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Are RTX 4090 laptops overkill?

We answer the question: are RTX 4090 laptops worth it? Or are they too much money for unnecessary amounts of power?

Updated: Jun 20, 2023 3:36 pm
Are RTX 4090 laptops overkill?

Are RTX 4090 laptops overkill or are they worth the money? There’s no denying that the top-of-the-line Nvidia 40-series laptop GPUs are the most powerful out there, but how much power do you really need? Would a cheaper RTX 4080 laptop make more sense? Read below for our analysis.

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RTX 4090 laptop performance benchmarks

Though we’ve not yet managed to get our hands on an RTX 4090 laptop for testing, Jarrod’s Tech is the most reliable (Australian) reviewer out there, and you can get a comprehensive breakdown of the laptop’s performance over a range of games and synthetic benchmarks (he’s also compared the RTX 4090 laptop and desktop versions if you’re interested). Much of our subsequent analysis will be based on both this video and the other independent benchmarks out there.

Is an RTX 4090 laptop overkill for 1080p gaming?

For the vast majority of people, an RTX 4090 laptop is indeed overkill for 1080p/1200p gaming. Although you’ll be able to get completely ridiculous FPS, after a certain point the noticeable difference becomes negligible, and an RTX 4080 laptop would be quite sufficient, even with Ray-Tracing switched on. That being said, an RTX 4090 laptop will guarantee you a greater degree of future-proofing, and if you’ve got the money to burn, why not?

Is an RTX 4090 laptop overkill for 1440p gaming?

If you’re gaming at 1440p/1600p then the RTX 4090 laptop starts to make a bit more sense, though again it’s still a bit overkill unless you’re definitely looking for a machine that will be able to demolish the latest games for the next 3+ years on max settings.

If you’re likely to want to upgrade your gaming laptop again within this time window, then we’re not sure it’s really worth the additional expenditure compared to the RTX 4080, though if you have a need to own the latest eye-popping tech then you’ll likely want to get your hands on it regardless.

Is an RTX 4090 laptop overkill for 4K gaming?

The RTX 4090 laptop is the ideal choice for 4K gaming. Although the previous gen RTX 3080 Ti laptops did relatively well at this resolution, on particularly demanding titles you’d still often be limited to an average FPS of around 80-100 on maximum graphical settings, with frame drops on demanding sections. With the RTX 4090 laptop though, it’ll be as smooth as butter, to the point where you can feasibly play competitive shooters with Ray-Tracing switched on, on max settings, and still be able to compete.

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Is an RTX 4090 laptop overkill for VR?

If you want to enjoy VR gaming on maximum settings then we wouldn’t say that an RTX 4090 laptop is overkill. Although you can play a lot of games on the higher settings in VR on something like a high-TGP RTX 3070 Ti laptop, if you want the best performance and future-proofing, plus the possibility of Ray-Tracing in future VR titles, then an RTX 4090 laptop would be a great choice.

Is an RTX 4090 laptop worth it for professionals / creators?

We haven’t seen much in the way of benchmarking for the RTX 4090 laptop variant in creative software yet, however, the good people at Puget Systems have put together a very comprehensive analysis of the RTX 4090 desktop variant in various programs compared to the RTX 3090, and we can extrapolate from this data to get an idea of how the RTX 4090 laptop will perform. Although an RTX 3090 laptop GPU was never created, the RTX 3080 Ti can be used as a stand-in as it also has the same VRAM and similar (though not the same) memory bandwidth as the RTX 4090 laptop version, but more CUDA Cores and a higher clock speed.

To summarise the results, the RTX 4090 desktop GPU showed huge uplift (between 40-85%) in programs that rely a lot on GPU rendering: specifically graphics design software like Blender, Lumion, V-Ray, OctaneRender, also in data management software like Redshift, and in game development / virtual production engines like the Unreal Engine.

In conventional video rendering software like Adobe Premiere, the performance was more or less the same as the RTX 3090 desktop GPU (and the same will probably be true of the RTX 4080 laptop vs the RTX 3080 Ti laptop), so in this instance alone it wouldn’t be worth the upgrade, however the color grading software DaVinci Resolve Studio showed 40% uplift.

In short: for architects, 3D designers, color graders, and game developers for whom rendering time = money lost, the RTX 4090 is likely worth a buy. If you’re a straight video editor though, then it probably isn’t.

Are RTX 4090 laptops overkill? FAQs

When were RTX 4090 laptops released?

The first RTX 4090 laptops were released on the 8th February, 2023, although more will be releasing as the year progresses.

Are RTX 4090 laptops worth it?

There’s no doubt that the RTX 4090 is a great performer, but if your interest is 1080p or 1440p gaming, then the RTX 4080 offers better value for money than the RTX 4090 and has sufficient performance to run the latest AAA games on max settings for great FPS.

For 4K gaming though on max settings, the RTX 4090 laptop is definitely worth it in our opinion, and the same is true for VR gameplay.

Besides 4K gaming and VR, where the RTX 4090 really shines is if you’re someone who wants to be able to do multiple high-intensity tasks simultaneously that are GPU and VRAM intensive. This doesn’t include basic video editing software like Adobe Premiere, but 3D design software, game development engines, and color grading applications will all benefit from a huge boost.

Are RTX 4090 laptops overkill? Final Word

We hope this short guide has satisfactorily answered the questions: are RTX 4090 laptops overkill? and are RTX 4090 laptops worth the money? Please do check out our myriad other gaming laptop guides if you’re not sure this is the right purchase for you.

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