Nvidia RTX 4090 Benchmark Leak Reveals Huge Performance Gains, but Inefficiency Could Pose Problem

Nvidia RTX 4090 Benchmark Leak Reveals Huge Performance Gains, but Inefficiency Could Pose Problem
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 pictured (Image: Nvidia)

Nvidia is expected to launch next-gen GeForce RTX 40-series GPUs later this year, and now a new leak is giving us a sneak peek at the possible performance of these highly anticipated components. According to notable Twitter leaker @kopite7kimi, Nvidia’s upcoming RTX 4090 desktop GPU scored higher than 19,000 points on the 3DMark Time Spy Extreme synthetic benchmark test. If accurate, that makes the RTX 4090 the fastest Nvidia gaming card yet, nearly doubling the score of a standard RTX 3090 and topping the current leader, an LN2 cooled EVGA RTX 3090 Ti Kingpin Edition, by around 30%.

This is a single, nonspecific benchmark score, so you shouldn’t take it as gospel. However, the source has a clean track record and previous rumours have suggested that the forthcoming GPU could be capable of such significant gains. In fact, this same leaker wrote in May that the RTX 4090 can easily “achieve 2x performance” of the RTX 3090, and an even earlier rumour suggested we could be getting a 2.5x increase. Gamers hoping for the latter should still be interested by the rumoured Time Spy Extreme score — a 2x boost is massive compared to the 10-20% performance gains we see in a typical refresh.

There is just one asterisk to put on that score, something that is sure to make a few AMD fans snicker in delight. If you’ve been keeping tabs on RTX 40-series rumours then you probably share our concern: Nivdia’s next flagship cards are rumoured to reach a total board power of 600 watts of power consumption (or 450 watts for the card itself). If the RTX 4090 actually requires so much power, then this benchmark score isn’t as impressive of an achievement as it seems. What we really want is efficiency gains to go along with performance upgrades.

If those rumoured power specs hold true, then heat management will also be a serious concern. Vendors will need to get clever with their cooling systems to prevent the card from overheating. Bigger heatsinks and more effective fans will be paired with larger power supply units to keep RTX 4090-equipped systems running. Not to mention that Nvidia could risk scrutiny from government bodies given the renewed emphasis on energy prices and lowering power consumption.

Other rumours suggest the RTX 4090, which will be the first Lovelace GPU released, will hit clock speeds of up to 2.5GHz or slightly higher. When Nvidia releases its RTX 40-series GPUs later this year — possibly in October — they will compete against AMD’s Radeon RX 7000 series, the first based on a new RDNA 3 design.