Nvidia RTX 4070 vs 4090 – which graphics card should you go for?

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We’re looking into the RTX 4070 vs 4090, to see what the similarities and differences are between the two graphics cards.

The RTX 4070 is the latest card from Nvidia and it’s sure to be quite the hit with gamers. In fact, it is the most affordable way to get your hand on a desktop RTX 40-series GPU so far. If you are considering getting one, it’s a good idea to see how it shapes up against other graphics cards on the market.

Where to buy RTX 4070:

Amazon US

  1. Amazon US
  2. PNY GeForce RTX 4070 12GB XLR8 Gaming VERTO EPIC-X RGB
  3. Gigabyte AORUS GeForce RTX 4070 Master 12G Graphics Card
  4. PNY GeForce RTX 4070 12GB Verto Dual Fan Graphics Card DLSS 3

Best Buy

Newegg

The RTX 4090 is the most powerful card to feature the Ada Lovelace architecture. In fact, it’s the most powerful graphics card that Nvidia has ever released. With unparalleled ray tracing and 4K performance, it is certainly a tempting offer, if you can afford it that is.

We’ll be breaking our comparison down into different sections, to try and give you as complete an overview of the cards as possible. This should give you enough information to give you a sense of the cards and how they fit in amongst the crowded GPU market.

Let’s get into our comparison.

Nvidia RTX 4070 vs 4090 – specs

SpecsRTX 4070RTX 4090
ArchitectureLovelaceLovelace
RT Cores3rd Gen3rd Gen
Tensor Cores 4th Gen4th Gen
Stream Processors / CUDA Cores5,88816,384
Base Clock1,920MHz2,520MHz
GDDR6X VRAM12GB24GB

As you can see from the table above, it’s hardly surprising that the RTX 4090 has such an impressive performance. The RTX 4070 is by no means a weak card but the 4090 doubles the VRAM, adds around 25% to the base clock, as well as a staggering 10K CUDA cores.

These cores are responsible for much of the back-breaking work of graphic generation, so the more you have the more powerful your card will be, particularly when it’s backed up by superior hardware elsewhere.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the RTX 4070 is smaller than the 4090. The huge size of the RTX 4090 was one of the main complaints from gamers with many having the shell out for an upgrade to get the best case for the RTX 4090 in order to incorporate it into their build.

The first few columns of the specs table do show some similarities between the cards in terms of the constituent parts they are built from. This is because they use the same architecture. Let’s get into exactly what that means.

Nvidia RTX 4070 vs 4090 – architecture

Architecture is where we see the most significant similarity between the RTX 4070 and RTX 4090.

Both use the Ada Lovelace architecture that in fact debuted in the RTX 4090 back when it was released. This brings with it a tonne of breakthroughs and technological advancements.

For example, all GPUs with the Lovelace architecture have DLSS 3. This is an AI-based technology that enhances both frame rates and resolution through optimization. For example, it can track the movement of pixels between two frames to figure out aspects of what the third frame will look like, allowing it to be generated using less computing power.

This is made possible by the 4th generation Tensor cores that feature within the RTX 4090, alongside the 3rd generation Ray Tracing cores which make the RTX 40-series cards easily some of the best GPUs for ray tracing we have ever seen. This is especially true for the RTX 4090 which is unrivaled in this department.

Nvidia RTX 4070 vs 4090 – performance

However, it’s fair to say that, in terms of performance the RTX 4090 come out on top. By a sizeable margin too. This card represents the current pinnacle of GPU technology, designed and built to be top of the top-end, while the RTX 4070 compromises part of its performance in order to deliver a more affordable price.

This is not to say that the 4070 is a weak card, however. The card sits somewhere between the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3090 in terms of power and is even able to match the RTX 3080 when DLSS is enabled.

This means exceptional 1440p performance, an ability to handle 4K well, and proficient ray tracing. If you are specifically interested in 4K performance, the RTX 4090 is the one to go for, being one of the best graphics cards for 4K that we have ever seen.

Nvidia RTX 4070 vs 4090 – price

The RTX 4070 has an MSRP of $599. This makes it by far the cheapest desktop RTX 40-series card we have seen yet.

Meanwhile, the RTX 4090 had a pretty heavy launch day price of $1,599 and it is often being sold for even more. Another thing that is important to keep in mind is that, as the more powerful graphics card, the RTX 4090 also needs higher-end hardware paired with it, in order to reach its full potential. The best CPU for the RTX 4090 will need to be more powerful and thus more expensive.

Nvidia RTX 4070 vs 4090 – which one should you go for?

This guide should have given you an overview as to whether the RTX 4070 or RTX 4090 is the kind of card you ought to be considering. Essentially, it all depends on your budget.

The RTX 4070 is a mid-range GPU, but one that is on the more powerful side. Its Lovelace architecture ensures it will have a brilliant ray tracing performance for its price, and that it will be able to handle even the most demanding games at 1440p and 4K too.

If you are looking for the best of the best, performance-wise, you really can’t do better than the RTX 4090. It is a gaming beast, capable of hitting unbelievably high frame rates at 4K and with enough future-proofing to ensure that you won’t be left behind for some time. The catch is, as usual, the price. With a tag around three times bigger than the RTX 4070 this exceptional performance will set you back.

Frequently asked questions

Will the RTX 4090 go down in price?

Graphics card prices do fluctuate regularly but will always go down over time. However, we are unlikely to see a significant drop in the price of the RTX 4090 until the next generation of Nvidia cards is announced.

Will the RTX 4070 have a Founder’s Edition?

Yes, the RTX 4070 will have a Founder’s Edition version, despite the fact that the RTX 4070 Ti did not.

About the Author

Rory Greig

Rory Greig works as a tech writer for Videogamer. He is a writer with a strong knowledge of gaming technology and an eye for detail. He is especially interested in graphics cards and generative AI.