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Nvidia 3090 vs 4090: Key Differences

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Nvidia recently launched its new flagship graphics card, the GeForce RTX 4090 for ultimate gaming and video editing performance. But people are confused about whether to buy the new one or go for the previous generation RTX 3090 as the prices of the older generations will come down significantly.

In this article, we’ll explain the key differences between the two graphics cards and if you should go for an upgrade or wait till another generation of graphics cards is launched.

Here’s what we will cover:

Performance and specifications

Source: Nvidia

The most obvious reason that one wants the newer generation of graphics cards is the raw performance. RTX 4090 packs more punch than 3090 and is usually 30 to 50% faster.

Moreover, RTX 4090 also has more CUDA cores, tensor cores, ray tracing cores, memory bandwidth, and power consumption when compared to RTX 3090.

Here’s a full table of specifications:

SpecificationRTX 4090RTX 3090
ProcessSamsung 5nmSamsung 8nm
CUDA cores1843210496
Tensor cores576328
Ray Tracing cores28882
Base clock1.8 GHz1.4 GHz
Boost clock2.2 GHz1.7 GHz
Memory size48 GB GDDR6X24 GB GDDR6X
Memory bus384-bit384-bit
Memory bandwidth1152 GB/s936 GB/s
TDP450 W350 W

As we can see from the above table, RTX 4090 is based on a smaller chip architecture thus allowing faster computing power and energy efficiency.

Moreover, the Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) cores in 4090 are more than in 3090. This means that in general day-to-day tasks, the former will perform much better than the latter. In graphics-intensive tasks such as 3D rendering, video editing or visual applications, RTX 4090, with 18432 CUDA cores allows users to perform the tasks seamlessly without having to worry about sudden glitches or crashes.

RTX 4090 also leads in Tensor cores. Tensor cores are designed specifically for machine learning and AI tasks. These cores improve the performance significantly and the higher these cores are, the better result you will get. RTX 4090, with 576 Tensor cores, is currently the top-notch player in the AI field and outperforms the RTX 3090 which has 328 Tensor cores.

Ray tracing is a technique to showcase realistic graphics in games by tracing the light paths and creating shadows and reflections. It is quite a demanding technique and only a few games and graphics cards have it. Here also, RTX 4090 beats 3090 by a huge margin. RTX 4090 packs 288 ray tracing cores which promises improved gaming visuals.

RTX 4090 outperforms RTX 3090 Ti in all gaming titles. | Source: Nvidia

The RTX 4090 boasts higher base and boost clock speeds, indicating a potential increase in raw computational power. Higher clock speeds are beneficial for gaming and other GPU-intensive tasks.

The RTX 4090 has double the amount of video memory (VRAM) compared to the RTX 3090. This is particularly advantageous for handling large textures, high-resolution gaming, and complex workloads in professional applications.

Both cards share the same 384-bit memory bus, but the RTX 4090 has a higher memory bandwidth. This, coupled with the larger VRAM, can lead to better memory performance, crucial for handling demanding workloads and high-resolution textures.

In the end, RTX 4090 has a higher TDP of 450 W. While a higher TDP means more voltage consumption, it also translates into more computational capabilities.

Also read: AMD Ryzen 3 vs Intel Core i5: Which one is better? 


Source: Nvidia

Pricing is a major factor for most people when deciding on graphics cards. RTX 4090 graphics cards are much pricier than 3090. It should not noted that due to the chip shortages after the global pandemic, the price of graphics cards has increased.

RTX 4090 has a retail price of $1,999 which can go up to $2,599. On the other hand, RTX 3090 is below $1,889.

Also read: eMMC vs NVMe: Key Differences

Nvidia 3090 vs 4090: Which one is best for you?

RTX 4090 is quite an impressive graphics card and you must certainly go for it if you have the budget and your work requires it. But if you already have RTX 3090, you can continue to use that too. RTX 3090 is also a powerful graphics card and can easily perform most tasks.

RTX 4090 also requires a larger card slot as it is slightly bigger than 3090. Therefore, you will need a larger case and power supply for these graphics cards. This is an additional cost that you will have to consider.

RTX 4090 also requires a PCle 4.0 slot on the motherboard although it is backward compatible with PCle 3.0. But for maximum output, a PCle 4.0 slot will be best. RTX 3090 can run on PCle 3rd generation while giving optimum performance.

Furthermore, RTX 4090 can be an overkill for most gamers. Only a few per cent of gamers go for 4K or 8K gaming resolutions and if you are one of those gamers, you should definitely give 4090 a try. However, for a maximum number of people, RTX 3090 will do just fine.

In conclusion, you should buy RTX 4090 only if your workload is demanding and you enjoy a higher gaming resolution. If not, 3090 will be more than enough for most people.

Also read: Dell Precision vs Latitude vs Inspiron: What’s the difference? 

Kumar Hemant

Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: