How the RTX 4090 and 4080 compare to the RTX 3090 Ti and 3080 Ti

How the RTX 4090 and 4080 compare to the RTX 3090 Ti and 3080 Ti

After months of rumors and teasing, Nvidia finally announced the RTX 40 series of graphics cards during its GTC 2022 keynote. Using the new Ada Lovelace graphics architecture, the RTX 40 series will serve as a successor to the RTX 30 series, which debuted in 2020.

With the RTX 40 series launching less than a month from now, let’s take a look at the specs, dig into the standout features, and see how the first GPUs in the RTX 40 family stack up against the RTX 3090 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti.

Illustration by Amanda Flagg / IGN

RTX 40 vs. RTX 3090 Ti and 3080 Ti: Brief Overview

As the infographic above notes, there are many changes coming from the RTX 30 series to the RTX 40 series. However, the specs aren’t all that different from the Ti variants of the RTX 3090 and 3080, and the RTX 40 series all use GDDR6X memory.

Nvidia claims that the RTX 4080 variants will offer two to four times the performance of the RTX 3080 Ti. Meanwhile, the RTX 4090 Ti is said to be two to four times faster than the RTX 3090 Ti.

Other similarities worth pointing out include the GPUs supporting hardware-based ray tracing in addition to Nvidia’s supersampling technology, DLSS. While the RTX 30 series supports DLSS, there are some differences that we’ll discuss in the next section.

Another interesting note is that there are two variants of the RTX 4080: one with 16GB of GDDR6X memory, which will retail for $1,199, and another with 12GB of GDDR6X memory, which will cost $899. It wouldn’t be the first time Nvidia has done this, as the company released two different versions of its RTX 3080 graphics cards – the launch model included 10GB of memory, while another version released almost two years later included 12GB of memory.

But memory (and price) isn’t the only difference between the two RTX 4080 variants. The 16GB model has more RT, Tensor and CUDA cores and requires at least 750W of power. In contrast, the 12GB model has a larger base and boost clock and requires at least 700W of power.

RTX 40 vs. RTX 3090 Ti and 3080 Ti: Architecture

The RTX 30 series is built on Nvidia’s Ampere graphics architecture, which uses Samsung’s 8nm technology. Meanwhile, the RTX 40 series is built on the new Ada Lovelace architecture, which uses TSMC’s 4nm N4 technology.

The Ampere architecture is the second generation of RTX, using third generation Tensor cores and second generation RT cores. The Ada Lovelace architecture, named after the mathematician and writer, is the third generation of RTX, using fourth generation Tensor cores and third generation RT cores. And as you’d expect with a new generation of microarchitecture, every Lovelace RT and Tensor core is more powerful than every Ampere RT and Tensor core.

The Lovelace architecture is also the only graphics architecture that supports the new third generation of DLSS. Nvidia mentioned in a blog post that DLSS 3 is “powered by the new fourth-generation tensor cores and optical flow accelerator” found exclusively in the RTX 40 series.

Of course, these comparisons only tell the story on paper, and we won’t know how the GPUs really compare until we get a chance to benchmark the RTX 40 series ourselves. Still, the new manufacturing process and graphics architecture show promising signs that this will likely be a nice leap in performance between the two generations of GeForce graphics cards.

Taylor is Associate Technology Editor at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixter.

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