The RTX 4090 calls for a game that can make it shine

The new Nvidia RTX 4090 appears to be absurdly powerful. It’s also a hot and power-hungry card, and even with no third-party benchmarks to confirm this, it’s already clear that the RTX 4090 is a step up from even the best previous-generation cards.

But does all that power really make sense? Sure, you can run the existing catalog of AAA games at 4K with ray tracing enabled at over 100fps, but there’s nothing outstanding that will really push the 4090, and that’s a problem for Nvidia. It may take a while before an exciting new game can show just how much the RTX 4090 really can do.

A useless bang for all that money


According to Nvidia’s numbers, the RTX 4090 is about twice as fast as an RTX 3090 Ti and up to four times faster in ray tracing games where DLSS 3 is enabled. That’s a huge leap forward, a lot. more in line with the generational advancements of previous generations compared to recent ones, where incremental improvements and feature updates were more of the selling point.

But it’s also clear from Nvidia’s announcement that there’s really nothing to push you to buy such a card. Higher frame rates and detail settings are always welcome, but if you’ve already played Cyberpunk 2077and explored Microsoft flight simulator to your liking, the RTX 4090 is just extra power with no room to gallop.

Nvidia had to create their own completely new demo environment, Racer RTX, to also have something new and exciting to show. Elsewhere, he has almost exclusively used old AAA games to showcase the performance of his new cards. safe Microsoft flight simulator at 100 fps is impressive, but that game is already over two years old. Cyberpunk 2077 the new RT Overdrive mode with DLSS 3 and improved ray tracing looks great, but that game was pretty underwhelming at launch from a pure fun standpoint and most of those who were excited about it have already played it.

The only upcoming game that Nvidia mentions in its vague benchmarks for the new card is Warhammer 40,000: Dark Tide. Whereas it is built on the same engine as in 2018 Vermintide 2and it’s not filled with extensive environments or particularly detailed models, it won’t be the most challenging game.

Even a look at the spread of AAA games coming this year, there really isn’t anything that will blow someone up graphically. This isn’t particularly important from a gamers perspective, and this mostly indie player definitely doesn’t care, but it makes the sale of a new generation of extremely powerful graphics cards a real stumbling block for Nvidia. Especially when it is trying to raise prices and the demand for energy along with it.

The only novelty is even greater performance

Nvidia DLSS 3 running in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Where the RTX 2000 Turing graphics cards promised ray tracing and DLSS support as a reward for early adopters, and the RTX 3000 series promised comfortable frame rates in the most demanding games, the RTX 4000 does just that and a little more. DLSS 3 is its one truly unique feature.

And while it’s not exclusive to this generation, Nvidia said it wouldn’t work well on previous generations of RTX core tensors. While that claim may seem dubious to the most skeptical, it offers at least a clear advantage for the RTX 4090 over its predecessors, but when the purpose of DLSS is to provide even greater performance in the limited number of support games, for a card that is already more than fast enough for its current job, it doesn’t do much to encourage early adopters. Furthermore, its best feature, the chassis generation, is exclusively for the new cards of the 40 series.

The advances in ray tracing are good, because ray tracing, until now, has not yet been something that is really worth the performance. But as it stands, ray tracing has had years to capture gamers’ zeitgeist, and it still fails to do so.

Whether it’s due to its performance limitations or its still relatively limited use even in the biggest games, it doesn’t matter. Ada Lovelace’s big selling point is, just like Turing and Ampere before, that she does ray tracing really well, and that doesn’t seem to be something most gamers are excited about right now.

Maybe modders can save the white elephant

A screenshot of RTX Remix.

As in a call to the wider gaming community, Nvidia has thrown a bone to the true evangelists of RTX: RTX Remix. It’s a modding tool designed to make it relatively easy to upscale and add ray-traced lighting to older games, even on outdated versions of DirectX. Considering the success of ray tracing on games like Earthquake II And Minecraftthere is serious potential for some of the more iconic old games to have a new lease on life with an unofficial RTX remaster.

That’s a great thing and I’m definitely excited about some of my favorite old games still taking too long to get the RTX treatment. It’s also important to credit modders for creating some of the most successful game genres of recent years, including MOBAs and battle royale games, so there’s the potential with something like this to discover new and exciting ways to play.

But – and that’s a big but – Nvidia really hopes people will spend $ 1,600 to play a ray-traced remaster of portal? I certainly wouldn’t, but then I downclocked my RX 6950XT because it was too hot and loud, so I’m probably not the target audience for such a card. Then again, who is it?

The RTX 4090 will be the most powerful graphics card for some time unless RDNA3 comes as a real surprise. Most likely at some point next year we will have some titles that can really push it, maybe a little bit optimized Ark 2or maybe Star Citizen will launch another Alpha.

But right now that’s no good and ultimately anyone who decides to spend as much as a high-end gaming PC on a single GPU, wondering what they can actually do with it that they couldn’t already do with an RTX 3090 for $ 500 less.

The answer, at least for now, isn’t much.

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