It’s been my opinion for a while now that VR was “almost but not quite there” when it comes to Sim Racing and Flight Sims. While there’s some absolutely awesome headsets our there that are capable of insane clarity, in my opinion the PC hardware to actually take advantage of it wasn’t quite there yet. That is until the RTX 4090 came along. So today we’re taking a look at exactly what the RTX 4090 brings to the table in terms of performance with a range of high end VR Headsets including the HP Reverb G2, Varjo Aero, Pimax 5K Super and Pimax 8KX to see exactly what’s now possible!

Full reviews of the VR Headsets used in this test

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As expected, we saw a pretty wide variation in performance uplift compared to the 3090, between 60-80% depending on the game and it’s VR optimisation.

For the purpose of comparison, I tuned all the titles we tested such to achieve as close as I could to a stable frame rate of 80FPS. I chose this number as for me personally, this is the point where anything lower simply becomes unplayable for me in VR.
You can of course further tune and optimise the settings for each headset to increase or decrease the visual fidelity depending on your preference, but the important point here is that in most cases, some sacrifice is required to achieve stable frame rates above 70-80FPS, whether that be resolution, or visual detail, shadows, antialiasing, DLSS, etc.

I tested in ACC, AC, iRacing, Automobilista 2, Dirt Rally 2, F1 22, and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 so let’s go through each title in more detail now.

Assetto Corsa Competizione

As expected, ACC was the most difficult title to tune, and unfortunately did still require some sacrifices in terms of visual fidelity to achieve a stable frame rate above 70FPS without Foveated or Fixed Foveated Rendering. Running VR Epic preset (maximum setting) on the HP Reverb G2, Varjo Aero and Pimax 5K Super, frame rates were on average around 50FPS with a full field of cars, with dips below 30FPS at times with Foveated Rendering disabled.

However with some tuning of resolution scaling, graphics settings and foveated rendering where available, I was able to achieve a balance of settings in the High to Epic range without dropping resolution scaling below 80% and this did result in a significantly better experience than I was able to achieve with my 3090, where I would need to run all settings pretty much at their minimum to achieve similar stable frame rates. In rainy and nighttime conditions with headlights/fog, etc, more sacrifice in visual quality was required as is to be expected.

If you’re already playing ACC on a high-end VR headset and used to having to make heavy sacrifices to visual quality, you will certainly appreciate the improvements that come with the 4090. It delivers a far more immersive experience, another 20 FPS or so would basically mean you could run the game at max settings with no sacrifices required.

RTX 4090 VR test ACC
RTX 4090 VR Assetto Corsa Competizione

Assetto Corsa

Performance here was impressive, this is of course an 8 year old game now, so I threw everything I could at it with the full suit of Custom Shaders Patch mods including rain, puddles, lightning, windscreen and even flame effects, as well as AI traffic on a large scale free roam map, and even with almost maxed out settings still struggled to get dips below 90FPS on any of the headsets.

RTX 4090 VR AC


With its older game engine and lack of more complex visual effects, VR performance in iRacing was already pretty good with the 3090. Performance here really depends on the track you’re driving on. With antialiasing and anistropic filtering turned down to 2x, I was able to crank most everything else to maximum and maintain a stable frame rate over 70 FPS on all the headsets, in many cases over 90FPS. However on tracks like Tsukuba for example where there is a lot of intircate detail close to the edge of the track, frame rates were impacted significantly, and would dip down into the 40s unless I made sacrifices to either resolution or visual quality. As the performance as already pretty good in iRacing on the 3090, the step up was less impressive than ACC. Id say if you’re playing iRacing exclusively, an FPS junkie and really feel the difference between say 70FPS and 100FPS then it’s worth considering an upgrade, otherwise not so much.

RTX 4090 VR iRacing

Automobilista 2

This title has some of the best VR implementation seen in sim racing, and was already stunningly immersive with the 3090. The 4090 takes things a step further and allowed me to maintain stable frame rates regardless of conditions and the number of cars on track at over 70FPS at High-Max settings. As was the case with iRacing, the experience here was already pretty good with the 3090, so I wouldn’t say the 4090 revolutionises Automobilista 2, but again if you’re an FPS junkie, you’ll appreciate the significant performance boost for sure.

RTX 4090 VR AMS2

Dirt Rally 2 and F1 22

Dirt Rally 2 and F1 22 were where I saw the biggest boost in performance from the 4090. Where-as previously I had to run resolution of around 50% or Low detail settings to achieve playable frame rates, Now I was able to run High-Ultra in most conditions with only occasional dips below around 70FPS. Add a bit of resolution scaling and 80-90FPS was achievable. F1 22 is unfortunately still quite glitchy in when it comes to VR which appears to just be down to the game’s integration as I see plenty of complaints regarding poor optimisation and crashes from people running more entry level headsets too, but Dirt Rally 2 was genuinely a transformative experience.

RTX 4090 VR Dirt Rally 2.0
RTX 4090 VR F122

Microsoft Flight SImulator 2020

Microsoft Flight SImulator was another impressive result considering the sheer scale. With the 3090 I struggled to get frame rates over 30FPS without turning the graphics down to the point where the game looked horrible. But with the 4090 I was able to achieve frame rates in the 40 to 50 FPS range, which was enough for the game to be playable and high to ultra settings, which transforms the game. For me 40+ FPS is fine for flight simming, but if you want more you can achieve that at the cost of visual quality.

RT 4090 VR Flight Sim


There were a few gems among the mix, In particular Dirt Rally 2 and ACC where the performance boosts over what was previously possible with the 3090 are significant enough to justify an upgrade. Otherwise while the improvements are of course great, they’re still not quite enough to take 100% advantage of what would otherwise be possible with these high end headsets which will be disappointing for some. So I’d say if you have the money and are driving or flying mostly in VR, or looking at purchasing your first high-end VR headset, then the 4090 is probably the way to go , but if you already have a 3090 and would be stretching to afford a 4090, it might not quite be the leap in VR performance you had hoped it might be when it comes to the actual experience. I’m a sucker for high FPS and visual quality and any sacrifice in either is something that really impacts my enjoyment. For me I’d say the 4090 brings us to about 70-80% of where I hoped it might. Hopefully future optimisations and DLSS3 may push things closer, perhaps the 4090Ti will be even better, but at the end of the day if you’re happy to spend the money to have the best performance possible right now (and potentially for the next 2 years), this is worth considering.