Nvidia has officially launched its Ampere flagship GPU, the RTX 3090 Ti. It replaces the RTX 3090 in Nvidia’s product stack, and will be remembered as the most massive GPU ever made — until it’s presumably usurped by the RTX 4090 later this year.
Compared to the RTX 3090, the Ti version has more of everything: higher clocks, faster memory, and more CUDA cores. It even includes a higher price tag, with a base price $500 higher than the 3090’s at $2,000. We’re not sure what’s more shocking; a $2,000 GPU or the fact that we’re not even phased by it at this point. As a Ti variant it’s about nine percent faster than the RTX 3090, depending on the workload.
There will be a Founder’s Edition (FE) of the card as well as boards from its partners. We can assume the FE card will cost $2,000 while partner boards go a bit beyond that. The reason is partners add RGB lights and overclocking, as well as other features. For example, both the EVGA FTW3 Ultra Gaming and the MSI Suprim X versions are $2,199. Cards like the EVGA version even include a new anti-sag technology that’s quite revolutionary: an eLeash. GPU sag is a real thing, especially on a card that weighs as much as a chihuahua. However, instead of supporting the card from below EVGA has designed a leash that grips it from above. You attach the leash to a fan at the top of your case (or an empty fan outlet) and string it to the GPU, so it’s suspended inside the chassis.
One new and interesting feature of the RTX 3090 Ti is it’s the first GPU to sport the all-new 16-pin power connector. This is a PCIe 4.0 GPU, but it is rocking the next-gen power connector already. Since this is a 450W GPU, boards include an adapter cable. You have to plug in three 8-pin connectors to it, which sounds messy but it’s clearly superior to attaching three cables to the card itself. If that sounds crazy, the EVGA Kingpin version sports dual 16-pin connectors, so you’ll need six 8-pin connectors. The reason for the cable’s inclusion is a bit of a mystery, but one theory is it’s a trial balloon for the upcoming RTX 40-series cards. Igor’s Labs says the GA102 die in the 3090 Ti is pin compatible with the next-gen AD102 die, and the PCB will be the same as well. This means the 3090 Ti could just be a test run for the company’s next-gen GPUs. Still, it remains to be seen if these 3.5 slot coolers will be sufficient for a 40-series GPU at 600W.
Overall though, the RTX 3090 Ti is the most powerful GPU ever made, no doubt. It’s tempting to poke fun at it due to its pricing and such, but it does deliver on its claim of being the BFGPU. TechPowerUP reviewed several variants and was impressed by all of them. As a random sample, the MSI version was 10 percent faster than the RTX 3090, and 25 percent faster than the RTX 3080. Gamer’s Nexus wasn’t in such a charitable mood though, calling the GPU a “cash grab” and adding it was a “hard pass” unless you need it for content creation. That is the one area Nvidia is targeting with this GPU, because as we all know, gamers don’t need 24GB of fast GDDR6X VRAM. (I could sure use it – Ed)
For now, the title of “fastest GPU on earth” is firmly in Nvidia’s court. How long that will hold is anyone’s guess though, as AMD is rumored to be launching an upgraded RX 6950 XT flagship GPU in April. AMD will reportedly be adding faster memory to the GPU and bumping clocks, essentially mirroring Nvidia’s effort. The RX 6950 XT will still be a 7nm card though, unlike the RX 6500 XT which was a 6nm GPU. Both GPUs represent a swan song for their current architectures, with both companies expected to release their next-gen GPUs in the latter half of 2022.