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The RTX 4090 is impressive but not for everyone


So, the RTX 4090 24GB is finally out and you’re wondering how much more performance NVIDIA was able give us with this new RTX 4000 series.


As we’ve come to know all too well in this industry, securing PC parts (especially new ones), can be quite the game of cat and mouse for a PC enthusiast and also have you googling how bad an instant noodle diet really is.


But is the performance of the RTX 4090 really so amazing that you should try and grab one?


Don’t fret, Game On investigated this topic for you and put the RTX 4090 24GB to the test, putting it head-to-head with a previous GPU Kingpin, the RTX 3090 24GB to see how much better it actually is. We also checked to see if a newer CPU enables you to really unlock the performance of the RTX 4090 24GB, allowing you to become a true gaming god.


We tested the RTX 4090 24GB  on nine different games covering three different categories to see how it was performing in term of FPS.



THE GAMES


The categories in which we decided to do our tests are battle royales, AAA titles, and first-person shooters.


In each category, here are the titles we tested:


Click on image to enlarge


Each game was tested at 1080p resolution with the highest settings.


The charts below show the FPS obtained for each game along with the average FPS obtained per category with the configurations mentioned below.


Here’s how we calculated our averages for each category:


If we take the RTX 3090 24GB in the battle royale category we got the following results for each game:


Fortnite: 210 FPS     Apex : 285 FPS        Warzone: 190 FPS


The average amount of FPS for this graphics card for the chosen category would be:


(210 FPS + 285 FPS + 190 FPS) / 3 = 228 FPS



PART I: The RTX 4090 24GB outshines the RTX 3090 24GB…sometimes


In this first part, we’ll compare the performance of the RTX 4090 and the RTX 3090 on an i9-12900k configuration.


We are showing the benchmarks results obtained on the 2022 version of our Tower Pro gaming PC. More precisely, here is the configuration that we tested:


Tower Pro core configuration (buy it here):


– Intel Core i9-12900k
– 32GB (2x16GB) Corsair Vengeance 5600 MHz DDR5
– 2 x 1TB m.2 PCIe SSD by Western Digital SN750
– 850-watt Platinum PSU by Corsair
– Windows 10 Home


Along with this configuration, we tested the following graphics cards:


– GeForce RTX 3090 24GB
– GeForce RTX 4090 24GB



Your battle royale experience won’t get much better with the RTX 4090 24GB


When it comes to battle royale games, Apex Legends seems to have to highest frame count of the category with 285 FPS observed with the RTX 3090 and a sweet 300 FPS possible with the RTX 4090. This makes for a 5% improvement for the latest GPU.


We manage to obtain 210FPS on Fortnite with the RTX 3090, while the RTX 4090 manages 220 FPS, which makes for a 5% improvement between the two GPUs.


Warzone  scores the lowest in category with the RTX 3090 outputting 190 FPS while the RTX 4090 gives us a decent 205 FPS. This makes for an 8% improvement between the GPUs.


Click on image to enlarge


As we’ve seen before on the Game On blog, 120 FPS is already considered on the high end of hardware performance when it comes to battle royales. If we look at our chart above, we can see that just the RTX 3090 blows it out of the park with 190 FPS in game being the lowest frame rate obtained even with the highest settings on.


The RTX 4090 seems to give at most an additional 15 FPS which honestly isn’t something to write home about considering the huge price difference. Anyways, you could probably reach those same number with the RTX 3090 if you just tweaked you in game settings like most people do.


If you mostly play battle royales, you might want to give the RTX 4090 a pass, as both GPUs are close when it comes to performance.



You could consider the RTX 4090 24GB…If you’re an OWL player


For the first-person shooter (FPS) category, the most noticeable difference between the GPUs is on Overwatch. While the RTX 3090 manages 355 FPS, the RTX 4090 blows it out of the park with a whopping 585 FPS. This makes for an incredible 65% improvement between the two GPUs.


For Valorant, the RTX 3090 outputs a nice 500 FPS while the RTX 4090 manages 520 FPS, which makes a simple 4% improvement.


The frame count for Rainbow 6 Siege seems to be in the same range, with 460 FPS obtained with the RTX 3090 and 515 FPS with the RTX 4090.


Click on image to enlarge


Overwatch seems to be the only game where the upgrade to a RTX 4090 really made a massive difference. If like me, this is your main game and you plan on playing on a really (and I mean really) competitive level, you might want to consider the RTX 4090 but just remember, no real competitive player has his Overwatch settings on Ultra so you might just be fine with a RTX 3090. At least your wallet would thank you.


Overall, it seems like there isn’t much of a notable difference between the GPUs in this category.



The RTX 4090 24GB will make your game run smoother, but will you even notice?


Looking at the AAA category, Horizon Zero Dawn is the title on which both GPUs performed the best in terms of frame rate. The RTX 3090 managed a nice 198 FPS while the RTX 4090 manages just a bit more with 205 FPS. This makes for a 4% improvement between the two GPUs.


Just like Overwatch in the first-person shooter category, Read Dead Redemption shows a stark difference between the performance of the two GPUs. The RTX 3090 outputs a decent 132 FPS while the RTX 4090 manages a sweet 199 FPS, which is a 51% improvement.


For Borderlands 3, the RTX 3090 gives us a nice 152 FPS and the RTX 4090 only shows an additional 8 frames at 160 FPS, which makes for a 5% increase in performance.


Click on image to enlarge


Kind of like Overwatch in the previous category, Red Dead Redemption 2 shows a massive improvement when switching to a RTX 4090. This is understandable as Red Dead 2 is known as being one of the most GPU intensive AAA titles in recent years.


This category can be tricky, as the AAA titles coming out are becoming more and more GPU intensive and we’ve only tested three games. One thing we can say though, 120 FPS for an AAA title with the settings through the roof is already an extremely good performance and so anything past that is honestly overkill.



On average, no category really benefits from the RTX 4090 24GB


As we can see on the chart below, the lowest frame rates were obtained with AAA titles as those are usually the most GPU intensive games. On average the RTX 3090 managed 161 FPS while the RTX 4090 managed a decent 188 FPS. On average in this category, there’s a 17% improvement between the two GPUs.


Battle royales are in the middle with the RTX 3090 outputting a nice 228 FPS  and the RTX 4090 adding an additional 13 frames on average, which makes for a 6% improvement.


The first-person shooter (FPS) category boasts the biggest frame rates overall with a 438 FPS average for the RTX 3090 and a crazy 590 FPS average for the RTX 4090. This is the biggest improvement of the three categories with a 23% improvement on average frame rate.


Click on image to enlarge


Looking at these averages, we can honestly see that there isn’t a considerable difference between the performance of the GPUs. The difference in the first-person shooter (FPS) category is mostly due to Overwatch and so you could say that average isn’t totally representative of the category.


At the end of the day, if you had to decide which GPU to pick for your PC, the choice is mostly going to be based on your budget but also your willingness to wait for GPUs to become available.



Is the RTX 4090 24GB really that much better ?


When we look at the results of part I of our tests comparing the RTX 3090 24GB and the RTX 4090 24GB, we can see that apart from a couple games that really stand out like Overwatch, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Warzone, the improvement we got in our frame count was mostly around 5%, which usually translated to only a couple of extra frames.


We have to remember that our tests were all done on the highest settings and so both of these GPUs could manage an even higher frame count with the right settings. Overall, unless you would be ready and willing to spend who knows how long refreshing a seller’s page to maybe empty your savings on the latest RTX 4090 24GB, I would say it’s not worth it as the performance improvement isn’t that great.



PART II: The RTX 4090 24GB does not show much improvement at 1080p


In this second part, we compare the performance of the RTX 4090 on an i9-12900k and i7-12700K, to see if the GPU is bottlenecked by the i7.


For this part, we are showing the benchmarks’ results obtained on the 2022 version of our Tower Pro gaming PC. More precisely, here is the configuration that we tested:


Tower Pro core configuration (buy it here):


– GeForce RTX 4090 24GB
– 32GB (2x16GB) Corsair Vengeance 5600 MHz DDR5
– 2 x 1TB m.2 PCIe SSD by Western Digital SN750
– 850-watt Platinum PSU by Corsair
– Windows 10 Home


Along with this configuration, we tested the following processors:


– Intel Core i7-12700K
– Intel Core i9-12900K



If you are really into Warzone, and we mean really, you could consider an i9


Looking at the battle royale category, Warzone is the only title on which the CPU makes a difference in the frame rate, with the 12700K managing 180 FPS while the 12900K was able to make us reach 205 FPS. Those 25 extra frames make for a 14% improvement between the CPUs.


Fortnite and Apex Legends gave the same results for both CPUs, with 220 FPS for the former and 300 FPS for the latter.


Click on image to enlarge


Apart from the difference on Warzone, the battle royale category doesn’t seem to really care about a CPU upgrade and so unless you’re an ultra-competitive Warzone player or just want to be future proof, an i9-12900K isn’t really necessary.



FPS games are where your CPU really matters


The difference in frame rate is much more visible here in the first-person shooter (FPS) category.


The biggest improvement is on Valorant, with the i7 reaching 430 FPS while the i9 reached 520 FPS, which makes for a 21% improvement.


Rainbow 6 Siege is the second most impacted by the CPU upgrade, with the i7 managing 455 FPS while the i9 manages to output 515 FPS, which translates to a 13% improvement.


Overwatch was the least impacted. We obtained 550 FPS with the 12700K and 585 FPS with the 12900K. The 35 extra frames gained made for a 6% improvement.


Click on image to enlarge


In this category, the i9 allows you to reach at least 500 FPS even with the settings maxed out. The improvement between the CPUs is quite notable and so getting a better processor might be something to consider if you’re playing on a more pro level, although you might not miss out on much with an i7-12700K and a some optimized in-game settings.



AAA titles don’t really care about your processor


When it comes to the AAA titles, only Horizon Zero Dawn and Borderlands 3 saw an improvement between the two CPUs.


Borderlands 3 was the most impacted in the category with a 5% improvement. The i7 managed to output 152 FPS while the i9 gave us 8 additional frames for a total of 160 FPS.


Horizon Zero Dawn saw a very slight improvement, with the 12700K giving us 203 FPS and the 12900K 205 FPS. This makes for a measly 1% improvement.


Red Dead Redemption 2 saw no changes with both CPUs outputting 199 FPS.


Click on image to enlarge


AAA titles are usually more GPU than CPU intensive and so it’s no surprise to see that the category wasn’t really affected by the upgrade. Even the games on which we say a change, it wasn’t even 10 FPS. If your main category is AAA titles, you’re definitely better off spending the extra money on your GPU.



The only category where your CPU is going to change something is FPS games


On average, the first-person shooter (FPS) category was the most impacted by the CPU upgrade with a 13% improvement on the average frames obtained in the category. The i7 allowed to obtain 478 FPS on average and the i9 a sweet 540 FPS average.


Second most impacted category was the battle royale category with a 4% improvement, going from 233 FPS on average to 242 FPS on average between the 12700K and the 12900K. However, it’s important to note that this is solely due to Warzone which had a 14% improvement.


The least impacted were the AAA titles with a small 2% improvement, going from 185 FPS with the i7 to 188 FPS with the i9.


Click on image to enlarge


Looking at these averages, it’s clear that only the first-person shooter (FPS) category really cares about the upgrade to an i9. But even then, the i7 gives you all the performance you need to be competitive.


The battle royale and AAA titles category only saw a tiny change in average frame rate, which is not something really worth considering when choosing your CPU.



So, does the i7-12700K bottleneck the RTX 4090 24GB?


If we look at the results we got on part II of our tests, it doesn’t seem like the i7-12700K bottlenecks our RTX 4090 24GB overall, but there is a considerable difference when you’re playing a first-person shooter (FPS). Granted, the frame rate was already over 400 FPS for the games in that category with the i7 which is already more than enough for the average player and so it doesn’t raise much of an issue.


Considering that the upgrade to an i9-12900K didn’t seem to make much of a difference across all the game categories, we can say that that an i7-12700K is enough for you to really make the best of your RTX 4090 24GB.



CONCLUSION: Is the RTX 4090 24GB really that amazing for gaming?


Overall, from what we’ve seen in today’s article, it doesn’t seem like the RTX 4090 24GB could noticeably improve your gaming experience apart from on a couple of specific games like Overwatch or Red Dead Redemption 2.


Unless you’re a huge fan of mostly GPU intensive games or just enjoy always having the latest hardware for your PC, the RTX 4090 24GB doesn’t seem to be anything special on a gaming perspective.


Also, it doesn’t seem like a newer CPU really made a difference on the performance of the RTX 4090 24GB


We hope that this article helped you better understand the capabilities of NVIDIA’s newest GPU when it comes to gaming.


If you have any questions about the results presented here or maybe other configurations, feel free to reach out to us on our socials.


You can check out our article comparing NVIDIA’s series 3000 GPUs here

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Thanks for reading!


GLHF

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