Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition: It works hard, it plays hard

The 24GB of VRAM makes it a stunning value for prosumers.

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Brad Chacos/IDG
At a Glance

Nvidia says its monstrous $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090 delivers “the ultimate gaming experience.” That’s very true. You can even game at 8K—not 4K, 8K—with some titles on this so-called “BFGPU.”

You probably shouldn’t buy it if all you do is game, though. Unless you’re a deep-pocketed enthusiast who doesn’t mind spending lavishly for the absolute best performance possible, the staggeringly powerful $700 GeForce RTX 3080 offers much better bang-for-buck for pure gamers. Nvidia actually calls the RTX 3080 its flagship gaming GPU, even though the RTX 3090 offers more raw horsepower.

But if you’re a professional who could save real money by creating videos or churning through GPU-intensive tasks at a massively faster clip, the GeForce RTX 3090 truly shines—especially if you can take advantage of its massive 24GB memory capacity. Nvidia also says this card delivers “Titan-class performance,” and that’s no exaggeration. The GeForce RTX 3090 will absolutely melt your face (and your render times) in many content creation tasks, toppling both the last-gen RTX Titan as well as AMD’s creator-beloved Radeon VII. Oh, and at $1,500, the GeForce RTX 3090 costs a full $1,000 less than the RTX Titan it replaces in all but name.

If you need the ultimate graphics card for both work and play, Nvidia’s BFGPU tramples the competition. Let’s dig into Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition.

Editor’s note: This comprehensive review of the GeForce RTX 3090 goes longer than most as it’s good for much more than just 4K gaming—we dive into 8K benchmarks and prosumer tasks, too. Check out Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 tested: 5 key things you need to know for high-level takeaways of this in-depth info. And you can use this table of contents to hop between the various sections of this review.

At a Glance
  • The extravagant GeForce RTX 3090 is a poor value for pure gamers, but a stunning value for creators who can use its massive 24GB of memory. Nvidia's Founders Edition cooler is exceptional.

    Pros

    • Amazing value for professionals
    • Fastest graphics card for gaming
    • Massive 24GB memory capacity
    • Exceptionally cool, quiet Founders Edition design
    • NVLink support
    • HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode makes some 8K gaming possible
    • Nvidia CUDA and OptiX supercharge content creation

    Cons

    • Poor value for pure gamers
    • Very large, potentially limiting multi-GPU deployment
    • 8K gaming is very hit and miss
    • Only 1 HDMI 2.1 port
    • 12-pin power adapter is ugly
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