4070 Ti vs 4090: Should You Buy NVIDIA’s Budget or Flagship GPU?

4070 Ti vs 4090

The RTX 4070 Ti and RTX 4090 are at opposite ends of the current-gen GPU market. The 4070 Ti is, for now, the cheapest of the bunch, and the 4090 is the most expensive and currently the best graphics card on the market. But the 4070 Ti is still expensive, and when so much money is at stake, it makes sense to consider all options.

Comparing the 4070 Ti vs 4090, then, makes sense because one might think: ‘If I’m already going to be spending hundreds of dollars on a GPU, what’s a few hundred more?’

The 4090 does significantly better than the 4070 Ti, but the question is whether you need this extra performance. The answer to this will depend on what games you play, what resolution you game at, and your monitor’s refresh rate.

Also Read: RTX 4070 vs RTX 4070 Ti: Which NVIDIA GPU is Best?

In this guide, we’ll take a close look at the differences between these two graphics cards, analyzing the specification and performance differences for various use cases. This should put you in a better spot for deciding between the 4070 Ti and 4090.

Buying Options

4070 Ti Advantages

  • Half the price
  • Great choice for 1080p and 1440p gaming
  • All the current-gen bells and whistles (e.g., DLSS 3)
  • Lower power consumption

4090 Advantages

  • Fastest GPU on the market by a mile
  • About 54% faster at 4K resolution
  • Twice the video memory
  • Never have to lower your graphics settings

What is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Ti?

NVIDIA released the RTX 4070 Ti in January 2023. It’s a high-end graphics card and is for now the cheapest 40-series GPU on the market, though this might change soon when NVIDIA launches the RTX 4070.

This ‘Ada Lovelace’ architecture GPU performs about the same as the previous-gen flagship RTX 3090 Ti across all three resolutions, which is nothing to turn our nose up at. This level of performance is still more than enough for the vast majority of gamers today.

What is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090?

NVIDIA released the RTX 4090 in October 2022—the first to launch of the NVIDIA 40-series generation. It’s the fastest consumer graphics card on the market, and it’s note even close. No other GPU right now can match its performance across all resolutions.

Based on NVIDIA’s ‘Ada Lovelace’ architecture, the 4090 offers true flagship performance thanks largely to its absurdly large number of CUDA, Tensor, and RT Cores. But for this performance, there is, of course, a steep price tag.

NVIDIA RTX 40-Series New Features

  • New RT and Tensor Cores
  • DLSS 3.0
  • Shader Execution Reordering (SER)
  • Dual AV1 Encoding

The 40-series’ new ray tracing cores, AI cores, DLSS 3 capabilities, and implementation of SER will probably be most important for gamers. These new features greatly improve ray tracing and upscaling importance.

Both the 4070 Ti and 4090 also support AV1 encoding, which allows for faster encoding than many other formats and should be useful for content creators using software that supports this encoding format.

4090 vs 4070 Ti: Price Comparison

RTX 4070 Ti RTX 4090
MSRP $799 $1,599
Cheapest retail prices $799-$950 $1,634-$2,000

The RTX 4090 costs $800 (100%) more than the 4070 Ti at MSRP—it’s twice the cost. At the time of writing, this price difference also holds true for actual retail prices, with the cheapest 4070 Ti GPUs (there is no 4070 Ti FE) costing about $799 and the cheapest non-FE 4090 GPUs costing just over $1,600.

Alternative GPUs

If you’re considering either the RTX 4070 Ti or RTX 4090 and are comfortable in such a wide price bracket, there are many alternative GPUs to consider.

On the cheaper side, an RTX 3080 is still very good value considering it costs $250-$300 less than the 4070 Ti and only performs about 10-20% worse than it.

Between the 4070 Ti and 4090, there are currently three options:

  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
  • AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT
  • AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX

The best value of these three GPUs is probably the RX 7900 XTX, because it costs $200 less than the RTX 4080 (and $600 less than the RTX 4090) at MSRP and yet performs about as well as it. It isn’t as good at ray tracing and upscaling, though, so if those things are important to you, the RTX 4080 might be a better option.

The last option to consider is waiting for the RTX 4070 to release, which should offer a cheaper current-gen GPU alternative to the RTX 4070 Ti. NVIDIA is rumored to release this sometime this month (April 2023).

Read More:

Graphics Card Specs

  RTX 4070 Ti RTX 4090
Architecture Ada Lovelace Ada Lovelace
GPU AD104 AD102
CUDA Cores 7,680 16,384
Tensor Cores 240 512
RT Cores 60 128
Stream Multiprocessors 60 128
Memory 12GB GDDR6X 24GB GDDR6X
Memory speed 21GT/s 21GT/s
Memory bandwidth 504GB/s 1,008GB/s
Clock speed (base/boost) 2.3GHz / 2.6GHz 2.23GHz / 2.52GHz
Power connector (reference) 1x 16-pin (12VHPWR adapter) 1x 16-pin (12VHPWR adapter)
TDP (TBP) 285W 450W

Comparing these two GPUs’ specs, we can see that the RTX 4090 is much, much more powerful than the RTX 4070 Ti.

The 4090 has 113% more CUDA Cores, Tensor Cores, and RT Cores than the 4070 Ti. It also has double the video memory and twice the memory bandwidth. In short, the 4090 essentially has twice the hardware of the 4070 Ti.

Of course, this doesn’t mean it will give twice the 4070 Ti’s in-game performance—primarily because other components than the GPU are always limiting factors—but it’s a good indicator that it will perform significantly better.

Dimensions

  RTX 4070 Ti RTX 4090
Length 285mm 304mm
Width 112mm 137mm
Height 42mm 61mm

One area where the 4070 Ti clearly wins is in the size department. It’s much smaller than the 4090 on every dimension axis, which should make it easier to install in many PC cases. As always, check your case and other component dimensions to ensure a GPU will fit before you purchase it.

Power Draw and Thermal Performance

The RTX 4090 is the most powerful graphics card on the market, so, naturally, it consumes a lot of power. Because of its 165W higher TDP, NVIDIA recommends an 800W PSU for the 4090, while it only recommends a 700W PSU for the 4070 Ti.

Also Read: The Best Power Supplies Right Now

Online tests show that while both GPUs stay well below 70c while gaming, the RTX 4070 Ti runs slightly cooler than the RTX 4090. However, this is really a mark for the 4090, because for it to stay almost as cool as a graphics card that only has half its horsepower is an impressive feat.

Of course, GPU temperature will depend on the specific AIB model in question—and remember, there is no 4070 Ti FE.

We should also note that there were early reports of some 4090s’ 12VHPWR adapters melting when incorrectly seated, but this reportedly only affected about 0.05% of 4090 GPUs sold.

4070 Ti vs 4090: Gaming Performance

Below, we’ve presented charts comparing the gaming performance of the 4070 Ti and 4090 across different resolutions. These results are collated and averaged from several online reviews, such as those from TomsHardware, TechSpot, and TechPowerup.

Also Read: 1080p vs. 1440p vs. 4K: Which Resolution Is Best for Gaming?

Under each chart we’ve given you an average of the framerate percentage differences for each game—these more accurately represent the performance difference between the two GPUs, but the charts map on closely to these.

1080p Benchmarks

4070 ti vs 4090 1080p avg framerates

Framerates averaged from multiple online benchmarks.

On average, the RTX 4090 performs about 21.4% better than the RTX 4070 Ti at 1080p.

It’s almost never worth buying an RTX 4090 just for 1080p gaming. For gaming at 1080p resolution, an RTX 4070 Ti should be more than enough for most gamers’ needs.

The 4070 Ti should average well above 100fps in most games at this resolution, meaning it’s great for a 1080p 120Hz or 144Hz monitor. This is true even for more demanding games on max settings.

We might think that a 4090 would be worth it for competitive gaming on ultra-high refresh rate monitors because of its raw performance. However, eSports titles aren’t usually very demanding, so a 4070 Ti should be able to guarantee very high framerates. Plus, in more demanding games, a cheaper RTX 4080 or 7900 XTX should suffice.

One case where it might make sense to opt for an RTX 4090 over an RTX 4070 Ti for 1080p is if you fall into a niche of gamers that want to play the most demanding games at 1080p with an ultra-high refresh rate.

1440p Benchmarks

4070 ti vs 4090 1440p avg framerates

Framerates averaged from multiple online benchmarks.

On average, the RTX 4090 performs about 37.9% better than the RTX 4070 Ti at 1440p.

For 1440p gaming, whether to opt for an RTX 4090 or an RTX 4070 Ti depends on whether you want to guarantee framerates higher than 120fps or 144fps in even some of the most graphically intensive games on ultra settings.

Also Read: Is 1440P Worth it for Gaming?

If you won’t be happy with these very few ultra demanding games dropping lower than 120fps, then an RTX 4090 is a better option. Although, again, an RTX 4080 or RX 7900 XTX would be a nice middle-ground.

Opting for an RTX 4090 also makes sense if you want to game on an ultra-high refresh rate monitor (say, a 240Hz monitor or above) at 1440p. An RTX 4070 Ti will struggle to push up to 200fps in many modern games on max settings at this resolution, so if ultra-high refresh rates are your thing, an RTX 4090 makes sense.

4K Benchmarks

4070 ti vs 4090 4K avg framerates

Framerates averaged from multiple online benchmarks.

On average, the RTX 4090 performs about 58.5% better than the RTX 4070 Ti at 4K.

For 4K gaming, an RTX 4090 is a better choice than an RTX 4070 Ti. While a 4070 Ti can hold its own at 4K resolution, averaging between 60fps and 80fps in most modern games, it does average slightly below 60fps in some games. Plus, an average of 60fps probably means dips below this threshold depending on the game scene in question.

Also Read: Is 4K Worth it for Gaming? Why Most Gamers Don’t Need a 4K Monitor

An RTX 4090, on the other hand, can average above 100fps at 4K resolution in most modern games on max settings. This means two things: first, that it goes well with a 120Hz 4K monitor, and second, that it should rarely (if ever) dip below 60fps.

However, and yet again, we should note that an RX 7900 XTX or RTX 4080 might offer a nice middle-ground between the enormous price tag of the 4090 and the mediocre 4K performance of the 4070 Ti.

Ray Tracing and Upscaling

4070 ti vs 4090 1440p relative ray tracing game performance

Results taken from TechPowerUp’s testing.

Based on TechPowerUp’s testing, at 1440p, the RTX 4090 performs about 54% better than the 4070 Ti on average when ray tracing is enabled.

We noted above that without ray tracing enabled the 4090 performs about 37.9% better than the 4070 Ti at 1440p. So, the 4090 gains approximately 16% extra relative performance compared to the 4070 Ti when ray tracing is enabled at 1440p, thanks to its greater number of RT Cores.

4070 ti vs 4090 4K relative ray tracing game performance

Results taken from TechPowerUp’s testing.

Based on TechPowerUp’s testing, at 4K, the RTX 4090 performs about 70% better than the 4070 Ti on average when ray tracing is enabled.

Without ray tracing enabled we noted that the 4090 performs about 58.5% better than the 4070 Ti at 4K. This means the 4090 gains approximately 11.5% extra relative performance compared to the 4070 Ti when ray tracing is enabled at 4K, because of its larger pool of RT Cores.

Finally, for DLSS, both cards have it good. Both can use DLSS 3, and this often more than doubles the card’s framerates. The 4090 might do this a little better thanks to its greater number of Tensor Cores, but because much of the upscaling legwork occurs on NVIDIA’s server side, the difference isn’t massive.

Game Performance Summary

At 1080p, the 4090 performs about 21.4% better than the 4070 Ti on average. It’s probably not worth opting for a 4090 at this resolution because framerates are so high for both GPUs.

At 1440p, the 4090 performs about 37.9% better than the 4070 Ti on average. It might be worth opting for a 4090 at this resolution if you want to play modern titles at an ultra-high (240Hz+) refresh rate.

At 4K, the 4090 performs about 58.5% better than the 4070 Ti on average. If budget isn’t a concern, a 4090 is worth it for gaming at 4K, because it should never drop below 60fps and should stay above 100fps on average for 120Hz 4K gaming.

More Performance Comparisons

Verdict: Should You Buy a 4070 Ti or 4090?

In many ways, the decision between an RTX 4090 and RTX 4070 Ti should be obvious. If you have a big budget to spare and want the best graphics card on the market for the smoothest gameplay experience possible, you already knew you were opting for an RTX 4090.

But if you were considering a 4090, there might be reasons to at least pause and consider alternative options. For instance, if you’re only planning on gaming at 1080p resolution, a 4090 will almost certainly be overkill. And if you’re planning on gaming at 1440p, it might be worth considering the 4070 Ti if you don’t mind dropping a little below 120fps in the most demanding games.

On the other hand, the 4090 is a brilliant choice for 120Hz 4K gaming. Plus, it has much better longevity thanks to its stellar memory configuration, meaning it should last a long time even as games increase their VRAM requirements.

The 4070 Ti is perfect for those of you looking to game at 120Hz or 144Hz 1080p or 1440p, providing you don’t mind dropping your settings ever so slightly on more demanding games at 1440p. The 4090, on the other hand, means you can leave your settings on max in any game and play at any resolution and refresh rate without concern.

If you’re still struggling to decide between these two cards, however, we’d recommend you also consider the RTX 4080 and RX 7900 XTX. Especially the latter, because—providing you don’t mind the lack of DLSS 3 and worse ray tracing performance—it’s superb value.

Jacob Fox

Jacob's been tinkering with computer hardware for over a decade, and he's written hardware articles for various PC gaming websites. Outside of the wonderful world of PC hardware, he's currently undertaking a PhD in philosophy, with a focus on topics surrounding the meaning of life.

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