RTX 4070 Super vs RTX 3090 – has the 40-series caught up?

Who rises to the top when we compare the new 4070 Super to the former 3090 flagship?

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With the launch of the RTX 4070 Super, Nvidia continues to make its Ada lineup of GPUs even better value for money; but does this Super refresh go as far as overtaking the previous flagship, the RTX 3090? Well, in this article we’re comparing the RTX 4070 Super vs the RTX 3090. The two cards might be operating in slightly different price brackets, but with the newer architecture and DLSS 3 technology, mid-range 40 Series graphics cards are seriously worth considering over a high-end but last-gen model such as the 3090.

Following its release in January, we’ve now had hands-on experience with the card in our RTX 4070 review, and have of course reviewed the RTX 3090 too. So, we’re able to pull on our performance benchmarks in addition to a few other key indicators such as specs and pricing, helping you evaluate if you should go for the former flagship or the newer Ada alternative.

Quick Answer

In this comparison, in terms of overall value and longevity, the 4070 Super is probably the one to consider. It has a lot of advantages going for it, including being 3 years newer, more power efficient (220W instead of 350-400W), and the big one being that it benefits from the Ada architecture and DLSS 3 frame generation. If you want to run large AI models then the 3090 might be a better option since it has 2x the VRAM, but for gaming 12GB is more than enough for running modern titles at 1440p/4k, and you won’t have to spend over $1000.

RTX 4070 Super vs 3090 specs comparison

SpecsRTX 4070 SuperRTX 3090
CUDA Cores716810496
Memory size12 GB GDDR6X24 GB GDDR6X
Bus Width192 bit348 bit
RT Cores5682
Bandwidth504.2 GB/s936.2 GB/s
Base Clock1980 MHz1395 MHz
Boost Clock2475 MHz1695 MHz
TDP220 W350 W
Specs table for the RTX 4070 Super and RTX 3090

Kicking off with the RTX 3090, its specs make it clear why this was once Nvidia’s flagship graphics card, as it impresses across the board. The 3090 uses the GA102 GPU paired with 24GB GDDR6X VRAM, 10,496 CUDA cores, and a 384-bit memory bus width. Its base clock speed of 1395 MHz and boost clock of up to 1695 MHz means it’s no longer the fastest card on the market, but its bandwidth is still an impressive 936.2 GB/s meaning 19.5 Gbps effective: few graphics cards are as fast as this. For reference, in terms of a specs comparison to a card over from Team Red, you’re looking at either the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT or the 7900 XT.

On the other hand, the specs of the 4070 Super are reflective of its mid-range status, but this doesn’t mean it disappoints. Much like with the original, the RTX 4070 Super is built upon the AD104 die and features 12GB GDDR6X VRAM. However, this new release features 20% more cores with a hearty 7,168 CUDA cores compared to the non-Super’s 5,888. There’s also a bump up to 224 texturing units and 80 ROPs, and impressive boost clock capabilities of 1980 MHz to 2475 MHz. For more about how it compares to its predecessor, check out RTX 4070 Super vs RTX 4070

The RTX 4070 Super, with its Ada Lovelace architecture, although having fewer CUDA cores, demonstrates remarkable efficiency. This efficiency is a testament to the advancements Nvidia has made in GPU architecture, allowing the 4070 Super to punch well above its weight. However, the RTX 3090 still holds the upper hand in terms of memory size, a massive 24 GB of GDDR6X, and bandwidth, outdoing the 4070 Super’s 12 GB of GDDR6X memory and 192-bit bus width. While this difference is significant, it’s worth noting that more RAM won’t necessarily make games run faster. It will help with handling higher resolutions, but unless you have a use case for more RAM, it’s not really a factor, and 12GB should be more than enough.

The RTX 4070 Super shines in its power efficiency and clock speed, with a TDP of just 220 W compared to the 3090’s 350 W, and is designed to deliver excellent performance without the same level of power consumption. Naturally, as a far more power-hungry card the 3090 will also require a significantly more sufficient power supply of a 750W PSU.

While the RTX 3090 still surpasses the RTX 4070 Super in raw specs, the advancements in the Ada Lovelace architecture mean the 4070 Super remains an incredibly efficient and capable GPU. It represents Nvidia’s strides in closing the performance gap a little, especially considering the significant difference in power consumption and the improvement in clock speeds.

RTX 4070 Super vs RTX 3090 performance comparison

Originally, the RTX 3090 was quoted to outperform the RTX 4070 in gaming performance and productivity tasks, but not by an overwhelming margin, and our review benchmarks saw this disputed as the 4070 came up with better frame rates at most resolutions. Public benchmarks indicated that the 3090 would be ahead by approximately 12% in gaming scenarios, but we found this to be the reverse. For example, in Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the RTX 3090 reached an average of 97 FPS at 1440p, and 70 FPS in 4K. These are more than playable, but the 4070 Super outperformed with a 119 FPS average at 1440p and 74 FPS at 4K.

This pattern was repeated in our test results for Avatar Frontiers of Pandora, with the 4070 Super beating the benchmarks of the 3090 in 1080p and 1440p, as highlighted in the table below, and bang-on matching its 60 FPS 4K average. Of course, a countable number of frame rate differences won’t make a massive impact on gaming performance, but it’s worth noting that the 4070 Super can also leverage DLSS 3 and advanced ray tracing technologies that will improve the feel and quality of gameplay, especially in AAA titles. It also has a significant advantage in terms of power and thermal efficiency.

GameRTX 4070 Super average FPS (1080p / 1440p / 4K)RTX 3090 average FPS (1080p / 1440p / 4K)
Assassin’s Creed Mirage150 / 119 / 74122 / 97 / 70
Avatar Frontiers of Pandora117 / 80 / 60105 / 75 / 60
Doom Eternal397 / 288 / 174356 / 265 / 168
RTX 4070 Super vs RTX 3090 benchmarks – conducted by PCGuide.com

RTX 4070 Super vs RTX 3090 price comparison

When it comes to price comparison, the 4070 Super has an MSR of $599, while the RTX 3090 was launched at $1,499 – a price that seems to have held since its initial release. By and large though, you can find this video card for around $1,200 to $1,400 from retailers such as Amazon or Newegg. Therefore, for around $800 less, the 4070 Super presents an appealing balance for consumers. It is both affordable and presents a reliable spec resume for users to feel confident in, future-proofing PC builds with the latest architecture from Nvidia. On the other hand, while the 3090 will still see you a solid four years of use, driver support will become an issue for the 30 series much sooner down the line than the newer 40 series, and you might have to invest more in various component upgrades.

What’s more, our testing found the 4070 Super outperforming the 3090 in many gaming scenarios, and has enough RAM, cores, and the like to make the investment worth your while. However, if you’re after a slightly more powerful option than the 4070 Super but can’t stretch to the new 4090 flagship, you could instead consider looking at the RTX 4080 Ti.

Is the RTX 4070 Super better than the 3090?

The RTX 4070 Super has made significant strides in closing the performance gap with the RTX 3090, particularly considering its price-to-performance ratio. For most users, including gamers and general enthusiasts, the 4070 Super stands out as the recommended choice, and probably the better card in terms of power offered in relation to power efficiency. It has an excellent balance of power, efficiency, and cost, making it a versatile GPU for a wide range of activities. While the RTX 3090 may still have the upper hand in certain high-end professional tasks, the advantages of the 3090 do not, unfortunately, justify its higher price point.