Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition review: Staggeringly powerful

    Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card symbolizes why we inform individuals to attend for the second era when bleeding-edge know-how seems.

    The radical new-look Turing GPUs inside Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20-series packed all kinds of cutting-edge applied sciences designed to usher in real-time ray tracing, a protracted sought-after objective for the gaming business. Not solely did Turing introduce specialised RT cores dedicated to processing ray tracing duties, it additionally debuted tensor cores, devoted {hardware} that makes use of machine studying to assist denoise ray traced visuals and allow AI-enhanced instruments just like the improbable Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) know-how. Turing’s enhancements additionally prolonged to the standard shader cores, introducing an overhauled processing pipeline higher outfitted to deal with video games constructed utilizing the newer DirectX 12 and Vulkan graphics APIs. All of those had been enormous departures from the norm.

    But new doesn’t all the time imply nice. While the RTX 20-series certainly birthed a brand new ray-traced period, video games that supported ray tracing or DLSS had been few and much between over its lifetime. Worse, the RTX 20-series playing cards supplied primarily the identical efficiency in conventional video games as their older GTX 10-series predecessors on the identical worth level. The preliminary reception (and gross sales) weren’t glowing.

    The $699 GeForce RTX 3080 and Nvidia’s new Ampere GPU structure modifications all that. This factor freakin’ smokes. It’s a large improve over the older $699 GeForce RTX 2080, considerably quicker than the previous $1,200 RTX 2080 Ti flagship, and for those who’ve been holding onto your older GeForce GTX 1080? The GeForce RTX 3080 completely crushes it. This is a superb graphics card for 4K and ultra-fast 1440p gaming—for those who can afford it when it launches on September 17.

    Editor’s word: This complete assessment of the GeForce RTX 3080 goes longer than most because it’s our first analysis of an Ampere-powered GeForce RTX 30-series graphics card. Check out Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 tested: 5 key things you need to know for high-level takeaways of this in-depth information, or use this desk of contents to hop between the varied sections of the assessment.

    GeForce RTX 3080: Specs, options, and Ampere

    Brad Chacos/IDG

    Before we dive into what’s new within the GeForce RTX 3080, right here’s a high-level take a look at the Founders Edition card’s specs. You can discover extra information about the way it stacks up towards the earlier era in our GeForce RTX 30-series vs. RTX 20-series spec comparison.

    • CUDA cores: 8,704
    • Boost clock: 1.71GHz
    • Memory: 10GB GDDR6X at 9500MHz
    • Memory bus: 320-bit
    • Memory bandwidth: 760GB/s
    • RT cores: 68 (2nd-gen)
    • Tensor cores: 384 (Third-gen)
    • NVLink SLI: No
    • PCIe: Gen 4
    • HDMI: 2.1
    • HDCP: 2.3
    • Display connectors: 1x HDMI 2.1, 3x DisplayPort 1.4
    • Length: 11.2 inches
    • Width: 4.4 inches
    • Height: 2-slot
    • Maximum GPU temp: 93
    • Graphics card energy: 320W
    • Recommended energy provide: 750W
    • Power connectors: 2x 8-pin (with provided 12-pin adapter)

    Got it? Good. Now we’re going to get geeky for a bit. Skip to the following part for those who aren’t desirous about some deeper particulars on how the tech contained in the GeForce RTX 3080 works.

    ampere vs 20 Nvidia

    The beating coronary heart contained in the GeForce RTX 3080 is Nvidia’s new GA102 “Ampere” GPU. Ampere is constructed utilizing Samsung’s 8nm processor node, transferring up from the TSMC 14nm and barely modified 12nm nodes used for the GTX 10- and RTX 20-series playing cards, so this can be a generational leap for Nvidia. The final time Nvidia leaped a node, the GeForce GTX 10-series demolished their direct predecessors. It’s no totally different this time round, as you’ll quickly see.

    ga102 block diagram final2 sm Nvidia

    Inside an RTX 30-series Ampere SM.

    While Turing shook up GPU design, Ampere builds on Turing’s foundations. Turing’s simultaneous multiprocessors (SMs)—the constructing blocks of the GPU—obtained a major overhaul, including a brand new integer pipeline (INT32) alongside the floating level pipeline (FP32) historically used to course of shading. The new pipeline let Nvidia’s GPU deal with integer directions similtaneously conventional FP directions, giving Turing-based graphics playing cards an enormous velocity enhance in video games that leaned closely on these duties—specifically, well-optimized Vulkan and DirectX 12 video games. Performance in conventional video games stayed largely stagnant within the RTX 20-series graphics playing cards, nevertheless, partially as a result of FP32 is mostly extra essential for gaming workloads.

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