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The disappointment stems largely from unrealistic expectations. 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 score shared on Twitter by renowned leaker Kopite7kimi depicts the RTX 4090’s allegedly strong performance in the Time Spy Extreme test.
As you can see, the benchmark results for the next-generation flagship GPU show a graphics score of just over 19,000 points. Why does that matter? Well, generally speaking, it’s pretty much what was predicted based on previous speculations, although some people are unhappy in the outcome on Twitter (and elsewhere for that matter).
Next, let’s talk about why that would be the case and what the result suggests. Keep in mind, though, that this is only one synthetic benchmark, and an early leaked one at that, so it provides a very limited view of the RTX 4090’s capabilities.
Analysis: Dangers of believing the rumor hype
This score of 19,000 compares to the standard RTX 3090 (Founders Edition), which scored 9,955 in Time Spy Extreme when we benchmarked it for our review. So, according to some basic arithmetic, the RTX 4090 appears 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).
The most recent claim that has circulated is that the RTX 4090 would be twice as fast as its predecessor, the flagship model. This assumption, and more specifically, some of the enthusiasm sparked earlier in the rumor cycle that the RTX 4090 would perhaps give a performance increase of more like 2.5x, is the main cause of some people’s mild disappointment at the disclosure of this leaked test.
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 reports surrounding the RTX 4090 have not changed, like the claims that it would be the first Lovelace GPU released by Nvidia – probably in October – and that it will need about 450W of power, which is not at all surprising considering the performance boost. Clock rates are anticipated to reach 2.5GHz or maybe even a little bit higher, up near the 2.7GHz or even 2.8GHz threshold (certainly with third-party cards that feature advanced cooling solutions).
Of course, we’re talking about typical rasterization performance here, but ray tracing speed improvements may be much more significant—the rumor mill predicts that they will be. In conclusion, the RTX 4090 is expected to be a powerful graphics card with a price to match. This is especially true if Nvidia still wants to help clear up extra high-end RTX 3000 stock after the release of the Lovelace flagship.