GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" Review

GAINWARD has a mighty impressive GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" on its hands, with a slick look and some serious OC potential that will surprise you.

GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom
Published
Manufacturer: GAINWARD (B09M6ZC3QR)
8 minute read time
TweakTown's Rating: 95%
TweakTown award

The Bottom Line

A surprise from start to finish: the GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics cards is one of the best outings of the RTX 4090 you can buy.

Pros

  • + One of the best GeForce RTX 4090 cards!
  • + Phantom
  • + One of the lighter RTX 4090s out there.
  • + Just $50 more than reference price!

Cons

  • - No DP2.0 connectivity :(

Should you buy it?

AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy

Introduction

GAINWARD's new GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card is the next custom GeForce RTX 4090 on the review table today, where in the middle of the school holidays and having my two daughters home on my own in Super Dad mode, but I'm still running these bad boy Ada Lovelace GPUs through their paces. Let's get right to it, peeps!

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Introducing, the GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" where the "GS" stands for Golden Sample, and what a golden sample this bad boy is. It's one of the best-performing GeForce RTX 4090 cards that has flown into my GPU lab, which is something that I'm sure most of you didn't expect to hear.

GAINWARD is using a new style here with the RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" which it calls "Night Baron", which swells in the absolute darkness of knight, "cultivating relentless forces and boldness within". GAINWARD continues on its website that the card has a Shadow Black portrait and that the two lightning strips on the cooler will "electrify the gamers with hardcore power to fight without fear". Well, I don't know about that GAINWARD, but I know that underneath you've got something worth actually bragging about.

You won't find GAINWARD globally, but where you do you should trust the brand -- it's been around for decades, where I used to sell a bunch of them at my old job working here in South Australia at a (now closed) computer retailer in the city. GAINWARD is using its new "Cyclone Fan" with a Wing Tip on the fantail that converts the air current, collecting the maximum airflow and pumping it into the cooling system.

There's also a Vapor Chamber here with antioxidant capacity that is designed to spread heat more evenly across the hotspots, joined by nickel-plated, hyper-conductive heat pipes, you will have some fantastic thermal performance that we'll be getting into shortly. There's some great OC headroom here too, but I'm going to concentrate on overclocking separately to the main card as I've done with previous reviews on the RTX 4090s that I've checked out so far.

You should expect to pay around $1650 or so for the GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card, which is a $50 premium over the $1599 "starting price" of the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition graphics card. A damn good deal considering ASUS charges $1999 for its ROG Strix RTX 4090 OC Edition and the GAINWARD can equal it easily.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace + DLSS 3 + Frame Generation + Optical Flow Accelerator

Instead of repeating everything throughout the custom GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card reviews, I thought I would have a single spot to point you in the right direction.

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Here's everything you need to know about who is Ada Lovelace, the Ada Lovelace GPU architecture, as well as NVIDIA's new DLSS 3, Frame Generation + Ray Tracing that are super-advanced on the Ada Lovelace GPU architecture. DLSS 3, Frame Generation, and the Optical Flow Accelerator are all exclusive to Ada Lovelace and the new GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs.

Detailed Look

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The retail packaging isn't too flashy, and I think GAINWARD really should've pushed that... they have something quite exciting inside, and the retail packaging should show that. But on the other hand, maybe they're putting all of their efforts into the card... and not on the box. But it's a "GS" card, and that should rock a "GS" box, right?

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GAINWARD's new GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" is a beautiful-looking card, with its triple-fan cooler front and center, while the pipes on the outside give it a real industrial-style look. I dig it, and I think anyone that likes the look of this card will love it even more once it's inside of their PC. The pictures don't do it justice.

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The backplate is a no-frills affair, but I do wish being a "GS" card that the "Phantom" logo on the back had some RGB illumination... just... something. But again, the backplate being plain is what lots of consumers are after, so if you're one of those people this is another tick in that box for you.

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It's a thick card, but it's not too big... the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 4090 OC Edition is thicker.

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The typical display connectivity here on the back: 1 x HDMI 2.1 and 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 connectors, all good for 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz.

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I do like the golden "GS" at the end of the card, but would've preferred something like this on the backplate.

Test System Specs

I've recently upgraded my major GPU test bed for 2022, but I will be upgrading again soon enough once Intel launches its new 13th Gen Core "Raptor Lake" CPUs and Z790 motherboards, and AMD with its upcoming Ryzen 7000 series "Zen 4" CPUs and X670E motherboards.

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The new upgrades include the shift to the Intel Core i9-12900K processor, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory, and 8TB of Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD goodness. Intel's flagship Core i9-12900K is a beast, with the Alder Lake CPU packing 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 8 Efficient cores (E-cores) at up to 5.2GHz.

Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme

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I've got that installed into the bigger-than-life ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, which is absolutely loaded to the brim with technologies and features that it houses everything you need. We're talking about one of the best-looking designs on a motherboard yet, PCIe 5.0 support, enthusiast-grade 10GbE networking, and oh-so-much more.

RAM: 64GB Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800

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Sabrent helped out in a huge way by sending over 64GB of DDR5-4800 memory in the form of 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 modules of its new Sabrent Rocket DDR5 memory. The company also helped out in an even bigger way, supplying us with a gigantic and super-fast 8TB model of its Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD.

SSD: 8TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2

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We're talking about 7.5GB/sec+ (7500MB/sec) from a single M.2 SSD, along with a gigantic 8TB of capacity. The 2TB drives aren't big enough for all of our game installs for GPU testing... the 4TB is much better, but the 8TB gives us room to move into 2023 without worrying about installing multiple games that are 200GB+ in size.

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Some glory shots, of course.

Displays: ASUS ROG Strix 43-inch 4K 120Hz

ASUS has been a tight partner of TweakTown for many years, with the fine folks at ASUS Australia sending over their ROG Strix XG438Q and ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitors for our GPU test benches. They're both capable of 4K 120Hz+ through their DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity.

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I will be upgrading these in the near future, over to some DisplayPort 2.0-capable panels and some new HDMI 2.1-enabled 4K 165Hz panels in OLED form of course...given that next-gen GPUs are right around the corner, there has been no better time to upgrade your display or TV.

I've been working on this system for a while now, but now we're stretching its legs with the newly-released PC port of Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered. Not just in 1080p or 1440p, not even in just 4K... but at 8K with a native resolution of 7680 x 4320. I've run through some of the very fastest GPU silicon on the planet.

Benchmarks - Synthetic

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Benchmarks - 1080p

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Benchmarks - 1440p

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Benchmarks - 4K

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Temps & Power Consumption

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GAINWARD is keeping things rather cool here on the custom GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card, with the AD102 "Ada Lovelace" GPU sitting at under 62C during benchmark and gaming loads, while the GPU hotspot didn't go above 68C or so. This is with the fans on auto, spinning at around 37% (1400RPM or so).

We're looking at the card using an average of 430W here, which is around 50W more than the COLORFUL iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V pumps out (with its fans spinning faster, but that doesn't account for 50W more power draw from GAINWARD). Still, within reason and other RTX 4090 cards that I've tested.

What's Hot, What's Not

What's Hot

  • One of the best RTX 4090s: You wouldn't think it... as you'd expect that to be the ASUS ROG Strix or MSI SUPRIM LIQUID X, but GAINWARD seriously impresses with one of the best-performing AD102 GPU-powered cards with its GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card.
  • Phantom style: GAINWARD has a unique style with its GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card, which it will have its fans for sure. If not, you've got all that RTX 4090 performance underneath a fantastic-looking triple-fan cooler that will also keep things nice and cool (and quiet) during your gaming sessions.
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  • Not super heavy: Man... some of the custom GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards are HEAVY, but the RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" from GAINWARD is not. It's surprisingly light.
  • Surprising thermals, impressively cool and quiet: GPU temps that sit at around 60-62C during heavy benchmark and gaming situations is fantastic, with the triple-fan cooler nice and quiet at under 1500RPM. If your case (and PSU) can handle the GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card, then you'll be absolutely fine.
  • $50 more than reference: The company is also not charging a premium for its RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" so if you do find it in your section of the world, grab it... it's just $50 more than the $1599 reference price at $1649 and you're getting ASUS ROG Strix-beating performance. Nice work, GAINWARD!
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What's Not

  • No DisplayPort 2.0 connector, WTF: NVIDIA not including the new display connector moving forward -- DP2.0 -- is a huge mistake. It means anyone buying a $1500+ graphics card in the tail end of 2022 is not going to be able to use next-gen DP2.0-capable gaming monitors that we'll begin seeing debut in the coming months, probably at CES 2023 in January. WTF, NVIDIA? Even Intel's is-it-even-real Arc GPUs have a DP2.0 port.

Final Thoughts

GAINWARD is a brand that a lot of American gamers might not remember, but in some countries, GAINWARD had a huge reputation years ago with its "Golden Sample" (GS) graphics cards. This is another of those, now in the Ada Lovelace GPU architecture.

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The new GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card was one of the best surprises of the flock of custom GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards, with some of the best performance, and some of the most surprising overclocking (OC) results out of the custom RTX 4090 cards tested so far. It punches well above its weight and has the stellar thermal performance to match its GPU grunt.

If you didn't want to spend the $300+ more to get the ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition, and you have GAINWARD graphics cards in your market, the new GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card should be on the top of your shopping list.

Especially if you've got a big 4K 120FPS gaming monitor or TV, you'll want the performance from NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4090 to drive that... if your games have DLSS 3 support, then you're in for a real treat with the GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics card.

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DLSS 3 super-powers game performance in titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Microsoft Flight Simulator, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, and others on the way with 2x the performance than the RTX 3090 with the new RTX 4090 and DLSS 3 enabled.

If you want that ninja-style look and brute-force GPU performance, GAINWARD's new custom GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" is the surprise sleeper... or is that ninja... hit for Ada Lovelace. GAINWARD nails it from the design, look, cooling performance, and surprise OC (it hits 3000MHz without an issue).

Performance

95%

Quality

95%

Features

95%

Value

95%

Overall

95%

The Bottom Line

A surprise from start to finish: the GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" graphics cards is one of the best outings of the RTX 4090 you can buy.

TweakTown award

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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