The RTX 3090 is the pinnacle of the Ampere gaming lineup. Replacing the Titan series, the RTX 3090 combines 24GB of GDDR6X memory with other key improvements over the RTX 3080 in a package that is the fastest gaming GPU at the moment. While the card holds the gaming performance throne and while technically, it is the best choice for 4K gaming, the RTX 3080 is just 10 percent slower on average while selling for less than half the price. This makes the 3090 more of a trophy catch than a product that offers enough of a performance increase to justify its price.
On the other hand, those sweet 24 gigabytes of super-fast memory work great when combined with rendering and video editing apps. You can cut a huge amount of time needed for rendering and encoding, giving you more time for gaming. But, not all professionals will see the performance benefit. If you’re using CAD applications, Quadro or Titan RTX are still better solutions. Anyway, considering the price we have a surprisingly high number of custom RTX 3090 models. We’ve combed through the list and found the best RTX 3090 cards for various usage scenarios.
You’ll probably notice that we don’t have the best RTX 3090 pick for SFF builds. The thing is, the 3090 is a massive card and most models are huge. You can probably fit the card in a larger ITX-case without issues. But if you have a more compact case you’ll probably have trouble fitting one since most cards use thick, three-slot fans. There is one RTX 3090 model that has both a dual-slot cooler and an SSF-friendly length. The thing is, the Gigabyte RTX 3090 Turbo we’re talking about has a blower-type cooler. We don’t see this card working great in a compact SFF case since both thermals and noise would probably be pretty high.
Best RTX 3090 – Our Picks
|Best Base RTX 3090 Card||ASUS RTX 3090 TUF Gaming|
|Best RTX 3090 For Overclocking||ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3090 OC|
|Best RTX 3080 With Air Cooling||ASUS RTX 3090 TUF Gaming OC|
|Best Water-Cooled RTX 3090||EVGA RTX 3090 Hybrid XC3|
|EVGA RTX 3090 Hybrid FTW3|
|Best White RTX 3090 Card||KFA2/Galax GeForce RTX 3090 EX Gamer White|
|Best RGB RTX 3090 Card||Palit RTX 3090 GameRock|
|Best RTX 3090 Overall||ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3090 OC|
Best Base RTX 3090 Model
The ASUS RTX 3090 TUF Gaming is the best base RTX 3090 card, the accolade already given to its RTX 3080 counterpart. The reasons are pretty much the same. Great build quality, large metal cooler shroud and backplate, unrivaled thermal performance, as well as five video ports two of which are HDMI 2.1. While the competition is just behind ASUS when it comes to RTX 3080 cards, the situation is a bit different on the RTX 3090 market.
The Gigabyte Eagle OC, Zotac Trinity, MSI Gaming Trio, and the Palit GamingPro all have noticeably worse thermal performance. Also, some of the cards have solid at most build quality. While any base RTX 3090 model will net you about the same performance and OC potential (which is close to none), the TUF gaming is noticeably ahead of the competition when it comes to the build quality, thermals, and performance.
Best RTX 3090 For Overclocking
The RTX 3090 ROG Strix OC from ASUS is the the best RTX 3090 graphics card for overclocking. The reasons are the excellent cooling system, biggest out-of-the-box factory overclock you can find on an RTX 3080 card, superb build quality, high power limit, and solid manual OC potential that can net you about three percent higher gaming performance.
This is the maximum for the air cooler found on the ROG Strix card. If you’re ready to install a custom water block or a custom GPU cooler you can probably squeeze a couple of extra frames just don’t forget this: Ampere cards have lousy overclock potential because Nvidia is already pushing the chip to the max with very high boost clocks achieved even on base models.
As for the alternative to the ROG Strix well, EVGA will release its Water and Hybrid XC3 and FTW3 3090 models so you can pick one of those. The FTW3 version should come with a higher power limit so if you’re into extreme overclocking get the FTW 3090 Hybrid or Water models from EVGA.
RTX 3090 With The Best Air Cooler
Okay, while the RTX 3090 TUF Gaming OC technically has the best cooler on the market, you can get the RTX 3080 ROG Strix if you have more cash. While it has higher thermals than the TUF OC it also comes with a much higher factory OC. If we take this fact into account, we can conclude that both models have awesome coolers even though thermals are slightly better on the TUF Gaming OC card.
Other RTX 3090 models can’t keep the chip below 70 degrees Celsius but that shouldn’t be the reason for skipping those. The working temperature of about 75-76 degrees Celsius is still a great result when you have to cool such as a powerful chip.
Best Water-Cooled RTX 3090
First of all, you need the space for the radiator, no matter how small it will be (probably 120mm version). Next, the price will be considerably higher than for any air cooler RTX 3090 model, including the top cards such as the RTX 3090 ROG Strix.
Best White RTX 3090
When it comes to the white RTX 3090 cards, we only have one model at the moment. While the Galax GeForce RTX 3090 EX Gamer White is an excellent pairing with a white motherboard and while it looks pretty good, it’s still a far cry from the designer’s dream that is the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Vision OC.
The EX Gamer White combines a white cooler shroud with a white backplate and the result is pretty good. The PCB itself and the heatsink are black but overall, the result is quite attractive. You also get a lot of RGB LEDs placed all over the three fans. If you want an alternative, you’ll have to wait. We would love to see an RTX 3090 version of the Gigabyte Vision but, at the moment, there isn’t any news we will get one.
Best RGB RTX 3090
Zotac should release its RTX 3090 AMP Extreme Holo at some point we still don’t have the confirmation regarding its design. If the RTX 3090 version of this model follows the same design as the RTX 3080 version, we can recommend that one for fans of RGB. The RTX 3080 AMP Extreme Holo looks amazing and has the best implementation of RGB we’ve seen on any card to date.
But, at the moment, the best RGB card for which we know what it looks like is the Palit RTX 3090 GameRock. The card features a transparent cooler shroud with lots of RGB LEDs installed under it. The result is one of the best RGB implementations we’ve seen. It has great colors that are very bright. Combined with a card riser the GameRock could create a serious light show.
If you want RGB and industrial design with excellent build quality and a metal fan shroud, check out the ASUS RTX 3090 ROG Strix. It looks much better than the GameRock while still offering pretty solid RGB implementation. It isn’t as bright as on the GameRock 3090 but it should provide plenty of pretty colors in the dark. Finally, for a bright and colorful RGB without slick design get the EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3. It isn’t the prettiest card on the market but its RGB LED array is huge, bright, and very colorful.
Best RTX 3090 Overall
All things considered, the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3090 OC is the best RTX 3090 card on the market. It has the best performance, the highest factory overclock, and excellent thermals considering its boost clock and performance. Next, the card also looks stunning with marvelous industrial design and subtle but impressive RGB implementation. Finally, the build quality of this card is superb. If you want a durable RTX 3090 card with high boost clocks and attractive design the ROG Strix is by far the best choice.