NVIDIA RTX 4000 Series GPUs are the upgrade we’ve all wanted

Video card releases always generate a lot of buzz, and the rumor mill usually starts churning out content a year before they’re released. Well, the official announcement of the NVIDIA RTX 4000 series is finally available – here are some important takeaways if you’re looking to upgrade.

GPU launch is always exciting

The launch of the RTX 3000 series was marred by bad timing and bad luck, with global supply chain disruption coupled with a hot crypto market pushing up prices and reducing availability. It was hardly possible to get 3000-series GPUs at MSRP nearly two years after their initial release. Limited stocks and inflated prices are forcing gamers to hold on to their GPUs longer than usual, and the consensus that led to NVIDIA’s GTC was “I’ll wait until the 4000 series comes out before I make my decision.”

The rumors haven’t affected the hype either – a series of fairly credible leaks have shown that NVIDIA’s flagship Lovelace device, dubbed the RTX 4090, has a major edge. This means lower end devices like the 4060, 4070 and 4080 are likely to sweep the floor with their 3000 series counterparts in real world performance.

So, hype and rumors aside, what do we know for sure after the GTC keynote?

Meet NVIDIA RTX 4090 and RTX 4080s

Leaks and rumors are one thing, but now we finally have concrete numbers from NVIDIA. The RTX 4090 and 16 gigabytes (GB) 4080 are monsters: they are 11.97 inches long, 5.4 inches wide, and take up three full slots in your case.

What are the specs of the RTX 4090?

We know for sure that the RTX 4090 will have:

The RTX 4090 started at $1,600. That’s $100 more than the RTX 3090, which debuted at $1,500, and $500 more than the 3090 Ti’s current price in September 2022. The RTX 4090 will cost around $2,000.

The RTX 4090 will be available on October 12, 2022 .

What are the specs of the RTX 4080?

There are two different RTX 4080 GPUs being released. Despite the common name, there are some pretty important differences between the two variants. They probably won’t be called 4080s in any other generation of cards.

More powerful 4080:

Lighter 4080:

NVIDIA’s website does not list the physical dimensions of the 12GB 4080 card, but instead states that they are “manufacturer specific”. This may mean that the Founders Edition will not be available.

The price is noticeably higher than the RTX 3080 (10GB), which originally retailed for $699. This change may prove to be a hard pill to swallow for many gamers and push more people towards the upcoming RTX 4070 card.

Two RTX 4080s will be released in November .

Video memory is good, but it’s not everything

Modern games can easily use 6 to 8 gigabytes of video memory, especially if you play in 4K. When you look at GPU memory usage, it’s important to note that applications often reserve more memory than they actually use, just to be on the safe side.

This means that when you see your 3060 or 3080 with 12 gigabytes of video memory and 10 gigabytes of usable, you probably have nothing to worry about – you have more headroom than you think.

The RTX 4090 has 24GB of VRAM, while the 4080 will be available with 12GB or 16GB. The real question is: do you really need it?

If you’re planning on playing at 4K, then the 16GB 4080 variant might be worth going for, but it’s extremely unlikely that any game will actually be able to take advantage of the whopping 24GB available on the RTX 4090 in the near future. future. However, you’ll probably need the extra memory (and extra speed!) that the RTX 4090 has if you want to play at 8K.

If you’re interested in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications, such as generating huge ultra-high-definition images in Stable Diffusion, things get more complicated. Both AI and ML benefit from a huge amount of video memory, which makes the RTX 4090 much more attractive. However, you can get that much video memory in the 3090 Ti for at least $500 less – it’s just going to be a little slower.

Ray tracing improvements

Good lighting is an integral part of any game environment, and ray-traced lighting has been considered the gold standard for many years. The main snag? Ray-traced lighting is computationally expensive. NVIDIA has developed dedicated ray tracing kernels (RT kernels) that are optimized to perform certain kinds of ray tracing calculations more efficiently.

NVIDIA has included dedicated ray tracing cores in its GPUs since the release of the RTX 2000 series GPUs. The RTX 4000 series comes with 3rd generation Ray Tracing cores, and they promise two to three times the performance of the previous generation.

If you care about ray tracing, then the RTX 4000 series GPUs are a very promising upgrade over previous generations.

What’s new in Deep Learning Super Sampling 3 (DLSS 3)?

DLSS is an AI rendering technology that allows some (any RTX cards) NVIDIA GPUs to use AI to upscale a frame that has been rendered at a lower resolution to a higher resolution. The resulting performance gain can be huge.

NVIDIA talked about DLSS 3 in their Keynote keynote and showed off a clip of DLSS 3 being used in Cyberpunk 2077. In their example, the normal frame rate in 4K with full ray tracing was below 20, which exacerbates the lag for most people. DLSS 3 has managed to get the frame rate up to the mid 80s, which takes it from unpleasant territory to play into perfectly acceptable territory for most people.

That’s almost four times the FPS without any noticeable impact on visual fidelity. NVIDIA’s promotional materials suggest that with DLSS 3 we should expect a jump in FPS (two to four times).

Should You Buy a 4000 Series GPU?

It’s early, and there aren’t enough real samples to be sure, but it’s likely that the 4000 series will represent one of the biggest generation-to-generation performance leaps we’ve seen.

If you’re willing to pay the big bucks and are still using a GTX 1000 series GPU or even an RTX 2000 series card, then today’s update is a no-brainer. The RTX 4090 looks like incredible piece of hardware for anyone trying to run games at 4K at 144+ FPS or 8K at 60 FPS. Just keep in mind that it would be for nothing if you weren’t in UHD territory.

Buyers on a budget, especially those with 1080p or 1440p, will want to wait until NVIDIA introduces the RTX 4070 and RTX 4060 in late 2022 or early 2023. The specifications of the RTX 4080 12 GB are close to what one would expect. expect from the 4070, judging from previous generations of GPUs – it’s clear that something is a little different this time around. It remains to be seen how powerful the RTX 4070 and RTX 4060 will be compared to their older siblings.

Even with that caveat, improvements to NVIDIA’s tensor cores (which support DLSS 3) and ray tracing cores ensure that all RTX 4000-series GPUs are a compelling upgrade for every gamer, especially if they’re not already with an RTX 3000-series card.

You can learn more about the RTX 4000 series GPUs on the NVIDIA website.

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