As I watched the official unveiling of Nvidia's new RTX 40 Series GPUs the other day, which already seem destined to rule T3's best graphics cards buying guide, I couldn't help but think of that bit from The Simpsons when Homer, dressed as Krusty the Clown, beats an old man dressed as the Krusty Burglar to a pulp due to mistakenly believing he is a real thief.
In the episode, the camera pans to the surrounding children, watching the bloody beating, only for one to cry out in tears: “Stop, stop! He’s already dead!”
And as Nvidia revealed its new RTX 40 Series GPUs, which offer the simply mind-blowing new graphics upgrade that is DLSS 3.0 (opens in new tab), I couldn't help but envisage AMD as that poor Krusty Burglar.
As Nvidia revealed that, thanks to the 40 Series' fourth-gen Tensor Cores and Optical Flow Accelerator, DLSS 3.0 could offer PC gamers boosts in frame rates by up to a factor of four, I just couldn't help but think, "Stop, stop! AMD is already dead!"
I mean, sheesh! Up to a 4x increase in frame rate (opens in new tab) is just pixel-pushing sorcery at this point. I was 100 per cent aware of the incredible work Nvidia had been doing with Deep Learning Super Sampling, and had written about DLSS for T3.com before numerous times. However, what the GPU maker has achieved on this new Ada Lovelace architecture is just incredible. Up to a 4x frame rate boost! Yowzers!
I watched (opens in new tab) as Cyberpunk 2077, an incredibly demanding game to run at high settings graphically on PC, was taken by an RTX 4090 at a 4K resolution with ray tracing on from 23 frames per second with DLSS off to 108 frames per second with DLSS 3.0 on. That is simply insane and a massive reason for PC gamers to upgrade to Nvidia's 40 Series graphics cards over a rival.
Yes, those multipliers were achieved with the 40 Series' new flagship card, but it is obvious to me that the RTX 4080, as well as unannounced but almost certainly coming, RTX 4070 and RTX 4060 GPUs are going to offer performance gains, too. Maybe not quite as outrageous, but I still reckon they're going to be big, and a big source of worry for AMD.
The T3 take: Nvidia's investment in AI paying off
I said last year, with the launch of DLSS 2.0, that the tech was a "true next-gen game-changer", and here we are one year later and that absolutely looks to have come to pass. When you can offer PC gamers such radical performance gains due to the partnering of next-gen hardware with AI wizardry, it's really hard to see how AMD, the only other player in town when it comes round to graphics cards, can keep pace, let alone outperform Nvidia.
And, to me, that makes Nvidia's RTX 40 Series graphics cards the obvious choice right now for PC gamers. Maybe not necessarily the RTX 4090 or RTX 4080, which are going to be very expensive at launch, but absolutely the RTX 4060 when it inevitably launches in the near future at a much more affordable price point.
Because, while AMD may be able to match Nvidia in terms of the actual hardware and specs of its graphics cards, I don't think it can match it in terms of AI-powered graphical weapons like DLSS 3.0.