After months of anticipation and controversy among its add-on card partners, NVIDIA’s 40-series GPUs are finally here. The company today unveiled the GeForce RTX 4090 and GeForce RTX 4080 at its GTC 2022 presentation. Taking full advantage of its new “Ada Lovelace” architecture, NVIDIA says the two GPUs offer significantly better ray tracing performance. The company has partnered with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to jointly develop a new “4N” manufacturing process that NVIDIA says is up to twice as efficient as the 8nm process it used for the series boards 30.
Ray tracing performance is significantly improved thanks to Ada Lovelace featuring NVIDIA’s new 3rd generation RT cores and the inclusion of a new rendering technique called Shader Execution Reordering and DLSS 3.0. In some games, NVIDIA said you can expect ray tracing performance two to three times better than what’s possible with its Ampere GPUs. The company gave demonstrations Cyberpunk 2077 runs at a near constant 100 frames per second with all the game’s ray tracing features set to max. NVIDIA said rasterization performance is up to twice as fast thanks to the new architecture.
The first of NVIDIA’s new Ada Lovelace GPUs will arrive next month when the GeForce RTX 4090 goes on sale for $1,599 on October 12. With 24GB of GDDR6X memory, NVIDIA claims its latest flagship is two to four times faster than the 3090 Ti while consuming the same amount of power. Good thing, too, because it starts at $100 more than its predecessor. Inside the RTX 4090, NVIDIA managed to fit 16,384 CUDA cores clocked at a base speed of 2.23 GHz.
Alongside the 4090, NVIDIA will offer two different variants of the RTX 4080. The base model, starting at $899, features 12GB of GDDR6X memory, while the 16GB version will set you back $1,199. Both configurations will arrive sometime in November. However, NVIDIA will only sell a Founders Edition model of the more expensive model. For the 12GB version, you’ll have to look to the company’s partners, which could make it difficult to find models starting at $899.
In terms of performance, the 16GB 3080 features 9,728 Cuda cores and a base clock of 2.21GHz, with a maximum boost clock of 2.51GHz. The 12GB model, meanwhile, has a more modest 7,680 CUDA cores, but a 100MHz faster base and boost clocks. Fortunately, you probably won’t need to upgrade your power supply if you plan to upgrade from a 3070 or 3080, with NVIDIA recommending a 700-watt power supply for the 12GB variant and a 750-watt power supply for his stronger brother. However, if you do decide to buy a new PSU, you’ll want to wait until more ATX 3.0 PSUs arrive later this year. That’s because at least the Founders Edition models will support the new 16-pin PCIe Gen-5 connector standard. That said, NVIDIA will also include an 8-pin adapter for those who don’t want to rewire their system.
NVIDIA’s 40-series GPUs arrive at a difficult time for the company. For much of the pandemic, it was impossible to buy the latest GeForce GPUs at MSRP due to demand from both gamers and crypto miners. That all changed in recent months due to the recent cryptocurrency crash and the long-awaited switch from Ethereum to proof-of-stake minting. As a result of these events, the used market was flooded with 30-series GPUs, making it nearly impossible for the company’s AIB partners and retailers to sell new video cards at MSRP.
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