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Nvidia RTX 4090: Everything we know about Nvidia's next flagship graphics card

The Nvidia RTX 4090 is one of the most anticipated graphics card launches in memory, as rumors around the processing power (and power demands) of the next-gen BFGPU have gamers everywhere salivating.

The current-gen RTX 3090 was one of the most impressive graphics cards we'd ever seen when it launched, and even with the slightly more powerful Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti being the current standard-bearer for Nvidia right now, we'd still argue that the Nvidia RTX 3090 is 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 expected to be a massive leap over what even the RTX 3090 Ti is capable of doing, will be one of the most important product launches all year, quite frankly, as it will be our first official look at Nvidia Lovelace, Nvidia's new consumer graphics card architecture.

As the successor to Nvidia Ampere, Lovelace was originally thought to be more of a mid-cycle refresh rather than a full-on architectural leap, but rumors abound that Nvidia has changed course from its original plan and is aiming for more of an architecture overhaul, making the RTX 4090 launch all that more exciting.

Nvidia has kept much of this under wraps, however, so there's not a whole lot we know for sure. Still, we've pulled together everything we've heard about the Nvidia RTX 4090 to help keep you up-to-date on all the latest rumors, speculation, and analysis about the next generation of Nvidia's flagship graphics processor.

Nvidia RTX 4090: Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Nvidia's next flagship graphics card
  • When will it be available? It might launch as soon as August 2022
  • What will it cost? Given inflation, likely slightly higher than the RTX 3090

Nvidia RTX 4090: Release date

Leaked images of the RTX 4090 Ti

(Image credit: Chiphell)

In May 2020, the first Ampere GPU to be announced – the Nvidia A100 GPU – was unveiled to help developers and scientists work on COVID 19 research (among other things), but that was a data center and cloud computing platform, not a consumer GPU.

The Nvidia RTX 3080 launched several months after, with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 launching first on September 17, 2020, followed by the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 on September 24. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 was released on October 28, 2020.

This time around, we're expecting the Nvidia RTX 4090 to launch first, possibly as soon as August 2022, which should then be followed up by the RTX 4080 and the RTX 4070 in September and October, respectively.

Nvidia RTX 4090: Price

Leaked images of the RTX 4090 Ti

(Image credit: Chiphell)

The Nvidia RTX 4090 price point is a really big unknown at the moment. The RTX 3090 debuted at $1,499 (£1,399, AU$2,100) for the Nvidia Founder's Edition, with other AIB partners introducing additional features like larger fans or RGB elements that raised the price even further.

And that was just the MSRP. When it comes to the actual paid price, however, these prices were often way above the MSRP due to a confluence of supply chain shortages contributing to inflation and the intense demand for next-gen graphics cards inspiring profiteers to use swarms of bots to buy up available stock and resell it at inflated prices online. 

And then there were the cryptocurrency mining operations that would buy up entire warehouses of graphics cards that would otherwise have been bought by gamers.

All of this contributed to the RTX 3090 selling for way more than anyone had anticipated. Will past be prologue for the RTX 4090? It's hard to say, honestly. We expect the RTX 4090 to be a very expensive graphics card, without question, but how much of this perfect storm around the RTX 3090 will still be around to affect the price of the RTX 4090 is anyone's guess at this point.

Cryptocurrency prices have plummeted in recent months, driving down demand for high-end graphics cards from cryptominers, so that upward pressure on prices isn't as powerful. And while the chip shortage is still very much a problem, it struck just ahead of the Ampere and AMD RDNA 2 launches, so those graphics card line-ups were not prepared for the chip crunch of 2020 and 2021.

It's 2022, however, and now the chip shortage is somewhat baked in. Nvidia has known what the chip situation looks like and has had time to prepare for it in a way it couldn't before with the RTX 3090.

As for dastardly profiteers...well, there's not much anyone can do about the human impulse toward screwing over strangers for profit, but there will likely be a lot more inventory available this time around to make it far less profitable to try to buy up tens of thousands of dollars in graphics cards with the hope of reselling them at a 50% premium (or more).

All this points to a more modest price increase from the general inflationary environment we're in. While it remains to be seen, it would be fantastic if Nvidia kept the price for the RTX 4090 in line with the RTX 3090.

Nvidia RTX 4090: Specs

Leaked images of the RTX 4090 Ti

(Image credit: Chiphell)

Given that we don't have anything official on the RTX 4090, all of the details about its specs are more like speculation than fact.

What we can say is that this is almost certainly going to be a beast of a graphics card, and we don't just mean in terms of frames per second. If the rumors are true, then this might as well be called the Nvidia Tarrasque given how much power it is expected to consume.

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With a TGP (Total Graphics Power) of 600W, this component alone might be the most power-hungry consumer PC component ever. This is enough power to run some of the best gaming PCs around, and we're not talking just budget systems, either.

This much power consumption only makes sense if the Nvidia RTX 4090 is as powerful as some are claiming, which is anywhere from twice to three times as fast as the RTX 3090.

To be clear, the RTX 3090 can run Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K on its highest ray-traced settings with DLSS off and get upwards of 30 FPS, which is still playable, if not ideal. Turn DLSS on and it is the only graphics card that has a chance of approaching 60 fps with those settings, getting as high as 52 fps, being topped only by the RTX 3090 Ti's 57 max fps.

Now saying that a graphics card is twice as fast doesn't mean that this will translate directly into doubling your fps in any given game, but at just twice the speed, the RTX 4090 (with DLSS on) should easily clear 60 fps and maybe even reach 80 fps if these rumors are true. That is some serious gaming performance, and it would be what we'd expect if you nearly doubled the TGP of the RTX 3090, which has a TGP of 350W.

Once we get closer to launch, we'll likely start to hear more about the core counts and clock speeds, but suffice it to say, this should definitely be the biggest graphics card launch of the year.

Source: TechRadar

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