Test system specifications
This is the system we use to test the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X (16 cores, up to 4.9 GHz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid 360P Silver Edition
RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum from 64 GB to 3,200 MHz
Motherboard: ASRock X570 Taichi
SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro @ 1TB
Power supply: Corsair AX1000
Case: Praxis Wetbench
The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, much like its brother RTX 3080, seems to make the already powerful RTX 3090 even more powerful. It does this by increasing the boost clock and slightly increasing the power limit, but you should moderate your expectations – this is still a 3090, not some graphics card of the future.
This additional performance comes at a cost, however. This card should sell for $ 1,589 (£ 1,799, AU $ 2,969). In reality, however, thanks to the widespread shortage of video cards, you will have a hard time finding it for that price.
At that price point, however, a $ 90 increase – again, depending on whether you can actually find a card at MSRP – is much easier to swallow. You are essentially paying 6% more for a card that is about 4-5% faster. It’s not perfect, but in a perfect world where video cards are regularly available, it would make a lot of sense to buy this card only in the Founders version – and the fact that it uses regular cables is a bonus.
If you want a more in-depth analysis of what the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is capable of, in addition to the differences that this add-in card brings to the table, take a look at our review of the Founder’s Edition, where we looked at the Nvidia Ampere architecture.
Fortunately, instead of going for the weird 12-pin power connector that Nvidia debuted with its RTX 30 Founders Edition series cards, this replacement monster has three standard 8-pin power connectors. As we test out-of-the-box performance, we don’t overclock as part of our analysis process, but with that extra power connector – Founders Edition only needs 2 8-pin power connectors for its adapter – there’s potential to push even more power through this GPU for extra performance.
In our tests, however, the power consumption remained almost the same as the RTX 3090 Founders Edition, reaching around 373W. But with temperatures reaching just 74 ° C with the standard fan curve, there is definitely some space to adjust if you are comfortable.
Not that you generally feel the need to overclock the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio right away. This MSI expansion card is about 4-10% faster than Founders Edition in our tests, with the most extreme case being Far Cry 5, where MSI was 10% faster.
One of the main reasons for this is that, in our tests, the MSI card is frequently reaching 1,800-1,900 MHz in the game, which is 100-200 MHz higher than the Founders Edition.
We also spent a lot of time playing with this card on our personal machine, where it really made Cyberpunk 2077 playable in 4K, although we had to rely on DLSS to really pass on a non-slide show effect. It seems like yesterday that Nvidia was launching the RTX 3090 as an 8K graphics card that will effortlessly break everything in 4K.
With the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio, you’ll be able to blast your way through all the beautiful lights for a playable frame rate, but don’t expect to run the next generation’s heavy games at 8K 60 fps without turning all buttons down.
Now that we’ve had our first glimpses of what next generation games really look like, it looks like a lot of AAA PC games are going to push more and more effects into the game, which means that you may unfortunately need a card of this caliber to power up everything eye candy in 4K. That wouldn’t be a problem if 4K wasn’t being promoted as the new standard for games as a whole – we recommend playing at 1440p at the end of the day.
Once on your PC, however, the MSI Gaming X Trio has an attractive design. It is essentially the same as the RTX 3080 model we have already tested, so it measures a huge 12.71 inches in length – this video card will not exactly fit in a mini-ITX case. On our personal equipment, which we recently, uh, remodeled, it looks fantastic, and that little RGB strip fits extremely well. Although, of course, your mileage may vary depending on the theme of your build.
The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio comes with a support that you can use to support the size of the card as well, which will be extremely useful for users who have motherboards without built-in PCIe support. However, if you are spending so much money on a video card, you probably also have a premium motherboard.
When it comes to ports, the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is the same story as Founders Edition. You get three DisplayPort and one HDMI 2.1. The latter is practically necessary for 8K games, but as with the Founders Edition, we would like to have a USB-C port, as it would be extremely useful for creative workers who need these 24 GB of VRAM.
In a perfect world, where video cards are readily available – and who knows, hopefully 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’s room for overclocking and, of course, RGB lighting, which we all know is the most important thing in a gaming PC 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’re going to buy an RTX 3090 anyway
If you are looking for an RTX 3090, the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio is one of the best options available.
Do you want to play next generation games in 4K with ray tracing
If the first “next generation” games proved anything, you will need a powerful graphics card to activate all beautiful graphics settings at a solid frame rate. The RTX 3090 is going to be the best option for that.
You want a version of the RTX 3090 with some sick RGB lighting
The MSI RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio has a beautiful strip of RGB lighting along the side 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 gigantic video card and many people with smaller cases will have a hard time fitting it into their cases.
You’re on 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 the retail price. If you don’t want to spend nearly two thousand on a graphics card, this is not for you.