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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti review: the Digital Foundry verdict

The fastest - and the biggest, most power-hungry and most expensive.

Testing the RTX 3090 Ti was an eye-opening experience. We saw excellent performance, surpassing all previous Ampere models as well as AMD's RX 6900 XT, but the card's advantage over the standard 3090 are typically between seven and 11 percent - hardly the 33 percent that would justify the increased price tag. In RT titles, the differences between the 3090 and 3090 Ti grew smaller, perhaps due to the relatively low increase in RT cores over the vanilla model.

So despite the massively increased asking price, there's a relatively small performance uplift over the RTX 3080 Ti and 3090 here - and while the RTX 3090's 24GB of VRAM made it an exciting prospect for content creators and data scientists compared to the RTX 3080 10GB, the 3090 Ti doesn't offer anything unique beyond the relatively restrained spec bump. This is also the most power-hungry card we've ever tested, requiring a massive power supply, so it's disappointing to not see that translating into a ton of extra performance.

However, value and power efficiency was never on the cards: this is a halo product that seeks to face off against the RX 6950 XT as the fastest consumer graphics card available. You're always going to pay a premium for that, especially in a GPU market where supply is far outstripped by demand.

If you are after an RTX 3090 Ti, you may be cheered to hear that the Founders Edition model is readily available in the US and UK at RRP (£1879/$1999). Meanwhile, third-party models are generally available for a slightly higher price, often in prebuilt PCs where the intense cost of the GPU can be ameloriated slightly by better deals on the other components.

So with all things said and done, the RTX 3090 Ti is indeed the fastest graphics card we've ever tested, but it comes at a steep price - power draw, space and your human currency units. As a value proposition, it barely registers, but the 3090 Ti does at least offer a frightening portend of the future: graphics cards that consume more power than entire mid-range systems and have a greater area than some motherboards - although they do run video games pretty well.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti analysis

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About the Author
Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.

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