In the battle between RTX 4080 laptop vs RTX 4090 laptop GPUs, which is worth your hard-earned money the most?
Updated: March 17, 2023 1:16 AM
See below for everything you need to know RTX 4090 Laptop vs RTX 4080 Laptop performance, price and specification data to help you choose between these massively powerful Nvidia 40s series laptop graphics cards.
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RTX 4080 Laptop vs RTX 4090 Laptop Specs
|RTX 4080 graphics card for laptops||RTX 4090 laptop graphics card|
|VRAM||12GB DDR6||16GB GDDR6|
|Memory bandwidth||432 GB/sec||576 GB/sec|
|TGP||50-150W (175W with boost)||80-150W (175W with boost)|
GPU & CUDA cores
Nvidia’s GPU naming convention means bigger/better GPUs actually have a smaller number. As a result, the AD103 GPU in the RTX 4090 laptop graphics card is the more powerful of the two (in case you were wondering, the prefix AD is the shortened version of ‘Ada Lovelace’ – the name of the architecture 40s series GPUs are based on).
The RTX 4090 laptop has the clear advantage in CUDA Cores, with 31% more, which should translate to significantly more processing power.
Clock speed & TGP
Clock speed is one of the main determinants when looking at performance, although in this case the two graphics cards have an equal higher clock number (although the RTX 4090 has more cores running at the same speed).
TGP (Total Graphics Power) is the usual determinant of how much power the graphics card draws, which has a direct impact on output power (in FPS terms, say) as well as a laptop’s battery life. Both cards have the same upper TGP limit, although the floor is lower on the RTX 4080.
VRAM, memory bus and memory bandwidth
VRAM, or video random access memory, is essentially the short-term memory of the graphics card that acts as a frame buffer and pixel store. The memory bus and bandwidth allow the transfer of this information. More VRAM and a larger memory bus/bandwidth provide a smoother experience with better frame rate and latency. It is especially useful for larger resolutions, as they have more pixels to fill many gigabytes.
As you can see, both the bus size and bandwidth on the RTX 4090 are larger, meaning it should have an edge at higher resolutions.
RTX 4090 Laptop vs RTX 4080 Laptop Price
It’s hard to say exactly the price difference between RTX 4090 laptops and RTX 4080 laptops as it varies from brand to brand, model to model, but overall, all else being equal, you’re talking about about $600-$800 extra for the RTX 4090 model.
Oftentimes, though, “everything else” isn’t usually equal: RTX 4090 laptops typically come with more RAM and SSD storage than their RTX 4080 counterparts in most online stores, which further increases the relative price.
Check out our Where to Buy RTX 4080 Laptop and Where to Buy RTX 4090 Laptop pages for the different models available for purchase in your area.
RTX 4090 Laptop vs RTX 4080 Laptop Performance
Jarrod’sTech, the number one true blue gaming laptop, has done its usual excellent job benchmarking RTX 4080 and RTX 4090 laptops in a number of different videos (click on the links if you want to see them). While he didn’t compare the two directly, he compared the performance of both against last year’s most powerful gaming laptop GPU, the RTX 3080 Ti, in 25 games, and from this we can compare the performance of the two for ourselves. .
As you can see in the third set of results where we took the difference between the tests, the performance difference increases as the resolution increases, which is not surprising given the extra VRAM and CUDA cores in the RTX 4090. In almost all cases the RTX 4090 outperforms to some degree, though there are a few of the 25 games tested where there’s barely any performance boost between the two GPUs, and one game (Microsoft Flight Simulator – a well-known CPU-dependent title) where the RTX 4080 actually performed better at 1080p resolution, though this may be due to variances on that particular test.
RTX 4080 Laptop vs RTX 3080 Ti Laptop FPS Benchmarks
- 1080p: 28.79% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4080 (ranging between 12 – 43%)
- 1440p: 30.57% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4080 (ranging between 18 – 39%)
- 4K: 26.59% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4080 (ranging between 0.5 – 37%)
RTX 4090 Laptop vs RTX 3080 Ti Laptop FPS Benchmarks
- 1080p: 43.94% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4090 (ranging between 4 – 72%)
- 1440p: 52.76% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4090 (ranging between 18 – 72%)
- 4K: 53.38% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4090 (ranging between 18 – 65%)
- 1080p: 15.15% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4090 (ranging between -8 – 29%)
- 1440p: 22.19% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4090 (ranging between 0 – 33%)
- 4K: 26.79% average increase in FPS for the RTX 4090 (ranging between 17 – 28%)
RTX 4090 Laptop vs RTX 4080 Laptop: Which One Should You Buy?
As discussed, the price difference for an RTX 4090 laptop GPU can be around $600-$800 which can translate to a price increase of anywhere from 15% – 27% of the laptop’s MSRP, depending on the value of the laptop: for the expensive Razer Blade 18s it’s closer to 15%, but for the (relatively) affordable MSI Stealth it’s closer to 27%.
However, regardless of the percentage, $600-$800 is still a lot of money, and we can definitively say that if you only want to game at 1080p, you shouldn’t bother with an RTX 4090 machine. At 1440p/1600p resolution, the choice is a bit more uncertain, although we’d lean towards the RTX 4080 laptop unless you’re also going to be using your laptop for demanding display/workstation tasks beyond gaming. However, at 4K resolution, we’d choose the RTX 4090 laptop over the RTX 4080.
If you only want to play a few different games on your laptop, be sure to check how they perform on both GPUs. If you’re buying a gaming laptop primarily to play Microsoft Flight Simulator, we definitely don’t recommend buying an RTX 4090 laptop.
See below for our current top picks from both devices, or read our best RTX 4080 laptop guide and best RTX 4090 laptop guide for more.
Our RTX 4090 laptop picks
Best all-round RTX 4090 gaming laptop
MSI Raider GE78HX 17.3″ (i9-13980HX, RTX 4090)
RTX 4090 gaming laptop with the best price
GIGABYTE AORUS 17.3″ (i9-13950HX, RTX 4090)
Variable 4K/FHD resolution RTX 4090 gaming laptop
Razer Blade 16 (4K/FHD, i9-13950HX, RTX 4090)
Our RTX 4080 laptop picks
Best Overall RTX 4080 Gaming Laptop (Great Value!)
ASUS ROG Strix G18 (i9-13980HX)
An affordable RTX 4080 gaming laptop with a 360Hz screen
GIGABYTE AORUS 17H (i7-13700H, RTX 4080)
A high-TGP RTX 4080 laptop with Cherry MX keyboard option
XMG Neo 16 E23 / Electronics MECH16 GP2 (i9-13900HX)
Frequently Asked Questions about RTX 4080 laptop vs RTX 4090 laptop
What is the difference between an RTX 4080 laptop graphics card and an RTX 4090 laptop graphics card?
Graphics cards for RTX 4090 laptops have a significantly higher CUDA core count, VRAM, and memory bandwidth than RTX 4080 laptops (although their increased clock speed is the same).
However, the RTX 4090 costs significantly more.
Is It Worth Buying An RTX 4090 Laptop?
RTX 4090 laptops are definitely worth buying (assuming you can afford the cost) if you’re determined to game in 4K or VR.
For 1440p/1600p gaming, you might want to save your money and opt for an RTX 4080, though the RTX 4090 laptop will still show some improvement.
RTX 4090 Laptop vs RTX 4080 Laptop: Final Word
Hopefully, you now know everything you need to know about the RTX 4090 Laptop vs RTX 4080 Laptop graphics cards, enough to help you make the right purchase. Be sure to check out our countless other gaming laptop guides in the mega menu above.