The Leaked RTX 3090 Benchmarks Aren’t Great

The Leaked RTX 3090 Benchmarks Aren’t Great
Image: Nvidia
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There’s been a ton of hype around the RTX 3080, but what about the 24GB beast, the RTX 3090? Some benchmarks from the $2400-plus GPU leaked over the weekend and … well, they’re not that impressive.

The RTX 3090 is effectively the Titan-class GPU for the new generation. It certainly has a price tag to match at $2429. But the question on a lot of people’s minds was how much more performance the RTX 3090 would truly offer, especially with 14GB extra VRAM and talk of genuine, playable 8K/60fps gaming.

But if you’re not playing at 8K? The RTX 3090 might not be that appetising.

A string of benchmarks run on a system with an Intel i9-10900K, the Game Ready drivers released last Thursday, some G.Skill RAM running at 4133MHz and other bits and pieces found that in a lot of cases, the performance benefit was 10 per cent or less.

In Control, the RTX 3090 was hitting 71fps at 4K with ray-tracing and DLSS enabled, compared to 65fps for the RTX 3080. (That’s almost identical to our Ashtray Maze benchmark for the RTX 3080, although the video below is from an early section of gameplay running through the initial levels.)

Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey ran at 107fps and 71fps at 4K, only 8 and 9 per cent quicker than the RTX 3080 on the same system. The biggest jump was in Death Stranding with DLSS disabled — there’s no ray-tracing in Death Stranding — but even that was only at 116fps on the RTX 3090, compared to 104fps on the RTX 3080. (With DLSS enabled, both cards get well over 160fps.)

Nvidia pitched the RTX 3090 as an 8K-capable gaming card — at least with DLSS enabled — but also towards those for whom the 24GB of VRAM would be essential. Those generally aren’t gaming applications, although gaming at 8K would undoubtedly require a substantial jump in memory.

It’s not the first RTX 3090 benchmark that’s leaked. Some Time Spy scores appeared late last week, showing the RTX 3090 about 19 percent and 20 per cent faster in the Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme tests. Those are synthetic, however, and we can’t compare how the difference in the two systems might have impacted the results. It also doesn’t show the RTX 3090 running at 8K, something that definitely warrants testing from independent third party reviewers.

Official reviews for the RTX 3090 should be dropping towards the end of this week. It’ll be fun to see how it handles different engines and different types of games, although ultimately I think it’ll be more interesting to revisit the card when something like Cyberpunk 2077, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or Watch Dogs: Legion drops. Those will give us the first taste of what the next generation of games will target and demand, and we’ll have a better assessment of what you’ll get for your $2429 when those are out.


    • I am in the exact same boat; 5120×1440 – not quite 4k, but based on all the videos I’ve seen, this looks like the next meme “Can it run Cyberpunk?”

    • The ‘Titan’ cards (which this card effectively is) never made sense from a purely gaming perspective, so this doesn’t surprise me at all.

      They’ve typically been aimed at either people that just want bragging rights or people that play games, but also do stuff like heavy video editing or CAD. I feel like calling it 3090 makes it sound like another card in the general consumer lineup, when previously ‘Titan’ always differentiated it a bit from the rest which seems like a bad move from a consumer standpoint (though maybe Nvidia expect to sell more of them with this naming scheme, so maybe a good move from Nvidia’s perspective).

      • 100% on the money.

        Nvidia specifically said that the 3080 was the gaming flagship this round and the 3090 was Titan class. I suspect the name change is linked to partners being able make/sell their own cards for the first time.

  • I’m running a 2080ti atm and I’m mostly keen to see >4k screen benchmarks – I’m a vr gamer with a hp reverb that runs dual 4k diaplays (so effectively half 8k)
    Hopefully I’m lucky in the raffle this Friday….. And will watch the reviews closely before dropping the $$$

  • Not into PC’s much, but eventually there won’t be a point in upgrading at all. You can only see so many pixels at so many fps. Even with hi res textures and ray tracing. You won’t be able to tell the difference between 8k and 16k or 32k and 240fps and 480fps

  • Very interesting article Alex, thank you. Not everyone lives and breathes gaming – as hard as this is to believe. I’m one of those odd creatures – I don’t game. I know I will be castigated for this however I felt compelled to register for this comment. The 24GB on this 3090 is going to be heaven for a vid editor/creator like me in a way that a 3080 can only dream about. The speeds are inconsequential to creators as a nice little TR 3770X will supply all the required horsepower while that gorgeous 24GB buffer in the 3090 will supply the cached work on tap easily. It isn’t only about the frame rate and speed. I am constantly bamboozled when reviewers harp on about games and speed and frame rates with scarce mention of real work related progress made by these new creator cards and their VRAM. Recent news of a 20GB 3080 may indeed be the sweet spot for creation creatures like me. 🙂

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