If you’re in the market for an extreme graphics card, in this buyer’s guide, we’ve highlighted five of the best RTX 4090s on the market.
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 4090 is currently the best graphics card on the market. With unrivalled traditional rasterization performance and flagship ray tracing and upscaling chops, the RTX 4090 can handle any game thrown at it, at any resolution.
Despite new competition from AMD in the form of the RX 7900 XT and 7900 XTX, the 4090’s price-performance offering is good enough that it’s still one of the best graphics cards around.
GPU Performance Comparisons:
- RTX 4090 vs RTX 4070
- RTX 4090 vs RTX 4070 Ti
- RTX 4090 vs RTX 4080
- RTX 4090 vs RX 7900 XT
- RTX 4090 vs RX 7900 XTX
But there’s not just a single version of the RTX 4090. There are plenty of different 4090 models from custom GPU suppliers, plus NVIDIA’s own reference model.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the best RTX 4090 graphics cards on the market and what makes them great.
A Quick Look at the Best RTX 4090 Video Cards
Below is a table of our picks for the best RTX 4090 graphics cards currently available.
NVIDIA Founders Edition
ASUS TUF OC
ASUS ROG Strix OC
MSI Suprim Liquid X
MSI Gaming X Trio
*If you want to read our full overview on each of the RTX 4090 graphics cards listed above, click on the “Read Review »” and you’ll be taken to our write-up on it.
1. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition
Best RTX 4090 for the money
The best value RTX 4090 is NVIDIA’s own reference model, the 4090 Founders Edition (FE). Because it sells at MSRP and holds its own against its more expensive competitors, the Founders card offers impressive performance for the price.
In previous generations, buying a reference graphics card usually meant sacrificing some performance, in terms of framerates, thermals, or overclocking potential. Now, however—since at least NVIDIA’s 30-series GPUs—reference cards are very competitive on the performance front.
Combine the ‘Ada Lovelace’ 4090 FE’s stellar performance with its low cost (relative to its competition) and it’s a no brainer. It’s still expensive, of course, thanks to the global chip shortage and other market shenanigans, but for a 4090 it’s about as good as you can hope for.
For its $1,599 MSRP, you’re getting a graphics card with over 16,000 CUDA cores, 24GB of GDDR6X VRAM, and 128 RT Cores. Comparing the 4090 vs 3090 Ti, the previous-gen flagship, we see the new top dog has over 50% more CUDA Cores, RT Cores, and Tensor Cores, and runs over 500MHz faster on both its base and boost clocks (2.23GHz and 2.52GHz).
The great thing about the 4090 FE is, if you’re lucky enough to catch it in stock, it will cost a lot less than other custom 4090s in the current market, yet its design and components are very competitive.
Its 1,400A max current (20x 70A phases) and 600W max power limit signals a very good VRM that should offer fantastic longevity and overclocking capabilities. It’s not got the best VRM of the bunch, but it’s close to the top of the list.
And to top it off, its cooler, with its opposing- and dual-fan design that exhausts air from the rear or towards case exhaust fans, isn’t only great on paper. In real-world tests in cases with good airflow, the 4090 FE stays comfortably below 70c while gaming. It’s not the coolest 4090 on the market, but it runs far from hot.
It’s also the smallest 4090 out there excluding liquid cooled cards, taking up ‘only’ three slots. It won’t feature in any small form-factor (SFF) gaming PC builds, but taking up three slots is certainly better than taking up four.
2. ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 4090 OC
Best non-Founders RTX 4090 for the Money
The problem with the 4090 FE is that it’s rarely in stock these days. So, while the Founders Edition is probably the best bang for your buck, it’s good to know which non-Founders card is great value, too.
The TUF Gaming OC 4090 is probably the best value custom RTX 4090 on the market right now, given current prices. It’s not the cheapest, but for what it offers, it’s a solid ‘middle of the road’ card with few downsides.
Its MSRP is $1,799, $200 more than the Founders Edition, and you can currently find it retailing for just over $1,800. Admittedly, it’s not currently in stock at this price, but it should be available more frequently than the FE, so if you want a decently priced 4090, you should keep your eye out for it alongside the FE.
ASUS’s TUF OC version of the RTX 4090 shares many of the FE version’s benefits. It has a pretty good VRM with a max current of 1,260A (18x 70A phases) and a 600W power limit just like the FE, meaning overclocking shouldn’t be an issue.
Of course, this ‘OC’ model comes with its own factory overclock, boasting a boost clock of 2.59GHz, 70MHz higher than the reference model. It’s a card that performs very well straight out of the box because of this, and while it runs a little hotter than many of the more expensive 4090 cards, it should still stay below 70c while gaming if the rest of your setup runs cool.
Apart from all this, and although such a judgment will always be subjective, it also looks fantastic, with just the right amount of RGB lighting splashed in all the right places. It’s also one of the very few RTX 4090s that has two HDMI 2.1 ports for more versatile display connectivity. And it comes with ASUS’s staple 4-year warranty.
If you’re looking for a great ‘plug in and play’ 4090 and you can find it for close to its MSRP, ASUS’s TUF Gaming 4090 OC is stellar value.
3. ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition
Best RTX 4090 for Overclocking
Those of you looking to max out your gaming performance should look no further than the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC.
While liquid cooled 4090 cards run cooler than the ROG Strix, the ROG Strix OC has enough other benefits to make it not only great for overclocking but also perfect as an all-rounder.
For starters, it’s got a fantastic VRM setup—almost the best of the 4090 bunch, in fact, with a 1,680A max current (24x 70A phases), a 500W stock power limit, and 600W max power limit. Combine this with its better than average triple-fan cooling setup (which should keep it closer to 60c than 70c while gaming) and it’s an obvious choice for high-end overclocking.
On top of this, though, its fans run quieter than most other RTX 4090 models, it has two HDMI 2.1 ports alongside its three DisplayPort connections, and it has ASUS’s 4-year warranty, just like the 4090 TUF OC. Plus, its 2.64GHz stock overclock (in OC mode) means it can run 120MHz faster than a reference 4090 with no manual tinkering.
It’s not the cheapest RTX 4090 around, with an MSRP of $1,700 and current market price of about $2,300, and its bold red and blue design might not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you’re looking to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the fastest graphics card around, the ASUS ROG Strix OC 4090 is what you’re looking for.
4. MSI GeForce RTX 4090 Suprim Liquid X
The “coolest” RTX 4090
While this card definitely looks cool, where the MSI GeForce RTX 4090 Suprim Liquid X shines is in its ability to run cool. As in, it has stellar thermal performance. In fact, thanks to its liquid cooling system, it barely breaks a sweat.
Read More: Liquid Cooling vs. Air Cooling
There are other liquid cooled RTX 4090s on the market, but the reason this one is on our list is because it combines its outstanding cooling with a truly phenomenal VRM setup. With a whopping 1,820A max current (26x 70A phases), plus its super low temps, this RTX 4090 should have a very long lifespan.
Also Read: How Long Does Liquid Cooling Last?
While these things also make it a great card for overclocking, we should note that its max power limit is only 530W, 70W lower than many 4090s currently on the market. However, if you’re willing to flash your GPU’s BIOS, you can get a 600W limit, plus the consensus seems to be that there’s little performance to gain between a 500W and 600W power limit unless you’re into some serious overclocking.
If you’re not looking to manually overclock, the Suprim Liquid X 4090 offers brilliant performance out of the box, with a boost clock of up to 2.64GHz just like the ASUS ROG Strix 4090.
Alongside its air-cooled Suprim sibling, it’s a very elegant looking RTX 4090 with its brushed metal shroud and subtle white lighting. And, thanks to its off-PCB radiator cooling, the card only takes up two motherboard and case slots, freeing up extra space in your build.
For this cool-looking and cool-running RTX 4090, there’s an MSRP of $1,749. But currently, actual market prices have this Suprim X Liquid card retailing at about $2,300. It’s one of the more expensive 4090 cards, but that’s to be expected considering it has the best VRM, some of the lowest temperatures, and one of the most stylish designs.
5. MSI GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming X Trio
Cheapest (lol) non-Founders RTX 4090
If you want the cheapest RTX 4090 but can’t find the FE or TUF Gaming OC cards in stock for close to MSRP, the cheapest option right now is probably MSI’s 4090 Gaming X Trio. This card has an MSRP of $1,650 but can be found for about $2,100 at the time of writing.
Also Read: The 7 Best Budget Graphics Cards Right Now
With a boost clock of up to 2.61GHz—about 90MHz faster than a reference 4090—this graphics card should offer great out of the box performance.
While it lacks a great VRM with only 900A of max current (18x 50A phases) and has a relatively low max power limit of 480W, these things are only really beneficial for those looking to squeeze extra raw performance out of their GPU. And while its thermal performance isn’t anything to write home about, its triple-fan setup is more than enough to keep it cool while gaming.
For those who want great plug-and-play performance from a GPU that’s housed in a classy chassis, the MSI GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming X Trio is a venerable option considering its current price. Its default boost clock is very competitive, and its tri-streak, yellow and pink RGB lighting should spice up any gaming PC. Apart from the MSI GeForce RTX 4090 Suprim X, the MSI Gaming X Trio is possibly the best-looking RTX 4090 out there.
Its price-performance offering pales compared to the 4090 FE, but in the current market it’s a superb choice for those who don’t want to tinker with their clock speeds too heavily.