Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 assessment: A shiny future for PC gaming

“The Nvidia RTX 3080 units a brand new commonplace in high-end PC gaming.”

Quick and fluid 4K gaming

Enticing new design

HDMI 2.1 assist

Improved ray tracing and DLSS efficiency

Wants awkward adapter

Requires extra energy

The gaming world’s consideration is concentrated squarely on the upcoming console launches. I get it. Players are lastly getting PC-level gaming in the lounge. Between the value and the upgraded internals, these new consoles are an enormous deal.

However Nvidia hasn’t let the consoles, that are powered by AMD hardware, steal the highlight.

The Nvidia RTX 3080, which is on the market beginning at this time, together with the remainder of the RTX 3000-series, represents the way forward for PC gaming. Boasting essentially the most vital generational leap in Nvidia’s historical past, the RTX 3080 is out to show that true high-end gaming will all the time belong on the PC. Is that this the following leap ahead in PC gaming? Or have consoles lastly caught up?

Design

The RTX 3080 is one classy-looking video card.

The earlier technology of Nvidia GPUs, from the RTX 2060 as much as the RTX 2080 Ti, needed you to understand how premium an expertise you had been getting. The shroud and backplate had been aluminum, and the “Nvidia GeForce” brand glowed inexperienced when powered up. The Tremendous fashions even added a extremely reflective glass-like texture to the floor.

The RTX 3080 takes a extra refined strategy. It makes use of a matte, darkish grey materials. It even options white back-lighting as an alternative of inexperienced. None of that is showy, however it’s consistent with the extra simplistic path of contemporary gaming gear. It received’t stick out sitting subsequent to a stark white NZXT H510i case or a Razer Blade 15. Straight strains and muted colours are modern, and the RTX 3080 displays that.

For one thing with a bit extra edge, third-party playing cards from Asus or MSI will seemingly work simply positive. For me, Nvidia’s reference mannequin appears to be like nice.

Aside from the look, the RTX 3080 additionally encompasses a redesigned cooling system. A fan flanks either side of the shroud, utilizing a singular “push-pull” system of warmth administration. One facet sucks air in, and one other exhausts it out the again. Nvidia says this leads to higher airflow, however the RTX 3080 runs barely hotter than the RTX 2080 Ti. In the identical run of 3DMark Time Spy, the RTX 3080 maxed at 76 levels Celsius, 4 levels hotter than the RTX 2080 Ti. Each nonetheless stayed away from the 80 diploma mark all through all my exams.

The RTX 3080 is sort of an identical in dimension to the RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 Tremendous. Not like the large RTX 3090, the 3080 options simply a typical two-slot design. It slid comfortably right into a 28-liter case that beforehand housed an RTX 2070 Tremendous. It’s nonetheless a big graphics card, in fact, however it’ll slot in your rig in addition to the earlier technology.

Energy and ports

Although it’ll seemingly slot in your case, the RTX 3080 is power-hungry. It calls for 320 watts of devoted energy, and to account for this, Nvidia recommends at the least a 750-watt energy provide to assist your entire system. That alone could imply shopping for a brand new PSU in your system. Beforehand, 650 watts was the usual to assist playing cards just like the RTX 2080 Tremendous or 2080 Ti.

And sure, the rumors are true — the RTX 3080 encompasses a new 12-pin energy connector that requires an adapter to work together with your outdated cables. Nvidia contains the adapter within the field, although nonetheless leaves an ungainly dangling dongle in your case.

For ports, the Nvidia RTX 3080 contains three DisplayPort 1.4a, which assist as much as 144Hz at 4K, in addition to an HDMI 2.1 port. These are the primary video playing cards to assist this new HDMI commonplace, which may show 144Hz at 4K decision. Notably, the following technology of televisions embrace HDMI 2.1 as properly, permitting for a excessive refresh price gaming in the lounge for the primary time.

The USB-C port is gone, which was a function of the RTX 20-series to assist NVLink, a means for operating twin GPUs over SLI. Connecting a number of playing cards to spice up body charges is now an unique function of the RTX 3090. Multi-GPU assist was already dwindling, and the elimination of NVLink on the RTX 3080 is the nail within the coffin.

Structure

The Nvidia RTX 3080, together with the 3070 and 3090, use Nvidia’s new Ampere microarchitecture. It’s based mostly on Samsung’s 8nm node, shrinking the die from the 12nm node used within the Turing structure. This implies extra transistors, and theoretically, increased effectivity.

Ampere encompasses a large 50% soar in CUDA cores, now as much as eight,704. Nvidia’s GPUs are made up of streaming multiprocessors (SM), the person models of processing energy that comprise its CUDA cores.

There’s an essential caveat right here. The Ampere microarchitecture has modified how every CUDA core works in a means that truly makes every particular person a bit much less performant. So, a 50% soar in CUDA cores doesn’t immediately translate to a 50% enhance in body charges, although it’s what will get you the 29.7 teraflops of theoretical efficiency. Nonetheless, this can be a main increase in core depend, and — spoiler alert — it’s going to have an effect once we get to our efficiency exams.

Cuda cores
Reminiscence
Reminiscence interface
Enhance clock
Graphics card energy
RTX 3090
10,496
24GB GDDR6X
384-bit
1.70GHz
350w
RTX 3080
eight,704
10GB GDDR6X
320-bit
1.71GHz
320w
RTX 3070
5,888
8GB GDDR6
256-bit
1.73GHz
220w
RTX 2080 Ti
four,352
11GB GDDR6
352-bit
1.54GHz
250w
RTX 2080 Tremendous
three,072
8GB GDDR6
256-bit
1.82GHz
250w
RTX 2070 Tremendous
2,560
8GB DRR6
256-bit
1.77GHz
215w

Ampere additionally brings extra ray tracing and Tensor cores to the desk, extending the extra forward-leaning capabilities of the RTX 3080. Extra on that later.

Lastly, the RTX 3080 options 10GB of 320-bit GDDR6X reminiscence. That’s two extra GBs of sooner video reminiscence, virtually as much as the 11GB that’s provided within the RTX 2080 Ti. That’s an essential spec, useful in video games that use massive textures and huge quantities of on-screen knowledge. It additionally exhibits how Nvidia has shifted its whole line of GPUs up a notch.

Efficiency

Let’s reduce to the chase, lets?

The efficiency of the RTX 3080 is spectacular in virtually all circumstances. Till the RTX 3090 launches in just a few weeks, it’ll simply be essentially the most highly effective graphics card you should purchase. That’s not too stunning, although, because it doesn’t have a real competitor from AMD.

I assumed it will beat its predecessor, the RTX 2080 Tremendous. However the actual enjoyable was discovering simply how a lot sooner it truly is. Having the ability to evaluate it to the far dearer RTX 2080 Ti was the icing on the cake.

My take a look at system included a CML B460 MATX motherboard, 16GB of DDR4 2933MHz RAM, and an Intel Core i7-10700 processor. These aren’t maxed-out specs, however they’re lots succesful to assist the exams I used to be operating, and usually characterize how we’d advocate placing collectively a well-balanced gaming rig at this time.

Till the RTX 3090 launches, the RTX 3080 is definitely essentially the most highly effective graphics card you should purchase.

I began with 3DMark Time Spy, the DirectX12 benchmark that gives a stage taking part in subject for testing graphics of all types. Right here, the RTX 3080 proves surpassed the RTX 2080 Ti by 15%. Not an enormous lead, however let’s not overlook the $500 worth distinction between these two playing cards. That’s a bigger worth hole than between different playing cards within the stack. The efficiency hole between the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 Tremendous can be wider.

In the meantime, the RTX 3080 beats the 2080 Tremendous by 28%, all and not using a worth hike.

That lead continued as I attempted quite a lot of video games, each in 1440p and 4K. The RTX 3080 doesn’t power players to decide on between excessive decision and excessive body price — it’s a clean gaming expertise it doesn’t matter what monitor you utilize.

Let’s begin with essentially the most difficult title first. Murderer’s Creed Odyssey is a recreation that no system I’ve examined can play at native 4K at 60 frames per second (fps) and Extremely Excessive settings. However the RTX 3080 units a brand new commonplace, averaging 61 fps (frames per second). The RTX 2080 Ti hits simply 47 fps, whereas the RTX 2080 Tremendous is at 43 fps. I can’t overstate how impressed I used to be by the RTX 3080’s 23% lead over the RTX 2080 Ti (and 30% over the RTX 2080 Tremendous).

Subsequent, I booted up Battlefield V. Traditionally, it’s one of many few video games the place Nvidia GPUs have lagged behind AMD. However not this time. The RTX 3080 enjoys its greatest leap within the video games I examined, now averaging as much as 97 fps in 4K at Extremely. Entire 4K screens with 144Hz refresh charges are nonetheless unusual, you’ll want one to get essentially the most out of the RTX 3080 on this recreation. Right here, the RTX 3080 is 22% forward of the RTX 2080 Ti (at 76 fps) and 33% forward of the RTX 2080 Tremendous (at 65 fps).

As anticipated, the RTX 3080’s lead is highest in 4K, the place the GPU takes a heavier load. It’s nonetheless a powerful card for 1440p gaming, in fact. It averaged 78 fps in Murderer’s Creed Odyssey and 147 fps in Battlefield V, each 17% sooner than the RTX 2080 Ti.

As for Fortnite, the beneficial properties weren’t fairly as excessive, largely as a result of the RTX 2080 Ti already performed it properly. It was the one recreation the place in decrease resolutions (reminiscent of 1080p), the RTX 2080 Ti really outdid the RTX 3080. In 4K, although, the RTX 3080 averaged 78 fps at Epic settings, 17% increased than the RTX 2080 Ti, and 29% higher than the RTX 2080 Tremendous.

Lastly, let’s have a look at some lighter fare. Civilization VI is a recreation that’s best in 4K, offering a wider view of the map and extra element in your increasing empire. At Extremely, Civilization VI averaged 168 fps in comparison with the 141 fps of the RTX 2080 Ti and 117 fps of the RTX 2080 Tremendous.

Throughout all these video games, you received’t see as huge of a acquire taking part in in 1080p or at decrease settings. In Battlefield V at 1080p Extremely settings, for instance, the RTX 3080 was just a few fps forward of the RTX 2080 Ti. That was additionally true in Fortnite and Civilization VI, the place you start to lose a little bit of the worth of the RTX 3080. Should you don’t plan on upgrading your monitor for both increased decision or refresh price, the RTX 3080 just isn’t price your time. You’re higher off saving some cash and ready for the RTX 3070 or inevitable RTX 3060.

Content material creation

Outdoors of gaming, a strong GPU just like the RTX 3080 can considerably velocity up content-creation duties like video rendering or 3D modeling. Although loads of the heavy lifting is carried by the CPU in these duties, a strong GPU could make a distinction in render occasions.

I began with Adobe Premiere Professional, the place I loaded up a mission with a two-minute 4K video clip. With the RTX 3080, It took 2 minutes and 27 second to complete exporting the clip to ProRes 422. That’s 11% sooner than the RTX 2080 Tremendous in the identical video export and simply 5% sooner than the RTX 2080 Ti.

Ray tracing and DLSS

The RTX 2080 Ti launched with virtually zero titles assist ray tracing or DLSS. That was supremely disappointing. The expansion of assist from builders round real-time ray tracing has been gradual however regular, nonetheless, and two years later, many new AAA video games assist Nvidia’s RTX options in a single type or one other. The à la carte implementation remains to be irritating, with many video games choosing extra restricted (and fewer taxing) RTX options.

Nonetheless, RTX is way stronger at this time than it was. It makes for time to launch some new high-powered GPUs that take each ray tracing and DLSS to the following stage.

I examined out one of many first video games to combine RTX options: Battlefield V. Fortunately, I found that the ray tracing capabilities of the RTX 3080 have improved over the RTX 2080 Ti.

Within the mission Tirailleur, the RTX 2080 Ti permits for some sensible reflections within the puddles of water close to the beginning of the extent, which may decelerate the body price to a mean of 33 fps. As soon as DLSS was turned on, that was bumped as much as 45 fps. This was in 4K with settings at Extremely.

The true realization of real-time ray tracing nonetheless gives a problem for even essentially the most highly effective graphics playing cards.

On the RTX 3080, these numbers look a bit extra promising. This new card handles the identical scene with the identical settings at 55 fps and jumps as much as 69 fps with DLSS. There’s room to develop, however at the least in Battlefield V, ray tracing isn’t fully ineffective.

I additionally examined out the brand new ray tracing options in Fortnite. The shadows, reflections, and world illumination are beautiful. Reflections on the water are pristine, and even the shadows on the again of your character look extremely sensible.

However even with the RTX 3080, these RTX options are nonetheless a efficiency bottleneck. It averaged 53 fps in 1440p in Extremely with all of the RTX options maxed. However in 4K? The sport solely performed at 23 fps.

In fact, the sport additionally provides quite a lot of DLSS settings (High quality, Balanced, or Efficiency) that increase the body price again up via upsampling. The “Efficiency” setting provides some noticeable blur to distant textures, whereas the “High quality” setting solely will get you again as much as 27 fps. Ultimately, the mixture of DLSS and ray tracing remains to be sufficient of a efficiency hit that most individuals will choose to depart it off. That’s a disgrace, as a result of the ray tracing is beautiful.

Our take

The RTX 20-series was criticized for paying extra consideration to ray tracing and A.I. than uncooked efficiency. The RTX 3080 exhibits how severe Nvidia took that criticism. The efficiency ranges open up new prospects for players, not forcing them to decide on between excessive resolutions and excessive body charges. Nvidia achieved that uncooked efficiency bump with out sacrificing its deep investments in options like ray tracing and DLSS, because it was decided to maintain the PC on the forefront of the dialog in next-gen gaming.

The RTX 3080 won’t ever be Nvidia’s hottest card with its $699 worth level, however because the business chief and “flagship” mannequin, it represents the very best that PC gaming can supply.

Are there any alternate options?

The closest alternate options are additionally made by Nvidia: The RTX 3090 and RTX 3070. The 3090 is the most costly (and strongest) graphics card Nvidia has ever made, and received’t seemingly slot in your common PC case. The RTX 3070, in the meantime, is extra inexpensive at $499, and Nvidia says it’s additionally extra highly effective than the RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 3090 will probably be out there on September 24, whereas the RTX 3070 is due out in October.

AMD’s upcoming RX 6000 graphics are rumored to incorporate a high-end GPU that might lastly problem Nvidia’s top-shelf graphics playing cards. As of now, although, AMD’s choices are capped on the RX 5700XT.

How lengthy will it final?

The Nvidia RTX 3080 ought to final you at the least 5 years. The commonest graphics playing cards amongst Steam players remains to be Nvidia 10-series playing cards, which first launched in 2016. Nvidia provides a reasonably beneficiant three-year guarantee on its Founders Version GPUs that covers hardware failures and defects.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. For top-notch, blisteringly quick PC gaming, the Nvidia RTX 3080 units a brand new commonplace.

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