NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review The GPU


Power Consumption Tests

We used AIDA64 to stress the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 FE for our power testing, then HWiNFO to monitor power use and temperatures.

NVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE Power
NVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE Power

We use the AIDA64 Stress test for our tests, which allows us to stress all aspects of the system. We selected just the GPU for this test and let it run for about 15 minutes. While idle, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 FE pulls about 33 watts and loads up to about 461 watts.

Cooling Performance

A key reason that we started this series was to answer the cooling question. Blower-style coolers have different capabilities than some of the large dual and triple fan gaming cards. With newer warmer GPUs, we see fewer blower-style coolers. This is certainly a change over this project’s lifetime.

NVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE Tempatures
NVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE Temperatures

It is clear that the new Ada Lovelace 4000 series GPU has very large cooling heat sinks, so they cool very well. A few blower-style versions are coming out that we hope to get a chance to look at. We run our tests on an OpenBench Table, so we get excellent airflow. When installed in a case, we would advise a case with as much space as possible around the GPU and ample airflow through the case to exhaust heat out the back. Overall, cooling is not a problem. We ran our tests with the 0dB Fan control set to off so the fans would ramp up or down as needed. Even with this setting off, the fans run at low speeds and hardly make any noise. At idle, they sometimes turn off completely.

DirectStorage Benchmark

We also had the opportunity to test DirectStorage SSDs on our test bed to test their capabilities in a game load scenario with DirectStorage. Its bandwidth is measured after GPU decompression.

DirectStorage 1.1 is available in Windows 11 now, so we thought we would take a look at this first version of DirectStorage. Any SSD can use DirectStorage. There are some that have DS features built into the Firmware of the SSD. Here we will use one of these to show what is possible.

UNVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE DirectStorage
NVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE DirectStorage

This Benchmark shows just about the same as on the Strix version. Here you can see that it can push 8.68GB of data in 0.43 seconds across the PCIe bus with a Bandwidth of 20.18 GB/s which is near the bus’s max. Notice the number of models and textures loaded in this short time. This new tech is primarily targeted at gamers, but we are excited to see if workstation applications, deep learning, etc., will, at some point, incorporate DirectStorage into their code.

Final Words

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 FE is the card that started it all. It has a very unique style and looks very good in systems. We like that it is not as big as many of the other RTX 4090s and yet achieves very close to the same performance. In fact, all three RTX 4090s we tested were so close in performance that for many, it will not matter which one you get.

All three use the same power connector and require beefier PSUs to run. The RTX 4090s will work very well in workstation applications and large 4K+ displays.

NVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE
NVIDIA Geforce 4090 FE

We do think the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 FE is in the best bang for your buck category because of MSRP, but that is hard to find nowadays. Your best bet is buying complete systems through system builders if this is what you want to do. You also get warranties and support that way. We suspect they will become more readily available as time passes, but you must be fast on the draw as scalpers grab them quickly.

I tend to lean toward gamer-inspired workstation platforms, so I prefer the TUF and Strix 4090s. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 FE is better suited for more workstation-type setups less concerned with RGB aesthetics. Plus it is the lowest-priced SKU if you can find one.

Some OEMs make higher overclocked versions, or you can mod them yourself. This comes at the expense of a higher power draw, which is high enough as it is. To some, it will be worth it. To many, the money spent on an overclocked version versus the Founders Edition card could be better used elsewhere in a system.

Ultimately, I feel the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 FE is the one to get if you can.


  1. So the side with the GPU and most VRAM is the bottom of the card? Never thought of it that way, and can really only see it from an ATX point of view.


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