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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 review: 4K PC gaming finally makes sense

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 assessment: 4K PC gaming lastly is sensible

Nvidia is promising huge issues with its new technology of graphics playing cards. The GeForce RTX 3080 is meant to ship twice the efficiency of the RTX 2080 on the identical value. It’s even presupposed to surpass the RTX 2080 Ti, offering stable 4K gaming efficiency for a lot lower than Nvidia’s last-generation playing cards price. That is all whereas benefiting from ray tracing and Nvidia’s particular AI-powered DLSS tech that reinforces body charges whereas sustaining picture high quality. Nvidia had comparable guarantees earlier than for 4K gaming with the RTX 2080. However with the RTX 3080, it’s delivering on them.

The RTX 3080 is a part of Nvidia’s 3000 sequence of graphics playing cards, all powered by the corporate’s new Ampere structure. There’s the RTX 3070 (beginning at $499), the RTX 3080 (beginning at $699), and the RTX 3090 (beginning at $1,499). You’ll be able to’t preorder any of those newest playing cards, and the RTX 3080 will arrive in shops on September seventeenth, with the RTX 3090 following on September twenty fourth. Whereas the RTX 3070 doesn’t arrive till October fifteenth, it additionally guarantees efficiency that exceeds each the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti.

I’ve spent the previous week placing the RTX 3080 by means of its paces at each 4K and 1440p, and I’m impressed with what I’ve seen. 4K gaming arrived with the RTX 2080 Ti, however $1,199 was far past most individuals’s budgets. The RTX 3080 does the identical and extra at a way more inexpensive value level.

Nvidia might have caught with the massive adjustments it made to the RTX 2080 cooling, nevertheless it’s gone a step additional with its {hardware} on the RTX 3080. The primary noticeable change is that the dual-fan setup has shifted so there’s one fan on both facet of the cardboard. Nvidia is utilizing a push-pull system right here, with the underside fan pulling (hopefully cool) air into the cardboard, then exhausting the nice and cozy air on the alternative facet near your CPU cooler and rear case fan. A conventional blower cooler additionally exhausts the new air out of the PCIe slot and thus out of your case solely.

This creates a extra optimum airflow, decreasing GPU temperatures and delivering a quieter card. I didn’t hear any noticeable variations in opposition to the RTX 2080 that I’ve been evaluating the RTX 3080 to this week, as each are quiet playing cards. There had been some concern that this cooling system might negatively have an effect on CPU temperatures, however I didn’t observe any points throughout my exams. It’s doable that, in some rigs, it might have an effect on CPU temperatures, however I feel for the overwhelming majority of instances, it is going to be a non-issue.

Nvidia’s RTX 3080 design features a new pennant-shaped board.

The second main change to the RTX 3080 is the addition of a 12-pin single energy connector, versus the separate 6- and 8-pin or twin 8-pin connectors on prior playing cards. I like what Nvidia has performed right here, however the early implementation means it’s important to use an included adapter that’s ugly and awkward. You join two 8-pin PCIe energy connectors to it, and the adapter then dangles out of the facet of the cardboard. Fortunately, energy provide distributors like Corsair are planning single cables that can plug instantly into Nvidia’s new 12-pin connector. I’d extremely advocate ordering one in every of these in case you (like me) care about cable administration. Third-party playing cards are sticking with the common twin 8-pin connectors, too.

The third huge change which may not be instantly noticeable is Nvidia’s change to a brand new pennant-shaped board for the RTX 3080. Mixed with the brand new cooling shroud, this pennant form makes for a extremely handsome graphics card. There are not any seen screws, and even the common FCC and regulatory notices have been moved to the output finish of the cardboard to maintain its look clear.

Talking of outputs, there’s a single HDMI 2.1 port and three DisplayPort 1.4a ports. Nvidia has dropped the USB-C VirtualLink port discovered on the RTX 2080, which by no means noticed any actual adoption for VR. The RTX 3080 LED additionally lights up in pure white now, as an alternative of the inexperienced discovered on the 2080. There’s even a delicate white glow round a part of the highest fan. I’m impressed with this new design, and it seems to be nice sitting in a case when you’ve got a facet window.

The one dangerous a part of this new {hardware} is the facility requirement. Nvidia is recommending a minimum of a 750W energy provide for the RTX 3080, as it might draw as much as 320 watts by itself. That’s a 42 p.c soar from the 225-watt draw with the RTX 2080, which is comprehensible for the efficiency enchancment but in addition disappointing for its affect on the atmosphere and electrical energy payments.

I’ve been testing the RTX 3080 on the identical machine I used for the RTX 2080 assessment two years in the past. Whereas it doesn’t have the newest and best CPU, I discovered Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is extremely CPU-intensive, was the one recreation that was tough to check on this rig.

For 1440p exams, I connected the RTX 3080 to a 27-inch Asus ROG Swift PG279Q monitor. This monitor helps refresh charges as much as 165Hz plus G-Sync, so it’s a perfect match for an RTX 3080 at 1440p decision. I’ve additionally been testing 4K efficiency, which you’ll find under.

I’ve been taking part in quite a lot of AAA titles all week to get a really feel for what the 3080 is like. I’ve additionally carried out common body price testing and used built-in benchmarks throughout quite a lot of video games, together with Fortnite, Management, Loss of life Stranding, Metro Exodus, Name of Responsibility: Warzone, and Microsoft Flight Simulator. All video games had been examined at max or extremely settings, and most often exceeded the 100fps common mark at 1440p.

Fortnite hit a mean of 161fps with maxed-out settings, and even Warzone hit 116fps on common. Each of those video games are aggressive shooters the place you’d sometimes decrease settings to hit a majority of these averages on different playing cards, however the RTX 3080 was capable of ship a clean excessive body price expertise constantly.

Even when taking part in extra demanding titles like Management or Metro Exodus, the RTX 3080 improved efficiency at 1440p by almost 60 p.c or extra from the earlier RTX 2080 card. That put Metro Exodus to a much more playable common of 57fps with the RTX 3080, in comparison with the 36fps common on the RTX 2080 at excessive settings.

RTX 3080 assessment (1440p)

Benchmark RTX 2080 Founders Version RTX 3080 Founders Version % change
Benchmark RTX 2080 Founders Version RTX 3080 Founders Version % change
Microsoft Flight Simulator 22fps 29fps up 32%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 65fps 96fps up 48%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DLSS) 99fps 117fps up 18%
CoD: Warzone 96fps 116fps up 21%
Gears 5 84fps 95fps up 13%
Fortnite 108fps 161fps up 49%
CS:GO 191fps 263fps up 38%
Future 2 98fps 109fps up 11%
Loss of life Stranding 113fps 149fps up 32%
Loss of life Stranding (DLSS high quality) 143fps 159fps up 11%
Management 79fps 141fps up 78%
Management (DLSS high quality + RT) 77fps 121fps up 57%
Management (RT) 57fps 91fps up 60%
Management (DLSS) 118fps 144fps up 18%
Metro Exodus 36fps 57fps up 58%
Metro Exodus (RT) 23fps 38fps up 65%
Metro Exodus (DLSS+RT) 43fps 66fps up 53%

Gaming on the RTX 3080 at 1440p meant I might simply make the most of the upper refresh charges on the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q monitor; if I used to be prepared to drop picture high quality just a bit, I might get the complete 165Hz. The RTX 3080 appears like a really comfy possibility for 1440p, even for among the most demanding AAA titles.

Should you’re upgrading from a GTX 1080 or one thing older and considering of transferring from a 1080p monitor to 1440p, you gained’t be dissatisfied with the RTX 3080 in any respect. Should you’re aiming to be as aggressive as doable and delving into the esports facet of gaming, then a 1080p decision monitor with the RTX 3080 would clearly present even larger body charges. For most individuals, although, the RTX 3080 gives stable headroom for a transfer to 1440p.

Nvidia’s 12-pin energy connector on the RTX 3080.

The RTX 2080 was presupposed to ship 4K gaming at a extra inexpensive $699 value level, nevertheless it wasn’t capable of deal with 60fps or extra in demanding video games with the entire settings maxed out. That’s why I’ve centered the vast majority of my RTX 3080 testing on 4K, pairing the cardboard with Acer’s 27-inch Nitro XV273K, a 4K monitor that gives as much as 144Hz refresh charges, G-Sync, and even HDR help.

In almost each recreation I examined with the RTX 3080 at 4K, I used to be capable of hit or exceed 60fps.

I’ve been actually amazed that I can run round in Name of Responsibility: Warzone with every little thing maxed out at 4K and nonetheless get 85fps on common. There have been actually instances when motion briefly dipped under 60fps, however this was uncommon and largely after I was parachuting in somewhat than in fight conditions.

The efficiency enhance at 4K from the RTX 2080 to RTX 3080 is critical. In most video games, it was 60 p.c or extra, remodeling Shadow of the Tomb Raider from simply 32fps on common on the RTX 2080 to 57fps on the RTX 3080.

RTX 3080 assessment (4K)

Benchmark RTX 2080 Founders Version RTX 3080 Founders Version % change
Benchmark RTX 2080 Founders Version RTX 3080 Founders Version % change
Microsoft Flight Simulator 17fps 29fps up 70%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 32fps 57fps up 78%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DLSS) 65fps 94fps up 44%
CoD: Warzone 61fps 85fps up 39%
CoD: Warzone (RT) 57fps 80fps up 40%
Gears 5 49fps 80fps up 63%
Fortnite 53fps 98fps up 85%
CS:GO 205fps 261fps up 27%
Future 2 63fps 80fps up 27%
Loss of life Stranding 66fps 103fps up 56%
Loss of life Stranding (DLSS high quality) 88fps 135fps up 53%
Management 40fps 72fps up 80%
Management (DLSS high quality + RT) 50fps 72fps up 44%
Management (RT) 23fps 45fps up 95%
Management (DLSS) 67fps 114fps up 70%
Metro Exodus 15fps 35fps up 133%
Metro Exodus (RT) 10fps 17fps up 70%
Metro Exodus (DLSS+RT) 30fps 49fps up 63%
Metro Exodus (DLSS) 60fps 61fps up 1.6%

Management was unplayable numerous instances with the RTX 2080 at max settings on 4K decision, due to its physics-defying gameplay and the sport’s demanding specs. Management may be very GPU-intensive and makes use of quite a lot of graphics methods to provide some visually gorgeous gameplay. That’s why gameplay often dipped under 30fps on the older RTX 2080, including horrible enter lag to the fast-paced capturing scenes. However on the RTX 3080, it averaged 72fps, with solely occasional dips under 60fps. It’s an 80 p.c soar, which is staggeringly good.

I additionally noticed enormous enhancements in Fortnite, with common body charges leaping 85 p.c from the RTX 2080 to the RTX 3080. You’ll be able to run Fortnite with maxed-out settings and nonetheless preserve 98fps on common. That’s a formidable soar over the 53fps common on the RTX 2080.

I want I hadn’t borrowed a 4K monitor for the RTX 3080 testing as a result of now I wish to spend cash and improve from the 1440p show I personal. The extent of efficiency and element has genuinely left me impressed, at the same time as somebody who sometimes prefers the upper body charges accessible at 1440p or 1080p for aggressive shooters.

The one slight pause I’ve right here is the 10GB of reminiscence accessible on the RTX 3080. Whereas Nvidia says the typical recreation makes use of 4 to 6GB of reminiscence at 4K in the meanwhile, I do worry this can soar so much nearer to maxing out the RTX 3080 reminiscence for future video games in order for you the perfect settings. I may not usually have such a priority with a brand new card, however given the next-gen consoles are pushing 4K gaming, improved CPUs, and ray tracing, we’re sure to see recreation builders push really useful specs even additional within the years forward. Max settings and efficiency are at all times a fragile steadiness, however I’d have cherished to have seen 12GB right here.

Nvidia says it’s utilizing 10GB, as most video games don’t want the extra reminiscence proper now, and the corporate needed to get the proper steadiness of additional reminiscence and the pricing of the RTX 3080. It does depart the door very open for Nvidia to introduce an RTX 3080 Ti sooner or later with extra reminiscence, significantly because the RTX 3090 will ship with 24GB of reminiscence.

The RTX 3080 additionally doesn’t enable me to take full benefit of the 144Hz refresh charges on Acer’s XV273K at 4K, as soon as once more leaving the door open for a card with slightly extra efficiency to take us firmly into 4K gaming at much more spectacular body charges.

Nonetheless, 4K gaming is completely right here at playable body charges for a way more inexpensive value. That’s a giant soar, and it’ll hopefully affect the worth of 4K displays to enhance the affordability facet even additional. You needed to pay $1,199 for only a graphics card to even get near this stage of efficiency with the RTX 2080 Ti, and the RTX 3080 affords spectacular 4K efficiency for its $699 value level.

Screws aren’t uncovered on Nvidia’s RTX 3080.

Whereas the door is left open for one thing slightly extra highly effective than the RTX 3080, Nvidia has some particular tips to enhance efficiency and even picture high quality. After I initially reviewed the RTX 2080 two years in the past, I wasn’t capable of check ray tracing or DLSS, Nvidia’s AI tremendous sampling expertise. Again then, Nvidia was promising these tips would finally enhance visible high quality and body charges, and add prettier cinematic results in video games. However there weren’t any video games on the RTX 2080 launch to again up Nvidia’s claims, so that they seemed like imprecise guarantees for the longer term.

That future has now began to reach, and extra video games are actually supporting each ray tracing and DLSS. Nvidia’s DLSS expertise makes use of neural networks and AI supercomputers to investigate video games and sharpen or clear up pictures at decrease resolutions. In easy phrases, DLSS permits a recreation to render at a decrease decision and use Nvidia’s picture reconstruction method to upscale the picture and make it look pretty much as good as native 4K or higher.

RTX 3080 (DLSS + raytracing at 4K)

Benchmark RTX 3080 Founders Version
Benchmark RTX 3080 Founders Version
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 57fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider (DLSS) 94fps
CoD: Warzone 85fps
CoD: Warzone (RT) 80fps
Fortnite 98fps
Fortnite (RT) 20fps
Fortnite (RT + DLSS high quality) 39fps
Fortnite (RT+ DLSS perf) 54fps
Fortnite (DLSS high quality) 126fps
Fortnite (DLSS perf) 156fps
Loss of life Stranding 103fps
Loss of life Stranding (DLSS high quality) 135fps
Loss of life Stranding (DLSS perf) 147fps
Management 72fps
Management (DLSS high quality + RT) 72fps
Management (RT) 45fps
Management (DLSS high quality) 114fps
Metro Exodus 35fps
Metro Exodus (Extremely RT) 17fps
Metro Exodus (DLSS+ Extremely RT) 49fps
Metro Exodus (DLSS) 61fps

I’m stunned at how good DLSS works and the efficiency advantages it gives. Each recreation implements it barely otherwise, providing each efficiency modes and high quality modes so you’ll be able to go for higher body charges over picture high quality. In Management, I used to be capable of allow its ray-tracing mode to enhance visuals whereas additionally enabling DLSS and sustaining the identical body price I’d with each choices turned off. I discovered it extremely tough to note any picture high quality reductions from DLSS in Management. You’d have to match them facet by facet to essentially dig into the variations, as DLSS is simply that good.

I enabled ray tracing in Name of Responsibility: Warzone and didn’t discover a major efficiency hit. However I’ve to be trustworthy: it was onerous to identify the distinction. In Management with simply ray tracing enabled, the efficiency hit was extra vital at 4K, rendering at 45fps on common and many dips under 30fps. In Metro Exodus, it made the sport unplayable until I enabled DLSS, too.

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Nvidia’s RTX off / on comparability in Management.

I noticed comparable leads to Fortnite, which has solely simply applied ray tracing and DLSS. The ray tracing in Fortnite affords much more apparent enhancements, together with shadows and reflections round timber and lakes and only a normal layer of polish on high of the sport. Fortnite seems to be much more alive with ray tracing on.

Sadly, the efficiency hit in Fortnite with ray tracing is critical in case you max out the entire ray-traced results. I went from 98fps on max settings all the way in which down to only 20fps with the utmost settings and most ray tracing. Even DLSS couldn’t assist convey issues up a lot additional, enhancing the typical body price to 39fps with ray tracing turned on.

DLSS with out ray tracing affords an enormous efficiency profit in 4K for Fortnite, although. I attempted the efficiency DLSS possibility, and I obtained round 135fps common body charges, up from the already spectacular 103fps common with out DLSS.

DLSS was additionally capable of bump Metro Exodus as much as a lot better body charges. Efficiency went from 35fps to 61fps with DLSS enabled, making the sport so much smoother to play. In Management, DLSS additionally pushed body charges past 100fps on common to 114fps. That’s a formidable 58 p.c soar.

Ray tracing nonetheless feels prefer it’s in its infancy, and I feel recreation builders will actually need to implement it throughout complete video games as an alternative of selectively to make a far greater distinction to the expertise of a recreation. The efficiency hit can be usually too huge to allow ray tracing alone, however mixed with DLSS, it makes it extra of an possibility. DLSS is so good that it takes the large efficiency hit from ray tracing and counteracts it to make video games playable once more.

Listing of video games with DLSS or ray tracing help

Video games RT / DLSS / Reflex Assist Out Now / Coming Quickly
Video games RT / DLSS / Reflex Assist Out Now / Coming Quickly
Amid Evil Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Anthem DLSS Out Now
Battlefield V Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Name of Responsibility: Trendy Warfare (2019) Ray Tracing Out Now
Management Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Ship Us The Moon Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Fortnite Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Mechwarrior V: Mercenaries Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Metro Exodus Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Minecraft RTX Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Quake II RTX Ray Tracing Out Now
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
Keep within the Mild Ray Tracing Out Now
Wolfenstein: Youngblood Ray Tracing & DLSS Out Now
F1 2020 DLSS Out Now
Loss of life Stranding DLSS Out Now
Atomic Coronary heart Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Vivid Reminiscence Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Boundary Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Name Of Responsibility: Black Ops Chilly Battle Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Dying Mild 2 Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Enlisted Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Justice Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Sword & Fairy 7 Ray Tracing Coming Quickly
SYNCED: Off Planet Ray Tracing Coming Quickly
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
Watch Canine: Legion Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
World Of Warcraft: Shadowlands Ray Tracing Coming Quickly

I feel DLSS goes to be the choice most individuals will wish to allow, although. We’ve seen quite a lot of picture reconstruction methods over time to enhance picture high quality from lower-render resolutions. Quite a lot of PS4 Professional and Xbox One X video games use checkerboarding methods to hit 4K resolutions at affordable body charges. DLSS is equally spectacular on the PC facet, delivering some notable outcomes on the easy flick of a change.

Nvidia has additionally improved DLSS with a model 2.0, supported on its vary of RTX playing cards, which makes it simpler to coach and will imply much more video games help it sooner or later. Nvidia is promising improved visible high quality and higher efficiency good points for video games that help DLSS 2.0, and the very best factor is that video games will be capable to supply quite a lot of choices for selecting between efficiency and high quality modes.

A number of the greatest video games launching later this yr — together with Cyberpunk 2077, Name of Responsibility: Black Ops Chilly Battle, and Watch Canine: Legion — can even embrace each ray-traced results and DLSS help.


Nvidia’s huge promise of 4K gaming at 60fps for the RTX 2080 didn’t maintain up. The one viable possibility was the $1,199 RTX 2080 Ti, which was a severe funding for 4K gaming two years in the past. The RTX 3080 will assist rework the fact of 4K gaming on PC at a way more inexpensive $699 value level. Nvidia can be promising huge jumps for efficiency with the RTX 3070 at simply $499, so it actually appears like 4K gaming on PC is about to be much more inexpensive even when the RTX 3070 means it is advisable decrease some settings.

The RTX 3080 ushers within the subsequent technology of 4K gaming, due to some uncooked horsepower and numerous the guarantees that Nvidia made with the RTX 2080 lastly beginning to materialize. DLSS and ray tracing had been merely guarantees of the place the way forward for PC video games would transfer two years in the past. However with video games like Minecraft, Management, Fortnite, and Name of Responsibility supporting Nvidia’s newest expertise, it’s a actuality that’s right here with the RTX 3080. The following technology of consoles can even begin to help ray tracing, which means we’re sure to see much more video games all through 2021 and past that may add ray tracing and soften its blow with DLSS.

Nvidia tells me the RTX 3080 playing cards are in quantity manufacturing with “nice” yields, and that it’s “making them as quick as we will.” I nonetheless can’t assist however really feel there’s going to be numerous pent up demand right here, so the most important drawback is likely to be really shopping for one in every of these playing cards within the coming weeks.

The RTX 3080 will likely be will a staggering leap in efficiency in case you’re upgrading from one thing like a GTX 1080, particularly at 1440p or in case you’re transferring to 4K. That might tempt an entire host of individuals to improve, particularly those that prevented the RTX 2000 sequence.

Should you’re fascinated about making the soar to 1440p as an alternative of 4K, then the RTX 3080 offers you a lot headroom I don’t assume you’ll must improve your PC for years. On the 4K facet, you’ll be upgrading to a card that gives stable body charges with the entire settings maxed out with out placing a gap in your pockets. 4K PC gaming is right here, and it’s lastly much more inexpensive.

Pictures by Tom Warren / GadgetClock

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