Gigabyte RTX 3090 Gaming OC 24G Review
As with any launch, the primary details are in the GPU itself, and so the first half of this conclusion is the same for both of the AIB RTX 3090 graphics cards that we are reviewing today. If you want to know specifics of this particular card, skip down the page.
Last week we saw the release of the RTX 3080. A card that combined next-gen performance with a remarkably attractive price point, and was one of the easiest products to recommend we've ever seen. 4K gaming for around the £700 mark might be expensive if you're just used to consoles, but if you're a diehard member of the "PC Gaming Master Race", then you know how much you had to spend to achieve the magical 4K60 mark. It's an absolute no brainer purchase.
The RTX 3090 though, that comes with more asterisks and caveats than a Lance Armstrong win on the Tour de France. Make no mistake; the RTX 3090 is brutally fast. If performance is your thing, or performance without consideration of cost, or you want to flex on forums across the internet, then yeah, go for it. For everyone else, and that's most of us, there is a lot it does well, but it's a seriously niche product.
We can go to Nvidia themselves for their key phraseology. With a tiny bit of paraphrasing, they say "The RTX 3090 is for 8K gaming, or heavy workload content creators. For 4K Gaming the RTX 3080 is, with current and immediate future titles, more than enough". If you want the best gaming experience, then as we saw last week, the clear choice is the RTX 3080. If you've been following the results today then clearly the RTX 3090 isn't enough of a leap forwards to justify being twice the price of the RTX 3080. It's often around 5% faster, sometimes 10%, sometimes not much faster at all. Turns out that Gears 5 in particular looked unhappy but it was an 'auto' setting on animation increasing its own settings so we will go back with it fixed to ultra and retest (this has now been done). The RTX 3090 is still though, whisper it, a bit of a comedown after the heights of our first Ampere experience.
To justify the staggering cost of the RTX 3090 you need to fit into one of the following groups; Someone who games at 8K, either natively or via Nvidia's DSR technology. Someone who renders enormous amounts of 3D work. We're not just talking a 3D texture or model for a game; we're talking animated short films. Although even here the reality is that you need a professional solution far beyond the price or scope of the RTX 3090. Lastly, it would be best if you were someone who renders massive, RAW, 8K video footage regularly and has the memory and storage capacity to feed such a voracious data throughput. If you fall into one of those categories, then you'll already have the hardware necessary - 8K screen or 8K video camera - that the cost of the RTX 3090 is small potatoes. In which case you'll love the extra freedom and performance it can bring to your workload, smoothing out the waiting that is such a time-consuming element of the creative process. This logic holds true for both the Gigabyte and MSI cards we're looking at on launch.
But what about the Gigabyte?
Okay. We've established that you need to be part of a select group to be interested in what Nvidia's RTX 3090 brings to the party. If you are, how does the Gigabyte RTX 3090 Gaming OC 24G fare? We think, very well. Like its RTX 3080 sibling, it's the most affordable of Gigabyte's RTX 3090 options, with affordable being a relative term. In these early days when the drivers and software haven't yet matured, many games just fall over rather than handle a hefty overclock from a 24GB card. We can only review what we've got in front of us, but in due course, you'll be able to reap the rewards that the maturing process will have. What can be controlled is the cost, already good as we've said. The Windforce cooler is similarly excellent, being a match in both performance and noise for the results we saw with it applied to the RTX 3080. The use of 8+8 PCIe power might make it a better fit for your particular setup too. Lastly, with that tiny, tiny, performance gap to the MSI, it's significantly lower power draw will bring long term benefits to both your utility bill and the planet.
So we have said that you don't -need- one and its more that we know you want one. It's a little like the difference between a Ford Fiesta and a Lamborghini. The problem also lies there though, as there is an obvious visible difference between the Ford and the Lambo, whereas the Gigabyte OC RTX 3090 looks almost identical to the 3080 version. There's literally nothing special about it, and we think that there really needs to be something extra special about a card like this. We understand its build to a price point, but we do believe they could have made it feel a little more special. We thought the exact same thing about the MSI version too, just lacked pizzazz.
The Gigabyte RTX 3090 Gaming OC 24G blends the excellence of Gigabyte's Windforce cooler, with their aggressive pricing strategy, to bring the RTX 3090 to your desktop in the most affordable, cool, quiet, low power format you could hope for. You don't need one, but we know you want one.