Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU leak sparks both excitement and disappointment

Nvidia’s RTX 4090 graphics card, the incoming flagship for the Lovelace generation, has witnessed its first leaked benchmark which has provoked an interesting range of responses.

The 3DMark result provided by well-known leaker Kopite7kimi on Twitter shows the purported performance (keep that saltshaker handy) of the RTX 4090 in the Time Spy Extreme test.

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As you can see, the next-gen flagship GPU achieves a graphics score of just over 19,000 in the benchmark. What does that mean? Well, broadly it’s pretty much as expected going by recent rumors, although there are some folks who are disappointed by the result on Twitter (and elsewhere for that matter).

Let’s discuss exactly why that might be the case next, and what we think the score indicates, all the while bearing in mind that this is just a single synthetic benchmark – and an early leaked one at that – so it’s a very narrow perspective on the potential of the RTX 4090.

Analysis: Dangers of believing the rumor hype

That tally of 19,000 compares to the base RTX 3090 (Founders Edition) scoring 9,955 when we benchmarked the latter in Time Spy Extreme during our review. So, a bit of simple maths shows the RTX 4090 looking to be around 90% faster than the RTX 3090 (possibly a smidge more given that Kopite7kimi indicates that the score could be slightly over 19,000).

Most recently on the rumor mill, we’ve quite widely heard the prediction that the RTX 4090 will be twice as fast as its flagship predecessor. The issue with some of the slight disappointment at the revelation of this leaked benchmark largely revolves around that expectation, and more to the point, some of the hope stoked earlier in the rumor cycle that the RTX 4090 might even offer a performance leap of more like 2.5x or so.

Those never seemed like realistic expectations to us, and close to double the performance is a huge leap, let’s not forget. Indeed, an increase of 90% for rasterization (non-ray tracing) compared to the RTX 3090 is actually a massive step up – if we put that into perspective against the leap from the RTX 2080 Ti that the RTX 3090 itself made, that was a 42% increase.

So, this is actually a very impressive feat – if the leak is accurate – and further remember that we may yet see better performance from the finished RTX 4090 (with final drivers and so forth). Although the real test for the incoming Lovelace flagship will be with actual gaming benchmarks, not synthetic ones, naturally – although the latter are still a useful indicator of respective performance levels.

Other rumors around the RTX 4090 remain the same, namely that it’ll be the first Lovelace GPU out of the gate for Nvidia – possibly in October – and that the GPU will consume 450W or so, which is no real surprise given that performance increase. Clock speeds are expected to run up to 2.5GHz or maybe even somewhat higher, up towards the 2.7GHz or even 2.8GHz mark (certainly with third-party cards that feature advanced cooling solutions).

We’re talking about traditional rasterization performance here, of course, and ray tracing boosts could be even more substantial – in fact, the rumor mill believes that they will be. In short, the RTX 4090 is set to be quite a graphics card, likely with quite a hefty price tag pinned on it, too – particularly if Nvidia still needs to help clear excess high-end RTX 3000 stock after the launch of the Lovelace flagship.

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