Test reveals how undervolting considerably reduces the consumption of the RTX 4090 without sacrificing too much performance

In terms of hardware, especially when we talk about video cards, processors and memories, the overclocking theme always has time, but the opposite is not so talked about by the general public, including many who are unaware of the undervoltingwhich, in certain cases, can represent a considerable drop in consumption without aggressively sacrificing performance.

This is the case of a test conducted by QuasarZonewho published an interesting study on the energy consumption of RTX 4090which gained the spotlight for its brutal performance and cases of overheating of the connectors that feed it, which, according to the conclusion of NVIDIAis caused by the user misfitting the connector.

QuasarZone put the following test scenarios to the test. Show what the card requires in terms of consumption and performance in factory mode, without any changes that reduce its capabilities, and in a scenario where the flagship of the series RTX 40 has an established power limitation (Power Limit), a simpler adjustment, widely used by beginners in the art of manual controls of video card settings, and in undervolting, that is, to reduce the GPU operating voltage, a practice that requires a better fit.

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Synthetic benchmark software was left out, the test focused on what the card can offer in games. 5 games were used to reach the conclusion of the study: Cyberpunk 2077 (DX12), Marvel Spider-Man Remastered (DX12), Forza Horizon 5 (DX12), Lost Ark (DX11) and PUBG Battlegrounds (DX11)🇧🇷 All games were tested in 4K and the highest quality settings.

The RTX 4090 model used for the test is the Founders Edition, reference version, released by NVIDIA itself. The test bench was completed by ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 Extreme motherboard, Core i9-13900K processor, Enermax LIQFUSION 360 ARGB watercooler, memory, 32 GB (16 GB x 2) DDR5 7400 MHz / CL38, 1 x WD Black SN750 SSD TB, 1250W Enermax MaxTytan power supply, Samsung UE32J590 monitor, NVIDIA 526.98 driver and Windows 11 Pro 22H2. All adjustments, in favor of limiting the capacity of the card, were performed in the popular MSI Afterburner.

With the board in standard mode, the average consumption was 347W. With the Power Limit set to 90%, consumption drops to 340W and performance is reduced by less than 1%. With a Power Limit of 60%, the maximum restriction in which QuasarZone put the board to the test, consumption drops to 268W and the loss of performance is less than 7%.

In undervolting, the tests are even more optimistic in relation to the reduction of consumption x performance. By reducing the voltage from 1V to 0.95V, dropping the consumption from 323W to 289W, the performance loss is around 1%. Speaking specifically of undervolting, it is a type of adjustment that goes through some trials and errors, until finding the ideal voltage point over a higher clock rate that is stably accepted by the application being executed.

In the QuasarZone test the best situation, in terms of clock increase, were the 2850 MHz with a voltage of 1,000 mV🇧🇷 About 130 MHz operating clock above the standard model. The steady edge of the operating clock decreases as the target voltage is lower.

Graphics of the 5 tested games – consumption and average FPS

cyberpunk 2077

Marvel Spider-Man Remastered

forza horizon 5

lost ark

PUBG Battlegrounds

It may sound unacceptable to some the idea of ​​tuning an absurdly expensive product down, reducing any point of overall performance. This argument is completely understandable.

The interesting thing about the test is to show how, in a strategic matter, undervolting can be as interesting a tactic as the always mentioned overclocking, and it also shows that NVIDIA, in this generation, preferred to completely follow the line of squeezing the maximum performance out of the AD102 GPU . With a slight change in design, the card would still have overwhelming performance, but with a lower TDP compared to the previous generation.

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