes helping and solving problems.

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