Nvidia RTX 4080 Super vs 4090 – just how close are they?

Which do you need? We take a look

A Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4080 Super graphics card with its box and accessories displayed on a desk with colorful LED lighting in the background.

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The Nvidia RTX 4080 Super is one of the newer Team Green cards on the block, launched at CES 2024 as the successor to the standard Nvidia RTX 4080. With a fresh upgrade of additional CUDA cores and GDDR6X memory, the 4080 Super might even seem to grab the title of the ultimate new GeForce model. However, how does it compete with the next model up, the beastly RTX 4090? Let’s investigate the RTX 4080 vs RTX 4090.

We’ve had plenty of experience with the RTX 4080 Super as part of our Nvidia RTX 4080 Super review. And of course, we’ve given the RTX 4090 plenty of love in our review of that too. Anyway, let’s start with specs.

Quick answer

While the RTX 4080 Super does impress with faster memory and more CUDA cores than the original 4080, but when you start diving into the details, the RTX 4090 emerges as far superior in terms of overall specs and raw power. However, this does mean that there’s also a notable price difference between the two, meaning you have to carefully consider the high-end features of the 4090 against the affordability of the RTX 4080 Super.

RTX 4080 Super vs. RTX 4090 spec comparison

A good measure of comparison for these devices is the specs. Offering a direct comparison between each category, we really get to see where the differences lie between the 4080 Super and the 4090. To begin both models feature similar architecture with Ada Lovelace, as well as 3rd Gen RT cores, 4th Gen Tensor cores, and DLSS 3. The similarities in both the RTX 4080 Super and RTX 4090 can seen quite clearly here in their more general manufacturing. However, as we move further through the specs, the gap between the two begins to grow rather significantly.

SpecsRTX 4080 SuperRTX 4090
Shader CoresAda Lovelace
Ada Lovelace
RT Cores3rd Gen
3rd Gen
Tensor Cores4th Gen
4th Gen
NV EncodersAV1AV1
Frame Buffer16GB GDDR6X24GB GDDR6X
Average Gaming Power246W315W
Base Clock2295MHz2235MHz
Boost Clock2550MHz2520MHz
Video Playback Power22W25W
Idle Power15W19W
Table spec comparison between the RTX 4080 Super and the RTX 4090.

The RT 4090 boasts a more powerful Average Gaming Power of 315W and a Video Playback Power of 25W. Both of these contribute to a towering TGP of 450W. Along with the Frame Buffer, this is unfortunately where the RT 4080 Super struggles with its comparison to the 4090. In fact, the 4080 Super offers the least increase from its predecessor, with a few additional CUDA cores and small clock speed increases but the same amount of memory and the same 256-bit memory interface. As we begin to delve into performance comparison, the 4080 Super begins to feel more of a step down from the 4090 and further in line with the Radeon RX7900 XTX.

4080 Super vs 4090 performance comparison

Of course, specs just tell part of the story. Does the difference actually make that much of a difference? In our 4080 Super review we were impressed with the performance, especially for the price. This is perhaps the biggest plus point when pitting these two heavy-weight cards against each other. Like its motto, the 4080 Super does have more cores and faster memory than almost every previous GPU released by Nvidia. In the testing conducted by WePC’s Sebastian Kozlowski, the new GPU was seen making short work of Cyberpunk 2077 without DLSS AI upscaling enabled, averaging 125fps in 1440p and 51fps in 4K natively. This can also be said of both Assassin’s Creed Mirage and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, as the two games reached 139fps and 119fps in 1440p and leading figures of 95fps apiece in 4K respectively.

In addition to gaming and streaming, our benchmarking revealed the GeForce RTX 40 SUPER Series GPUs are a great addition for creative individuals, with 3D apps such as Blender running quicker than previous GPUs released. This allows you to complete tasks much faster and produce better results as a result. In new Generative AI apps, the 40 Super Series graphics cards are significantly faster than the RTX 3080 Ti. Furthermore, for gamers seeking maximum performance at the highest resolutions, the GeForce RTX 4080 SUPER is second only to one other Nvidia GPU, that is of course the GeForce RTX 4090. For PC gamers looking to run games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Alan Wake 2 and other graphically intensive games at high FPS at Ultra settings, the 4080 Super is a sensible choice – providing you have a CPU that does not bottleneck the card.

The GeForce RTX 4090 is even described by Nvidia as the “ultimate GeForce GPU”. Its staggering performance abilities, efficiency, and graphics capability are almost too good to provide a balanced equation for consumers. As expected, our benchmarks for this card came up as far superior to the 4080 Super; Cyberpunk 2077 was breezed through at 135 FPS in 1440p and 74 FPS in 4k, and the rest of the stats were similarly impressive.

It’s an unprecedented achievement that, as of right now, can’t really be topped. However, when investigating the cost, many potential users might recoil at the current price for such a GPU, which makes the RTX 4080 Super a more attractive all-rounder.

Price comparison

Many were surprised when it was announced that the RTX 4080 Super would only be $999 upon its official release at the end of January. In line with Nvidia’s mission to be competitive in the market, the price is modest and reasonable for most users who would be interested in acquiring it. In comparison, the RTX 4090 can be found online at most retailers for an average price of $1599. This is a huge difference and cannot be understated how this price difference can affect users’ perceptions. Although the RTX 4090 boasts considerably better features and specs, are those worth the additional $600? The decision lands on the consumer and will be one of, if not, the most important aspect of choosing between these GPUs.

So, since either of these cards has come out, have either of them started becoming more affordable? We’ve created some graphs on the reputable price tracking site (Camelcamelcamel) to get a sense of what these cards have currently been going for on Amazon.

Price tracking graph showing a stable price trend for the RTX 4090 product on Amazon at $1,099.99 over a selected time period.
(Image source: Camelcamelcamel)

As you can see from the graph above that uses the ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 4080 Super AMP Extreme as an example, since launching on Amazon this GPU has not had any changes to its original price yet. This might not be the most affordable RTX 4080 Super variant, but it does exemplify that most, if not all, RTX 4080 Super models will still be priced around their MSRP as the card only came out in January – and it’s making quite a good reputation for itself.

Price tracking graph indicating a significant drop in the current price of an Nvidia RTX 4080 Super to $849.99, with the previous highest recorded price at $2,499.99.
(Image source: Camelcamelcamel)

On the other hand, the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 4090 WINDFORCE V2 that we used in our review has only recently started seeing some discounts, and in March 2024 dropped from $2,499 to $1,849. Obviously, this is still at the top end of most buyers budgets, but it’s hoped that over time we’ll start seeing a gradual further decrease in the price of the RTX 4090. However, it might still be a while before the GPU comes below the $1,500 threshold, so if you’re limited in your budget, then the RTX 4080 Super is the clearest choice.

Will there be an RTX 4090 Super?

Unlike the 4080 Super, the 4090 Super was not expected to be announced at CES 2024. Many of the initial leaks did not mention the 4090 Super, unlike the three graphics cards which had been all but confirmed by the time the presentation began on January 8. Still, should the RTX 4090 Super show up, which we think is unlikely given the near-certain arrival of the Nvidia 50 Series, we will of course keep you updated. In our opinion, such a card does not make sense – especially towards the expected tail-end of the 40 Series’ lifespan.

Final thoughts

The RTX 4080 Super is an impressive new launch for Nvidia, and as we stated in our review, should have been the 4080 card Nvidia launched with. On paper, though, the RTX 4090 trump all of Nvidia’s new models, including the 4080 Super. With that being said, the RTX 4090 costs considerably more than its competitor so anyone not wanting to spend that money may just find ample performance from the 4080 Super. Remember to check out our detailed best graphics cards buying guide to see if any others catch your eye.