The RTX 4090 proved to be the most powerful graphics card in the market, too powerful for some with its 450W TDP and controversial 12VHPWR connector. Controversy and drama aside, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition is a stellar card that sets the bar for add-in-board partners with their custom coolers. One of those AIB cards that are on par or should be greater than the 4090 FE’s cooling and performance is the Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V. The Vulcan OC-V is the brand’s flagship model next to the Neptune, Colorful’s water-cooled GPU line. Let’s see how the iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan stacks up against the highly acclaimed RTX 4090 Founders Edition.
Nvidia Ada Lovelace Architecture
Following the success of the RTX 30 series card and the Ampere architecture, Nvidia continues to double down on its proven and tested formula with the debut of the Nvidia Ada Lovelace architecture featuring 76 Billion Transistors. Nvidia has moved from Samsung 8N to TSMC’s 4N process, resulting in much bigger performance gains and slighter higher pricing as TSMC recently hiked up its prices. The new Ada Lovelace features 3rd Generation RT Cores at 200 RT TFLOPs and 4th Gen Tensor Cores for 1,4000 TFLOPs as well as a new streaming multiprocessor with up to 2x power efficiency. Moreover, Ada Lovelace also brings in new features exclusive to the RTX 40 series graphics card such as DLSS 3, AV1 Encoding, and Shader Execution Reordering.
Shader Execution Reordering
Shader Execution Reodering largely contributes to the performance gains of the RTX 40 series GPUs thanks to the more efficient usage of the shaders. SER is a scheduling system that reorders shading work on-the-fly for better execution efficiency, especially on ray-traced workloads. Think hyperthreading plus thread director but for GPUs particularly the RTX 40 series where the rays are reordered so that the ones that are running on the same program or similar are grouped together resulting in the shader working consistently instead of waiting on each other.
SER is an NVAPI extension meaning that developers would have to enable it on their games. We should expect SER to be heavily and quickly adopted especially in games where there are already Nvidia features enabled such as Reflex, RTX, and DLSS.
DLSS 3 uses the 4th Gen Tensor Cores and the Optical Flow Accelerator of the RTX 40 series to improve overall performance using AI-generated frames. In addition to already upscaling existing frames like DLSS 2, DLSS 3 generates intermediate frames in your game aka inserting AI-generated frames to improve performance. The RTX 40 series GPU will analyze two in-game frames and generate an optical flow field, closely looking at all elements in the game and using the information gathered to construct a frame in between. Additionally, DLSS 3 incorporates Nvidia Reflex ultra-low-latency solution making your games way more responsive and providing more frames. Games that support DLSS 3 will automatically support Nvidia Reflex.
DLSS 3 can be used by older Nvidia RTX graphics card but won’t be able to fully maximize the feature as the biggest improvement of the technology, Frame Generation, is exclusive to the RTX 40 series graphics cards.
|RTX 40 SERIES SPECS||GeForce RTX 4090||GeForce RTX 4080 (16GB)||GeForce RTX 4080 (12GB)|
|Boost Clock (GHz)||2.52||2.51||2.61|
|Base Clock (GHz)||2.23||2.21||2.31|
|Memory Config||24GB GDDR6X||16GB GDDR6X||12GB GDDR6X|
|Required System power||850W||750W||700W|
|Price||Php 112,300||Php 84,200||Php 63,200|
Three graphics cards were announced at GTC 2022 namely the GeForce RTX 4090 and two variants of the RTX 4080, a 16GB and 12GB variant similar to the current RTX 3080 that has a 10GB and 12GB version. The RTX 4090 is the brand’s flagship graphics card however the 4090 isn’t the maxed-out version of the AD 102 GPU so we’re expecting an RTX 4090 Ti in the future, should Nvidia see the need to release one. Going back to the RTX 4090 and 3090 Ti, the 4090 is only $100 more than the launch price of the latter and is considerably cheap when you take into account the performance gains, inflation, and global economic recession that we’re in.
Nvidia RTX 4090
The RTX 4090 has 52% more CUDA cores than the outgoing RTX 3090 Ti with a similar percentage increase in RT cores and Tensor cores. At the announcement, Nvidia claimed performance gains of around 2-4x faster than the RTX 3090 Ti with a launch price premium of $100. In the announcement, Nvidia showed rasterization performance graphs aka non-ray-traced titles but subsequent graphs showed Ray Tracing and DLSS enabled to get the four times performance improvement. Nonetheless, it’s still an improvement.
Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V Unboxing and Overview
Colorful’s Vulcan Box art has not changed on its RTX 4090 series with its signature sci-fi warp-like background with an aesthetic shot of the RTX 4090 Vulcan. The back shows a more detailed rundown of the iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan’s feature set, including the iGame Center software.
The Unboxing experience surely feels premium as you are greeted with a “Love what you play” text.” Packaging Content is as follows:
- Anti-Sag Bracket Kit
- Nvidia 12VHPWR Adapter – 4x 8pin PCI-E
- Detachable LCD display and dock kit
- Vulcan lightboard
- USB 2.0 header connector
- Manual and Warranty Documentation
Before we go into the actual graphics card, let’s first appreciate what Colorful has done with its warning sticker against cryptocurrency warning. We’ve seen this warning first on the Inno3D RTX 3080 Ti iGame X4 OC, still, it’s a good move by the Colorful and we hope to see more of this in the future.
The Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V, in the picture, looks not as large due to its sharp angles with reflective finishes on some parts making it feel like a premium GPU. Spoiler alert, the GPU looks cooler once plug thanks to its RGB lighting.
The brushed aluminum backplate covers almost the entire surface of the RTX 4090 Vulcan and even extends to the PCB, doubling as a support bracket to improve overall rigidity and reduce GPU sag. The right side has a cutout that exposes the heatsinks allowing the right-most to push air without obstruction thus increasing cooling efficiency. This design is heavily adopted from Nvidia’s flowthrough cooler originally found on the RTX 30 Founders Edition cards.
The flashy cooler shroud doesn’t extend through the sides of the cooler as the side has a simpler design that prioritizes airflow with the exposed heatsink. To make up for the arguably “dull design”, the center side of the GPU can be equipped with either a Vulcan lightboard RGB module or the iGame smart LCD. These modules attach to the GPU via magnets and are sturdy enough to hold them once installed in a case. Do note that the Smart LCD falls off more easily compared to the lighter logo module.
Like the RTX 4090 Founders Edition, the Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V uses the infamous 12+4pin 12VHPWR connector. The GPU comes with a 4x 8pin PCI-E adapter for those who don’t have an ATX 3 PSU available. Moreover, you could also use three 8-pins, limiting the total available power to only 450W instead of the 4x 8pin’s 600W. Next to the 12VHPWR is a connector to control the GPU’s RGB lighting and for uploading data to the Smart LCD.
The standard three Display Port 1.4 ports and one HDMI 2.1 port are present on the RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V. There’s a dual-BIOS switch that serves as a one-click overclock button for the card. The LED around the switch lights up when pressed indicating that you’re using the OC BIOS. Using the OC BIOS gives a higher boost clock of 2625 MHz, +105 MHz more than the standard boost.
We’ll be using its OC BIOS for our benchmarks as we expect users who buy the Vulcan OC-V model to use the said BIOS for their games.
Size-wise, the Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V measures 348.5 x 159.5 x 70.4 mm and is considerably longer than the RTX 4090 Founders Edition. It’s also heavier at around 2.5kg compared to the FE’s 2.2kg weight. The longer length greatly limits your PC case selection to ATX and E-ATX options and will likely remove the possibility of a front-radiator mount in most cases(pun intended).
iGame Center 2.0 Software and Smart LCD
Alongside the release of the Colorful RTX 40 series is a new all-in-one software, the iGame Center 2.0. This software lets you manage RGB lighting, hardware monitoring, overclocking, and even comes with social features albeit currently limited to Chinese social platforms.
iGameCenter 2.0 lets you customize the detachable Smart LCD display and can store up to eight modes. You can also upload images, videos, and GIFs to have them play on the 800×216 display. There is a limit on the media that you can store as the module can only store up to 62MB worth of data. When uploading GIFs or videos, we recommend using the cable for a much faster and smoother experience.
The ability to swap the modules on the go without the need to restart the PC is very convenient as you have the option to go for a simpler look or go all-out with the display. The iGame Smart LCD display module has an upgraded resolution of 800x216px coming from the RTX 30 Vulcan’s 480x128px resolution. The display is bright enough to naturally blend in a PC case and shine through any tempered glass side panel and the upgraded resolution results in a much sharp image and animation.
One cool feature about the iGame Smart LCD is that you can place it vertically for when you have the Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V mounted vertically on say a riser.
Should you want to just use the Vulcan RGB lighting module on your graphics card, you can repurpose the iGame Smart LCD via the USB Dock. You can use it to display PC statistics so that you won’t have to tab out or use 3rd party software to monitor stats such as clock speeds and temps.
Test Bench Setup and Benchmark Methodology
Gadget Pilipinas’ testing philosophy is to provide detail-oriented results as accurately as possible so that our readers can replicate our tests given that these conditions are met. Different benchmarking apps and sequences are used depending on the component or device being tested.
Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V Testbench Specs
|CPU||Intel Core i9 13900K|
|COOLER||ASUS ROG RYUJIN II 360mm V2 – Noctua NT-H2 Thermal Paste|
|MOTHERBOARD||Gigabyte Z790 Aorus Master|
|MEMORY||Kingston Fury Beast RGB 32GB(2x16GB) 6000 MHz DDR5|
|GPU||Nvidia RTX 4090 FE | Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V | 526.72 driver|
|STORAGE||Kingston KC3000 1TB PCI-E Gen 4 SSD|
|POWERSUPPLY||ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II PSU|
|OPERATING SYSTEM||Windows 11 Pro Build 22H2|
|DISPLAY||Lenovo Legion Y27Q Gaming Monitor|
We use CapFrameX 1.7.0 Beta as our primary FPS capture and analysis tool for all our gaming benchmarks. The latest build version of Windows 11 Pro, and WHQL-certified drivers are used for our benchmarks. Readings such as temperatures and power draw are recorded using HWINFO64, and other relevant software for cross-checking.
Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V Benchmarks
COUNTER-STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE
Counter Strike: Global Offensive aka CSGO is an 11-year-old first-person shooter title that’s still widely popular despite its old Source Engine. CS:GO is a great game to test out CPU performance as the game is heavily CPU-dependent like any other FPS title. Our CS:GO benchmark process uses ULLETICAL’s FPS Benchmark workshop mod to measure the hardware’s performance.
Most gamers play at least one of the following free-to-play titles: League of Legends, CS: GO, Dota 2, and/or Fortnite. Dota 2 is a good representation of the F2P titles as it is the most demanding game in the spectrum. The benchmark will give you an idea of the graphic card’s relative performance on other lesser demanding titles. Our benchmark sequence is based on a replay of OG vs. Liquid in the TI9 grand finals from the team fight that happened from 28:30 to 29:30.
Far Cry 5 & Far Cry 6
FarCry 5 is an FPS game published by Ubisoft and uses the Dunia engine. It heavily relies on and takes advantage of DirectX 11 to render a realistic environment that makes it taxing to both the CPU and GPU. Far Cry 6 is the latest installment in the franchise which utilizes DirectX 12 to run the virtual world of Yara.
Rainbow Six Siege
Rainbow Six Seige is one of the few popular AAA games that’s still popular in 2021 due to its competitive gameplay mechanics. R6S uses the AnvilNext game engine, which the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, developed. As of writing, Rainbow Six Siege is currently the most popular Tom Clancy title beating out Wildlands, Breakpoint, and even Division 2.
Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably the most hyped game of 2020. Developed by CD Projekt Red, the dystopian open-world, action-adventure RPG sports is one of the most demanding titles to date. Cyberpunk 2077 also supports three Ray Tracing settings as well as DLSS which makes the game a great tool to measure Ray tracing performance for both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.
Shadow of The Tomb Raider
Shadow of The Tomb Raider or SOTR is the latest installment of the Lara Croft Tomb Raider franchise. Developed by Square Enix, SOTR uses the Foundation engine and is further enhanced by Eidos Montreal. SOTR is also one of the first games to come out with Ray Tracing and DLSS support.
Metro Exodus is the third Metro game trilogy based on Dmitry Glukhovsky’s novels. The game is a first-person shooter with survival horror and stealth elements. The post-apocalyptic game uses 4A Engine by 4A games. Released last 2019, Metro Exodus remains to be one of the most graphically pleasing and demanding games that’s popular to date.
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is the latest franchise installment from Ubisoft. It’s by far the most popular and stable Assassin’s Creed title since AC IV: Black Flag. It uses the AnvilNext 2.0 game engine, an updated version of Rainbow Six Siege’s game engine, and uses the DirectX 12 API.
F1 2020 and F1 22
F1 2020 is the official video game of the 2020 Formula 1 and Formula 2 championships developed by Codemasters. F1 2020 is the twelfth installment in the franchise and uses the Ego Engine 3.0. F1 2020 is a good representation of racing games thanks to its realistic graphics and fairly demanding spec requirements.
HORIZON ZERO DAWN
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the most popular console-port RPG developed by Guerilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Horizon Zero Dawn is a multi-award-winning action RPG, and its popularity resulted in an exclusive Complete Edition game bundle on Steam.
Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V Temperatures and Power Daw
The Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V’s much larger package isn’t just for show as it proves to be way cooler than the already behemoth RTX 4090 FE card. The RTX 4090 Vulcan has a 0dB fan technology which the fans don’t spin until a certain threshold is reached and we were surprised to see a 29°C idle temp with the feature turned on. Even though this is our first AIB 4090 review, we’re confident that the Colorful RTX 4090 Vulcan will be the coolest RTX 4090 GPU in our labs for a long while.
On the Colorful website, the Colorful RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V has a rated TDP of 500W with a recommended power supply of 1000W or greater. Despite its 500W rating with the OC switched turned on for testing, we only managed to record a peak power draw of 448.663W, almost capping the 450W TDP of the RTX 4090. That said, there’s obviously more overclocking headroom available for the card as seen in our temps and power draw graph, so users will definitely enjoy tinkering with the card to get more framerates.
The RTX 4090 is without a doubt a premium graphics card with its bizarre $1599 price tag with the RTX 4090 Founders Edition variant setting a high standard when it comes to performance and cooling. It’s more than safe to say that the standard has been met and in some cases, exceeded by the Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V graphics card. Its stable performance with an easy 1-click overclock makes for a solid gaming experience. Its size may be a big hindrance for those looking to get an upgrade, but for those who have no concerns with case compatibility, the Colorful RTX 4090 Vulcan is an easy choice as you get reliable build quality, top-tier performance, and aesthetics that can match any setup with the iGame Smart LCD.
Overall, the Colorful iGame RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V is a premium graphics card and a great alternative to regions where the Founders Edition isn’t available due to the reasons mentioned above. Sure, its price of Php 122,000 is Php 10k more than the starting price of RTX 4090s locally, but in turn, you’re getting more features, a more premium build, and more performance to spare over the base variants at Php 112,000.
Grant is a Financial Management graduate from UST. His passion for gadgets and tech crossed him over in the industry where he could apply his knowledge as an enthusiast and in-depth analytic skills as a Finance Major. His passion allows him to earn at the same time help Gadget Pilipinas' readers in making smart, value-based decisions and purchases with his reviews and guides.