GeForce RTX 3090 Founder review

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Introduction

GeForce RTX 3090 FE (Founder edition) review

It's a busy timeframe for media, board partners, and obviously NVIDIA as well. Though in the midst of releasing many versions of Ampere based GeForce 30 series graphics cards, meanwhile, they are in the process of buying this little firm called ARM as well. But, hey now, let's stick to what we have on deck, here we review and benchmark the new premium flagship graphics card. All hail the might and awe that is the GeForce RTX 3090. Armed with a Shader core count that will make at least one of your eyebrows frown with a nearly nauseating 24 GB of blazingly fast GDDR6X graphics memory. The GeForce RTX 3080 already is a smoking hot product but, of course, NVIDIA is NVIDIA and decided to go stretch their legs a little more. One thing that needs to be stated though, the product as shown today is really all about Ultra HD and higher resolutions. It is an RTX Titan replacement or successor I should say. I write all this prior to testing the product, but already understand that it will be hard to show where this product is going to make real sense. The good news is, for me at least, a product doesn't have to really make sense in order to be appreciable. I mean, you like Ferrari as well eh? Albeit that probably is not the best example right now. Well, Tesla maybe... a model S is out of range for many, but man they drive nice, accelerate fast and you get that feeling you're driving something from Star Trek. That said, in that realm, we feel the RTX 3090 will position itself, a niche. 

It was 2017 when the name Ampere as a GPU architecture surfaced on the web and, up-to earlier this year, NVIDIA had not listed this name in any of its roadmaps on the consumer side. It was with military-level secrecy that the Ampere consumer part was developed. Ampere, of course, is the base unit of electric current in the international system of units. But the GPU is named after André-Marie Ampère, a French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics. NVIDIA has a track record of naming their GPU architectures after mathematicians and physicists or figures from closely related fields, to name a few; Pascal, Fermi, Kepler, Maxwell, and, more recently, Turing. While it was no secret that the new GPUs would be based on Ampere, we've seen much discussion about fabrication nodes, architecture, and specifications. Still, everybody seems to have forgotten that Ampere already launched earlier this year for the HPC market. The very first product based on Ampere was the NVIDIA Tesla A100, outfitted with a GA100 Ampere GPU based on 7nm fabricated at TSMC; that product holds 54 billion transistors and has 6912 Shader cores. 


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On September 1st of the year, 2020 NVIDIA announced three initial Ampere graphics cards in its first launch wave. A week before announcements, specifications of the GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 took a twist; the Shader core count mysteriously doubled up from what everybody expected. The GPUs are fabricated on an 8nm node derived from Samsung. This process is a further development of Samsung's 10nm process, no EUV is applied in production just yet. The first wave of announcements would see the GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 being released first and, as a bit of a surprise, the GeForce RTX 3070 would be arriving in roughly the same timeframe as well. The initial launch of Ampere for consumers entails the GeForce RTX 3070 8GB GDDR6, RTX 3080 10GB GDDR6X, and what we test today, the 24GB GDDR6X based premium flagship, the mighty mo, the GeForce RTX 3090. The lineup nearly doubles ray-tracing performance with Gen2 ray-tracing cores and 3rd iteration Tensor cores. These cards will all be PCIe 4.0 interface compatible and offer HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4a, but most importantly is that exorbitant Shader processor count (referred to as CUDA cores by NVIDIA), passing the 10K marker, nobody... not even us, saw that one coming.

The NVIDIA GA102 GPU is used initially for two products, the GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 graphics cards. And it is one big GPU die and product overall alright, the 3090's GA102-300-A1 GPU is armed with 10,496 Shader processors and 28 billion transistors. And no, that's not even the fully unlocked product. FYI: the GeForce RTX 3080 is listed as having 8,704 Shader cores and the GeForce RTX 3070 (GA104) will bring 5,888 Shader cores to the table. In this review, we'll check out the mother of them all, the Founders edition GeForce RTX 3090, paired with 24GB of GDDR6X graphics memory... 24GB and 10K+ Shader cores... holeeeey mozez. 


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To make a subtle Pulp Fiction reference, ...  now that is a Royale with Cheese ...

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