My current gaming PC has a GTX 980. This graphics card came out in 2014, that is going to be over 8 years ago by the time I have fully built my brand new gaming PC. I can now start to see the games that I am playing (Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch 2, Vermintide 2, etc), I need to lower the graphical settings to play on my 1440p display with a framerate just reaching 60 but not consistently. Ideally, I would love to play these games at 1440p at 144 fps which my monitor supports without compromising on the graphical fidelity.
The past week I have been reading and watching YouTube videos on the performance of the new RTX 4090 graphics cards comparing the founder’s edition and the various manufacturers own RTX 4090 cards with fan and water cooling using an AIO solution. With what I have seen, I am extremely impressed in the performance Nvidia has managed to push out with these graphics cards even if it comes at the cost of price, power draw and temperature.
I could purchase last generation’s graphics cards which do offer ray-tracing and are significantly better than my current graphics cards. However, the way I figure it, is that if I am going all in to purchase branch new computer parts across the board then I may as well spend more money in getting the newest generation of the products which will last me slightly longer. I know it is near impossible to future proof your gaming PC but if you do buy some of the higher end performance parts it will last you that little bit longer (hopefully) as they should be able to squeeze out that little bit more (again hopefully). I have always tended to purchase the newest and highest performing products as they have never let me down and lasted me the longest.
The graphics card that I have chosen to go with is the AORUS GeForce RTX™ 4090 XTREME WATERFORCE 24G and I went with it for a number of reasons as there was a number of factors I needed to consider.
The first is the form factor. The sheer size of the new RTX 4090 graphics cards is insane. The length and weight of these new graphics cards makes it fitting in a mid-tower case and having plenty of room for optimal airflow may be a struggle and the sag that will happen unless you vertically mount the graphics card will be crazy. With the AORUS GeForce RTX™ 4090 XTREME WATERFORCE 24G I don’t have to worry about the size of the graphics card as it is essentially the size of the actual board and is light in comparison to the other RTX 4090 cards. I have options to mount it directly to the motherboard or vertically mount it to my case. This I have yet to decide.
The second is cooling solution. Everything points to these graphics cards having the potential of running very hot and that is even with water cooling through an AIO solution. If I can try to have the graphics card running cooler using an AIO water cooling solution and it also makes it easier to fit into the case then it is a win-win. A cooler graphics card while in use is always going to be better and it will also help the graphics card last longer. Hotter temperatures for sustained periods of time are not good for electronics.
The third is performance. These new RTX 4090 graphics cards are absolute beasts. I do not think that AMD will be able to match these new graphics cards in performance even with their new RNA3 technology. Compared to my GTX 980 this AORUS GeForce RTX™ 4090 XTREME WATERFORCE 24G blows my one out of the water multiple times over. I wanted to have a graphics card that I know I would not need to update in the next couple of years (hoping to keep this card for at least 5 years). Seeing as my GTX 980 has lasted me for a solid 8 years nearly, this AORUS GeForce RTX™ 4090 XTREME WATERFORCE 24G may hopefully last as long if there are no crazy new developments and jumps in graphical fidelity.
However there are a number of issues/worries I do have with these new RTX 4090 graphics cards (and not just my AORUS GeForce RTX™ 4090 XTREME WATERFORCE 24G). These are:
The price. These graphics cards are not cheap; and if you thought that the previous generation of graphics cards were expensive at launch then these new graphics card prices will make you fall off your seat multiple times over. It is insane the price I paid for this graphics card; I do however know that I spent several hundred Australia dollars more for a AIO water cooled graphics card. In the current economic climate there are far better and more important things to spend your money on. I am lucky that I have enough disposable income that I can purchase and build a brand new top of the line gaming PC. If I had more pressing items that I needed to spend money on, I would not have bought this graphics card.
The heat and temperature. There has not been a single chart or video I have watched that did not mention the high temperatures that these graphics cards can reach. The graphics cards various components can reach very high temperatures but are within the acceptable limits. However, I do have concerns in the long term that the graphics cards are being worked too hard and will be negatively impacted with them dying earlier than expected. Thankfully, the AORUS GeForce RTX™ 4090 XTREME WATERFORCE 24G has 4 years of warranty which is 1 year short of how long I expect at a minimum the graphics card should last.
The power draw. One of the common themes is high numbers. A high cost, high running temperatures and also high power draw. With the AORUS GeForce RTX™ 4090 XTREME WATERFORCE 24G I am looking at a 850W recommended power supply. I was already going to buy a brand new PSU but this value is significantly higher than what I was originally expecting. I initially thought that the AIO cooling solution may have been the culprit here but even other fan cooled RTX 4090 graphics cards are recommending the same wattage. I don’t know how high I will overclock the graphics card but that 850W value is for a fully overclocked RTX 4090.