Have you ever wondered what’s the reason behind the crystal-clear visual display that modern and cutting-edge smart devices sport? We are so used to animations, static images, and videos that we take them for granted. As a result, only a few of us are aware of the function of a graphics card or GPU. It is this card that processes data and sends signals to the computer screen to show what we want to watch on the monitor.
How is it then possible that many of us have been continuously using our computer systems without any graphics card? You might be amused to find out that there is an integrated graphics processing unit (GPU) in computer systems that controls the function. Therefore, there is usually no need for any additional card. However, where the data processing requirements are high, such as during gaming sessions, the built-in GPU alone is not able to meet the needs. Under such circumstances, a discrete graphics card must be added along with the integrated graphical processing unit.
The answer to why certain images appear more refined, polished and clear, again lies in the quality of the graphics card used.
This brings us to the question: which graphics card is the best? Let us inform you that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is considered to be one of the fastest graphics cards available these days. In fact, when it was launched, it gave tough competition to RTX 2080 Ti, and quickly took over its market, thus making the latter obsolete.
This is a massive success for Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 as it is not easy to beat an already established market leader that previously held the title of “fastest graphics card”. Furthermore, RTX 3080 provides far better performance at a comparatively lower price. You might be shocked to know that when it was released, it was priced at $699 whereas the pre-existing RTX 2080’s highest performing variant was being sold at a retail price of $1200.
RTX 3080 is also said to have paved the way for the development of Nvidia Ampere. It would not be wrong to say that it is the flagship product for the new generation of graphics cards. However, rumors have been circulating that RTX 3080 may see a fate similar to its predecessor if it loses its value in the face of competition against the improved Nvidia Ampere series. Though, the founding company has disregarded all such rumors and claimed that Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 will continue to be one of its star products, irrespective of the fact that GeForce RTX 3090 is on its way. The reason being that even though RTX 3090 is expected to have superior specifications, it is too advanced for normal, everyday use and, at a price of $1500, is likely to be affordable for those individuals with an extra-ordinary bank balance.
RTX 3080 on the other hand, is more practical as well as affordable, hence would probably remain to be the popular choice amongst the masses.
In view of the above, we bring to you an honest review of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card. You can read about its pros and cons and make a more informed decision.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Specifications
One of the most important specs of this graphics card is its extremely high number of CUDA cores. Not only are they present in a much greater number as compared to prior Turing generation, but upon its launch, experts claimed that there were more cores present in Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 than they had expected.
It comes with GA 102 GPU. Interestingly, this is also the chip that is being used in the upcoming version of graphics card (RTX 3090). This advanced chip has a capacity of 10,752 CUDA cores. Though only 8,704 of them have been supported or activated in this version, it is still a remarkable improvement over the 3072 CUDA cores present in the RTX 2080.
The design of Samsung 8N has been used as an inspiration while building the GeForce RTX 3080 GPU. Generally, 628.4mm2 die size with a production node of 8nm is its actual size, which if put into perspective, is way smaller than the 754mm2 Turing chip. However, it does come with around 10 billion additional transistors. If compared with TU104, the chip used is bigger but has the capacity that is equal to the RTX2080 graphics card.
Many comparative reviews have highlighted the fact that the performance of RTX 3080 GPU is slower than that of RTX 2080 Super. This may leave you confused about the speed if you were considering a purchase. However, we honestly found the speed to be more or less similar to the previous generation Turing cards, with 1800MHz being the standard. Besides, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 has a better memory bandwidth than the Turing card. Its memory bandwidth is said to be 23% greater than 2080 Ti and 70% more than the RTX 2080.
In order to be able to use this card, you would probably need a high-performance PSU because RTX 3080 may require more power depending on demand of the game being played. The minimum suggested PSU by the founding company is 750W. However, if you have a more advanced CPU, its power drawing requirements may be significantly higher. For example, the core i9 10900K would need at least 850W to run.
What makes the 3080 perform so well under high power is its built-in cooling mechanism. It consists of a network of tiny vapor chambers that disperse the heat coming from the surrounding leads. This allows the card to carry out its function at an optimal speed without being affected by high temperatures.
What is surprising, and also a tad bit confusing is the fact that while RTX 3080 comes with features superior to RTX 2080 Ti, it has a slightly lower memory buffer of 10 GB, as compared to the 11GB for 2080 Ti. This is one element we didn’t quite understand. Though this is not a major problem, or something that would affect the efficiency of the graphics card, the fact that gamers may prefer to opt for a graphics card with a bigger, rather than a smaller memory buffer.
Nonetheless, we would give this card the credit for supporting 4K gaming. Let’s admit that along with filling the performance gap, it has presented the majority of the gamers with an option to download and run their favorite 4K games on PCs, at a very affordable price. We bet that gaming fans would love Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 ArchitectureThe design of Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 has been the talk of the town since people first got their hands on the Founders Edition graphics card. It not only looks stylish but is also practical. The Process Control Block (PCB) consists of numerous layers, such that the rear end of the card looks like a heat sink. Accompanied by a small fan at the back, the design aims to keep the card “cool”. Air from the fan is sucked in via the heat sink and released out through the case. If you are worried that such a design may destroy your CPU and the air may affect the RAM temperatures, you are not alone. Initially, we had a similar concern. However, after using it, we can safely conclude that no such damage was experienced. One of the differentiating features of this graphics card is the high number of its cores. By cores we refer to its 32-bit floating points (FP32) that form the basis for graphic workload, thus immensely increasing its capability to support gaming features. We can say that the architecture of RTX 3080 has helped enhance its efficiency as well as performance. In the previous Turing cards, one task had to be completed before another could be initiated because it allowed for only one mathematical instruction at a time. However, in RTX 3080 both data paths can work simultaneously due to the presence of FP32 which speeds things up. Besides improved performance, FP32 also allows the graphics card to diffuse noise and carry out image processing. Another outstanding feature of this flagship Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card is the 3rd generation tensor core. It is this tensor core that allows gamers to play ray-tracing games in real-time. It also supports Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology. It is important to note that unlike other cores, it is actually better to have a fewer number of tensor cores. It is advised to reduce the number of these cores with each upcoming generation, without affecting the power. In view of this, the efficiency of tensor cores has already been doubled, but Nvidia is further trying to enhance it by using “Sparse Deep Learning” technology.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Benchmarks and PerformanceThe RTX 3080 proved its performance when it made the more heavily priced 2080 seem like a mediocre graphics card at the very beginning. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 works fittingly well for different resolutions. For example, at 1080p it would probably perform only slightly better than the Ti because of frame rates. In such a situation, there is not much that FP32 cores can do. The real performance of 3080 can be witnessed at 1440p and 4K resolutions. Here, it would have a noticeable competitive edge over RTX 2080 Ti by presenting frame rates that are 25-43% better than the latter. This can be said to be a benchmark that has been created by RTX 3080 because such an impressive performance not only exceeded that of the last generation of Nvidia graphics card but also that of the fastest consumer GPU made till date. The RTX 3080 comes with Nvidia RTX I/O that works in collaboration with DirectStorage API by Microsoft to transfer data from SSD to graphics card. This will drastically cut down the time required for loading a game. It won’t be wrong to say that this technology is likely going to be a breakthrough in the gaming industry. What may leave you in awe is that this is just the beginning and there are going to be better variants made available in the Ampere series. This means that using GeForce cards will provide gamers with a whole new gaming experience. However, Nvidia has surely offended some of its customers by launching RTX 3080 at the exact same price of $699 as the RTX 2080 Super that was launched just about a year ago. Those who already got the previous variant have often been heard complaining. Well, that’s just bad timing and bad luck. Overall, the RTX does perform better than 2080 Super but exceeding the level of the previous generation by double is only peculiar to certain domains. Therefore, the users of RTX 2080 need not be that disheartened. Comparing the ray tracing in other graphic cards with that in the Nvidia RTX 3080 card highlights the fact that it is now possible to achieve more frame rates in the latter as compared to the previous generation of graphic cards. However, there is one thing that we feel has been over-marketed by Nvidia – the performance per Watt gains. The reason for creating a hype may be that at the end of the day, the company needs to generate interest and curiosity in order to sell its product. While experimenting with the Founders Edition card, the maximum wattage that the user claimed to get out of it was 368W. According to our judgment, the average board power of this card is likely to be somewhere around 324W. However, that does not make the RTX 3080 any less efficient.
VerdictBy this time, you would probably have understood our verdict on Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. If someone were to ask our opinion regarding purchasing it, our response would definitely be encouraging. We do not see it as merely a reflection of the upcoming generations of Ampere graphics cards. We have been greatly impressed by its new design and the built-in cooling mechanism. The only drawback is the high-power requirements. This may leave some of the potential buyers in confusion. It is also the weak point that competitors are most likely to target. However, with no equivalent alternative available, they have very few chances to be able to hold back a passionate gamer from purchasing this graphics card. One of the reasons RTX 3080 has taken the market by storm – is the magnitude of change and improvements it has brought as compared to Nvidia`s last generation. Previously, there were only slight improvements between consecutive generations such as GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080. Many believe that the emergence of competitors such as AMD pushed Nvidia to its limits to out-do them. Competition is on the rise in the GPU segment. This means we might as well prepare ourselves for more ground-breaking product launches by Nvidia. RTX 3080 is the perfect example of a productive outcome from healthy competition. We have discussed all the reasons that may influence your decision to buy a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080. However, it is important not to join the rat race purposelessly. Following are the situations when you need not invest in this graphics card: