The RTX 4090’s True Clock Speed Is Revealed. We can’t wait to get our hands on the RTX 4090 review unit Nvidia is sending our way so we can see if it’s worth the high asking price. Meanwhile, Nvidia was kind enough to provide us with some Cyberpunk 2077 test footage running on the new GPU to demonstrate the enhanced performance of DLSS 3.
Nvidia helpfully displayed some live GPU metrics on screen during the showcase, revealing interesting details about how well the RTX 4090 was running the game at 1400p resolution and maximum graphical settings (with Ultra Ray Tracing enabled).
Most intriguingly, we learned that this particular RTX 4090 was capable of running at boost clocks as high as 2,850MHz, which is 330Hz higher than the ‘official’ boost clock of 2,520MHz. While this isn’t entirely unexpected given that Nvidia has previously stated that the GPU exceeded 3,000MHz when overclocked during internal testing, it is encouraging to see the card operating at a healthy overclock.
As for actual in-game performance, the RTX 4090 managed an average framerate of just under 60fps in Cyberpunk 2077 at native resolution and with DLSS 3 disabled. The average framerate increased to 171fps, and power consumption decreased by more than 110W, when DLSS 3 was activated (in the Quality preset).
Since the new RTX GPUs are relatively power-hungry components, this significant performance-per-Watt boost is encouraging. Enabling Nvidia’s third-generation upscaling technology not only improves frame rates, but also reduces latency by 29% and reduces the card’s maximum operating temperature, which was between 50C and 53C during the DLSS 3 demonstration. This is a significant improvement over previous generations and is much quicker than was originally anticipated.
As a result, mid-range and budget cards will benefit the most from DLSS 3
You won’t need DLSS 3 for most games, and with an RTX 4090, you won’t even want it. This is because of the RTX 4090’s incredible raw power. In reality, it will be most useful for lower-end GPUs like the bafflingly weak 12GB RTX 4080 and any future cheaper cards like the RTX 4070.
Since its inception, DLSS has come a long way, allowing even modestly powered graphics cards to play demanding games at higher resolutions without suffering severe performance drops. Also, games like Cyberpunk 2077 that use ray-tracing heavily will benefit greatly from having it (which is presumably why Nvidia chose that game to demo DLSS 3).
It’s a little disheartening to learn that DLSS 3 won’t be available for older RTX cards any time soon. Third-generation DLSS has the potential to significantly improve the performance of some of the best GPUs, such as the RTX 3070 and 3060 Ti; however, it appears that Nvidia intends to keep this feature as a key selling point for the RTX 4000 series.
However, if you aren’t planning on playing at 4K Ultra, the RTX 4090 launch may signal the perfect time to snag a good graphics card deal, as the RTX 3000 and older cards are getting cheaper and cheaper. Even if you’ve upgraded to a 4K monitor, waiting for the price of the 3000 series GPUs to drop as the 4000 series arrives may be the best option if you’re still using a 1080p display. After all, Black Friday is quickly approaching…
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