The Nvidia RTX 4090 is the company’s newest flagship graphics card, promising massive performance gains over previous generation cards like the RTX 3090. With ultra high resolutions and frame rates becoming more commonplace, many gamers and PC enthusiasts are curious how the RTX 4090 handles different resolutions. In this expanded benchmark test, we’ll do a deep dive comparison of the card’s performance at 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolutions across a range of 15 demanding games.
The RTX 4090 rocks some seriously impressive specs that promise double or more performance versus the RTX 3090. Key specs include:
- 16384 CUDA cores – over double the RTX 3090
- 24GB of GDDR6X memory with a blazing 912.4 GB/s bandwidth
- Up to 2520MHz boost clock speed
- 450W power draw
On paper, the 4090 looks to deliver up to 2-4x the performance of previous generation cards. But does this massive power translate properly in real-world gaming? We aim to find out by testing 15 graphically intensive games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolution with maxed out settings.
Our test bench consisted of an Intel Core i9-13900K CPU and 32GB DDR5 RAM to avoid any system bottlenecks. All games were benchmarked using built-in tools for consistency. Power draw was monitored using software measuring tools. Let’s dive into the results across all three resolutions!
1080p Performance Benchmarks
At 1080p, the RTX 4090 is almost excessive in its performance capabilities. This card is designed to push higher resolutions and frame rates, so unsurprisingly it dominates 1080p gaming. Across our 15 game test suite, average frame rates ranged from 190 fps up to a staggering 485 fps at max settings.
Competitive online games like Valorant, CS:GO and Overwatch 2 exceeded 400 fps on average easily. Single player titles like Control and Cyberpunk 2077 with intensive ray tracing effects still achieved 280-340 fps. The 4090 delivers such high 1080p framerates that essentially any gaming monitor on the market today can be maxed out.
Gamers wanting the smoothest possible 1080p gaming will love the 4090. Those with 360Hz monitors can take full advantage and popular 240Hz monitors can be consistently maxed out across virtually any title. The card is extreme overkill for this resolution, but provides ample headroom for 400+ fps gaming.
1440p Performance Benchmarks
1440p or QHD represents a nice balance between performance, visual quality and monitor pricing. At this resolution, the RTX 4090 still delivers excellent frame rates but begins to show limitations in the most demanding games.
Throughout our testing, average frame rates ranged between 115 fps on the low end up to 318 fps at the high end when maxing out settings. Simpler esports titles continued to perform excellently with multiple games benchmarking near or over 300 fps.
However, more graphically intense games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion dropped below 144 fps once ray tracing and other demanding effects were enabled. Users wanting to take full advantage of high refresh 1440p monitors will need to make some settings tweaks to maintain the highest framerates.
Overall though, the 4090 provides outstanding 1440p performance perfect for high refresh rate gaming. Frame rates are comfortably above 100+ fps in virtually any title. With some reasonable settings adjustments, even the most demanding games can achieve framerates to match 240Hz or 360Hz monitors.
4K Performance Benchmarks
At 4K resolution, the RTX 4090 begins to demonstrate its true power and justify its premium pricing. While 4K gaming requires compromises even on high end GPUs, the 4090 makes the resolution far more achievable across a wide range of titles.
In our expanded 15 game benchmark suite at 4K max settings, frame rates ranged between 44 fps on the low end in the most demanding titles, up to framerates exceeding 160 fps in esports titles. The average across all games sat around 85-95 fps.
Demanding games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy averaged right around 60 fps fully maxed out. Ray tracing effects have a heavier impact on 4K performance – Control managed 53 fps with RT maxed. DLSS provides a nice performance boost in supported titles, with up to 45% higher frame rates in games like Cyberpunk 2077.
To maintain a smooth 60+ fps experience at 4K in some games, some level of settings adjustment is still required. But the 4090 pushes 4K gaming farther than any previous consumer GPU. It provides a true native 4K 60+ fps experience in nearly any title without excessive compromises, and even allows for high framerate 4K gaming exceeding 100+ fps.
Power Consumption Benchmarks
The RTX 4090 matches or even exceeds the RTX 3090 in terms of peak and average power draw. In our testing, peak draw reached as high as 480W in certain games at 4K resolution with max settings. Average power draw under gaming loads generally sat between 320W and 370W.
Both these cards represent a huge leap over previous generation high-end GPUs in power requirements. Nvidia’s new 16-pin power adapter has proven controversial, with melting issues arising in some early adapter models. For safe operation, using the included connector and cabling is definitely recommended. The 4090 also mandates a high quality 850W+ power supply.
While power hungry, our testing showed the 4090 accomplishes new performance heights that largely justify the increased requirements, especially for 4K gaming. Efficiency is not a strong suit but performance metrics are unparalleled.
Our extensive benchmark testing shows the RTX 4090 accomplishes its goal – delivering a true next generation 4K 60+ fps gaming experience. It provides extremely high frame rates exceeding 400+ fps at 1080p, making high refresh rate 1080p gaming possible in any title.
At 1440p, performance is outstanding as well, reliably hitting over 100+ fps in virtually all games. This enables high 144Hz or 240Hz QHD gameplay. Finally, the card excels in 4K gaming, hitting well over 60 fps in most titles natively without DLSS, and reaching up to 160+ fps in esports games.
If you want the absolute best visuals and performance that PC gaming can offer, the RTX 4090 is unmatched. Just be ready for high power requirements and a premium price tag. For those seeking the ultimate 4K gaming card though, the 4090 delivers impressively.