QuasarZone has an intriguing comparison between power throttling and undervolting on NVIDIA’s top GeForce RTX 4090 GPU.
More than a month ago, launch reviews indicated that the power efficiency of the RTX 4090 is already quite good. Critics have previously shown that, despite the relatively high TDP of 450 W, the card barely reaches this limit during gameplay. The map can be further fine-tuned to display even more efficiency to add to the intrigue.
The RTX 4090 approach to power throttling has been proven in those reviews before, but undervolting is a bit more complicated and should be emphasized by all reviewers. In this situation, we get a decent comparison of both ways with the same card and game list, albeit small.
QuasarZone put the RTX 4090 through five games (Cyberpunk 2077, Marvel Spider-Man Remastered, Forza Horizon 5, Lostark and PUBG Battlegrounds). To ensure that the GPU, not other components, can become a bottleneck, all games are tested at 4K and with the highest quality settings
In short, power has become much more efficient, regardless of which method was used. Undervolting produces better results, implying a faster clock and lower power consumption, but it is also more difficult to implement.
It should go without saying that the power limit option is significantly easier to use (it only requires one slider adjustment in tools like MSI Afterburner). Performance degradation, however, is hardly noticeable, regardless of the chosen technique. Even with the most extensive adjustments, performance has only decreased by up to 8%, while power consumption has decreased by more than 110W. In this case, the RTX 4090 was running at just under half of its claimed TDP.