MSI’s top-of-the-range video card is a small, oversized power monster with excellent performance but unsuitable for all homes.
Reviewing a video card these days is pretty weird. In a market that cannot, and will not be able for some time yet, to satisfy the demand, to have a piece of hardware like this RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio it is a privilege.
MSI’s GPU is one of the most powerful models to hit the market, thanks to a Higher TGP compared to what we saw in the review of the RTX 3090 Founders Edition, but the credit also goes to the dissipation system adopted, huge but very effective. The result is a video card that maximizes the capabilities of the GA102 chip, without knocking out the Founders Edition in performance.
Who is it for?
The RTX 3090 is the successor of the Titan, which with the introduction of the Ampere architecture has not been renewed anymore. Titan GPUs in the recent past were aimed at professional rather than playful use, the same thing also applies to the RTX 3090: if you plan to use it only for the game, better forget it and aim for the RTX 3080, which has a much more advantageous price-performance ratio.
This MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is no exception, buying it exclusively for gaming makes little sense, also given the cost of this variant. Right now making considerations based on the official price is impossible, availability is very low, that’s why we checked some of the major online stores, from Drako to AKInformatica, through nexths and Amazon. In October the list price was 1879 euros, already very high due to the exclusivity of this variant: now it is offered at figures above 2000 €, at least on Amazon and on nexths, the only stores in our control sample to offer it. , but without actual availability. This speaks volumes about the current situation, characterized by high and variable prices, as well as availability close to zero.
A huge card
If you are thinking of trying to buy an RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, it is better to check before having adequate space inside the case. The card measures 323 x 140 x 56mm for a total weight of 1565 g: on the one hand the length can cause some problems in the smaller chassis, on the other hand you have to pay a little more attention in doing installation, providing for the best fixing of the card to the case. For the greatest possible safety it is also supplied an additional metal support bracket, which makes anchoring to the motherboard PCIe slot more rigid and solid.
This model is particular not only for its increased size, there are several original solutions adopted by MSI in its development. The dissipation system consists of three TORX FAN 4.0 fans, able to move a greater quantity of air than traditional solutions. The system is able to work in passive mode when the card is not pushed to the maximum, in this way it is possible to completely reduce the noise emitted by the fans.
The heatsink is of considerable size, with blades designed to best convey fresh air towards the hottest points of the GPU. On the back, the metal backplate helps to increase the rigidity of the board and at the same time dissipates part of the heat generated. RGB lighting is present in several points and can be customized through MSI’s software: those who do not like it are also free to turn it off, to have a more sober-looking PC.
Connections include three DisplayPort 1.4a and one HDMI 2.1. In the upper edge there are two elements that stand out: the NVLINK interface, to connect another RTX 3090 in parallel, but above all the power connectors. The RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio has a TGP of 370W, compared to the 350W of the RTX 3090 Founders Edition, that’s why there are three 8-pin connectors instead of two. Attention should therefore be paid to the power supply used, MSI recommends a model of at least 750W.
Technical features and benchmarks
MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is based on the 8 nm GA102 chip, retaining all its features but slightly increasing the clock rates. In all there are 28 billion transistors, with 10496 CUDA Core, 328 Tensor Core and 82 RT Core, while the memory is 24 GB of type GDDR6X, on a 384 bit bus clocked at 19.5 Gbps, for a bandwidth of 936 GB / s. The frequencies of the RTX 3090 FE show a base clock of 1400 MHz and a boost clock of 1700 MHz, at least by specification, because during the tests we observed a peak clock of 1820 MHz.
In the case of MSI’s 3090 we instead observed stable frequencies around 1880 MHz, a small boost granted by the higher TGP and the advanced dissipation system. Such a situation could generate more heat than the FE variant and indeed it does, but the discrepancy between the two models varies according to the context of use, with about 1-2 degrees higher in MSI’s 3090, which reaches 75 degrees during intensive use.
For the test we used an Intel i9-10900K processor with 16GB of RAM at 3200MHz, ROG Maximus Hero XII Wi-Fi motherboard and a ROG PG27UQ monitor. On the performance front there are not many surprises, the boost offered by the higher clock rate is minimal compared to the 3090 FE, as happens with all the custom models we have tried so far.
This card is a little monster of power capable of running virtually any game at maximum detail in 4K, nothing more and nothing less than what the RTX 3090 FE is capable of. There was no doubt about this, after all with this variant we are at the extreme limit of the performance obtainable with the GA102 chip, it is difficult to find an even more performing video card.
MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is the most powerful 3090 we’ve tested to date. The increased TGP allows it to manage even higher clock frequencies than the Founders Edition, the price to pay is slightly higher temperatures, however kept well at bay by the effective dissipation system. By now everything has been said about the RTX 3000 range, we know the goodness of these cards well, the current and future problem remains the availability, which shows no signs of improving. For now, therefore, we can only limit ourselves to dreaming of a GPU like this, designed for play and for work, and dedicated to enthusiasts who have no problem spending high amounts for a video card.