For some folks, summarizing the Nvidia RTX 3080 distinction could revolve round a slew of high-end—and typically proprietary—applied sciences. Ray tracing. Deep-learning tremendous sampling. Crazy-fast reminiscence bandwidth. In some instances, Nvidia’s new $699 GPU is at its finest when software program leverages its very particular perks and options.
But as everyone knows, 2018’s line of RTX 2000 GPUs left followers with high-priced choices that did not supply sufficient universally drool-worthy boosts. At the time, I known as these playing cards “a ticket to the RTX lottery,” and for practically two years, the payoff was scant.
It’s getting higher—particularly as DirectX 12 Ultimate and a pair of next-gen consoles lastly lean into most of 2018’s RTX-specific perks. AMD will quickly money in on these items with its personal highly effective RDNA 2 line of GPUs. Once Nvidia’s RTX options really feel much less “proprietary,” we must always see them in additional video games—however that additionally leaves Nvidia to reply a query. Well, what else ya received?
This brings me to the best way I want to summarize the RTX 3080 distinction, as prompted by my Ars colleague Lee Hutchinson. I might virtually hear the keen gasps by way of his keystrokes in an Ars chat session about my GPU checks when he typed 4 phrases: “Elite Dangerous in VR?”
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
As of press time, this space-exploration recreation’s PC model shouldn’t be optimized for DirectX 12 Ultimate or RTX-specific options. It’s only a damned hungry recreation set in an infinite universe—one the place you’ll be able to float by way of barren area one second, then abruptly warp into an epic, spinning-all-around dogfight subsequent to a geometrically dense formation.
It’s superior stuff. It’s even higher in VR. And that mode is even higher when you’ll be able to flip the 120Hz switch on a high-end headset like the Valve Index, put each palms in your favourite HOTAS rig, and lay zero-G, 360-degree hellfire upon anybody who would possibly dare interrupt your cargo-shuffling mission… all with out dropping frames. (Thanks to the sport’s emphasis on high-speed rotation, the traditional 90Hz VR normal is not sufficient for standard-issue stomachs. More frames in that recreation imply extra consolation.)
To somebody like Mr. Hutchinson, who has a excessive value ceiling for his gaming rig however not an infinite one, I can say this: with the RTX 3080, you’ll be able to run Elite Dangerous at its “high” preset in VR, flip to 120Hz mode in Valve Index, and anticipate a virtually locked framerate. The identical goes for Fallout 4 VR, a brutally unoptimized VR conversion of Bethesda’s RPG, which I can lastly run at a locked 90fps (or hover in variable 100-110fps territory on Valve Index). Three years after that VR port’s launch, I really need to play it that means.
Trickling down from the crazies
|RTX 3080 FE||RTX 2080 Ti FE||RTX 2080 Super||RTX 2080 FE||RTX 2070 Super||GTX 1080 Ti|
|Tensor cores||272 (“3rd-gen”)||544||384||368||320||n/a|
|RT cores||68 (“2nd-gen”)||68||48||46||40||n/a|
|Memory Bus Width||320-bit||352-bit||256-bit||256-bit||256-bit||352-bit|
|Memory Size||10GB GDDR6X||11GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||11GB GDDR5X|
|MSRP at launch||$699||$1,199||$699||$799||$499||$699|
I can say related issues for a lot demanding PC software program as dealt with by this card in ways in which I could not with 2018’s eye-watering $1,199 RTX 2080 Ti. In an alternate universe—the one the place Nvidia ran unopposed within the GPU race, beating the pants off AMD for years—Nvidia might have continued charging one thing like $800 or $900 for that 2018 card, whose price ticket was rather more about devoted effects-processing cores than about sheer, across-the-board energy.
With AMD lastly nipping on its heels this yr, Nvidia has arrived with a $699 beast of an RTX 3080 whose “Founders Edition,” with none overclocks added, persistently beats an overclocked 2080 Ti Founders Edition in trendy 3D video games and software program (and flexes stronger muscle groups on RTX-specific options). In efficiency checks, the margin of gained efficiency at all times clears the 13-percent threshold, typically rather more. (In the case of Elite Dangerous VR’s “high” preset, which is way more durable to benchmark, it makes a roughly 20 p.c distinction in body occasions throughout the board.)
This is not simply good news for the loopy Lee Hutchinsons of the world. This card’s impression in the marketplace will hopefully push the typical GPU worth proposition into affordable territory. A $699 GPU might not be your cup of tea, but when costs for all the pieces beneath the RTX 3080 (and its sibling, the RTX 3070, slated to launch in October at $499) alter in accordance with the under benchmarks, meaning a rock-solid 1080p or 1440p GPU could lastly land inside your budgetary attain.
Listing picture by Sam Machkovech