Test system specifications
This is the system we used to test the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (16-core, up to 4.9 GHz)
CPU cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid 360P Silver Edition
RAM: 64 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum at 3,200 MHz
Motherboard: ASRock X570 Taichi
SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro @ 1TB
Charging: Corsair AX1000
Case: Praxis Wetbench
The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, much like its RTX 3080 sibling, seems to make the already powerful RTX 3090 even more powerful. This is achieved by raising the boost clock and slightly raising the power limit, but you should ease your expectations – this is still a 3090, not some graphics card of the future.
However, these extra performances cost money. This card should sell for $ 1,589 (£ 1,799, A $ 2,969). In reality, though, given the widespread lack of a graphics card, you’ll have a hard time finding it at that price.
At this point in price, however, the $ 90 price increase – again, depending on whether you can actually find the card on IFRS – is much easier to swallow. You basically pay 6% more for a card that is approximately 4-5% faster. It’s not perfect, but in a perfect world where graphics cards are regularly available, it would make a lot of sense to just transfer this card to Founders Edition – and the fact that it uses normal cables is a bonus.
If you want a more detailed insight into what the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is capable of, apart from the differences this extra card brings to the table, check out our review of Founder’s Edition, in which we break down the Nvidia Ampere architecture.
Fortunately, instead of opting for the unusual 12-pin power connector that Nvidia debuted with its RTX 30s Founders Edition cards, this monster has three standard 8-pin power connectors after sale. Because we test outstanding performance, we don’t overclock as part of our review process, but with that extra power connector – Founders Edition only needs 2 8-pin power connectors – there’s the potential to push even more power through this GPU for extra performance.
In our testing, however, the power consumption remained roughly the same as with the RTX 3090 Founders Edition, reaching a maximum of around 373W. But with temperatures reaching a maximum of just 74 ° C with a given fan curve, there’s definitely room to adjust if you’re comfortable.
It’s not that you’ll generally feel the need to overclock the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio right away. This MSI add-on card is about 4-10% faster than the Founders Edition in our testing, and the most extreme case is in Far Cry 5, where MSI was 10% faster.
One of the main reasons this happens is that in our testing the MSI card often hits 1,800-1,900MHz in the game, which is 100-200MHz more than the Founders Edition.
We also spent a lot of time playing games with this card in our personal machine, where Cyberpunk 2077 actually made it playable at 4K, although we had to rely on DLSS to actually push through a non-slideshow effect. It seems like yesterday Nvidia RTX 3090 set up as an 8K graphics card that will effortlessly break everything to 4K.
With the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, you’ll be able to roughly break through all the beautiful lights to a playable frame, but don’t expect to run next-generation heavyweight games at 8K 60 fps without turning all the buttons.
Now that we’ve seen what next-generation games actually look like, it looks like a lot of AAA PC games will be putting more and more effects into the game, which means you’ll unfortunately need this caliber card to turn all eye candy on 4K. It would be a minor problem if 4K wasn’t pushed as a new norm for games in general – we recommend playing at 1440p at the end of the day.
Once on your computer, the MSI Gaming X Trio has an attractive design. It’s basically the same as the RTX 3080 we’ve already reviewed, so it’s 12.71 inches long – this graphics card won’t really fit into a mini-ITX case. In our personal equipment, which we recently, uh, rearranged, it looks fantastic, and that little RGB tape fits extremely well. Although, of course, your mileage can vary depending on the topic of your construction.
The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio comes with a support bracket that you can also use to support a large card size, which will be extremely useful for users who have motherboards without built-in PCIe support. Even though you spend so much money on a graphics card, you will probably have a premium motherboard as well.
As for ports, the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is the same story as the Founders Edition. You get three DisplayPort and one HDMI 2.1. The latter is pretty much needed for 8K games, but as with the Founders Edition, we’d love to have a USB-C port, as it would be extremely useful for creative workers who need those 24GB of VRAM.
In a perfect world, where graphics cards are easily available – and who knows, I hope that day will come soon – the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio will probably be the ideal version of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090. Performance is stronger, there is room for overclocking and, of course, RGB lighting, which we all know is the most important thing in a gaming computer in 2020. If you’ve already decided that the RTX 3090 is the right graphics card for you, then this is probably the best version of the GPU we’ve tested so far.
Buy if …
You will buy the RTX 3090 anyway
If you’re in the market for the RTX 3090, the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is one of the best options available.
You want to play next generation games in 4K with a trace of air
If the first few “next generation” games proved anything, you’ll need a powerful graphics card to turn on all the nice graphics settings at a solid frame rate. The RTX 3090 will be the best option for this.
You want the RTX 3090 version with sick RGB lighting
The MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio has a nice RGB side lighting strip and will look good in your case, assuming you have room for it.
Don’t buy if …
You don’t have a big PC case
The MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is an absolutely massive graphics card and many people with smaller cases will find it difficult to put it in their case.
You have a budget
The RTX 3090 is an expensive card to start with, and the MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio adds an extra $ 90 to the asking price – assuming you can find it at retail price. If you don’t want to throw nearly two thousand on a graphics card, this isn’t for you.