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RTX 3090 vs 3090 Ti: Which High-End GPU is Right for You?

Hey there! If you‘re a hardcore gamer or creative professional looking for the ultimate graphics card, you‘re probably eyeing the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti. But with high price tags on both cards, you want to make sure you pick the right one.

In this detailed comparison, we‘ll look closely at the differences between the RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti across all the specs that matter – from raw performance to special features. You‘ll see how they stack up in key benchmarks. And we‘ll make some clear recommendations on which card is the better choice for different needs and budgets.

Let‘s dive in!

An Overview of the RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti

First, what exactly are these powerful graphics cards?

The RTX 3090 was Nvidia‘s flagship GPU of the Ampere generation launched back in September 2020. It took the crown as the fastest gaming graphics card, thanks to its extremely high CUDA core count and 24GB of cutting-edge GDDR6X memory.

The RTX 3090 Ti followed in March 2022 as an upgraded iteration of the 3090. It pushes clock speeds, core counts and memory bandwidth slightly higher to achieve better performance.

Both cards sit at the absolute top end of the market with price tags over $1000. They are built for enthusiasts who want the ultimate 4K gaming experience, and creators who need the fastest rendering and export times.

Let‘s now dig into the specs and benchmarks to see what exactly makes these pixel powerhouses tick!

Detailed Spec Comparison

We‘ll start by looking at the core hardware specs of each card side-by-side:

Specification RTX 3090 RTX 3090 Ti
GPU Model GA102-300 GA102-350
Manufacturing Process 8nm 4nm
CUDA Cores 10,496 10,752
Boost Clock Speed 1.7 GHz 1.86 GHz
Memory Configuration 24GB GDDR6X 24GB GDDR6X
Memory Interface 384-bit 384-bit
Memory Bandwidth 936 GB/s 1008 GB/s
TDP 350W 450W
Power Connectors 12-pin 12+4-pin
Length 313mm 328mm
Price (MSRP) $1499 $1999

Right away, you can point out a few key differences:

  • The RTX 3090 Ti has 256 extra CUDA cores, providing more parallel processing power for graphics and compute workloads.
  • It uses a newer 4nm manufacturing process allowing for higher transistor density and efficiency. The 3090 uses 8nm.
  • The boost clock sees a nice 9% increase to 1.86 GHz on the 3090 Ti, enabling better performance in games and applications.
  • Memory bandwidth receives a 7% boost to 1008 GB/s on the 3090 Ti, thanks to extra OC headroom on the 24GB GDDR6X chips.
  • A big change is the 450W TDP on the 3090 Ti versus just 350W on the 3090. This gives the Ti more headroom but also results in more heat.
  • The 3090 Ti is 15mm longer than the already huge 3090 Founders Edition card. Make sure you have clearance!

As expected, the 3090 Ti commands a $500 premium at MSRP for its upgraded specs. But how do these improvements actually translate into real-world use cases? Let‘s explore some benchmarks.

Benchmark Performance Comparison

Benchmark results will give us a quantifiable measure of the performance difference between the RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti in games and creative workloads.

Here‘s a look at benchmarks from Tom‘s Hardware on an Intel Core i9 test system. We‘ll look at 4K performance along with percent differences between the two cards:

Benchmark RTX 3090 (FPS) RTX 3090 Ti (FPS) % Difference
Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla 48 51 +6.3%
Cyberpunk 2077 38 41 +7.9%
Red Dead Redemption 2 71 74 +4.2%
Horizon Zero Dawn 116 124 +6.9%
Watch Dogs Legion 51 54 +5.9%
Blender BMW Render 13.57 sec 11.5 sec -15.3%
DaVinci Resolve Export 47 sec 41 sec -12.8%
Adobe Premiere Pro Export 117 sec 107 sec -8.5%

For AAA gaming, the RTX 3090 Ti is around 5-8% faster on average. That‘s a nice but not massive improvement considering the price difference. In creative workloads like Blender, Davinci Resolve and Premiere Pro, the 3090 Ti achieves 10-15% speedups thanks to its extra CUDA core muscle.

So content creators will benefit more from the 3090 Ti upgrade. But for gaming, the standard 3090 comes surprisingly close.

To dig deeper, let‘s look at some real world gaming benchmarks by Digital Trends on an i9-12900K system. Here‘s how many FPS you can expect at 4K resolution in popular titles:

Game Title RTX 3090 FPS RTX 3090 Ti FPS Difference
Apex Legends 130 140 +7.7%
Call of Duty: Warzone 126 132 +4.8%
Fortnite 128 135 +5.5%
Cyberpunk 2077 65 69 +6.2%
Red Dead Redemption 2 92 96 +4.3%

Once again, we see the RTX 3090 Ti outpacing the 3090 by about 5-8% on average. You‘ll be able to enable all the eye candy and easily power past 60 FPS. But the 3090 still provides an excellent experience as well.

Finally, Puget Systems shared SPECviewperf 2020 benchmark results for professional visualization workloads on an i9-10980XE test system:

Benchmark 3090 Score 3090 Ti Score Difference
SPECviewperf 2020 – 3dsmax-07 170.5 187.3 +9.9%
SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia-06 183.67 198.59 +8.2%
SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo-03 157.46 169.54 +7.7%
SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy-02 27.98 29.65 +6.0%
SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya-06 257.03 279.12 +8.6%
SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical-02 71.01 76.15 +7.3%
SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX-03 140.91 151.65 +7.7%
SPECviewperf 2020 – SW-04 215.87 230.49 +6.8%

For CAD, CAM and other modeling viewports, the 3090 Ti again shows a roughly 5-10% advantage. These specialized workstation apps are optimized to take advantage of all available GPU resources.

In summary, across gaming and professional use cases, the RTX 3090 Ti has a single digit performance lead over the standard 3090. But there are diminishing returns at this ultra enthusiast tier. Now let‘s examine some extra features.

Feature Comparison

The RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti offer the same flagship-level gaming features:

  • RTX ray tracing – Both cards have dedicated ray tracing cores for realistically rendered light, reflections and shadows in supported titles. This includes Nvidia DLSS upscaling.
  • 8K 60FPS+ gaming – With HDMI 2.1 ports, these GPUs can push 8K resolution gaming at 60 FPS or higher in many games. More than enough pixels for immersive high DPI displays.
  • HDR and wide gamut – Full support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision with over 1 billion colors and BT.2020 wide color gamut coverage. Vibrant and ultra realistic image quality.
  • Nvidia Reflex – Minimize input latency for competitive multiplayer titles. Makes reactions faster with lower system latency.
  • AV1 decoding – Hardware decoding for efficient playback of streaming video in the new AV1 codec. Also allows game recording/streaming in high quality AV1.
  • Nvidia Studio – Special drivers and support for creative applications like Blender, Davinci Resolve, Maya and more. Helps optimize stability and performance.
  • VR Ready – Both cards meet recommended specs for next-gen virtual reality headsets. Delivers silky smooth framerates and max details.

The only capability difference is that the RTX 3090 Ti adds support for DisplayPort 1.4a with DSC (Display Stream Compression). This allows even higher resolution monitors to be driven without compromising refresh rates. We‘re talking 8K HDR at 240Hz or 4K at 480Hz for buttery smoothness.

But for most gamers and creators, DisplayPort 1.4 on the standard 3090 is just fine. You won‘t miss DP 1.4a unless using a cutting-edge monitor.

Outside of raw performance, the 3090 and 3090 Ti deliver nearly identical features and capabilities. You can enjoy all the modern graphics innovations regardless of which card you choose.

Now let‘s look at power requirements and thermals.

Power and Thermal Comparison

The RTX 3090 Ti bumps up power consumption substantially compared to the standard 3090. Here are the key differences:

  • TDP – The 3090 Ti has a 450W total board power rating. That‘s 100W higher than the 350W rating of the RTX 3090 Founders Edition.
  • Power connectors – The 3090 Ti requires supplementary power from both a 12-pin and 4-pin connector. More pins allow for more power delivery. The 3090 gets by with just a single 12-pin.
  • Recommended PSU wattage – Nvidia suggests at least an 850W power supply for the 3090 Ti. A high quality 750W unit is sufficient for the 3090 in most systems.
  • Heat output – With its beefier TDP, the 3090 Ti will run hotter in general. Expect junction temps 5-10°C higher on average depending on your case airflow.

Clearly, the RTX 3090 Ti guzzles a good amount more power when gaming or under intensive workloads. This requires a more robust power supply and cooling solution:

  • Make sure to use separate PCIe power cables from your PSU instead of daisy-chaining to provide clean and stable power delivery.
  • A high airflow case like the Corsair 5000D Airflow paired with a 360mm AIO cooler is recommended, especially if overclocking.
  • Undervolting can help reduce temps while maintaining performance. For example, setting 0.95V 1900MHz in MSI Afterburner.
  • Repasting the GPU die with a high end thermal compound like Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut can also net a few degrees of cooling.

While certainly more demanding, the 3090 Ti is manageable with proper cooling provisions. Just make sure your PSU, case and CPU cooler are up to the task!

Now for the almighty dollar – how much will these ultra-enthusiast cards set you back?

Cost Comparison

Thanks to its upgraded specs and niche target market, the RTX 3090 Ti carries a steep premium over the standard 3090 at MSRP:

  • RTX 3090 MSRP – $1499
  • RTX 3090 Ti MSRP – $1999

That‘s a $500 difference right off the bat. Of course, in today‘s market real street pricing is still well above MSRP:

  • RTX 3090 current street price – ~$1700 to $2000 on average
  • RTX 3090 Ti current street price – ~$2200 to $2500+

So in reality, expect to pay about $400 to $500 more for the 3090 Ti. That stings, but may be worthwhile if you really need the extra juice for workstation tasks or future-proofing.

For cost-conscious buyers who mainly play games at 4K or 1440p, the RTX 3090 provides nearly equivalent performance and costs hundreds less. But if budget isn‘t as much of a concern and you value maximum power, the 3090 Ti sits on top as the fastest gaming GPU money can buy.

Let‘s wrap up with a look at availability.

Availability Comparison

In 2022 and heading into 2023, both the RTX 3090 and 3090 Ti remain difficult to find in stock at reasonable prices. However, the 3090 has the edge when it comes to supply thanks to its two year head start in production.

The RTX 3090 Ti only released in March 2022. As a brand new card, inventory levels are lower. Retailers sell out quickly when shipments arrive.

Here are some tips to improve your odds of grabbing one of these ultra rare cards:

  • Check stock trackers daily like the Falcodrin stream or NowInStock website. Be ready to buy the moment inventory appears.
  • Have accounts setup and payment info saved at major retailers like Best Buy, Newegg, Amazon, Micro Center, etc. Shave off precious seconds at checkout.
  • Join Discord groups and follow restock Twitter accounts for instant notifications when stock arrives.
  • Sign up for waitlists, lottery programs, and other queues offered by manufacturers like EVGA, Asus, etc.
  • Consider prebuilt gaming PCs, as OEMs get priority GPU allocation. You pay a premium but availability is better.
  • If all else fails, keep an eye on eBay for lightly used low-priced models. Just beware of scams and inflated pricing.

With some dedication, you should be able to land either card within a reasonable time period. Check availability frequently and act decisively once you locate stock.

Verdict – Which High-End GPU Should You Buy?

So there you have it – a fully detailed comparison covering every major aspect of the RTX 3090 versus 3090 Ti debate. Let‘s summarize everything into clear recommendations:

  • For mainstream 4K gaming, buy the RTX 3090. You‘ll max out settings in any title and achieve well above 60 FPS. The 3090 Ti offers only minor performance gains in games, not worth the extra $400-500.
  • For creative workstations, the RTX 3090 Ti makes sense. If you‘ll leverage the 10-15% faster rendering and export times in Blender, Premiere, Maya etc, the upgrade is justified. Just make sure your PSU can handle the power demands.
  • If budget is no concern, get the 3090 Ti. Money is no object and you simply want the maximum horsepower? Go for the 3090 Ti for future proofing and bragging rights.
  • Buy whichever you can actually find in stock. In reality, you‘ll probably have to take what you can get. If you locate either card at or near MSRP, chances are the choice will be made for you!

With its sensible balance of price and nearly equivalent gaming speeds, the RTX 3090 is the obvious choice for most buyers. But if you really need the extra performance or value maximum frames over dollars, spring for the 3090 Ti.

Whatever you decide, both Nvidia beasts will provide you an epic gaming and creating experience. Thanks for reading and happy upgrading!