Nvidia presented hazy charts during the most recent RTX 40-series announcement to demonstrate the performance improvement between its newest GPUs and its older ones, as is customary. Actual frame rates at various resolutions and settings are never displayed. Instead of using actual numbers, it makes cryptic “2X” allusions, which we assume sound more impressive. In order to raise anticipation for the flagship RTX 4090’s Oct. 12 launch, Nvidia has just made some benchmarks available. At least in ray-tracing-enabled games, the figures do demonstrate considerable increases.
According to Wccftech, the information was given to the media behind closed doors in a presentation displaying a Core i9-12900K Windows 11 system with 32GB of memory. It’s amusing that two of the latter are Portal and Cyberpunk, but Nvidia appears to want to highlight the improvements the RTX 4090 makes in both today’s and upcoming titles.
The key to unlocking maximal performance in this case is DLSS 3, which is a significant caveat. In general, DLSS 3 appears to be supporting the majority of Nvidia’s performance promises for the 40-series. Although it claimed that its most recent GPUs could execute rasterization twice as quickly as Ampere, the main improvements were in DLSS and particularly in ray tracing. The data below was captured in DLSS “performance” mode at 4K resolution.
If you look closely, you can see that some games that support DLSS 3 can achieve noticeable performance boosts. For instance, the benefits in non-ray-traced games are the smallest of the lot and can be seen on the chart’s extreme left. You can see that it receives a 3X increase when compared to Cyberpunk 2077 in its current state, and a 4X boost when using the future “Max” RTX mode. Direct lighting, which enables every light source’s beams to be reflected multiple times, as well as other improvements, will be included in that RTX “overdrive” mode. It sounds like the kind of technology that, especially at 4K, will drive Ampere to its knees.
The graphic also makes it abundantly evident that ray tracing performance represents this generation’s major advancements. That’s because of the enhanced optical flow accelerator and the new Tensor Cores in the GPUs. Nvidia claims that the hardware and DLSS 3 are collaborating to deliver performance improvements that weren’t previously feasible.
The report claims that Nvidia outlined why its most recent hardware is more capable of handling ray tracing than earlier models. One of the causes is that ray tracing has advanced significantly since Turing, when it was initially introduced. As an illustration, Battlefield V, one of the first games to support RTX, produced pixels using 39 RT calculations. In Cyberpunk’s “overdrive” mode, that number has increased to 635 RT computations.
With the 40-series, Nvidia added a number of new technologies to address this. The most important of these is a process known as Shader Execution Reordering (SER). By combining them, it enables the GPU to do ray tracing calculations for various light sources more quickly than before. Before, some rays had to wait for the completion of another’s program before moving on. According to Nvidia, SER can enhance RTX in some games by anywhere between 20 and over 40%.
Even though the RTX 4090 appears to be an all-around upgrade over Ampere, it’s not obvious whether the same is true of the RTX 4080 variants. Nvidia made the unique choice to call them by the same name as the GPU from the generation before, but to give them smaller memory buses and fewer CUDA, ROP, and Tensor Cores instead. With the RTX 3080, which the RTX 3090 shared a die with, that wasn’t the case. Additionally, it has a large 320-bit memory bus, unlike the 16GB and 12GB RTX 4080s only have a 256-bit and 192-bit memory bus, respectively.
It will be intriguing to see how those cards compare to the cards from prior generations. Even though the 4080s are faster at ray tracing, we predict that it will be close in rasterization. Real-world benchmarks will allow us to be certain. In a few weeks, the RTX 4090 will go on sale, and the 4080s will follow some time in November. On Nov. 3, AMD’s RDNA GPUs will be made public, making November a very exciting month for GPU enthusiasts.