According to new tests, the power consumption of Nvidia’s RTX 4090 can be tamed significantly while still delivering most of the performance you’ll get at stock levels.
quasar zone (opens in new tab) tests performed (as highlighted by Hardware Times (opens in new tab)) to determine the frame rates the RTX 4090 managed in a selection of five games at 4K resolution (maximum detail) at the out-of-the-box settings – and 347W power consumption – before comparing that to what the graphics map reached where the power limit is manually adjusted downwards in steps.
Limiting the power consumption to 326W (an 80% power limit) kept the frame rate at 99.1% compared to the default setting, and dropping it further to 305W (70%) resulted in 97.8% of the the performance level. Honestly, most people won’t notice what is only a 2% difference.
So the takeaway here is that if you have an RTX 4090, it’s really easy to adjust the power limit and get it down to the 300W level without really making any noticeable difference to your overall fps (frames per second).
Even at the 60% power limit level, which draws 268W, frame rates were 93.9%, which is still not far off the pace.
Keeping in mind this is true at 4K for the games tested, and if you’re wondering what they were, Quasarzone used the following titles: Cyberpunk 2077, Forza Horizon 5, Lost Ark, PUBG, and Spider-Man Remastered.
Analysis: Would someone please think about the adapters…
Those who own an RTX 4090 – and there are quite a few eager buyers who have taken the plunge with this high-end GPU – will no doubt read this with interest, especially given all the controversy surrounding Nvidia’s Lovelace flagship and the cases of melting power adapters.
If you’re feeling a little paranoid because of this whole episode – and admittedly it only affects a very small number of GPUs according to Nvidia’s stats, though actually too many – power throttling can be a useful workaround to keep in mind. Reducing that power consumption slightly can help you avoid the risk of an adapter going bad.
Not only that, but if it means using less power for much the same performance – it won’t make a noticeable difference to your gaming experience to drop 2% fps realistically – why not if you like too keep an eye on your energy bill. After all, there’s a cost-of-living crisis in full swing, with skyrocketing utility bills for some people, so why not keep the power-guzzling of the Lovelace flagship to an acceptable minimum? While no doubt also helping to ensure that your gaming PC is easier to cool.
An interesting point that all this brings up is that the RTX 4090’s TGP, which is set at 450W, certainly leaves a huge amount of headroom when you consider that the RTX 4090 can, in fact, run at 300W – two-thirds of that amount – while still delivering excellent levels of performance. Although comparing an overclocked RTX 4090, rather than one with default settings, to a powerful GPU with limited power will of course be a different matter.
Still, looking at these tests makes you wonder if it would have been wise if Nvidia had relaxed the default settings a bit more.
Quasarzone is also looking at throttling the RTX 4090, which could produce even better results than power throttling, but it’s a much trickier beast to deal with, while adjusting the power limit is a very simple task. So for most people the convenience of being able to do this quickly and easily far outweighs the added benefits of undervolting – and the difference isn’t huge either, it should be noted, with power throttling still producing great results.