After months of anticipation and controversy among its companion board members, NVIDIA 40-series GPUs are finally here. The company announced the GeForce RTX 4090 Y GeForce-RTX 4080 today at its GTC 2022 keynote. Taking full advantage of its new “Ada Lovelace” architecture, NVIDIA says the two GPUs offer significantly better ray tracing performance. The company worked with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to co-develop a new “4N” manufacturing process that NVIDIA says is up to two times more power efficient than the 8nm process it used for its 30-series cards.
Ray tracing performance has been significantly improved by Ada Lovelace with NVIDIA’s new 3rd generation RT cores and the inclusion of a new rendering technique called Shader Execution Reordering and DLSS 3.0. In some games, NVIDIA said you can expect two to three times better ray tracing performance than was possible with its Ampere GPUs. The company demonstrated cyberpunk 2077 running at a near constant 100 frames per second with all of the game’s ray tracing features set to max. NVIDIA said that rasterization performance is up to two times faster thanks to the new architecture.
The first of NVIDIA’s new Ada Lovelace GPUs will arrive next month when the GeForce RTX 4090 goes on sale for $1,599 on October 12. With 24GB of GDDR6X memory, NVIDIA claims its latest flagship is two to four times faster than the 3090 Ti while consuming the same amount of power. It’s also nice because it starts at $100 more than its predecessor. Inside the RTX 4090, NVIDIA has managed to fit 16,384 CUDA cores with a base speed of 2.23 GHz.
Alongside the 4090, NVIDIA will offer two different variants of the RTX 4080. The base model, starting at $899, features 12GB of GDDR6X memory, while the 16GB version will set you back $1,199. Both configurations will arrive sometime in November. However, NVIDIA will only sell a Founders Edition model of the more expensive model. For the 12GB version, you’ll need to look to the company’s partners, which can make it difficult to find models that actually start at $899.
In terms of performance, the 16GB 4080 features 9,728 Cuda Cores and a base clock of 2.21GHz, with a maximum boost clock of 2.51GHz. The 12GB model, meanwhile, features 7,680 CUDA Cores. more modest, but 100 MHz faster base and boost clocks. Fortunately, you probably don’t need to upgrade your power supply if you’re planning to upgrade from a 3070 or 3080, with NVIDIA recommending a 700-watt power supply for the 12GB variant and a 750-watt power supply for its more powerful sibling. However, if you decide to buy a new PSU, you’ll want to wait until more ATX 3.0 PSUs arrive later this year. This is because at least the Founders Edition models will support the new 16-pin PCIe Gen-5 connector standard. That said, NVIDIA will also include an 8-pin adapter for those who don’t want to rewire their system.
NVIDIA’s 40-series GPUs come at a difficult time for the company. For much of the pandemic, it was impossible to buy the latest GeForce GPUs at MSRP due to demand from both gamers and crypto miners. That has all changed in recent months due to the recent cryptocurrency crash and Ethereum’s long-awaited switch to proof-of-stake minting. As a result of those events, the used market was flooded with 30-series GPUs, making it almost impossible for the company’s AIB partners and retailers to sell new video cards at MSRP.
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