The Best RTX 3090 Graphics Cards (2021 Reviews)

best overall

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio

MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio
  • Good design
  • Excellent cooling capabilities
best value

ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 OC Edition

ASUS TUF Gaming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 OC Edition
  • MSRP pricing
  • Extra HDMI port

It feels as if it were only yesterday that the RTX 2080 Ti was the most powerful and most expensive consumer GPU available on the market.

Fortunately, that is a thing of the past now as there’s a new ultimate GPU, which is superior to the RTX 2080 Ti in terms of performance, efficiency, and pricing.

Enter the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090, the $1500 behemoth GPU with capabilities that should make it more appealing as a professional GPU rather than a gaming one.

But regardless of why you’re getting it, there’s always a number of models to choose from, and in this buying guide, we’ll provide an overview of the best RTX 3090 graphics cards available at the moment.

Related:The Best RTX 3080 Graphics Cards (2021 Reviews)The Best RTX 3070 Graphics Cards (2021 Reviews)

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The Pros:

  • Clean and neutral exterior design
  • 2.5-slot design
  • MSRP pricing

The Cons:

  • Little overclocking headroom

For the first entry on this list, we have the Zotac RTX 3090 Trinity, a card made by one of the younger graphics card manufacturers in the market, but one that has nonetheless come to count among the more recognizable names in the world of graphics cards.

One of the things that Zotac is known for are its compact graphics cards that make excellent picks for small form factor cases and external GPU enclosures. And though the RTX 3090 is anything but “mini”, it is still more compact than the Founders Edition RTX 3090, as it boasts a standard 2.5 slot design as opposed to the 3-slot design of the Founders Edition model.

Of course, the triple-fan Icestorm 2.0 cooling makes up for the slimmer heatsink and the RTX 3090 Trinity runs at acceptable temperatures under load, although it doesn’t offer much in terms of overclocking performance.

As for the design, the card boasts a simple, neutral gray shroud with some RGB on the side, complete with a smooth metal backplate. Granted, it’s not as original or as standout as the Founders Edition but it’s an effective design that will help the card fit in most builds.

The Pros:

  • Great performance
  • Extra HDMI port
  • MSRP pricing

The Cons:

  • Unimpressive design

Up next, we have a graphics card that puts a little more stock in performance than it does in aesthetics, and it comes from another recognizable manufacturer – the ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 OC Edition.

Next to Asus’ more popular RoG lineup, TUF cards are usually there to fill the role of the “budget” option. As mentioned above, it doesn’t offer much in terms of visual appeal, but it doesn’t make any sacrifices when it comes to the cooling and, by extension, performance.

Thanks to the thicker heatsink and triple Axial-tech fans, the TUF RTX 3090 can hit higher clock speeds than both the Founders Edition and the above Zotac model, which makes it a great pick for those who place performance before aesthetics, as you’re unlikely to get better numbers with any other RTX 3090 model that comes with MSRP pricing.

However, those who do care about the aesthetics of their $1500 graphics card might not find this model very appealing, as it looks more like your average mid-range gaming card rather than a Titan-level monstrosity that the RTX 3090 is.

The Pros:

  • Great performance
  • Sleek design
  • Extra HDMI port
  • 4-year warranty

The Cons:

  • Comes at a price premium
  • Could use some more RGB

For our next entry, we have the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming OC, a card coming from a company known for their well-rounded, balanced graphics cards. As you might expect, the RTX 3090 is not an exception.

Much like the Asus TUF RTX 3090 model listed above, this card offers good overclocking performance and quiet, efficient cooling. However, it also boasts a more aesthetically appealing exterior, complete with a high-quality shroud, a sleek metal backplate, and some RGB on the side of the card, similar to the Zotac model.

So, this Gigabyte RTX 3090 Gaming OC has all of the important bases covered – good base performance, good overclocking, good cooling, and good design. On top of all that, the card even comes with a 4-year warranty, which is always welcome.

However, it also costs a bit more than the MSRP, though if you’re already spending $1500 on a graphics card, an extra $80 probably won’t be too big of an issue if you really care about aesthetics.

The Pros:

  • Excellent cooling
  • Good overclocking performance
  • Appealing exterior design

The Cons:

  • More expensive than other models

And finally, we have yet another card from a highly recognizable company, and it’s the MSI Gaming GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio. The Gaming X Trio cards have been very good premium picks these last few years, and that definitely hasn’t changed in 2021.

With the latest RTX 30 series GPUs, MSI has tweaked the design a bit, altering the shroud slightly and toning down the RGB. However, the card still looks great, and the overall design philosophy is still intact, so it’s neither a step-down nor a step up, at least as far as we’re concerned.

On the performance front, the RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio fares extremely well, and it is easily the best-performing card on the list at the moment. It’s capable of hitting impressive clock speeds but it is also equipped with excellent cooling, as it is both highly efficient and generates relatively little noise.

All in all, the RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is a great card for those who want to squeeze more performance out of this GPU than what some of the cheaper variants can manage. It is a fast, good-looking card, and those who are willing to add an extra $90 on top of the already hefty $1500 price tag surely won’t regret buying it.

RTX 3080 vs RTX 3090 – Which Should You Get?

RTX 3080 vs RTX 3090

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is an absolute beast of a GPU. After all, we’ve already mentioned in the introduction that it’s the most powerful consumer GPU currently on the market. But does that make it worth the massive expense?

Essentially, the RTX 3090 is to the RTX 3080 what the RTX 2080 Ti was to the RTX 2080. That is to say, it is much more expensive and offers little extra performance, at least as far as gaming is concerned.

At $1500, the RTX 3090 is over twice as expensive as the $700 RTX 3080, all the while offering a 10-15% increase in in-game performance. Add to that the fact that some RTX 3090 models will cost as much as $1800, and you’ll inevitably ask yourself: is the RTX 3090 really worth getting for gaming?

While the RTX 3090 does have more CUDA cores and more Tensor cores compared to the RTX 3080, the main difference between the two GPUs comes down to the memory. Where the RTX 3080 has 10 GB of GDDR6X memory, the RTX 3090 has a whopping 24 GB, as well as a slightly wider memory bus – 384-bit compared to the RTX 3080’s 320-bit.

Now, this kind of memory really isn’t necessary for modern games, but it can be extremely useful for some memory-hungry professional applications, which is why we’ve mentioned in the introduction that the RTX 3090 is more appealing as a professional GPU rather than one intended for gaming.

That said, unless you really have cash to burn, the RTX 3080 would offer much better value for a gaming PC, and you can see our selection of the best RTX 3080 models here.

Conclusion – Which RTX 3090 Should You Get?

Now that you’ve seen the best RTX 3090 graphics cards, which of the ones listed here should you buy?

Well, the Asus TUF RTX 3090 definitely offers the best value for your money, as it packs great cooling and offers better performance than most other $1500 variants currently on the market.

On the other hand, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, then the MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is the best pick overall, as it simply has it all: efficient cooling, good overclocking performance, and a more appealing exterior design.

But of course, any of the cards listed here would prove to be a good pick, provided that you keep the card’s capabilities and your requirements in mind.

We’ll be updating this list as new cards come out, so if you’re not getting your RTX 3090 immediately, be sure to check back later again.

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Samuel Stewart
Samuel Stewart

Samuel is GamingScan's editor-in-chief. He describes himself as a hardcore gamer & programmer and he enjoys getting more people into gaming and answering people's questions. He closely follows the latest trends in the gaming industry in order to keep you all up-to-date with the latest news.

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