The Bottom Line
- + Evolution of SUPRIM X design.
- + MSI's mighty impressive TRI-FROZR 3S thermal solution.
- + 4K 120FPS+ gaming powerhouse!
- - No DP2.1 connectivity :(
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
MSI launched not one but two custom GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards last week, with the fantastic AIO-cooled GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X, and the air-cooled GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X that we're looking at today.
The new MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X is everything you already know: it packs NVIDIA's brutally fast GeForce RTX 4090 with 24GB of GDDR6X memory, all done in MSI's slick SUPRIM X style. We have a similar triple-fan cooler on the front of the RTX 4090 SUPRIM X, with MSI tweaking the design to celebrate "decades of MSI graphics card mastery, SUPRIM is crafted with qualities that evoke prestige".
High-quality materials and construction are highlighted across MSI's new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card and its points, lines, and planes. It might look the same on the front as the previous RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti SUPRIM X graphics cards, with MSI using a chunky AF design that keeps temps cool... and not far off its AIO-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X.
MSI's use of a chunky 4-slot cooler is an interesting choice, given how thin the RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X is (albeit with a 240mm AIO cooler). The design looks fantastic, with the tweaks that MSI has done between SUPRIM X releases being subtle, but I do like the back of the card for this generation of Ampere.
MSI's new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X costs $1700, which is a $100 premium over the $1599 "starting price" that NVIDIA has on the GeForce RTX 4090.
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.
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.
TRI-FROZR 3S thermal design
TORX FAN 5.0 has up to 23% increased airflow compared to an axial fan, starting things off for MSI's new TRI-FROZR 3S thermal system on the GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card.
Ring arcs link sets of three fan blades that focus airflow onto the heat sink, MSI says that the blades tilt 22 degrees to keep high-pressure airflow, even when the fans aren't spinning fast. The trailing end of each ring arc folds inwards, reducing turbulence and drag.
MSI's extensive work on the TRI-FROZR 3S thermal solution includes airflow stability improved through a fan cowl that extends shortly beyond the enclosure to lengthen the air passageway, and bulging notches under the cowl that reduce recirculation.
Underneath, a Vapor Chamber is used for superior heat stabilization on a planar surface, with the AD102 GPU and 24GB of GDDR6X memory covered by the Vapor Chamber, which transfers the heat generated to Core Pipes. Core Pipes are precision-crafted to make maximum use of the available space, with a squared section of heat pipes that fully touch the vapor chamber, spreading heart along the full length of the heat sink.
When it comes to airflow control, MSI has it under control with the TRI-FROZR 3S cooling system on its new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card.
MSI's new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X packs updated heat pipe pathing, which allows more space for additional heat sink... meaning lower temperatures across the board. The filled fins are one part, while WAVE-CURVED 3.0 allows for additional efficiency by adjusting the size of the wave edges under the fan motor and other spots where there's less airflow.
Fins with a V-shaped cutout are placed at the airflow passthrough, improving flow efficiency, while optimizing the inclination angle and increasing the wave notch shapes the air resistance towards the center, pushing the hot air out faster similar to a nozzle.
MSI has placed thermal pads under the beefed-up metal backplate, providing more cooling, while the flow-through ventilation reduces trapped heat. The backplate also looks awesome, too.
The retail packaging isn't too different to the RTX 30 series, but the new MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card comes in some great-looking retail packaging. You're not going to miss this sitting on the shelf, if it's even sitting on a shelf, that is... they're flying off them (and unavailable worldwide).
Inside you will have plenty of protection for your GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card from the foam inside, as well as an awesome "SUPRIM X" gaming mousepad and some accessories. There's also a cool card in the box for the SUPRIM X, which is a nice touch from MSI.
MSI's new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card from the front, where you can see those design tweaks that the company has made, and the impressive new TRI-FROZR 3S thermal solution and its triple-fan setup keeping your AD102 GPU cool.
I do like the design work and straight lines on the backplate of the RTX 4090 SUPRIM X, but the tail end of the backplate... oh yeah, that is very nice.
You will need a considerable amount of room on your motherboard, with the 4-slot design taking up a chunk of your space... as well as your chassis and anything close to the card. It's a chunky unit, but the performance + thermals are worth it.
We still have the same display connectivity here with 1 x HDMI 2.1 port and 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 connections on the back of the card.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: CORSAIR iCUE H150i ELITE LCD Display (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Sabrent Rocket 64GB DDR5-4800 (4 x 16GB) (F4-3600C18Q-32GTZN) (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent 8TB Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: MSI MPG A1000G Gaming Power Supply 1000W (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame 2.0
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro x64 (buy from Amazon)
- Display: ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ (4K 120Hz) (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - Synthetic
Benchmarks - 1080p
Benchmarks - 1440p
Benchmarks - 4K
Temps & Power Consumption
MSI keeps things really, really cool with its new GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X graphics card with the TRI-FROZR 3S cooling system keeping the AD102 GPU chill AF at just 61C under load. That's damn impressive, considering the AIO-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X from MSI is just 2C cooler under load.
GPU hotspot temperatures are under 70C under load, with the fans spinning at just 37% (1275RPM or so) while the card is consuming 335W total. Very, very impressive there MSI.
What's Hot, What's Not
- Evolution of SUPRIM X design: MSI's second iteration of SUPRIM has a tweaked design, with a beautiful brushed metal cover, octagon-shaped fan cutouts, and chevrons around each fan... it's gorgeous, even more so when lit up inside of your PC from all the RGB lighting.
- 4K 120FPS+ gaming powerhouse: You'll be gaming at 4K 120FPS+ all day and night long, and even higher than that if the games you're playing are DLSS 3 compatible. Hell, Overwatch 2 runs at 4K 400FPS+ on the RTX 4090... so you'll be good on the RTX 4090 SUPRIM X.
- TRI-FROZR 3S thermal design: MSI has upgraded the fans, airflow control, and other thermal innovations inside of the TRI-FROZR 3S to make it MSI's best air-cooling solution on a graphics card yet, and it shows. The AIO-cooled version isn't much cooler, showing how good TRI-FROZR 3S really is on the RTX 4090 SUPRIM X.
- 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.
MSI has two custom GeForce RTX 4090 graphics cards that I've now reviewed: the AIO-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X and the air-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM X. If you don't have room for the large 240mm AIO radiator inside of your PC, but can fit the air-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM X... you know what to do.
It's a fantastic card with impressive thermal results from the TRI-FROZR 3S cooling system that MSI is using on its custom GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X, providing thermal results that are virtually identical to the AIO-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X. You've got all of the performance that NVIDIA delivers with its powerhouse GeForce RTX 4090, enough VRAM to handle upgrading to 8K gaming, and everything in between.
MSI has done enough tweaks to its SUPRIM X design that it looks different to the Ampere-based RTX 3090 Ti SUPRIM X, but runs a helluva lot cooler, quieter, and uses less power. If you are gaming at 4K 120FPS+ or have a high refresh rate 1440p or UltraWide gaming monitor, the new MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X is a fantastic graphics card choice for your PC.
If you want something sleeker, MSI offers the GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X graphics card with the 240mm AIO radiator, but the air-cooled RTX 4090 SUPRIM X is just as good. It's a big, big boy, so be careful selecting this card as it might not fit in your case. If it does, you're not going to see sunlight for a few months while you scream through your games with more performance than ever before.
MSI's impressive TRI-FROZR 3S cooling solution on the GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X is bloody amazing, it's barely warmer than the AIO-cooled SUPRIM LIQUID X. Mighty impressive stuff, MSI!