No way around it, this thing is an absolute monster. Not only in terms of performance but it is just … very big. Being the highest end of the RTX 30 FE series it is bursting with power and even now it is only really outpaced by the RTX 3090 Ti. But is this mammoth GPU still worth consideration?

The short answer is yes, but not for everyone. This thing is a content creator’s dream and, as a workstation card, it is a top-tier card. The problem is it is crazy expensive and way out of reach for your average gamer. And there’s a question of if it is even worth the gaming price. It has some key upgrades from the GeForce RTX 3080 but the gap is not that wide. Don’t get me wrong this card is a beast but for most AAA games today you really don’t need THIS much power. But with the 40 series delayed it looks like this is still the highest end of graphics processing power.

EVGA GeForce RTX 3090
The GeForce RTX 3090 boasts a whole new tier of gaming performance.

GeForce RTX 3090: Three Must-Know Facts

  • When launched, it was the most powerful GPU on the market. Since then, it has only been overtaken by its own Ti iteration.
  • First consumer GPU to play 8K graphics smoothly and competed with much more expensive workstation cards for 3D artists.
  • Was marketed as the BFGPU (Big Ferocious)

GeForce RTX 3090: Specs

GeForce RTX 3090
Architecture:Ampere GA 102
­­­CUDA Cores:10,496
Memory:24GB GDDR6X
Memory Bandwidth:936 GBps
Tensor Cores:328
Ray-Tracing Cores:82
PCI Ports Required:Three
Launch Price:$1,499

GeForce RTX 3090: Where to Buy

If you want to buy new and from Nvidia, you are looking at a cool $2,154.97. Used, you can pick up the same model for $1,595.95. But, if you aren’t dead set on getting the card straight from Nvidia there are a few more options to investigate.

You can generally get a new EVGA card for around $1,919.99, but right now you can pick it up for $1,677.96. So, a little higher than a used card from Nvidia but it’s a new card so unless you’re a purist this seems to be the way to go for new. Finally, if you are looking to shave off additional money, you can grab the Asus brand 3090 for $1,549.99 which is down from the usual $1,649.99. However, it is an OC edition, so it comes factory overclocked. If you’re buying this for gaming, great! For creators, on the other hand, overclocking isn’t going to do much more than ruin the life of your very expensive card.

Sale
EVGA GeForce RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming, 24GB GDDR6X, iCX3 Technology, ARGB LED, Metal Backplate, 24G-P5-3987-KR
  • Digital Max Resolution:7680 x 4320.590.4GT/s Texture Fill Rate
  • Real boost clock: 1800 MHz; Memory detail: 24576 MB GDDR6X.
  • Real-time ray tracing in games for cutting-edge, hyper-realistic graphics.
  • Triple HDB fans 9 iCX3 thermal sensors offer higher performance cooling and much quieter acoustic noise.
  • All-metal backplate & adjustable ARGB

The History of GeForce 3090: What to Know

Nvidia and the Graphics Processing Unit: A Brief History

In the old days of computing, GPUs weren’t necessary. Most displays weren’t designed to render much color or detail so the CPU could handle most of the workload required. However, as technology continued to advance, so did graphics and soon there was a need for dedicated graphics processing. Enter Nvidia and the GeForce 256 in 1999.

This wasn’t the very first GPU ever made, although that is certainly how it was marketed by Nvidia. It was the first, however, to optimize for 3D gaming performance, something other graphics processors of the time did not. This put Nvidia on the map as one of the industry standards in graphics processing. But tech moves fast and Nvidia would have to keep up innovation to stay at the top.

GeForce RTX 30 series and the Introduction of the BFGPU

Nvidia had made some waves in the years leading up to the 30 series announcement. They introduced some very popular and powerful cards like the GTX 1080 Ti and the TITAN RTX, but competitors had started to gain some ground and threaten the graphics giant. When the 30 series launched in September, Nvidia was resolidified as the “king of the pile.”

Funny enough, it was the RTX 3080 that caught most PC users’ and critics’ attention. It was a major leap in processing power that proved to be an instant classic among fans. The reception to the RTX 3090 was mixed. The power was undeniable, it was the only thing available that could legitimately play games in 8K. But no one was really playing games in 8K … yet.

GeForce RTX 3090 Version: Each Edition

GeForce RTX 3090

Performance

Before we talk about what made this card so divisive let’s take a look at what it had to offer. Let’s get a look under the hood of this bad boy. Nvidia has traded the old Turing Architecture for the new Ampere GA102 architecture using Samsung 8 nm process. It has 10,496 CUDA cores, 328 Tensor Cores, and a whopping 24 GB of GDDR6X memory that runs at 19.5 Gbps. So, yeah, this thing screams. Nvidia claims it can play 8K games at 60 fps and if you take a look at the video below it pretty much lives up to that claim. Additionally, the base clock starts at 1395 MHz and boosts to a zoomy 1695 MHz.

For gaming, this card can do some pretty incredible things but what about content creators? Well, for video editors using Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects especially this card packs a punch. Adobe can use Nvidia’s CUDA core technology to offload some of its rendering workload from the CPU. This leads to much faster render times for even 3D graphics and 4K native sequences. It can also help take some of the load when playing back 4K footage and even crunches through 8K but you can expect some choppy playback depending on the codec.

Design

It can’t be understated how big this thing is. Nvidia literally branded it the BFGPU (Big Ferocious GPU in case the pun is lost on you.) It takes up three slots with its 313 mm length so you will have to find a case that can accommodate it. With that much power flowing through the RTX 3090 you’d think cooling would be an issue, right? Well, yes, it is, but at least it’s quiet! It includes a silencer so even if you are pushing 8K gaming there isn’t going to be a lot of noise. As far as cooling, if you aren’t already set up for liquid cooling you are going to want to look into that.

The RTX 3090 has the same ports as the RTX 3080, one HDMI 2.1 and three DisplayPort 1.4a outputs. Not bad overall, but it should be said that if 8K gaming is on your mind you will need a thicker HDMI cable at 48 Gbps that can handle the output from the card. You can also use a DisplayPort 1.4 cable at a standard 30 Hz. And for even better output make sure you pick up an 8K monitor with DSC support.

The BFGPU doesn’t just take up a ton of physical space it also sucks up a lot of power. It requires 350 watts to run which means you will want at least a 750-watt power supply.

GeForce RTX 3090 Ti

The RTX 3090 Ti does everything that the RTX 3090 does but just … more. The Ampere architecture found in the 3090 is fully unleashed in the 3090 Ti. It has increased CUDA cores and Tensor Cores. The memory remains the same because it is already stacked to begin with, and there really isn’t anything out there that would require even more.

The major drawbacks of this version over its earlier iteration are power requirements and pricing. First up, it requires 450W of power just to run. That’s a 100W increase from the RTX 3090. So does that mean we are getting an even bigger boost in performance? Well, yes, but not one that is probably worth the bloated power consumption and price. By the way, the launch price of this beast was $1,999. So, it does offer more performance but at some pretty high cost both financially and power-wise.

The Public Response

So, what’s the ultimate takeaway from this card? It seems to be built for an era of gaming that doesn’t really exist yet. I mean, if you have an 8K display go for it but that’s out of reach for the majority of gamers. Plus, the support for 8K on AAA isn’t as widespread as 4K yet.

This was the general consensus when this card was released. Most were questioning who it was made for. It still sold decently well, despite chip shortages, probably due to the value it offered content creators and video professionals. But more than that it proves that Nvidia is still thinking ahead.

8K gaming isn’t a thing right now, but then again, there was a time when 4K gaming wasn’t a thing. With the RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti, Nvidia is proving that it still has its sights set on the future and will continue to push graphics technology forward. The RTX 3090 might just be a taste of what is to come.

GeForce RTX 3090: Summary

If you are a content creator or creative professional looking to build a mammoth machine for 3D rendering and real-time 4K playback at full get it. This card will give you excellent performance and up your game making your workflow faster and less painful.

I really can’t recommend this to 90% of gamers. It can do some incredible things but it’s not really worth it unless you are dead set on 8K gaming. If that’s the case, this is the card for you. But most AAA games just don’t require what this card has to offer. The 24 GB of memory is kind of mind-blowing but really most AAA games, even the most eye-melting, do not need that much memory to run smoothly. After a certain point, it’s just a number. So, for 4K gamers, you really aren’t getting that much for the extra price. That said, it is exciting to see where things are headed and that Nvidia continues to look toward the future.

Last update on 2022-11-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

GeForce RTX 3090 Review + Best Deals FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is a good price for a RTX 3090?

You can get an EVGA card new for around $1919.99 but right now you can pick it up for $1677.96. So a little higher than the Nvidia brand card used but it’s a new card so unless you’re a purist this seems to be the way to go for new. Finally, if you are looking to shave off, even more, cost you can grab the Asus brand 3090 for $1,549.99 down from the usual $1,649.99 but it is an OC edition so it comes factory overclocked. If you’re buying this for gaming great! But for creators overclocking isn’t going to do much more than ruin the life of your very expensive card.

Is RTX 3090 worth buying?

The RTX 3090 is a powerful card with some really impressive capabilities. That said, it is hard to recommend it to the average gamer. The expensive card is just the start, you will also need a rig full of components that can hand that workload and a very expensive 8K monitor to get the full effect. However, for 3D artists and creative professionals, this might be worth looking into. Compared to other workstation options the RTX 3090 has a lot of value. It just depends on your needs. But if you are really only focused on gaming you just can’t beat the power and value of the RTX 2080.

Which brand of RTX 3090 is best?

You can get an EVGA card new for around $1919.99 but right now you can pick it up for $1677.96. So a little higher than the Nvidia brand card used but it’s a new card so unless you’re a purist this seems to be the way to go for new.

Which is better RTX 3080ti or 3090?

If you watched the video we linked to earlier you are going to see that this card can really chew through 8K settings at a steady 60 fps. But how much better does it fair at 4K? According to PCMag, when put through the 3DMark Time Spy synthetic gaming performance benchmark at 4K Ultra settings it only outpaced the RTX 3080 by a little over 11%. The highest difference was on Metro Exodus which saw a 16% from the RTX 3080 to the RTX 3090.

How many tensor cores does a 3090 have?

Nvidia has traded the old Turing Architecture for the new GA102 Ampere architecture using Samsung 8 nm process. It has 10,496 CUDA cores, 328 Tensor Cores, and a whopping 24 GB of GDDR6X memory that runs at 19.5 Gbps.

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