Performance Summary Charts

Performance summary charts & graphs

Main Performance Gaming Summary Charts

Here are the summary charts of 41 games and 6 synthetic tests. The highest settings are always chosen, ray tracing is enabled for all games that offer it, and the settings are listed on the chart.  The benches were run at 2560×1440 and at 3840×2160 as it is pointless to test at 1920×1080 with such a powerful card.  In fact, we see CPU bottlenecking at 1440P for certain games.

Three cards are compared and they are listed in order starting with the RTX 4090, the RX 6900 XT, and the RTX 3090.  We do not have a RX 6950 XT or a RTX 3090 Ti and no other cards are in this class.

All results, except for  synthetic scores, show average framerates, and higher is better. Minimum framerates are next to the averages in italics and in a slightly smaller font.  Minimum framerates are expressed by the 99th-percentile (1% lows) and higher is better.

The RTX 4090 offers an overall 160% to 180% improvement over the RTX 3090’s baseline performance (at 100%)  depending on the resolution and individual game, and in several examples it offers nearly a 200% improvement!

All of the games that we tested ran well on the RTX 4090. Although some games show less of a performance increase than others due to being CPU bound even at 1440P, it is a blowout and the RTX 4090 FE wins every game benchmark over the RTX 3090 and RX 6900 XT – it crushes the former Ampere and RDNA2 flagships.  This is achieved with no upscaling whatsoever!

The RTX 4090 is the first single-GPU card that is truly suitable for 4K/60+ FPS using ultra/maxed-out ray traced settings for most modern demanding games without any upscaling, and it’s probably even solid for 4K/120 FPS using Quality DLSS which has equivalent or better visuals than the native image.

Next we look at five RTX/DLSS enabled games, each using maximum ray traced settings and the highest Quality DLSS.

RTX/DLSS Benchmarks

The RTX 4090 FE maintains its performance dominance over the RTX 3090 FE and pulls even further away when Quality DLSS is enabled.

Using Quality DLSS, we can see that the RTX 4090 will take advantage of an LG C1 4K/120Hz panel using the most demanding ray traced modern games. From testing DLSS 2 exhaustively, we note that the Quality setting at 4K is visually equal to or better than the native image.

We only had a little time to check out DLSS 3 which upscales far better than DLSS 2 and looks just as good.  We believe that DLSS 3 will prove especially advantageous for the less powerful upcoming Ada Lovelace cards and will devote an upcoming review to it.

Next, we look at VR performance.

VR Games

For this review we benchmarked the Valve Index and set the SteamVR render resolution to 150% (2758×2740) which is considered ideal, if overkill, to compensate for lens distortion, and it’s well above our usual benchmarking render resolution at 100%.  This higher render resolution gives the visuals exceptional clarity.  The Index is still considered one of the best overall headsets due to its outstanding tracking and solid feature set, and we are going to compare the performance of the RX 4090 versus the RX 3090 at each game’s Ultra/Highest settings.

IMPORTANT: BTR’s charts use frametimes in ms where lower is better, but we also compare “unconstrained framerates” which shows what a video card could deliver (headroom) if it wasn’t locked to either 90 FPS or to 45 FPS by the HMD.  In the case of unconstrained FPS, measuring just one important performance metric, faster is better.

Let’s individually look at our 5 sim-heavy VR games’ performance using FCAT VR.  All of these games were benchmarked at 150% SteamVR resolution as we compare the stock-clocked RTX 4090 FE with the stock RTX 3090 FE using the Valve Index and FCAT VR.

First up, Assetto Corsa Competizione.

Assetto Corsa: Competizione (ACC)

BTR’s sim/racing editor, Sean Kaldahl created the replay benchmark run that we use for both the pancake game and the VR game.  It is run at night with 20 cars, lots of geometry, and the lighting effects of the headlights, tail lights, and everything around the track looks spectacular.

Just like with Project CARS, you can save a replay after a race.  Fortunately, the CPU usage is the same between a race and its replay so it is a reasonably accurate benchmark using the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
iRacing may be more accurate or realistic, but Assetto Corsa: Competizione has some appeal because it feels more real than many other racing sims.  It delivers the sensation of handling a highly-tuned racing machine driven to its edge.  We test the VR Ultra preset.

VR Ultra

Here are the ACC FCAT VR frametimes using VR Ultra.

Here are the details are reported by FCAT-VR:

The RTX 3090 delivered 46.26 unconstrained FPS with 7884 (62%) synthesized frames with 1 dropped frame and 1 Warp miss.

The RTX 4090 delivered 78.63 unconstrained FPS together with 6346 (50%) synthetic frames but with no dropped frames nor Warp misses.

The ACC racing experience is better with the RTX 4090.  However, the only way that the RTX 4090 can play on VR Epic is to lower the SteamVR render resolution to 100% as it is best to have no synthesized frames.

Next, we check out Elite Dangerous next.

Elite Dangerous (ED)

Elite Dangerous is a popular space sim built using the COBRA engine. It is hard to find a repeatable benchmark outside of the training missions.

A player will probably spend a lot of time piloting his space cruiser while completing a multitude of tasks as well as visiting space stations and orbiting a multitude of different planets.  Elite Dangerous is also co-op and multiplayer with a dedicated following of players.

We picked the Ultra Preset and we set the Field of View to its maximum.  Here are the frametimes.

Here are the details as reported by FCAT-VR:

The RTX 3090 delivered 137.33 unconstrained FPS with 1 synthesized frames with 1 dropped frame and 1 Warp miss.

The RTX 4090 delivered 236.17 unconstrained FPS together with no synthetic frames and with no dropped frames nor Warp misses.

The experience playing Elite Dangerous at Ultra settings is not perceptibly different on either video card but the RTX 4090 has a lot more performance headroom to increase the render resolution or to use a higher resolution headset like the Reverb G2 or the Vive Pro 2.

Let’s look at our newest VR sim, F1 2022.

F1 2022

Codemasters has captured the entire Formula 1 2021 season racing in F1 2022, and the VR immersion is good.  The graphics are customizeable and solid, handling and physics are good, the AI is acceptable, the scenery is outstanding, and the experience ticks many of the necessary boxes for a racing sim.

Here is the frametime plot for F1 2022.

Here are the details as reported by FCAT-VR.

The RTX 3090 delivered 117.16 unconstrained FPS with 2 synthesized frames but no dropped frames or Warp misses.

The RTX 4090 delivered 192.66 unconstrained FPS together with no synthetic frames and with no dropped frames nor Warp misses.

The experience playing F1 2022 using the Ultra preset is not very different on either video card but the RTX 4090 has more performance headroom to increase the framerate to 120Hz or to use a higher resolution headset.

Next we check out No Man’s Sky.

No Man’s Sky (NMS)

No Man’s Sky is an action-adventure survival single and multiplayer game that emphasizes survival, exploration, fighting, and trading.  It is set in a procedurally generated deterministic open universe, which includes over 18 quintillion unique planets using its own custom game engine.

The player takes the role of a Traveller in an uncharted universe by starting on a random planet with a damaged spacecraft equipped with only a jetpack-equipped exosuit and a versatile multi-tool that can also be used for defense. The player is encouraged to find resources to repair his spacecraft allowing for intra- and inter-planetary travel, and to interact with other players.

Here is the No Man’s Sky Frametime plot.  We set the settings to Maximum which is a step over Ultra including setting the anisotropic filtering to 16X and upgrading to FXAA+TAA.  Since DLSS is available for RTX cards and the Quality setting improves performance without impacting image quality, we used it.

Here are the FCAT-VR details of our comparative runs.

The RTX 3090 delivered 109.88 unconstrained FPS with 198 (3%) synthesized frames but no dropped frames or Warp misses.

The RTX 4090 delivered 183.68 unconstrained FPS together with 4 synthetic frames and with no dropped frames nor Warp misses.

The experience playing No Man’s Sky using the highest settings is not very different on either video card but the RTX 4090 has far more performance headroom.

Let’s continue with another VR game, ProjectCARS 2, that we still like better than its successor even though it is no longer available for online play.

Project CARS 2 (PC2)

There is a real sense of immersion that comes from playing Project CARS 2 in VR using a wheel and pedals.  It uses its in-house Madness engine, and the physics implementation is outstanding.  We are disappointed with Project CARS 3, and will continue to use the older game instead for VR benching.

Project CARS 2 offers many performance options and settings and we prefer playing with SMAA Ultra rather than to use MSAA.

Project CARS 2 performance settings

We used maximum settings including for Motion Blur.

Here is the frametime plot.

Here are the FCAT-VR details.

The RTX 3090 delivered 113.60 unconstrained FPS with no synthesized frames and no dropped frames or Warp misses.

The RTX 4090 delivered 209.53 unconstrained FPS together with no synthetic frames and with no dropped frames nor Warp misses.

The experience playing Project CARS 2 using maximum settings is similar for both video cards but the RTX 4090 has far more performance headroom to increase the framerate to 120Hz or to use a higher resolution headset like the Vive Pro 2 or Reverb G2.

Amazing.  Although all of these maxed out VR benchmarks were run at SteamVR’s 150% render resolution (2758×2740), the RTRX 4090 only broke a sweat playing ACC.

Unconstrained Framerates

The following chart summarizes the overall Unconstrained Framerates (the performance headroom) of our two cards using our 5 VR test games. The preset is listed on the chart and higher is better.

The RX 4090 FE delivers far higher unconstrained frames for all VR benchmarks over the RTX 3090 FE in this important performance metric.  However, unconstrained framerates are just one metric that has to be taken together with the frametime plots to have any meaning.  It is clear that the RTX 4090 is ready for higher resolution headsets than the Valve Index.  We’ll follow up this review with an expanded VR review using the Reverb G2 and Vive Pro.

Creative, Pro & Workstation Apps

Let’s look at Creative applications next to see if the RTX 4090 is a good upgrade from the RTX 3090 or RX 6900 XT.  We test starting with Geekbench.

GeekBench

GeekBench is an excellent CPU/GPU benchmarking program which runs a series of tests and times how long a GPU (in this case) takes to complete its tasks.  It benchmarks OpenCL, Vulcan, and CUDA performance

OpenCL, Vulcan, and CUDA Performance

RTX 6900 XT

First, OpenCL performance.

Next we test the RTX 6900 XT using Vulcan.

The 6900 XT does not run CUDA, so we move on to RTX 3090 performance.

RX 3090

First, OpenCL performance.

Next we test the RX 3090 using Vulcan.

Finally, RTX 3090 CUDA performance.

We move on to RTX 4090 performance

RX 4090

First, OpenCL performance.

Next we test the RX 4090 using Vulcan.

Finally, RTX 4090 CUDA performance.

The summary charts below show the comparative performance scores.

Again, the RTX 4090 performance is outstanding.

Next up, Blender benchmark.

Blender 3.3.0 Benchmark

Blender is a very popular open source 3D content creation suite. It supports every aspect of 3D development with a complete range of tools for professional 3D creation.

For the following chart, higher is better as the benchmark renders a scene multiple times and gives the results in samples per minute.

Blender’s benchmark performance is highest using the RTX4090, and often the amount of time saved is substantial over using the next fastest card, the RTX 3090.

Next, we look at the OctaneBench.

 OTOY OctaneBench

OctaneBench allows you to benchmark your GPU using OctaneRender.  The hardware and software requirements to run OctaneBench are the same as for OctaneRender Standalone.

We run OctaneBenc 2020.1.5 for Windows and here are the RTX 3090’s complete results and overall score of 671.17

We compare the score and results for the RTX 4090 – almost double the RTX 3090 score with 1261.64

Here is the summary chart comparing the RTX 4090 with the RTX 3090 overall scores.

The RTX 4090 is a beast of a card when used for rendering.

Next, we move on to AIDA64 GPGPU benchmarks.

AIDA64 

AIDA64 is an important industry tool for benchmarkers.   Its GPGPU benchmarks measure performance and give scores to compare against other popular video cards.

AIDA64’s benchmark code methods are written in Assembly language, and they are well-optimized for every popular AMD, Intel, NVIDIA and VIA processor by utilizing the appropriate instruction set extensions.  We use the Engineer’s full version of AIDA64 courtesy of FinalWire.  AIDA64 is free to to try and use for 30 days.  CPU results are also shown for comparison with the RTX 4090 GPGPU benchmarks.

Here is the chart summary of the AIDA64 GPGPU benchmarks with the RTX 4090, the RTX 3090 and the RX 6900 XT side-by-side.

Generally the RTX 3090 is faster at almost all of AIDA64’s GPGPU benchmarks than the other cards.  So let’s look at Sandra 2020 next.

SiSoft Sandra 2020

To see where the CPU, GPU, and motherboard performance results differ, there is no better tool than SiSoft’s Sandra 2020.  SiSoftware SANDRA (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a excellent information & diagnostic utility in a complete package.  It is able to provide all the information about your hardware, software, and other devices for diagnosis and for benchmarking.  Sandra is derived from a Greek name that implies “defender” or “helper”.

There are several versions of Sandra, including a free version of Sandra Lite that anyone can download and use.  20/21-R16a is the latest version, and we are using the full engineer suite courtesy of SiSoft.  Sandra 2020 features continuous multiple monthly incremental improvements over earlier versions of Sandra.  It will benchmark and analyze all of the important PC subsystems and even rank your PC while giving recommendations for improvement.

With the above in mind, we ran Sandra’s intensive GPGPU benchmarks and charted the results summarizing them.  The performance results of the RTX 4090 are compared with the performance results of the RTX 3080, and the RX 6900 XT.

In Sandra GPGPU benchmarks, the RTX 4090 is much faster than the RTX 3090 and it distinguishes itself in every area – Processing, Cryptography, Financial and Scientific Analysis, Image Processing, and Bandwidth.

Next up, SPEC benchmarks.

SPECworkstation3.1 Benchmarks

All the SPECworkstation 3 benchmarks are based on professional applications, most of which are in the CAD/CAM or media and entertainment fields. All of these benchmarks are free except for vendors of computer-related products and/or services.

The most comprehensive workstation benchmark is SPECworkstation 3.  It’s a free-standing benchmark which does not require ancillary software. It measures GPU, CPU, storage and all other major aspects of workstation performance based on actual applications and representative workloads.  We only tested the GPU-related workstation performance as checked in the image above.

Here are our raw SPECworkstation 3.1 raw scores for the RX 6900 XT:

Here are our raw SPECworkstation 3.1 raw scores for the RTX 3090:

Finally, here are our SPECworkstation 3.1 raw scores for the RTX 4090:

Below are the SPECworkstation 3.1 RTX 4090 results summarized in a chart along with the two competing cards, the RTX 3090, and the RTX 6900 XT.  Higher is better since we are comparing scores.

The RTX 4090 is not a workstation card, yet it uses brute force to win most of the benches against the other two cards.  The Radeon scores unbelievably high in snx-03, however, and we have no explanation for this result.

Finally, we benchmark using SPECviewperfect GPU benches.

SPECviewperf 2020 GPU Benches

The SPEC Graphics Performance Characterization Group (SPECgpc) has released a 2020-22 version of its SPECviewperf benchmark that features updated viewsets, new models, support for up to 4K display resolutions, and improved set-up and results management.  We use the highest available 3800×2120 display resolution for highend cards.

Here are SPECviewperf 2020 GPU RTX 4090 benchmarks summarized in a chart together with our two competing cards.

Although we see different architectures with different strengths and weaknesses, the RTX 4090 is a beast in these SPEC benchmarks.

The RTX 4090 doesn’t offer any certifications for professional applications and it is not expected.  It is likely that in workstation specific benchmarks, there will be cases where a Quadro board will outperform the RTX 4090 GeForce card. This is why professionals pay much more for Quadro than for any GeForce with otherwise equivalent raw performance.

After seeing the totality of the benches, many creative users will probably upgrade their existing systems with a new RTX 4090 series card based on the performance increases and the associated increases in productivity that they require. The question to buy the RTX 4090 or the RTX 3090 should be based on the workflow and requirements of each user as well as budget.  Time is money to a professional depending on how these apps are used.  Hopefully the benchmarks that we ran may help you decide.

Let’s head to our conclusion.

Contents

19 COMMENTS

  1. Great job with providing the only quality VR benchmarks around, this card really needs them since it’s one of the few gaming use cases where it makes sense to get one. Would love to see you include some MS Flight Simulator 2020 VR benchmarks also. I think there’s many in that community waiting to get some numbers.

  2. Thank-you for your comments! I am working on a benchmark for MS/FS 2020 for next week’s follow-up review using the VP2/G2. I am not sure I can get to SW: Squadrons, however. It’s extra challenging and very time consuming to properly create high quality flight sim VR benches.

  3. Hi I just wanted to say a sincere thanks for this amazing set of benchmarks which covers a wide range of games and really showcases how insanely fast this 4090 is, a true next-gen upgrade for anything playing at 4k+. Someone on Reddit mentioned you were going to add Skyrim/SkyrimVR results and if you do have the time to do that it would be great if you could use a Wabbajack modlist known for demanding visuals that really tests modern GPU’s. For Skyrim that would be something like The Phoenix Flavour or Licentia and for SkyrimVR that would be something like FUS or Tahrovin. If you don’t get time to do that then thanks again for all the time you spent creating these benchmarks, really great stuff. 🙂