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Nvidia RTX 3080 review: 4K size at $ 699 – and good news for cheaper GPUs

For some people, the summary of the difference between Nvidia RTX 3080 may revolve around a number of high-end, and sometimes proprietary, technologies. Ray tracing. Deep learning super sampling. Insane fast memory bandwidth. In some cases, the new $ 699 GPU from Nvidia is best when the software takes advantage of its unique advantages and features.

As we all know, 2018’s RTX 2000 GPUs left fans with high-priced options that didn’t offer enough universally droolable boosts. At the time, I called these cards “a ticket to the RTX lottery,” and the payout was small for almost two years.

It’s getting better – especially since DirectX 12 Ultimate and a pair of next-gen consoles are finally taking advantage of most of 2018’s RTX-specific benefits. AMD will soon benefit from this with its own powerful RDNA 2 family of GPUs. Once Nvidia’s RTX features feel less “proprietary”, we should see them in more games – but that leaves Nvidia to answer a question as well. What else do you have

This brings me to the way I’d prefer to sum up the difference between RTX 3080 and my Ars colleague Lee Hutchinson. I could practically hear the eager gasping from his keystrokes in an ars chat session over my GPU tests as he typed four words: “Elite dangerous in VR? “

Zero-G, 120 fps

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 product picture

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

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At the time of going to press, the PC version of this space exploration game is not optimized for DirectX 12 Ultimate or RTX specific functions. It’s just one hell of a hungry game set in an infinite universe – one where you can soar through the barren space for a moment and then abruptly transform into an epic spinning dogfight alongside a geometrically dense formation.

It is great. It’s even better in VR. And this mode is even Better if you flip the 120Hz switch on a high-end headset like the Valve Index, put both hands on your favorite HOTAS rig, and throw in anyone who might dare to interrupt your cargo mixing mission Can impose 360 ​​degree hellfire with a G of zero G. .. dropping everything without frames. (Thanks to the game’s emphasis on high-speed rotation, the normal 90Hz VR standard isn’t enough for stomachs with standard problems. More frames in this game means more convenience.)

For someone like Mr. Hutchinson who has a high price cap on their gaming rig but not an infinite one, I can say this: the RTX 3080 lets you run Elite dangerous With the “high” presetting in VR, switch to 120 Hz mode in the valve index and expect a nearly locked frame rate. The same applies Fallout 4 VR, a brutally unoptimized VR conversion of Bethesda’s RPG that I can at last Execute a locked speed of 90 fps (or move the mouse pointer in the area of ​​the variable 100-110 fps in the valve index). Three years after launching this VR port, that’s actually how I want to play it.

Trickle of the madmen

RTX 3080 FE RTX 2080 Ti FE RTX 2080 Super RTX 2080 FE RTX 2070 Super GTX 1080 Ti
CUDA cores 8,704 4,352 3.072 2.944 2.560 3,584
272 272 192 184 184
ROPs 96 88 64 64 64 88
Tensor cores 272 (“3rd generation”) 544 384 368 320 n / A
RT cores 68 (“2nd generation”) 68 48 46 40 n / A
Core clock 1,440 MHz 1,350 MHz 1,650 MHz 1.515 MHz 1.605 MHz 1,480 MHz
Boost clock 1.710 MHz 1.635 MHz 1.815 MHz 1,800 MHz 1.770 MHz 1.582 MHz
Memory bus width 320-bit 352-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 352-bit
Storage speed 19 GHz 14 GHz 15.5 GHz 14 GHz 14 GHz 11 GHz
Memory bandwidth 760 GB / s 616 GB / s 496 GB / s 448 GB / s 448 GB / s 484 GB / s
Memory size 10 GB GDDR6X 11 GB GDDR6 8 GB GDDR6 8 GB GDDR6 8 GB GDDR6 11 GB GDDR5X
TDP 320W 260W 250W 250W 215W 250W
RRP at the start $ 699 $ 1,199 $ 699 $ 799 $ 499 $ 699

I can say similar things for so much sophisticated PC software as this card does in ways that I couldn’t with the staggering $ 1,199 RTX 2080 Ti for 2018. In an alternate universe – the one where Nvidia ran unhindered in the GPU race and AMD knocked its pants out for years – Nvidia would still have around 800 or 900 for this 2018 card, the price of which had a lot more to do with dedicated effects processing US dollars may require kernels as over pure, flat power.

With AMD this year, Nvidia has arrived with a $ 699 beast of an RTX 3080, whose “Founders Edition” consistently beats (and flexes more) muscles in modern 3D games and software, with no additional clocks an overclocked 2080 Ti Founders Edition on RTX-specific features). In performance tests, the profit margin always exceeds the 13 percent threshold, sometimes even much more. (In case of Elite dangerous The “high” preset of VR, which is much more difficult for benchmarking, makes a difference of around 20 percent in frame times across the board.)

This isn’t all good news for the crazy Lee Hutchinsons of the world. The impact of this card on the market will be hopeful Push the average GPU value proposition into reasonable territory. A $ 699 GPU might not be your cup of tea, but if the prices of anything below the RTX 3080 (and its sibling RTX 3070, slated to hit the market at $ 499 in October) are as per the benchmarks below That means a solid price tag, and the 1080p or 1440p GPU may end up within your budget range.

Listing picture by Sam Machkovech

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