Everything we know about Nvidia’s upcoming flagship graphics card, the RTX 4090

What can we anticipate from Nvidia’s reported RTX 4090?

The Nvidia RTX 4090 is one of the most eagerly awaited graphics card introductions in recent memory, because to reports about the processing capability (and power needs) of the next-generation BFGPU.

Even if the slightly more powerful Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti is now Nvidia’s standard-bearer, we’d argue that the Nvidia RTX 3090 is still the best graphics card around in terms of performance-to-price ratio (though it does really push the limit of what an acceptable price point for even a premium graphics card is).

The RTX 4090, which is believed to be a significant upgrade over the RTX 3090 Ti, will be one of the most important product debuts of the year, since it will be our first official look at Nvidia Lovelace, the company’s new consumer graphics card architecture.

Lovelace was rumoured to be more of a mid-cycle upgrade than a full-on architectural leap as the successor to Nvidia Ampere, but speculations persist that Nvidia has altered course and is aiming for more of an architecture overhaul, making the RTX 4090 debut all the more interesting.

However, because Nvidia has kept most of this under wraps, we don’t know much for sure. Nonetheless, we’ve compiled everything we’ve heard about the Nvidia RTX 4090 to keep you up to date on all the latest rumours, speculation, and analysis of Nvidia’s next-generation graphics chip.

Nvidia RTX 4090: Straight to the point

What exactly is it? The next generation of Nvidia’s flagship graphics card

When will it be released? It might debut as early as August 2022.

How much will it cost? Given inflation, it’s expected to be somewhat more expensive than the RTX 3090.

Nvidia RTX 4090: When Will It Be Available?

(Image credit: Chiphell)

The first Ampere GPU, the Nvidia A100 GPU, was introduced in May 2020 to assist developers and scientists working on COVID 19 research (among other things), but it was a data centre and cloud computing platform, not a consumer GPU.

The Nvidia RTX 3080 was released a few months later, on September 17, 2020, with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 coming first, followed by the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 on September 24, 2020. On October 28, 2020, Nvidia unveiled the GeForce RTX 3070.

This time, the Nvidia RTX 4090 is expected to be the first to ship, maybe as early as August 2022, followed by the RTX 4080 and RTX 4070 in September and October, respectively.

Nvidia RTX 4090: How Much Does It Cost?

At the present, the pricing of the Nvidia RTX 4090 is a complete mystery. The Nvidia Founder’s Edition of the RTX 3090 cost $1,499 (£1,399, AU$2,100), with other AIB partners adding extra features like bigger fans or RGB accents to hike the price even further.

And that was simply the suggested retail price. When it came to the actual paid price, however, these prices were frequently much higher than the MSRP due to a combination of supply chain shortages contributing to inflation and the intense demand for next-generation graphics cards inspiring profiteers to buy up available stock and resell it at inflated prices online using swarms of bots.

Then there were the cryptocurrency mining enterprises, which would acquire entire warehouses of graphics cards that would have been purchased by gamers otherwise.

All of factors led to the RTX 3090 selling for far more than expected. Will the RTX 4090’s history repeat itself? To be honest, it’s difficult to say. Without a doubt, the RTX 4090 will be a highly costly graphics card, but how much of the perfect storm that surrounded the RTX 3090 will still be present to influence the pricing of the RTX 4090 is still unknown.

Because cryptocurrency values have fallen in recent months, cryptominers’ demand for high-end graphics cards has decreased, putting downward pressure on pricing. While the chip scarcity is still a concern, it hit right before the Ampere and AMD RDNA 2 debuts, leaving those graphics card lineups unprepared for the 2020 and 2021 chip crunch.

However, it is now 2022, and the chip scarcity has become a reality. Nvidia has been aware of the chip problem for some time and has been able to prepare in a way it couldn’t with the RTX 3090.

As for shady profiteers, there’s not much anyone can do about human nature’s desire to take advantage of strangers for profit, but there will almost certainly be a lot more inventory available this time around, making it far less profitable to try to buy up tens of thousands of dollars in graphics cards in the hopes of reselling them at a 50% premium (or more).

All of this indicates to a more moderate price increase compared to the current inflationary climate. While it remains to be seen, it would be amazing if Nvidia maintained the RTX 4090’s pricing the same as the RTX 3090’s.

Specs for the Nvidia RTX 4090

(Image credit: Chiphell)

Because we don’t have any official information about the RTX 4090, all of the specifics concerning its specifications are more speculative than factual.

What we can say is that this graphics card will most probably be a beast, and we don’t just mean in terms of frames per second. Given how much power it is projected to use, this could as well be dubbed the Nvidia Tarrasque (opens in new tab) if the reports are accurate.

This component alone may be the most power-hungry consumer PC component ever, with a TGP (Total Graphics Power) of 600W. This is enough power to power some of the top gaming PCs on the market, and we’re not talking about low-cost models.

This kind of power consumption makes sense only if the Nvidia RTX 4090 is as powerful as some claim, i.e. twice to three times faster than the RTX 3090.

To be clear, with DLSS turned off, the RTX 3090 can run Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K on its maximum ray-traced settings and get up to 30 FPS, which is still workable if not ideal. When you enable DLSS, it’s the only graphics card that can approach 60 frames per second with those settings, with up to 52 frames per second, second only to the RTX 3090 Ti’s 57 maximum frames per second.

Now, just because a graphics card is twice as fast doesn’t mean it will double your frame rate in any particular game, but at twice the speed, the RTX 4090 (with DLSS enabled) could easily exceed 60 fps and perhaps even approach 80 fps if the reports are accurate. That’s some serious gaming performance, and it’s what we’d anticipate if the TGP of the RTX 3090(opens in new tab), which is 350W, was roughly doubled.

We’ll probably start hearing more about core counts and clock rates as we move closer to launch, but suffice it to say, this should be the year’s largest graphics card launch.

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