We’ve lived through anticipating the buildup, and then the excitement of the release of the RTX 3080, and now it’s time for the next card in Nvidia’s lineup, the top end card, the RTX 3090. This is the highest-end model from Nvidia’s new range of 30 Series GPUs, offering a generational leap over previous cards, and increasing the support for functionality like real-time Ray Tracing and DLSS upscaling.
Do they live up to the hype? Now is our first chance to get an idea of how exactly these cards will function in real-world conditions. Here’s our roundup of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 reviews.
If you’re interested in picking up one of these beefy GPUs, which we’re expecting to sell out very quickly, check out our guide to where you can buy them.
“The results here are fascinating. Despite sporting a higher TDP, the 3090 actually consumes fewer watts to generate a single frame than the 3080 in the titles we tested: In Death Stranding, the RTX 3080 requires four per cent more power per frame, and this drops to just under three per cent in Gears 5. This may sound implausible bearing in mind the beastly nature of the RTX 3090 – but the new card’s total graphics power is 12.5 per cent higher overall and it is capable of a performance bump in excess of that number.”
Digital Foundry has some interesting analysis focusing on the power usage, where the 3090 actually appears to be slightly more power-efficient than the RTX 3080, although with a higher TDP.
“Gaming is kind of a waste with the 3090, you just do it because you can. The same is also true about productivity tasks, unless you can utilise that extra VRAM, the 3090 really doesn’t make sense over the 3080 but as I said numerous times now, if you do require 20gb of VRAM, certainly much more than the 10gb of VRAM, the RTX 3090 will be pretty awesome.”
Hardware Unboxed suggest that for many users, unless you are looking for the absolute top performance at any price, the RTX 3080 will be perfectly adequate, especially for typical gaming usage.
“It is a top performing card in an objective sense, but that doesn’t mean you should be paying over a hundred percent more for marketing claims, which are totally irrelevant to the vast majority of people on planet earth. So, Nvidia unfortunately took a very strong launch and it fumbled it. That’s a bit more excusable, because of the current situation, because of the insane demand. If you look at google search trends just as an example alone, the RTX 30 series was far more popular than the 20 series”
Gamers Nexus have emphasized how in the wake of the issues Nvidia has had handling RTX 3080 stock levels, it’s a shame to see the RTX 3090 not particularly viable as a substitute for people unable to purchase an RTX 3080.
“When we had our first experience with the GeForce RTX 3080, we were nothing short of impressed. Testing the GeForce RTX 3090 is yet another step up. But we’re not sure if the 3090 is the better option though, as you’ll need very stringent requirements in order for it to see a good performance benefit. Granted, and I have written this many times in the past with the Titans and the like, a graphics card like this is bound to run into bottlenecks much faster than your normal graphics cards. Three factors come into play here, CPU bottlenecks, low-resolution bottlenecks, and the actual game (API). The GeForce RTX 3090 is the kind of product that needs to be free from all three aforementioned factors.”
Guru3D’s review argues that the RTX 3090 makes the most sense for users that will be pairing it with a system that is not going to hold it back, where other system bottlenecks will come into play much more with a GPU like this. Their review also has a selection of in depth benchmarks.
“No matter how insane 8K gaming is, no matter how far away it is, or how expensive it is, or how only maybe 50 people across the world will actually buy a huge 8K TV and decked out $10,000 gaming PC with a GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card inside.
None of that is the point of the GeForce RTX 3090.
NVIDIA said so themselves, with CEO and founder of NVIDIA Jensen Huang saying the GeForce RTX 3090 is a BFGPU — Big Ferocious GPU. We all know Jensen had a twinkle in his eye (or maybe his leather jacket) when he said that because we all know he wanted to say the GeForce RTX 3090 is a Big F***ing GPU — because that’s what it is.”
Tweaktown loved the no-compromises nature of the RTX 3090, celebrating the no-compromises design that Nvidia has gone for with it, regardless of how impractical it is for many users.
“Yeah, we hear you: “But can it run Crysis?” The original shouldn’t be a problem, but Crysis Remastered is another beast entirely. We tweeted about this the other day, though, and the ray tracing in the game seems to be … well, it’s hard to spot the enhancements in a lot of areas. But the performance hit is still very much present. At 4K using the maximum “Can It Run Crysis?” settings, the 3090 plugs along at just 41 fps. That’s still 20% faster than the RTX 3080 — our best result overall — but not really a smooth gaming experience. Supposedly a DLSS patch is coming, which might make 4K playable on the 3090, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
The question of how the recently remastered Crysis would function on this new top-end card has been one that we’ve hoped these reviews would address. It’s better performance than any other cards on the market, but perhaps not worth the price of admission just for playing Crysis Remastered.
“I want to finish things off by just giving some final thoughts and talking about who I think this GPU is really for. To my mind, one thing that is very very clear to me is just how much of a niche product this really is. This is the GeForce GPU for the one percent of users out there, those who simply do not care about how expensive it is, they just want the best of the best and they will pay the price you know no matter how high it is, and that is certainly the case for the 3090.”
KitGuru has strained how this is far from a mainstream card, representing the kind of hardware that only the most demanding gamers should consider.
Overall, it sounds like based on this coverage, the RTX 3090 is not a card for a mainstream audience. It offers gaming performance improvements of 10-15% compared to the RTX 3080, but costs around double the price. There are some other key benefits in the form of better power efficiency, and it is the option you have to go for if you want the best GPU no matter the cost, but it’s not an absolute must-have if you’re just using it for gaming.
We’re looking forward to putting the RTX 3090 through it’s paces ourselves when we get our hands on it, with in-depth benchmarks and other coverage. Check back in with WePC for more coverage on all the latest PC hardware.