NVIDIA Demos Its Flagship GeForce RTX 4090 Topping 2.8GHz At 55C In Cyberpunk 2077

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As part of its GeForce RTX 40 announcement, NVIDIA privately demoed the cards for the press and media. We were privy to that demo, and got to observe an RTX 4090 running Cyberpunk 2077 at its highest settings with unthinkable performance. The "point" of the demo was to show off the performance benefits of DLSS 3, but arguably the more interesting details were the clock speed and temperature of the GPU.

The demo was done via screen sharing, and NVIDIA's representative admitted that this, along with the beta nature of the software, could have had an effect on the image quality. As a result, we're not keen to draw any conclusions regarding the visual quality of DLSS 3 from the demo.

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 demo of Cyberpunk 2077 without DLSS.

Instead, we're more interested in peering at the hardware monitoring readout visible during the demo. As part of the benchmark, an overlay in the top corner was monitoring the performance of the game as well as the clock rates, usage, and temperatures of the CPU and GPU. For its part, the CPU in the machine was hovering around 4.8 GHz and hitting a toasty 86°C.

The GeForce RTX 4090 GPU in the system was staying relatively cool, though. Throughout the benchmark, the highest temperature we observed was just 55°C. That was during the non-DLSS portion of the benchmark, where GPU load was the highest. That's an impressively-low temperature considering the displayed clock rate of 2850 MHz—fully 1 GHz faster than any of the Ampere GeForce cards' boost clocks. It seems likely that NVIDIA had the fan speeds turned way up on the card's hefty three-slot cooler, or perhaps used a liquid-cooled model of the card.

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Demo with DLSS. Note higher CPU temperatures.

NVIDIA's DLSS 3 demo was impressive on the face of it. Using DLSS 3, the average framerate jumped from 59 FPS—already an incredible score on the ludicrously-demanding Cyberpunk 2077 benchmark—all the way up to 170 FPS. NVIDIA says that DLSS 3 in combination with its Reflex low-latency technology results in no extra latency over playing the game without either technology, which is impressive for what is essentially a smart frame interpolation technique.

Using its PCAT tool, NVIDIA offered power consumption figures for the card with DLSS on and off. Without DLSS, the RTX 4090 was pulling some 461 watts. Enabling DLSS likely caused the game to be CPU-limited (given the insanely high frame rate), and so GPU usage dropped, with power consumption likewise down to "only" 384 watts.

The performance gain and power savings in NVIDIA's demo are absolutely fantastic, and if the image quality is acceptable, it could open the road to a new level of visual fidelity in games. That's a big if, though, as relatively little of that "170 FPS" actually constitutes simulated game graphics, between both the image upscaling and frame generation that DLSS 3 is doing. It will be fascinating to see for ourselves if DLSS 3 lives up to the hype.