Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming OC 24G Review
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition is officially out in the wild, which means the march of AIBs (third-party graphics cards) has begun. The first custom card hitting our review bench is the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming OC 24G. It comes factory overclocked with a massive four-slot triple-fan cooler to keep frame rates locked, and a healthy dose of RGB for some added flair. It retails for $100 more than the Founders Edition and offers a blend of high performance and low temps that make it a solid choice for your next gaming PC.
Gigabyte Geforce RTX 4090 Gaming OC – Design and Features
The Gaming OC is a monster card. That’s true of every RTX 4090 but pictures just do not do the size of these cards justice. The Gigabyte measures 13.4 x 5.9 x 3 inches, which is big enough that it flat out wouldn’t fit in my Corsair Crystal 680X. One case upgrade later and I was finally able to install it, but it will be important to be sure your PC can support such a beefy GPU.
It’s not just length that makes this card stand out. Its three inch depth puts it squarely into quad-slot territory. That pays dividends with its cooling potential, but it may make vertical mounting difficult without pressing up against the side glass of your case and starving it of cool air. That’s a bit of a shame as Gigabyte has equipped each fan with a customizable LED ring that are all but invisible when plugged in normally.
There’s a good reason for using such a massive cooler. The RTX 4090 is a beast of a gaming card. It is designed around high performance and delivers it in spades. Like the Founders Edition, the Gaming OC features 16,384 CUDA cores, the main drivers of non-ray traced performance, and 24GB of ultra-fast GDDR6X video memory. That memory runs on a 384-bit bus and runs at 21Gbps. That’s the same as last generation’s RTX 3090 Ti, but don’t let that fool you: this memory is wicked fast.
Stated right in the name, the Gaming OC is factory overclocked, but it’s a tiny jump over the Founders Edition. Out of the box, its boost clock comes in at 2535 MHz, which is a measly 15 MHz advantage. The memory clocks are identical at 1313 MHz. It’s an improvement but isn’t going to transform your already excellent gaming experience into something noticeably better than Nvidia’s reference card.
But in practice, these “side of the box” specs are less important than they might at first seem. Nvidia’s GPU Boost technology intelligently ramps up all of its modern GPUs beyond these speeds anyway, so performance is constrained more by power and thermal limits than the initial tweaks manufacturers might apply. This is why aftermarket cards usually have much better thermal solutions – though the Founders Edition is excellent too – and gives AIBs a run for their money in performance per dollar.
The cooler here is something to behold. The Gaming OC uses Gigabyte’s Windforce cooling system. It’s headed by three massive 110mm fans, each imprinted with a trio of fins to better guide airflow. The middle fan spins counter to the outer two, minimizing air turbulence. Underneath is the bulk of the card’s mass, a giant heatsink lined with 10 copper heat pipes. A vapor chamber exists directly above the GPU to better draw heat into those copper pipes and out into the fins where it can be exhausted out the back. It’s essentially the same great design we saw last generation but scaled up in size. It works just as well, if not better.
Along the back of the card is a simple but heavy duty metal backplate. It bolsters the structural integrity of the card, which feels borderline necessary with such a heavy heatsink strapped to its circuit board, but a large cutout allows for plentiful blow-through to shed heat. It’s powered by a single 16-pin port, but if your power supply doesn’t support this new standard, Gigabyte also includes an adapter to convert four eight-pin GPU plugs in an effective but ugly pigtail.
There’s also a BIOS switch to enable the factory overclock (toggled by default) or to put the card into silent mode. The card isn’t loud, even under load, and blended in with my case fans very well. The card’s silent mode will slightly raise temperatures, but as we’ll talk about in the performance section, it’s hardly something to be concerned about.
Like all RTX 4090s, the gaming OC is built on the same Ada Lovelace architecture. That means you get all of the benefits as every other model with nothing left behind. You have your streaming multiprocessor design, complete with CUDA, Tensor, and RT (ray tracing) cores, as well as new technologies like Shader Execution Reordering that improve ray tracing performance. It supports DLSS 3 and frame generation, which can dramatically improve frame rates in games that support it, like Cyberpunk 2077. Streamers and creators will also benefit from the new AV1 encoder for faster renders and improved stream quality.
For a full breakdown of these technologies, be sure to read our launch review for this generation of Nvidia GPUs. There’s a lot to learn that I can only scratch the surface of here, but the Nvidia RTX 40-series is a generational leap in more ways than one.
For outputs, the card features three DisplayPort 1.4 ports and one HDMI 2.1 connection. It supports a maximum resolution of 7680x4320 (8K) across all four ports.
Gigabyte Geforce RTX 4090 Gaming OC – Performance
Before diving into our benchmark results, it’s worth taking a closer look at the factory overclock Gigabyte has applied here. As I discussed in the section above, the rated out of box speed is only 15 MHz faster than the 2.52 GHz found on the Founders Edition, but with GPU Boost factored in, things change considerably.
In my testing, the card reached a peak clock speed of 2760 MHz but settled in at 2745 MHz while gaming. What’s especially interesting is that the Founder’s Edition achieved a higher peak speed of 2775 MHz but also settled in at 2760 MHz after that initial boost. In practice, overclocked or not, the average clock speed was the same on both cards.
The Gaming OC did win in temperatures, however. While the Founders Edition hit a peak temp of 64.7C, the Gigabyte topped out at 62C under heavy load and oscillated between 60-61C while gaming. With the Silent Bios enabled, that temperature jumped up to 65C, putting it on par with the FE. If you have the extra juice in your power supply, it’s a perfect fit for manual overclocking.
That said, unless you’re looking to eke every last ounce of performance from the card, it’s probably not necessary. Even at 4K, the RTX 4090 Gaming OC 24G offers stellar frame rates and smooth, responsive gameplay.
Let’s get into the benchmark results.
Beginning with 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, we see the three 4090s in this test easily outperform last generation’s flagships. Note that the score pulled in by the Gaming OC is higher overall due to differences in our test systems but the graphics performance of all three cards is nearly identical. Neck and neck performance in this test.
The second synthetic test in our round-up is Unigine Heaven. Like 3DMark, it renders a series of scenes that push GPU performance above all else, so the scores here can shed some light on how similar models of GPU compare. At 4K, the Gigabyte falls slightly behind, but manages to pull a lead over both the Founder Edition and the MSI RTX 4090 Suprim Liquid X.
Ray tracing performance pulls the competition tighter across the board. In the Boundary ray tracing benchmark, the three cards split the difference between 82 and 84 FPS. In 3DMark’s Port Royal ray tracing test, it scores 2% higher than the RTX 4090 Founders Edition but is about 350 points, or 1.4%, behind the MSI Suprim Liquid X. In 3DMark’s Ray Tracing Test, the story is much the same. It’s two frames shy of the Suprim but one frame ahead of the FE.
Turning to real game benchmarks, we get our best view of how our three RTX 4090s shape up against one another, as well as a selection of last generation cards. A quick glance at the bars shows that they’re extremely close. Look at the specific results, but against the MSI Suprim Liquid X, the Gigabyte Gaming OC averaged 4% faster at 1080p, 5% faster at 1440p, and 2% faster at 4K. Against the Founders Edition, it averaged 1% faster across the board.
Let’s be real here: this is a 4K gaming card, so let’s hone in on those figures. Note that due to our testing routine last generation and the availability of the RTX 3090 Ti, those results are missing from several of the expanded tests.
At 4K, the nearness of these cards is plain as day. Against the Suprim Liquid X, the Gaming OC is 3% faster. Against the Founders Edition, it pulls 2% ahead. That sounds slight and it is: in most cases, the cards are within 2-3 frames of each other with the biggest difference being an 8 FPS lead in Wolfenstein: Youngblood… at a high enough frame rate that it’s almost unnoticeable.
These results are much the same as we found last generation. We’ll have to see how the rest of the 40-series turns out, but the fact is that these cards all perform extremely close to one another, and that’s by design. Consider it a kind of performance guarantee when you’re opting into a certain tier of card.
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Chris Coke