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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 review

With its ludicrously high price, the RTX 3090 graphics card can never be considered good value but its performance really is stunning.

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Our Verdict


It might be the fastest GPU of the moment, but it’s so expensive that it can’t be recommended over the RTX 3080 Ti.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 was already hugely overpriced when it launched for $1,399, but the prices for RTX 3090 cards are now so over the top that it’s perfectly acceptable to point and laugh at them. The cheapest card we could find was going for $2,150 – that’s $660 more than the RTX 3080 Ti, and it really doesn’t get you $660-worth of extra performance.

In fact, that $660 (which could buy you an Alder Lake Core i7 CPU and a Z690 motherboard), only buys you two extra streaming multiprocessors over the RTX 3080 Ti. That translates to 256 more stream processors and two more RT cores for ray tracing. It really isn’t worth it.

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There are other factors bumping up the cost, of course. The RTX 3090 comes with a whopping 24GB of GDDR6X memory clocked at 1219MHz (19.5GHz effective). However, our tests show that 12GB is fine for most people’s gaming needs at the moment, even at 4K, and the RTX 3080 Ti’s memory bandwidth is only slightly behind. The RTX 3090 is also the only current GPU that supports dual-GPU tech, meaning you can pair two of them together to improve performance. However, given the current lack of game support for SLI, we wouldn’t recommend it.

Other than the price, another downside to cramming so much hardware onto one PCB is that the RTX 3090 has hefty cooling and power requirements. You’ll need to measure up your case first if you want to install the monster Founders Edition card, and our system drew a massive 679W from the mains with the RTX 3090 running at full load – 153W more than with the RTX 3080 Ti.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 frame rate and power draw

But if you have money to burn, is it actually the fastest gaming GPU at the moment? The answer is largely ‘yes’. The RTX 3090 was beaten by the Radeon RX 6900 XT in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at 4K, and even by the Radeon RX 6800 XT at 2,560 x 1,440, but it otherwise leads the performance charts across the board.

However, while it is indeed a little faster than the RTX 3080 Ti, it still doesn’t have enough power to make a meaningful difference to performance. It still can’t hit a 60fps average in Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with Medium ray tracing and DLSS, for example, nor can it get a 99th percentile result above 40fps in this game without DLSS.

We could almost forgive a GPU costing this amount of money if it actually offered a substantial bump in performance over the RTX 3080 Ti, but the difference is minuscule for the extra cash involved. Arguably, the GeForce RTX 3090 is more useful for compute tasks than gaming, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s not worth paying the extra money for the latter. The lack of a low hash rate (LHR) version means the price is likely to stay high as well.

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 pros and cons


  • Very fast
  • Loads of memory


  • Price bears no relation to reality
  • Out-performed by much cheaper GPUs in some tests
  • High power draw

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 specs

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 spec list is:

CUDA cores / stream processors 10,496
ROPs 96
RT cores 82 (2rd-gen)
Tensor cores 328 (3rd-gen)
Base clock 1395 MHz
Boost clock 1695 MHz
Memory  24GB GDDR6
Memory bus 385-bit
Memory bandwidth 936 GB/s
Interface 8x PCIe 4

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 price

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 price is officially $1399 but is currently selling for $2100, making it a ridiculously expensive graphics card.

Price: Expect to pay $2100 (£2150).

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 review conclusion

Unless you’ve recently slain a dragon and shipped all its gold back to your house, the GeForce RTX 3090 is a GPU to avoid. Yes, it’s fast and has loads of memory, but the RTX 3080 Ti costs much less money and is almost as fast in real game tests. You don’t need 24GB of memory for today’s games, even at 4K, and the RTX 3090 draws a lot of power as well. If you want a 4K gaming GPU, save yourself some money and buy the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti instead.

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