PNY RTX 4090 XLR8 RGB Review: Stock Options

Basically a PNY reference design

PNY RTX 4090 Verto RGB
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

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The RTX 4090 ranks as the fastest GPU currently available in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, so we'll start with the 4K performance results.

Overall, the PNY card matches the Founders Edition, but with slightly different drivers we'd need to retest the FE to fully verify the results. Looking at the individual charts, PNY's card is about 2% slower in A Plague Tale: Requiem and Red Dead Redemption 2, while in Forza Horizon 5 it's 13% faster. Minimum FPS was also massively improved in Total War: Warhammer 3, which is interesting.

We suspect the latest 528.02 drivers corrected things in Forza and Warhammer, meaning in general performance probably ends up fractionally slower than the Founders Edition — not something you'd notice in normal use.

Overclocking is the usual story of modest gains, across the test suite. Overall performance was 4.7% higher, while in the individual games it was anywhere from 2.3% (Flight Simulator) to 7.8% (Warhammer 3) faster. Basically, the OC gains track with whether a game tends to be CPU limited, GPU limited, or GPU bandwidth limited, with Warhammer being an example of the latter.

Considering these gains come without increasing the power limit, at least overclocking in this fashion is a reasonable approach. We do appear to have "better" GDDR6X chips on this board, however, as we've noticed with half of the 4090 cards that they'll do over +1,500 MHz while the others will only do around +1,000 MHz, so these OC gains may not apply to every PNY board.

The ray tracing results are more in line with what we'd expect from the PNY card. PNY seems to have taken a somewhat more cautious approach with the VBIOS on this card, so it tries its best to avoid power spikes, even if that costs a bit of performance.

Overall, the PNY card is 2.9% slower than the Founders Edition, with individual results ranging from 0.3% slower (tied, in Spider-Man) to as much as 5% slower (Cyberpunk 2077 and Metro Exodus). Those last two dovetail nicely with the conjecture that power limits are keeping performance in check, as those are typically two of the most power hungry games we test.

Overclocking shows larger gains this time, to the tune of 8.2% overall, with a range of +2% (Spider-Man) to as much as 11% (Control and Metro).

Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • colossusrage
    It would be great if you guys could include the RTX 3080 and RX 6800XT when comparing these top tier cards.
  • Avro Arrow
    colossusrage said:
    It would be great if you guys could include the RTX 3080 and RX 6800XT when comparing these top tier cards.
    I agree. Those are easily the top two high-end cards when it comes to popularity.