Why it matters: Team Green's much-awaited next-generation flagship graphics card isn't ready yet, but the rumors around it are intensifying. One such rumor suggests the RTX 4090 could offer close to double the performance of the RTX 3090, which was considered a monster GPU less than two years ago.
Nvidia's RTX 4090 could be the only graphics card that will make it to store shelves in time for the holiday season, at least according to the rumor mill. This has invited speculation that the rest of the Ada Lovelace lineup might need more time in the oven, but that remains to be seen.
We already know that Intel's Arc GPUs are unlikely to challenge next-generation graphics cards from both Team Green and Team Red, as even the high-end Arc A770 card is only designed as a competitor for mid-range cards like the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti and the Radeon RX 6650 XT.
However, a leaked benchmark result suggests Nvidia is aiming high with the RTX 4000 series, which could give AMD some fierce competition for RDNA 3. According to reliable hardware leaker Kopite7kimi, the RTX 4090 can achieve a score in excess of 19,000 points in the 3D Mark Time Spy Extreme graphics test.
This would be an impressive result as it is significantly higher than the current world record for a single GPU. As of writing, that top spot belongs to an EVGA RTX 3090 Ti with a serious overclock (and exotic cooling) that achieved 14,600 points in the Time Spy Extreme graphics benchmark. The average score among all samples is just over 11,400 points, meaning the RTX 4090 could be over 66 percent faster in synthetic tests.
By comparison, the RTX 3090 can climb as high as 11,400 but the overall average is much lower at just a few hairs below 9,500 points. If the leaked benchmark results for the RTX 4090 are true, that would mean a generational leap in performance of close to 100 percent. It doesn't say anything about ray tracing performance, but it does lend some credibility to earlier rumors that Nvidia and AMD may be close to developing the first 100-teraflop consumer GPUs.
As usual, take this with a healthy dose of salt. That said, the RTX 4090 is expected to have 16,384 CUDA cores, or 56 percent more than the RTX 3090 and 52 percent more than the RTX 3090 Ti. If the rasterization performance of the RTX 4090 is as high as this leak seems to indicate, it will be interesting to learn how that gain was achieved. Most rumors so far point to higher clocks and much higher TDP, but we'll have to wait and see.
Masthead credit: Jose G. Ortega Castro