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MSI GeForce RTX 4090 Suprim X 24G review: Flagship performance

By Hoots the Owl & The Count - 14 Apr 2023
Launch SRP: S$2988

Overview

A class of its own

MSI's GeForce RTX 4090 Suprim X builds on the impressive legacy of its Tri-Frozr cooler. The Suprim X series replaces the Lightning cards at the top of the company's lineup, featuring all the bells and whistles you'd expect from a card of this calibre.

The Suprim X's signature silver brushed metal shroud features prominently, along with modern, angular lines on the cooling shroud. Each fan sits in an octagon cutout and is flanked by an RGB LED strip on just one side, making for a distinctly tasteful look that still manages to capture your eye.

MSI says the Suprim design and its logo concept are inspired by diamond crystals and geometry, as seen by its deliberate use of points, lines, and planes. The series is purposefully crafted to evoke a certain sense of prestige, and the card certainly feels that way with its solid heft and metallic look.

There are small details to take note of as well, such as the bevelled edges that have been polished multiple times over with a diamond-tipped cutter to achieve a mirror-like finish.

To keep the GeForce RTX 4090 GPU cool, MSI has gone with a Tri-Frozr 3S cooler, an upgraded version of its signature cooling solution from the previous generation. This means improved fans and airflow control, among other things, including Torx 5.0 fans that supposedly boost airflow by a whopping 23% compared to regular axial fans. However, for maximum noise reduction, the fans will stop spinning when the GPU is under low load.

Ring arcs link sets of three fan blades (the previous version linked two fan blades) that focus airflow into the heatsink. Each fan blade is also tilted by 22 degrees to maintain high-pressure airflow even at slower rotational speeds. On top of that, the trailing end of each ring arc folds inward to reduce turbulence and drag, says MSI.

To further improve airflow stability, a fan cowl extends beyond the fan enclosure to lengthen the air passageway. Bulging notches under the cowl then help to reduce recirculation and focus airflow. Finally, a vapor chamber covers the GPU and VRAM, transferring heat to the heat pipes.

These pipes have been precision-crafted to make maximum use of the available space. This means a squared-off section to make full contact with the vapor chamber to spread heat along the full length of the heatsink more efficiently.

The heatsink itself employs various fin designs to disrupt unwanted airflow harmonics and reduce noise. The filled fins allow more space for additional heatsink fins, while what MSI calls wave-curved 3.0 fins increase efficiency by adjusting the size of the wave edges under the fan motor and other areas where there is less airflow. Air antegrade fins feature a V-shaped cutout, located at the airflow passthrough to improve flow efficiency. It does this by optimising the inclination angle and increasing the wave notch to shape air resistance toward the centre, pushing out warm air more quickly in a fashion similar to a nozzle.

There is passive cooling at work too in the form of a sturdy metal backplate. Thermal pads sit beneath the backplate for improved heat transfer, while ventilation cutouts reduce trapped heat.

The PCB employs custom components as well, including high-efficiency carbonyl inductors. Their one-piece molding process supposedly allows this design to operate with less choke noise and better electric filtering. What MSI calls smart power stages, or SPS, also allow for more accurate current regulation with lower resistance. This means less power loss and less heat produced.

A dual BIOS switch also lets you quickly switch between full performance in Gaming mode, or low noise in Silent mode. If you download MSI Center, you can also engage even more aggressive boost clocks of up to 2,640MHz, up from 2,625MHz in Gaming and Silent mode.

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8.5
  • Performance 9
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 8
The Good
Good cooling performance
Will run any game at max settings
Modern, tasteful design
The Bad
Chunky design will not fit in every case
High power draw
Pricey
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