We got the most affordable RTX 4090 we could find, the Palit GameRock, and conducted a zillion tests to find out how it performs in every area. The results are suprisingly good and if you wonder whether it is worth to spend notably more to get a more prestigious 4090, the anwer is obvious.
NVIDIA launched the RTX 4090 with the Ada Lovelace, promising a huge performance boost. Since NVIDIA started with the high-end model first, the price tags are sky-high, so only users with fat wallers will be able to buy the new graphics cards. The new 4nm GPU with code name AD102 has 16384 CUDA cores, 512 Tensor cores, 124 RT cores, 512 TMUs, and 192 ROPs. It uses the same GDDR6X memory type and amount as the RTX 3090, with 21 Gbps speed.
Another significant feature NVIDIA introduced with the new silicon is DLSS 3.0, which promises to double the frame rates thanks to its AI generation. Thanks to AI, DLSS3 can now generate frames independently without using the rendering processors, increasing performance. DLSS 3 is supposed to only work in the ADA Lovelace GPUs because it requires specific hardware, an optical flow accelerator (OFA), which doesn’t exist in older generation GPUs. The 4th generation Tensor cores are also necessary to handle the complex tax. Still, some driver modders enabled DLSS 3.0 on older GPUs, dramatically increasing their performance, but this mod won’t live for long if NVIDIA doesn’t approve it.
Compared to the GA102 used in the RTX 3080/90/90Ti, the AD102 has almost tripled the transistor count thanks to the 4nm lithography. At the same time, the die size is smaller at 608 mm² compared to the 628mm² of the previous generation. This is impressive! The GPU uses a PCIe-Express 4.0 x16, and the memory bus is 384-bit wide, allowing 24 GB RAM. NVIDIA’s engineers put lots of effort into offering a notable performance increase, higher efficiency, and improved raytracing performance compared to the RTX 3000 series.
Box & Bundle
The large box offers good protection to the sensitive components. The bundle includes a three PCIe 6+2 to a single 12+4 pin connector. Other RTX 4090s are shipped with four-to-one adapters because their power limits exceed 450W. There is another cable to sync the ARGB of the graphics card with your motherboard, should you want to control and change it. The bundle also has a VGA holder kit since the card is heavy.
The Kaleidoscope lighting looks nice, in my eyes at least, since others in the lab didn’t like it. The card has a metallic backplate to protect its PCB, and its cooling system is gigantic! This is the widest graphics card I have seen, at 71.5mm.
Since this is among the most budget RTX 4090s, still costing close to 1500 euros without VAT, Palit cut corners whenever it could. For example, there are no silicone caps on the HDMI and DP ports, which I found weird. There wasn’t a protective cover on the PCIe connector, either!
Weight, Length & Width
GPU & Memory Clocks
Board Power Limits
|Test System Specs|
|Mainboard||ASUS Prime Z690-A
Bios Version 0702 (10/22/2021)
|CPU||Intel® Core™ i9-12900KF
(all cores @ 5 GHz )
|GPU||Whatever is under test!|
|SSD||XPG SX8200 Pro 2 TB NVMe|
|RAM||Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR5 32GB (2 x 16GB) 5200MHz|
|Power Supply||Seasonic Prime Titanium 1000 (Cybenetics Titanium)|
|Ambient Temperature||23°C ±3°C|
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
AnvilNext 2.0 engine by Ubisoft using DX12. A good game engine offering nice graphics. This is an AMD-optimized game.
The Northlight engine by Remedy Entertainment utilizes DirectX 12 (it also supports DirectX 11). It supports RTX and DLSS, which I don’t use in these tests.
Still one of the most demanding and nicest games. Beware, it is highly addictive! It uses the RED Engine and DirectX 12.
Death Stranding Director’s Cut
Decima Engine, in DirectX 12. It is not a heavy game, and I don’t find it so exciting since your objective is to transport objects between locations.
iD Tech 7 Engine by id Software, using the Vulkan API. The game is highly optimized and has good graphics (and many enemies).
Far Cry 6
Another open word game, using the Dunia engine and DirectX 12. Beautiful graphics and lots of action!
Forza Horizon 5
Amazing graphics and nice cars! What more do you need? The game uses the ForzaTech engine along with DirectX 12.
God Of War
A PS5 classic that found its way to PC platforms. A must-play game, especially if you love Greek methodology!
The epic Halo series has to be included in every graphics card review. The Halo Infinite uses the Slipspace engine and DirectX 12.
It uses the same Glacier Engine as the two previous Hitman titles. DX12 is used, and the game can highly stress even strong systems if you max out the details and the resolution.
4A Engine utilizing the DirectX 12 API. The game supports Raytracing and DLSS, which I have deactivated for the following tests. It also includes a benchmark. Without DXR, it is not super taxing, despite the top-notch graphics, since the engine is well optimized. With DXR enabled and without DLSS, things change, though.
Red Dead Redemption 2
One of the largest open-world games, with great graphics and lots of shooting! It uses the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine and DirectX 12.
Resident Evil Village
A must game for all horror fans. RE Engine and DirectX 12.
Shadow Of the Tomb Raider
It uses the Foundation engine, which takes advantage of DirectX 12, supporting RTX and DLSS. I didn’t use any raytracing features in the following benchmarks.
Far Cry 6
Resident Evil Village
Operating Noise – Fan Full Speed, 75% & 50%
Operating Noise – Idle, Multimedia, Rendering, Gaming & Furmark
Average Power Consumption
Max Power Consumption
Relative Performance HD
Relative Performance QHD
Relative Performance UHD
Performance Per Watt (QHD)
I ran Unigine Heaven to find out the overclock gains. The gain was notable at almost 10%.
Cooling System Performance
I want to thank Seasonic for helping me acquire an RTX 4090; else, I wouldn’t be able to do this review. Unfortunately, I am not included in NVIDIA’s or any other board partner samples list, but after they check my work, hopefully, this will change. Most people know me for PSU reviews, but the fact is that I will enroll more in GPU and CPU reviews because of the YT channels and this site. Why confine yourself to one or two categories when you can offer more?
Although I tested the most affordable RTX 4090 I could find, its performance still blew my mind! The performance increase over the best of the previous generation, the 3090Ti, is enormous! NV’s engineers did great work, and the Palit Gamerock is a fine card, even with the 450W power limit. The low power limit doesn’t notably affect performance while permitting users to have lower-capacity PSUs without any issues. By lower capacity, I mean 850W, the least, with 1000 being ideal. I conducted all tests with a Seasonic Titanium Prime 1000, a non-ATX 3.0 PSU, and had no issues even while overclocking the card, and with a power-hungry Intel 12900KF CPU overclocked at 5 GHz on all cores. Suppose you get an RTX 4090 that can go up to 600W and decide to push it hard. In that case, you will probably need a 1000W PSU, at the least, but don’t expect to see a considerable performance increase. At the same time, the card’s efficiency drops significantly as the power consumption increases. Speaking of efficiency, the performance per watt ratio of the RTX 4090 puts to shame the previous generation. The new 4nm lithography played a role in this. Still, the GPU is power-hungry, and Palit used a massive cooling system, taking over three and a half slots! I had to modify the bracket of my bench table to install the card on the Powenetics PCIe extender. Before you buy it, you will have to check if your chassis is large enough to host this enormous card.
During the first days of the RTX 4090 launch, it was challenging to find them, but I expect the situation will stabilize in the following weeks. After all, at this price point, there won’t be too many lucky users that will be able to buy them. I am looking forward to the more affordable members of the RTX 4000 series, which will address most users. The RTX 4090 is for hardcore gamers and high enthusiasts who have money to spend. The average cost of an RTX 4090, with VAT included, is about four times higher than the PS5’s price!