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NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs 4080 (2023): Is the Most Powerful GPU Worth the Price?

The battle for graphics card supremacy continues with NVIDIA’s high-end offerings, the NVIDIA RTX 4090 and NVIDIA RTX 4080. Both of these GPUs are built for top-notch performance, boasting impressive specs that will leave even the most demanding gamers in awe. 

However, with similar price tags that are both rather hefty, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. In this comparison article, we’ll take a closer look at the key differences between the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080, so you can make an informed decision when it comes to choosing your next GPU.

NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs 4080 Comparison Chart

ModelNVIDIA RTX 4090NVIDIA RTX 4080
 NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs 4080NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs 4080
PriceCheck Price at NVIDIA.comCheck Price at NVIDIA.com
Cuda Cores16,3849,728
Clock SpeedBase: 2.23GHz
Boosted: 2.52GHz
Base: 2.21GHz
Boosted: 2.51GHz
Memory24GB GDDR6X, 384-bit bus16GB GDDR6X, 256-bit bus
TDP450W320W
DLSSVersion 3Version 3

Specifications

On paper, the NVIDIA RTX 4090 blows the RTX 4080 out of the water.

NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs 4080 Specifications
A closer look at the NVIDIA RTX 4090 (in photo).

Right off the bat, the RTX 4090 is the better performer of the two. That isn’t surprising, considering that the RTX 4080 has 41% fewer CUDA cores. To be exact, the RTX 4090 boasts 16,384 CUDA cores, whereas the RTX 4080 has 9,728.

Moreover, the RTX 4090 has 128 stream processors and 128 Ray Tracing (RT) cores, as well as a 450W Thermal Design Power (TDP). In comparison, the RTX 4080 has 76 stream processors, 76 RT cores and a 320W TDP. The long and short of it is the former can deliver better performance overall, though it may consume more power.

Case in point, the RTX 4090 has a base clock speed of 2.23GHz, and it can be boosted to 2.52GHz. On the other hand, the RTX 4080 clocks in at 2.21GHz and 2.51GHz, respectively. However, the most notable difference is the RTX 4090’s 24GB GDDR6X memory and wider 384-bit bus, outperforming the RTX 4080’s 16GB GDDR6X memory and 256-bit bus.

At any rate, both GPUs do support NVIDIA’s third iteration of its proprietary Deep Learning Super Sampling technology, also known as DLSS 3. Also, they’re both using third-generation RT cores and fourth-generation tensor cores.

Performance

In real-life usage, it’s the same story with the NVIDIA RTX 4090 beating the RTX 4080, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the latter can’t deliver where it counts.

Just to be clear, the RTX 4090 is in a league of its own. Basically, it’s capable of outshining pretty much any other high-end GPU out there. Needless to say, that includes the RTX 4080.

Despite falling short compared to the RTX 4090, the RTX 4080 is still impressive, though. After all, it can handle 4K gaming with ease. Now it goes without saying that the RTX 4090 can do it one better in this regard. Thing is, it boasts more power than most current games even require, and that includes AAA titles. In other words, the RTX 4080 isn’t necessarily a bad choice for gamers who don’t need the absolute best-performing GPU that money can buy.

Pricing

The price gap between the NVIDIA RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 isn’t that wide, so the former arguably provides more value since it’s technically more future-proof.

NVIDIA’s GPUs aren’t exactly what you can call budget-friendly, and the RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 are no exception, obviously. These high-end models come with a pretty hefty price tag, but the point here is how big the gap between the two is.

For starters, the RTX 4090 was the first to hit the market. It rolled out on October 12, 2022, with a price tag of $1,599. Afterward, it was followed by the RTX 4080. It launched on November 16 with a starting price of $1,199. 

That said, the RTX 4090 arguably offers more bang for the buck since it’s likely going to be the GPU to beat in the foreseeable future. Also, the price difference between it and the RTX 4080 is small enough to justify nabbing it instead. Still, for the more budget-oriented, the RTX 4080 can get the job done for years to come.

Verdict

When it comes to choosing between the NVIDIA RTX 4090 and RTX 4080, the decision ultimately depends on your budget.

NVIDIA RTX 4090

The most powerful GPU to date

NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs 4080

NVIDIA RTX 4080

More affordable high-end GPU

NVIDIA RTX 4090 vs 4080

The NVIDIA RTX 4090 is a powerhouse, boasting 16,384 CUDA cores. That makes it the most robust consumer-grade GPU in the market. What’s more, it has 24GB of memory and a 384-bit bus to boot. It’s premium in every sense of the word, and that includes its price tag, which comes in at a whopping $1,599.

Meanwhile, the NVIDIA RTX 4080 may not have as many CUDA cores or as much memory, but it still delivers exceptional performance. To reiterate, it’s loaded with 9,728 CUDA cores paired with 16GB of GDDR6X memory and a 256-bit bus. All in all, that’s more than enough to handle most graphically demanding games. Also, it’s more affordable at $1,199. 

If money’s no object, then the RTX 4090 is your best bet. It’ll be able to keep up with upcoming games for years to come. Put differently, it’ll stay relevant longer in terms of performance. However, the RTX 4080 is still an excellent and viable option if the RTX 4090 is just too expensive.

FAQs

📌 Is the NVIDIA RTX 4080 better than the RTX 4090?

No, the NVIDIA RTX 4090 has more CUDA cores, more memory and a wider 384-bit bus than the RTX 4080. That means it offers better performance overall.

📌 Is there a big difference between the NVIDIA RTX 4080 and RTX 4090?

Yes, the difference in performance between the two is noticeable, partly owing to the NVIDIA RTX 4080 having 41 percent fewer CUDA cores than the RTX 4090.

📌 Is the NVIDIA RTX 4090 worth it?

Yes, the NVIDIA RTX 4090 is the most powerful graphics card available today. It’s future-proof in that it can handle upcoming graphically demanding games for years to come.

📌 Is the NVIDIA RTX 4090 overkill?

It depends on your setup, but for most folks, the NVIDIA RTX 4090 is probably overkill. After all, it has so much power under the hood that you’d be hard-pressed to find a game that can make it break a sweat, so to speak.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.