Nvidia’s DLSS 3 could cut the RTX 4090’s insane power demand


Nvidia’s upcoming flagship, the RTX 4090, was tested cyberpunk 2077, It worked great, but with DLSS 3 enabled the results were far better.

The card surprised us in two ways. One, the max clock was higher than expected, and two, the DLSS 3 actually managed to reduce the card’s power draw by a considerable amount.

Top of the Nvidia RTX 4080 cooler.

The card was tested at 1440p on a system with an Intel Core i9-12900K CPU, running the highest possible settings. cyberpunk 2077 Providing meaning with Ultra Ray Tracing enabled and Psycho (Max) settings. First, let’s take a look at how the GPU was doing without DLSS 3 enabled.

At native resolution, the game ran at an average of 59 frames per second (fps), with a latency of about 72 to 75 milliseconds (ms). The RTX 4090 was able to hit a clock speed of 2.8GHz, and that’s without overclocking—those are stock speeds, even though the maximum advertised clock speed for the RTX 4090 exceeds 2.5GHz. That means an increase of about 13% without overclocking. During the demo, the GPU reached 100% utilization, but the temperature remained reasonable at around 55°C.

However, after rolling out DLSS 3, it’s a different story. As Wccftech noted in its report, the GPU was using a pre-release version of DLSS 3, so these results may still change. However, for now, DLSS is looking more and more impressive by 3 minutes.

Enabling DLSS 3 also enables the DLSS frame generation setting, and for this test, the Quality preset was used. Once again, the GPU hit maximum usage and a 2.8GHz boost clock, but temperatures were closer to 50C instead of 55C. The FPS gain wasn’t massively low, hitting 119 fps and an average latency of 53ms. This means that the frame rate is doubled while the latency is reduced by 30%.

We also have power consumption figures for both DLSS 3 on and off, and that’s where it gets even more impressive. Without DLSS 3, the GPU was consuming an average of 461 watts of power, and performance was rated at 0.135 points per watt (Frames/Joule). Enabling DLSS 3 reduced wattage to just 348 watts, meaning a 25% reduction, while performance per watt was boosted to 0.513—about four times what I tested without DLSS 3.

RTX 4090 between the green stripes.

Wccftech has also tested this on the RTX 3090 Ti and found similar, though worse, results. The GPU still saw an increase in performance (64%) and a drop in power draw (10%), so the power consumption numbers aren’t as impressive, confirming that the DLSS 3 will offer a true upgrade over its predecessor.

The reason behind this unexpected difference in power consumption may be due to how the GPU is used with DLSS 3 enabled. The load placed on the FP32 core is moved to the GPU tensor core. This helps free up some of the load placed on the entire GPU and, as a result, cuts down on power consumption.

It’s no news that the RTX 4090 is a power-hungry card, so it’s good to see that DLSS 3 might be able to bring those figures down a notch or two. Now, all we need is a game that can take full advantage of this kind of performance. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4090 is set for release on October 12th and will cost $1,599. With less than a month left for its launch, we should start seeing more comparisons and benchmarks soon.

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