NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090: Initial reviews show that native 8K gaming is a step too far for the US$1,499 card in many triple-A games
The NDA surrounding RTX 3090 reviews has been lifted, if you have not read our Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 Trinity review already. NVIDIA pitches the RTX 3090 as an 8K gaming card, so it is being reviewed as such. However, the advent of 8K DLSS 2.1 muddies the waters of the RTX 3090's 8K capabilities somewhat.
As Linus Tech Tips demonstrates in its review, 8K DLSS 2.1 adds more detail than running a game at native 4K - but it cannot reach the levels that native 8K offers. The differences between 8K DLSS 2.1 and native 8K would be irrelevant in the context of the RTX 3090 if it could run games well in either resolution. GamersNexus and even Linus Tech Tips have shown that the opposite is true, though.
As we discussed in our review, the RTX 3090 can maintain playable framerates at 8K in games like Doom Eternal and Forza Horizon 4. It is an entirely different story in other popular triple-A titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Red Dead Redemption 2, where the Founders Edition cannot average even 35 FPS. Linus Tech Tips reported an average framerate of 28 FPS in Wolfenstein: Youngblood too, but this jumps to 70 FPS at 8K DLSS 2.1 Ultra Performance.
Frametimes are equally poor at native 8K in games like Shadow of the Tomb Raider. As the graph produced by GamersNexus below demonstrates, frametimes at 8K on high graphics vary from a low of 4/5 ms to almost 90 ms - a plot that GamersNexus describes as 'one of the worst...that we have ever set our eyes upon'.
Undoubtedly, the RTX 3090 is an excellent card for professional applications and 4K gaming. As we have shown in our review, the RTX 3090 consistently outperforms the TITAN RTX and the RTX 2080 Ti by a wide margin. However, it is not powerful enough to play many triple-A titles natively at 8K, despite NVIDIA's claims to the contrary.