Nvidia RTX 4080 vs Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards – specs and performance comparison

Nvidia RTX 4080 vs Nvidia RTX 3090 graphics cards – specs and performance comparison
Romilly Cotta Updated on by

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The release of Nvidia’s RTX 4080 has got us wondering what comes out on top when we put the RTX 4080 vs 3090.

This article is going to take you through the key differences between the RTX 4080 vs 3090, finally arriving at a conclusion after we’ve considered the price of the 4080. Make sure you factor in additional purchases you may need to make to accommodate the beastly RTX 4080 including a new PC case, PSU and and CPU all of which we have guides on.

Right now we’ll pay attention to the most significant factors informing people’s choices other than price, including clock speed and architecture.

The release of the RTX 4080 in early November was not without controversy, after NVIDIA ‘unlaunched’ the 12GB variant of the GPU, however, since its release it has been well received and largely seen to have justified its large asking price.

If you feel unconvinced, another option is Radeon’s worthy RDNA 3 GPUs which are set to cause a stir.

RTX 4080 vs 3090 – what are the specs?

SpecsRTX 4080 (16GB)RTX 3090 (24GB)
CUDA Cores972810,496
Clock speed (base – boost) (GHz)2.21 – 2.511.0 – 1.70
VRAM (GB, GDDR6X)16GB24GB
ArchitectureLovelaceAmpere
Memory Interface256-bit384-bit
Ray Tracing cores3rd Gen2nd Gen
Tensor cores4th Gen3rd Gen
Maximum resolution7260 x 43207260 x 4320
Connectivity1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort1 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort
Required system power (W)320350
Graphics card power (W)750750

An easy breakdown of the RTX 4080 and 3090 specs will predictably tell you that the newer graphics card outperforms the older series. But is this even true?

The RTX 4080 has an impressive 9728 CUDA Cores on its 16GB model and is supported by Lovelace architecture with a whopping 76 billion transistors in its TSMC’s 4nm mode. Don’t worry if you’re lost by this terminology – a useful rule is that more transistors generally equate to faster processing rates.

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Whilst this is a small feat, the RTX 3090 actually trumps the RTX 4080 in terms of CUDA Cores, clocking in at 10,496 (about 700 more than the 4080) whilst boasting a hefty 24GB of memory.

Despite the status of a next-gen graphics card, we can see that RTX 4080 is being challenged by the 3090 on multiple fronts.

Below you’ll find a table comparing the specs side by side for a clearer understanding of the key differences between the graphics cards.

Buy Now: ASUS Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 16GB

RTX 4080 vs 3090 – Architecture

The RTX 4080 comes with Lovelace architecture which brings a whole lot more to the table when it comes to next-gen gaming. Described by NVIDIA as ‘a breakthrough moment for 3D graphics’, Lovelace architecture delivers a dramatically higher baseline of GPU performance. In terms of ray tracing and neural graphics, it basically hits performance out of the park.

Read More: Best RTX 3080 – our top picks

The RTX 3090’s Ampere architecture is definitely not made obsolete by Lovelace though. Though Ampere is twice the size of TSMC’s 4nm N4 technology used for Lovelace, it is still one of the most powerful bits of microarchitecture you have in a graphics card.

Buy Now: MSI Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 16GB GAMING X TRIO 16GB

Nvidia’s Lovelace architecture

RTX 4080 vs 3090 – Performance

The RTX 4080 has shown it can out perform the 3090, in general performing at around 20% faster speeds. This is mostly thanks to its superior architecture. That the 4080 can fend off the 3090, despite the latter’s higher 24GB of memory shows the power of this architecture.

Read Now: RTX 4080 vs 3080

According to UserBenchmark the 4080 trumps the 3090 in almost all regards, including overclock speed, value effective 3D speed. While prices do vary it also tends to be cheaper than the RTX 3080 making it our winner in this head-to-head.

Is the RTX 4080 worth the money?

Ah, the question on everybody’s lips – should I buy the RTX 4080 or is the RTX 3090 better value?

The RTX 4080 will have a starting price of around $1,199 / £1,050 which is no small feat, especially with third-party cards naturally costing more.

The RTX 3090 is currently retailing for around $1,500 on Amazon. Though this is still a hefty price tag there are more deals offered on this older card, some of which we have linked to above.

Our conclusion is that the RTX 4080 has justified its large price tag and is superior the 3090. However, for more budget conscious gamers other Nvidia offerings such as the RTX 3060, or even 3050 Ti can offer a better return on investments, despite their weaker capabilities.

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RTX 4080 vs 3090 FAQs

When was the RTX 3090 released?

The RTX 4080 was released on November 16th 2022.

Will there be RTX 4080 Ti?

Yes – the RTX 4080 Ti will likely launch in 2023.