Gigabyte RTX 4090 Gaming OC: Sweaty Ready

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Gigabyte RTX 4090 Gaming OC: Sweaty Ready

Calling all tryhards and sweatlords: the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 GAMING OC is here and it’s a certified dream come true for all you hardcore gamers. But what about us filthy casuals? Is the RTX 4090 Gaming OC the right GPU for those of us who don’t take our gaming (or our gaming rigs) quite so seriously? To find out, we took the RTX 4090 Gaming OC for a week-long test drive.

Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 GAMING OC Graphics Card
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 GAMING OC Graphics Card

RTX 4090 Gaming OC: Design

Like most 4090 GPUs, the Gigabyte RTX 4090 Gaming OC is a massive card. It measures 13.4 x 5.9 x 3", which is almost an inch longer, taller, and wider than its predecessor, the RTX 3090 Gaming OC. Because it’s such a large lad, the RTX 4090 Gaming OC might not fit in your current gaming tower. Be sure to double-check the specs to make sure your case can physically support it.

Most of the card’s bulk can be attributed to its WINDFORCE 3X cooling system, which uses three 110mm fans, a massive heatsink with 10 copper heat pipes, and a large vapor chamber. This is essentially the same cooler design we saw in the RTX 3090 Gaming OC, only supersized.

There’s good cause for employing such a massive cooling system. The RTX 4090 Gaming OC is monstrous, in form and function. Packed inside its hulking frame are 16384 CUDA cores, 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM, and a 384-bit memory interface that runs at 21Gb/s. Its display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4 ports and an HDMI 2.1 port. For power it uses a single 16-pin port with a recommended power requirement of 1000 W. In case your rig doesn’t support the 16-pin power standard, an 8-pin adapter is included.

In terms of aesthetics, the Gaming OC strikes the right balance between ostentatious and ordinary. It features a sleek matte-black finish and programmable RGB lighting around its fans, making it the perfect addition to any showpiece rig. A word of caution, though: Because of its size, mounting the Gaming OC vertically can prove difficult or even impossible, depending on the size of your case, which means you might not be able to see those stylish RGB effects. If you’re dead set on showing it off, make sure your case can accommodate a vertical (fans up) installation.

RTX 4090 Gaming OC: Performance

To gauge the RTX 4090 Gaming OC’s performance, we used professional bench-marking tools such as 3DMark, as well as real-world tests we performed ourselves. All tests were conducted on a Ryzen 9 7950X test bed, with up-to-date versions of Windows 11 Pro, Nvidia Game Ready Driver, and Gigabyte Control Center (GCC).

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X 4.5 GHz 16-Core AM5 Processor
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X 4.5 GHz 16-Core AM5 Processor

For our first synthetic test, we used 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, a 4K UHD gaming benchmark that scores the performance of high-end graphics cards and gaming PCs. In this test, the RTX 4090 Gaming OC easily outpaced its predecessor, turning in a graphics score that was nearly 5,000 points higher than the average score of RTX 3090 gaming cards. Graphics scores are calculated based on a graphics card’s frame-rate performance. In other words, the RTX 4090 Gaming OC is significantly faster than the previous generation of graphics cards, especially when it comes to 4K gaming.

The results of the 3DMark benchmarks were confirmed by our own real-world testing, which showed consistent improvements in frames per second (fps) across 4K, 1440p, and 1080p resolutions. Those improvements were most conspicuous in our 4K gaming tests.

Playing Borderlands 3 at 4K UHD (3840 x 2160), we saw an average framerate of 141 fps. That’s dramatically faster than the 79 fps we got from our RTX 3090. However, at 1080p, the RTX 4090 Gaming OC averaged 179 fps, while its predecessor managed a very fast, very respectable 159 fps.

The performance results we saw with Borderlands 3 were consistent across the board: the increase in the frame-rate performance of games we tested in 4K was significantly greater than the gains we saw playing the same games at 1440p and 1080p resolutions. In other words, the biggest performance gains came from 4K gaming. This tells you a lot about for whom the RTX 4090 Gaming OC is meant.

RTX 4090 Gaming OC: Verdict

When it comes to grading the RTX 4090 Gaming OC, the question isn’t whether or not it’s a good card (it absolutely is), the question is whether it’s a good card for you. To answer that question, you might have to take a long, hard look in the mirror. What do you see? A sweat? A tryhard? Someone who has ever unironically shouted, “FaZe up!”

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then this might be the graphics card for you. We can’t guarantee it will make you a better gamer, but it will definitely give you the most speed, the most power, and the most gorgeously detailed graphics you’ve ever seen. On top of that, it will (we hope) silence the little voice in your head that says, “If only I had a few more fps, I definitely would’ve survived rushing that full squad all by myself.”  

For us casual gamers, though, the RTX 4090 Gaming OC might be too much card. Yes, it will deliver unrivaled performance and graphical fidelity. Yes, it can easily support playing all of your favorite games at their highest settings. And yes, installed vertically, it does look sleek as all hell in any showpiece rig. But do you really need any of those things? Do you really need to play Fortnite in 4K at 165 Hz? Do you even have a 4K monitor?

If the answer to any of those questions is no, then your justification for buying the RTX 4090 Gaming OC becomes a little less tenable. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. Just means you might have a harder time explaining why you did.

What do you think? Is the Gigabyte RTX 4090 Gaming OC worth the investment? Let us know why we should or shouldn’t upgrade in the Comments section, below.

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