Nvidia will send us our review unit RTX 4090 very soon, so we’re naturally excited to get our hands on it and see if it lives up to its hype high price tag. In the meantime, Nvidia was kind enough to treat us to some test footage of Cyberpunk 2077 running on the new GPU to show off the new power DLSS 3.
The demo was run at 1400p and max graphics settings (with Ultra Ray Tracing enabled), and Nvidia helpfully displayed some active GPU metrics on screen during the demo, which revealed some great facts about how well the RTX 4090 runs the game.
The first – and potentially most interesting – piece of information we got was that this RTX 4090 was clocked at 2850MHz, which is actually 330Hz higher than the originally claimed “official” clock of 2520MHz. Nvidia previously mentioned that the GPU exceeded 3000MHz when overclocked during internal testing, so that’s not exactly shocking, but it’s nice to see the card running at a strong overclock.
In terms of actual gaming performance, the RTX 4090 ran Cyberpunk 2077 at an average frame rate simply just shy of 60fps when using native resolution and with DLSS 3 disabled. Enabling DLSS 3 (at the previous quality settings) gave a huge performance boost, increasing the average frame rate to 171fps and reducing power consumption by over 110W.
That’s a significant improvement in performance per watt, which is nice to see considering the new RTX GPUs are pretty power-hungry components. It also goes beyond simple frame rate; the inclusion of Nvidia’s third-generation upscaling technology also reduced average latency by 29%, as well as slightly lowering the card’s maximum operating temperature, which sat between 50C and 53C during the DLSS 3 demo.
Analysis: DLSS 3 will be most useful for lower tier maps
DLSS 3 won’t be needed (or supported) for many games, and if you have an RTX 4090, you definitely won’t need it for most games given the GPU power required. These are actually lower spec GPUs such as suspiciously underpowered 12GB RTX 4080 and any potential future cheaper cards such as RTX 4070which will benefit the most from it.
DLSS has made huge strides since its introduction and now allows lower-spec graphics cards to run demanding games at higher resolutions without significantly reducing frame rates. It’s also practically necessary for games with resource-intensive ray tracing processes, such as Cyberpunk 2077 (which is probably why Nvidia chose this game to demonstrate DLSS 3).
We’re a little disappointed that DLSS 3 likely won’t appear on older RTX cards; at least not anytime soon. Some of the best GPUs, like the RTX 3070 and 3060 Ti, third-gen DLSS could be seriously improved, but it looks like Nvidia wants to keep it as a key selling point of the RTX 4000 for now.
With RTX 3000 and older cards cheaper and cheaperhowever, the launch of the RTX 4090 may represent the perfect time to buy something good video card deal – especially if you don’t plan on playing in 4K Ultra. If you’re still using a 1080p monitor, it might be a smart move to grab a 3000-series GPU once the 4000-series comes out and prices drop. Black Friday is coming, after all…