NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4090 Founder's Edition is officially out, with AIB manufacturers following suit with their custom models. Most reviewers (including us) focused on 4K tests, but this GPU can go beyond that.
You might remember that NVIDIA originally called the RTX 3090 the world's first 8K Gaming GPU around two years ago. However, that claim did not hold upon closer scrutiny save for limited exceptions unless you count running games at around 30 frames per second or lower.
It's an entirely different story for its successor, the RTX 4090. YouTuber The Tech Chap did extensive tests of NVIDIA's new graphics card at 8K resolution, revealing that the current top-of-the-line GPU based on the Ada Lovelace Architecture delivers uncompromised 8K gaming at over 60 FPS while running Ultra settings (even including ray tracing where applicable) and DLSS Super Resolution on Ultra Performance.
The first game tested was Asobo Studio's Microsoft Flight Simulator, which received a perfect score in Wccftech's review penned by Chris Wray. Microsoft Flight Simulator runs on an in-house engine that is extremely CPU bound, which is a limitation that the RTX 4090 can bypass thanks to DLSS 3's Frame Generation. Unfortunately, The Tech Chap only provided DLSS 3 data, so we cannot say how much of the generational improvement is owed to DLSS 3 and how much to the raw power of the graphics cards. Even so, the RTX 4090 easily passes the 8K gaming Microsoft Flight Simulator test. Its advantage over the RTX 3090 is +75% in one percentile and +76% in average FPS.
Microsoft Flight Simulator - RTX 4090: 65 FPS (1%), 81 FPS (average); RTX 3090: 37 FPS (1%), 46 FPS (average)
The second test is dedicated to CD Projekt RED's Cyberpunk 2077. In this case, ray tracing has been activated to the current max (while we still wait for Overdrive Mode to be added), and the RTX 4090 absolutely crushes its predecessor with +147% one percentile and +132% average FPS, allowing owners of the new card to experience smooth 8K gaming in Night City.
Cyberpunk 2077 - RTX 4090: 57 FPS (1%), 65 FPS (average); RTX 3090: 23 FPS (1%), 28 FPS (average)
Forza Horizon 5 demonstrated another powerful performance for the new NVIDIA GPU. The open world racing game made by Playground Games runs smooth as butter at 8K resolution on the RTX 4090, improving by 124% (one percentile) and 117% (average) over the 3090. Unlike Cyberpunk 2077, it doesn't support RTX and/or DLSS (though the upscaling technology may be added soon), so even with RT Cores, Tensor Cores, and Optical Field Accelerator unused, the raw compute power of the RTX 4090 allows for excellent 8K gaming in this popular title.
Forza Horizon 5 - RTX 4090: 56 FPS (1%), 76 FPS (average); RTX 3090: 25 FPS (1%), 35 FPS (average)
Crytek's Crysis Remastered is an outlier in these 8K gaming tests as the performance uplift registered by the Ada Lovelace GPU over the Ampere GPU is relatively modest, at least for the one percentile (+27%), while the average FPS still gets a healthy +58% improvement. This is with ray tracing on and Can It Run Crysis settings.
Crysis Remastered - RTX 4090: 42 FPS (1%), 65 FPS (average); RTX 3090: 33 FPS (1%), 41 FPS (average)
Blizzard's freshly released Overwatch 2 is far from a taxing game for modern GPUs. Even so, NVIDIA promised the RTX 4090 could break 500 frames per second at 1440p, and incredibly enough, the same is true at 8K resolution. In this game, the new GPU enjoys the biggest performance leap out of all tested titles, with +195% on the one percentile FPS and +
Once again, it does so without any aid from its RT Cores or Tensor Cores (or DLSS Frame Generation, for that matter), relying on its brute power instead.
Overwatch 2 - RTX 4090: 354 FPS (1%), 520 FPS (average); RTX 3090: 140 FPS (1%), 217 FPS (average)
Lastly, another incredibly popular free-to-play game: Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Warzone. Warzone gets a substantial 83.6% boost for the one percentile FPS and an even greater 88.7% improvement in average FPS over the previous generation's graphics card.
Call of Duty: Warzone - RTX 4090: 90 FPS (1%), 117 FPS (average); RTX 3090: 49 FPS (1%), 62 FPS (average)
The Tech Chap was not the only reviewer on YouTube to take a look at 8K gaming with the RTX 4090. Benchmark Lab also captured some 8K footage alongside the regular 4K one.
While the YouTuber did not share final benchmark data, we can see Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered hovering between 53 and 46 FPS while running with maximum settings and ray tracing enabled on the DLSS Quality preset. Needless to say, with a lower preset like Performance or Ultra Performance, the frame rate would be far more than 60 FPS.
Red Dead Redemption 2 also ran great at 8K resolution with the DLSS Quality preset. The brief footage showed Rockstar's last game running between 51 and 63 FPS during a combat scene.
Ubisoft's Watch Dogs Legion proved to be a tougher nut to crack at 8K resolution, even for the RTX 4090. Benchmark Lab lowered the DLSS preset to Balanced, and the frame rate stayed between 38 and 41 FPS while running through London on foot. Of course, using the Performance or Ultra Performance presets should greatly increase smoothness.
Horizon Zero Dawn, powered by the Decima Engine, ran better on the same DLSS Balanced preset, ranging from 48 to 55 FPS. Ghostwire Tokyo was a little faster still, delivering between 50 and 65 FPS during 8K gaming with ray tracing enabled. Lastly, Fortnite maxed out with ray tracing and DLSS Balanced ran between 36 and 48 FPS on the RTX 4090.
NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4090 is the first graphics card capable of truly running the latest games at 8K resolution without breaking much of a sweat, making it a must for those few select owners of 8K displays.
That said, we still reckon it's too early to move to 8K. The improvement in image quality and definition over 4K is modest and arguably not worth the performance cost when you could easily enjoy UltraHD gaming at over 120 or even 144 FPS with the same graphics card.
Two years ago, Microsoft's Head of Gaming Phil Spencer said that 8K gaming was years away from becoming a new standard if it ever even happened. At the end of 2022, the RTX 4090 makes the proposition more feasible but still not compelling enough to make the switch.