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

    Nvidia is promising large issues with its new era of graphics playing cards. The GeForce RTX 3080 is meant to ship twice the efficiency of the RTX 2080 on the similar worth. It’s even alleged 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 profiting from ray tracing and Nvidia’s particular AI-powered DLSS tech that reinforces body charges whereas sustaining picture high quality. Nvidia had related 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 may’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 via 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 reasonably priced worth level.

    Nvidia might have caught with the large modifications it made to the RTX 2080 cooling, however 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 aspect 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 other aspect near your CPU cooler and rear case fan. A conventional blower cooler additionally exhausts the recent air out of the PCIe slot and thus out of your case fully.

    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 checks. It’s attainable that, in some rigs, it might have an effect on CPU temperatures, however I feel for the overwhelming majority of circumstances, will probably 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 you need 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 aspect of the cardboard. Fortunately, energy provide distributors like Corsair are planning single cables that can plug immediately into Nvidia’s new 12-pin connector. I’d extremely advocate ordering certainly one of these when you (like me) care about cable administration. Third-party playing cards are sticking with the common twin 8-pin connectors, too.

    The third large change that 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 a substitute of the inexperienced discovered on the 2080. There’s even a refined white glow round a part of the highest fan. I’m impressed with this new design, and it appears to be like nice sitting in a case if in case you have a aspect 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 probably draw as much as 320 watts by itself. That’s a 42 p.c leap from the 225-watt draw with the RTX 2080, which is comprehensible for the efficiency enchancment but in addition disappointing for its impression 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 most recent and biggest CPU, I discovered Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is extremely CPU-intensive, was the one sport that was tough to check on this rig.

    For 1440p checks, 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 great match for an RTX 3080 at 1440p decision. I’ve additionally been testing 4K efficiency, which you will discover under.

    I’ve been enjoying a wide range 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 a wide range 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 usually decrease settings to hit a majority of these averages on different playing cards, however the RTX 3080 was in a position to ship a easy excessive body price expertise persistently.

    Even when enjoying 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 reap the benefits of the upper refresh charges on the Asus ROG Swift PG279Q monitor; if I used to be keen to drop picture high quality just a bit, I might get the total 165Hz. The RTX 3080 appears like a really snug possibility for 1440p, even for among the most demanding AAA titles.

    When you’re upgrading from a GTX 1080 or one thing older and pondering of transferring from a 1080p monitor to 1440p, you received’t be disillusioned with the RTX 3080 in any respect. When you’re aiming to be as aggressive as attainable and delving into the esports aspect of gaming, then a 1080p decision monitor with the RTX 3080 would clearly present even increased 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 alleged to ship 4K gaming at a extra reasonably priced $699 worth level, however it wasn’t in a position to 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 provides as much as 144Hz refresh charges, G-Sync, and even HDR assist.

    In almost each sport I examined with the RTX 3080 at 4K, I used to be in a position to hit or exceed 60fps.

    I’ve been really amazed that I can run round in Name of Responsibility: Warzone with the whole lot maxed out at 4K and nonetheless get 85fps on common. There have been definitely instances when motion briefly dipped under 60fps, however this was uncommon and largely once I was parachuting in moderately than in fight conditions.

    The efficiency improve at 4K from the RTX 2080 to RTX 3080 is important. 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 a number of instances with the RTX 2080 at max settings on 4K decision, because of its physics-defying gameplay and the sport’s demanding specs. Management could be very GPU-intensive and makes use of a wide range of graphics strategies to supply some visually beautiful gameplay. That’s why gameplay often dipped under 30fps on the older RTX 2080, including horrible enter lag to the fast-paced taking pictures scenes. However on the RTX 3080, it averaged 72fps, with solely occasional dips under 60fps. It’s an 80 p.c leap, 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 may run Fortnite with maxed-out settings and nonetheless preserve 98fps on common. That’s a formidable leap 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 need 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 usually 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 sport makes use of 4 to 6GB of reminiscence at 4K for the time being, I do worry this can leap quite a bit 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 sport builders push really helpful 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 suitable steadiness of additional reminiscence and the pricing of the RTX 3080. It does go away the door very open for Nvidia to introduce an RTX 3080 Ti sooner or later with further reminiscence, significantly because the RTX 3090 will ship with 24GB of reminiscence.

    The RTX 3080 additionally doesn’t permit 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 a bit of 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 reasonably priced worth. That’s a giant leap, and it’ll hopefully affect the value 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 degree of efficiency with the RTX 2080 Ti, and the RTX 3080 provides spectacular 4K efficiency for its $699 worth level.

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

    Whereas the door is left open for one thing a bit of extra highly effective than the RTX 3080, Nvidia has some particular tips to enhance efficiency and even picture high quality. Once I initially reviewed the RTX 2080 two years in the past, I wasn’t in a position to 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 appeared like obscure guarantees for the longer term.

    That future has now began to reach, and extra video games at the moment are 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 photographs at decrease resolutions. In easy phrases, DLSS permits a sport to render at a decrease decision and use Nvidia’s picture reconstruction approach 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 sport implements it barely in another way, 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 in a position to 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 check them aspect by aspect to actually dig into the variations, as DLSS is simply that good.

    I enabled ray tracing in Name of Responsibility: Warzone and didn’t discover a big 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 important at 4K, rendering at 45fps on common and plenty of dips under 30fps. In Metro Exodus, it made the sport unplayable until I enabled DLSS, too.

    Nvidia’s RTX off / on comparability in Management.

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

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

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

    DLSS was additionally in a position to bump Metro Exodus as much as significantly better body charges. Efficiency went from 35fps to 61fps with DLSS enabled, making the sport quite a bit smoother to play. In Management, DLSS additionally pushed body charges past 100fps on common to 114fps. That’s a formidable 58 p.c leap.

    Ray tracing nonetheless feels prefer it’s in its infancy, and I feel sport builders will actually need to implement it throughout total video games as a substitute of selectively to make a far larger distinction to the expertise of a sport. The efficiency hit can also be typically too large 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.

    Record of video games with DLSS or ray tracing assist

    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 Gentle 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
    Vibrant Reminiscence Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
    Boundary Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
    Name Of Responsibility: Black Ops Chilly Conflict Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
    Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing & DLSS Coming Quickly
    Dying Gentle 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 need to allow, although. We’ve seen a wide range of picture reconstruction strategies over time to enhance picture high quality from lower-render resolutions. A wide range of PS4 Professional and Xbox One X video games use checkerboarding strategies to hit 4K resolutions at cheap body charges. DLSS is equally spectacular on the PC aspect, 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 may imply much more video games assist it sooner or later. Nvidia is promising improved visible high quality and higher efficiency positive aspects for video games that assist DLSS 2.0, and the very best factor is that video games will be capable of provide a wide range of choices for selecting between efficiency and high quality modes.

    A few of the largest video games launching later this 12 months — together with Cyberpunk 2077, Name of Responsibility: Black Ops Chilly Conflict, and Watch Canine: Legion — can even embrace each ray-traced results and DLSS assist.


    Nvidia’s large 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 reasonably priced $699 worth level. Nvidia can also be promising large jumps for efficiency with the RTX 3070 at simply $499, so it definitely appears like 4K gaming on PC is about to be much more reasonably priced even when the RTX 3070 means you’ll want to decrease some settings.

    The RTX 3080 ushers within the subsequent era of 4K gaming, because of some uncooked horsepower and a number of 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 subsequent era of consoles can even begin to assist ray tracing, that 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 a number of pent up demand right here, so the largest drawback could be really shopping for certainly one of these playing cards within the coming weeks.

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

    When you’re fascinated by making the leap to 1440p as a substitute of 4K, then the RTX 3080 will provide you with a lot headroom I don’t assume you’ll have to improve your PC for years. On the 4K aspect, 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 reasonably priced.

    Images by Tom Warren / The Verge

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