MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X review – a weirdly priced Nvidia GPU kaiju

The MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X is a monstrous custom graphics card, but its price means you're probably better off waiting for an Nvidia RTX 4000 GPU

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X sitting fans facing camera with little red dragon sitting on right

Our Verdict

The Suprim X is an impressive powerhouse GPU that showcases the abilities of Nvidia Ampere, but its current price means its not a wise gaming PC upgrade.

The MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X is a goliath graphics card with impressive gaming PC capabilities, and its performance will please enthusiasts across the board. It isn’t the head of the GPU food chain, as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti currently sits at the top of the teraflop totem pole. Nevertheless, this custom take on the green team’s premium card packs serious power within a package that can handle the heat.

Sadly, MSI’s high-end Nvidia GPU has a peculiar pricing problem. For whatever reason, you can actually grab the best graphics card – the RTX 3090 Ti Suprim X – for less, something that throws the GPU’s relevancy into question.

Pros Cons
Impressive overclocked specs More expensive than RTX 3090 Ti
Efficient cooling Three 8-pin connectors
 Great RGB lighting

The graphics card scene is in a bit of a pickle right now, and you could say the MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X is a victim of circumstance. Prices are only just returning to normal after a lengthy shortage, but this doesn’t reflect the same drop you’d usually see right around the corner from the next-generation RTX 4000 launch. It’s also contending with rivals from Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, Zotac, and as mentioned before, itself.

Pricing predicaments aside, the MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X is still a heavy hitter that gobbles up the best PC games for breakfast. This graphics card wants to be served a charcuterie board of ray tracing, ultra settings, and 4K resolutions, and you won’t even have to boost fps manually to let this GPU Kaiju feast.

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X with red dragon mascot on left

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X specs

Just like other factory overclocked graphics cards, the MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X comes with a higher boost clock ceiling. It still features a 1,395MHz base clock, but reaches 1,860MHz when push comes to shove.

Naturally, that means the RTX 3090 Suprim X is faster than Nvidia’s reference card, which clocks in at 1,695MHz. It can technically trade blows with the RTX 3090 Ti in terms of boost clock, even if it’s still not ferocious enough to take on its Suprim X sibling.

3090 Suprim X
Nvidia RTX
3090 reference
3090 Ti Suprim X
Nvidia RTX
3090 Ti reference
GPU  GA102 GA102  GA102   GA102
Cores  10,496  10,496  10,752   10,752
RT Cores  82 82 84  84
Tensor Cores  328 328 336 336
Memory bus 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit
Memory bandwidth 936.2GB/s 936.2GB/s 1,008GB/s 1,008GB/s
Base clock 1,395MHz 1,395MHz 1,560MHz 1,560MHz
Boost clock 1,860MHz 1,695MHz 1,950MHz 1,860MHz
TDP 350W 350W 480W 350W
Price $1,799 ($1,399) $1,499
$1,999 (£1,700)

Equipped with 24GB GDDR6X VRAM, even the greediest games will struggle to gobble up its available memory. However, it certainly helps when it comes to higher resolutions and ray tracing, and having more than enough should help future-proof the card for a couple of years.

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X GPU inside PCV case with RGB lit logo and backplate

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X design

I’ve already made several gags about the MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X’s size, but it’s certainly the biggest GPU I’ve ever used. Featuring a chonky brushed metal shroud and a Tri Frozr S2 cooling fan system, this card doesn’t remotely care about taking up gaming PC space. Put it this way, it makes the inside of my spacious Corsair iCUE 5000T PC case feel cramped, almost like an uno reverse Tardis effect.

That’s not to say I dislike the RTX 3090 Surprim X’s large and in charge stature, as its big body is equipped with ice-cold features. MSI clearly takes cooling its GeForce giant seriously, as its package includes a triple threat of Torx 4.0 fans, a dedicated network of memory module heat pipes, a solid nickel-plated copper GPU baseplate, and additional core pipes.

Make no mistake, the RTX 3090 is a ridiculously hot SKU, and all that extra Suprim X heft plays a vital role when it comes to overclocked performance. It’s for this reason that the Suprim X setup doesn’t feel over-engineered when paired with the GPU, as idle temps can reach as low as 38°C. Under load, the card rarely ventures beyond 70°C, and the fact its backplate feels like a griddle to the touch is a testament to its heat-shifting abilities.

The RTX 3090 Suprim X isn’t all business, as it’s got an impressive party of RGB lights up front. I’m not completely convinced every PC part should be clad in LEDs, but MSI’s colourful strip and illuminated logo look the part, and I’ll miss the light show it provides once it leaves my case.

Rather than using a single 12-pin cable, you’ll need to hook the RTX 3090 Suprim X to your power supply using three 8-pin connectors. This means you’ll have to go out your way to manage cables, and using the cheaper cords included with your PSU could spoil the GPU’s good looks.

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X graphics card inside case

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X performance

Every powerhouse GPU has a performance ceiling, but it takes a lot to stress the Suprim X out. This RTX 3090 variant rips its way through the most taxing PC gaming experiences – even notoriously stubborn releases like Cyberpunk 2077. In fact, the card makes short work of the CD Projekt Red RPG with ultra ray tracing presets enabled, but you’ll still need to rely on scaling tools like Nvidia DLSS to maintain that 4K 60fps sweet spot.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a bit of a nuisance, as it’s still not the optimised experience it should be on PC. It’s perhaps the reason why the RTX 3090 Ti exists in the first place, as a Suprim X with the beefier Ampere GPU could pump out a few extra frames and save enthusiasts from tinkering with settings.

Of course, if you’re that much of an fps fusspot, you’re probably holding out for an RTX 4090 anyway, but I’d still class the RTX 3090 Suprim X as a current-gen spectacle, particularly when it comes to 4K. Sure, you’ll see a metaphorical bead of sweat while it deals with ray tracing and ultra settings, but running Hitman 3 with absolutely everything cranked up is a bit like watching Tobey Macguire hold back a train in Spider-Man 2 – it might be struggling, but it’s still damn impressive.

Here and now performance is all fine and well, but heavyweight future releases could put the RTX 3090 Suprim to the test, especially if new mid-range cards pack a similar punch. While I, unfortunately, can’t leap forward in time and see how it handles Starfield or the Elder Scrolls VI, playing the Metal: Hellsinger demo provided me with some confidence when it comes to near future performance.

For context, I previously had to fall back to 1440p to play Metal: Hellsinger with higher settings enabled on an MSI RTX 3070 Ventus 2x. Comparatively, the RTX 3090 Suprim X transforms the best gaming monitor into a 4K portal to hell, with frame rates reaching around 80fps. I’m not saying I’m surprised that an ethusiast card can outperform mid-tier contenders, but this comparison suggests it’s worth making the current-gen jump for the right price.

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X graphics card on white surface

MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X price

Singing the MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X GPU’s praises would be easy if not for the screeching price problem at the back of the choir. It feels like this particular model didn’t quite get the GPU price drop memo, as it still costs a whopping $1,690 USD on sites like Amazon. Weirder still, the RTX 3090 Ti version of the same card is currently available for $1,199.99 USD. What’s that? You’ve now got a migraine? Me too.

All things considered, the MSI RTX 3090 Suprim X is a monstrous graphics card that showcases what Nvidia Ampere tech can achieve. Next-gen Lovelace frontrunners might be on the way to snatch its current-gen status, but custom cards like the Suprim X could, in theory, persist as a cheaper RTX 4000 alternative.

Unfortunately, now is probably not the right time to invest your gaming PC pennies in an RTX 3090 Suprim X. Whether there will be a good time to pick up the powerhouse GPU remains to be seen, but that all depends on whether stock levels will persist. If you’re absolutely unwilling to wait for the RTX 4090 to arrive, I’d suggest checking out the MSI RTX 3090 Ti Suprim X, as the package costs less, includes a beefier GPU, and everything else that makes the RTX 3090 model stand out.