ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4090 OC review: This GPU is unbelievable

Hello, 8K gaming. 🤯

ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC Edition
(Image: © Future)

Windows Central Verdict

The ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC is very much like a sleeper vehicle. It has some serious horsepower under the hood but looks like your typical desktop GPU. Attach a 4K monitor with a high refresh rate and you'll be able to enjoy one of the best PC gaming experiences.

Pros

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    + Understated design

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    + Impressive performance

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    + DLSS 3 is magic

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    + Excellent thermals

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    + AV1 support

Cons

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    Incredibly expensive

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    4K is almost required

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    850W+ PSU

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    It's HUGE

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We're reviewing the ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC Edition, which is a stripped-down version of the flagship ROG Strix RTX 4090. The GPU has the same Ada Lovelace streaming multiprocessors, 4th Gen Tensor Cores, 3rd Gen RT Cores, and a trio configuration of redesigned Axial-tech fans, but it lacks some of the extra flashy stylings from the flagship card.

Utilizing military-grade capacitors that are rated for 20,000 hours at 105 degrees Celsius, the TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC is designed out the gate to perform well under load and last for many years through intensive gaming. It's a huge card, taking up 3.65 PCI slots, yet the PCB is rather small when compared to the behemoth cooler.

Let's take a closer look to see if this truly is one of the best graphics cards you can buy. Hint: yes, it is.

ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC: Price and specs

ASUS' RTX 4090 TUF in all its glory. (Image credit: Future)

The ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC Edition has an MSRP of $1,799.99. This is a colossal amount of change to spend on just one component, but the specs speak for themselves. It's worth bearing in mind that the RTX 4090 from NVIDIA is capable of running the latest and most demanding PC games at 8K with stable frame rates.

That sort of performance alone won't come cheap. And with rising energy prices across Europe and beyond, simply powering this 450W TDP graphics card is going to require considerable funds.

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Header Cell - Column 0 ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC Edition
ArchitectureAD102
Manufacturing processTSMC 4N
Transistors76.3 billion
Streaming processors128
Tensor cores512
CUDA cores16,384
RT cores128
Boost clock speeds2565 MHz (OC: 2595 MHz)
Memory24GB GDDR6X
Memory speed21 Gbps
Memory interface384-bit
TDP450W

The RTX 4090 will be listed at various retail partners starting October 12. With the slowdown in demand for graphics cards and supply recovery after global lock downs, availability should be more reliable than the mess we experienced with RTX 30 series cards.

ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC: Ada Lovelace

The GPU where (most of) the magic happens. (Image credit: Future)

The name of NVIDIA's next-gen GPU architecture is Ada Lovelace, paying tribute to the English mathematician and writer. With a new TMSC 4nm manufacturing process and the inclusion of countless more processing cores, NVIDIA promised big gains with the RTX 40 series of cards.

As well as the new architecture, NVIDIA worked hard on its DLSS technology, launching version 3 alongside the new RTX 40 GPUs. There's even AV1 decode support included for content creators. A drawback to all these improvements to the GPU is power requirement and thermal management.

As you'll see in this review with the ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC Edition, AIB partners are having to bolt on huge cooling solutions to a relatively small PCB to keep thermals in check. Then there's the power requirement with a recommended PSU output of 850W for the RTX 4090 GPU.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC EditionASUS TUF Gaming RTX 3090 OC Edition
ArchitectureAda LovelanceAmpere
Manufacturing processTSMC 4NSamsung 8nm
Transistors76.3 billion28.3 billion
Streaming processors12882
Tensor cores512328
CUDA cores16,38410,496
RT cores12882
Boost clock speeds2565 MHz (OC: 2595 MHz)1740 MHz (OC: 1770 MHz)
Memory24GB GDDR6X24GB GDDR6X
Memory interface384-bit384-bit
TDP450W350W

Comparing the new ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC Edition to the outgoing TUF Gaming RTX 3090 OC Edition showcases just how much of a jump this generation of GPUs is. With Ada Lovelace, NVIDIA has managed to increase the CUDA core count by more than 50%, from 10,496 to a whopping 16,384.

Streaming processors are up from 82 to 128, tensor cores have almost doubled from 328 to 512, and ray tracing cores have been boosted from 82 to 128. The same 24GB of GDDR6X is present with a 384-bit memory bus. All this results in a considerable performance gain on paper.

ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC: Design

There are plenty of fins to cool this beast. (Image credit: Future)

The design of the ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4090 OC GPU is understated but fitting for most gaming PC builds. The metal back plate is stunning, and so too is the metal shroud — you'll struggle to find any plastic here. The entire package feels really premium and well-built, but all this metal does make it a little heavy, especially when looking at how small the PCB is.

The weight can at least be addressed with the included stand. This is an ingenious little accessory that can be adjusted with a small wheel. Should you extract the adjustable center tube out, you'll be greeted by a small Philips screwdriver. The bottom of the stand is magnetic, allowing it to "stick" to a metal chassis.

Back to the monstrous RTX 4090. As mentioned, the entire GPU takes up 3.65 PCI slots, so planning around other expansion cards and smaller PC cases needs to be carefully considered. 

Like previous generation NVIDIA cards, ASUS makes good use of a passthrough for the large fin array. For cooling, ASUS uses three 104mm Axial-tech fans with dual-ball bearings. They're capable of spinning up to 2,260 RPM and can push through 63 cubic feet of air per minute. 

We'll be testing this for the performance section of the review, but ASUS states the three fans are at a standstill when the card is cooler than 50 degrees Celsius. When playing less demanding games, it'll be possible to have a near-silent experience, perfect for those who prefer to play without headphones.