NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Review: Minor Bump, Better Value
The NVIDIA RTX 2080 SUPER
A Less Super Super, But It's Still Good
When we were introduced to NVIDIA’s revamped RTX lineup with the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 SUPER on July 2nd, the results were outstanding. In the case of the $399 2060 SUPER one could get nearly identical performance to the outgoing RTX 2070 for $100 less, and while the performance of $499 RTX 2070 SUPER wasn’t quite up to the level of RTX 2080 it was still a tremendous value considering the $200 difference between the cards.
Today we finally get to reveal RTX 2080 SUPER performance, and with the earlier SUPER launch in mind is it safe to assume that this new card will come anywhere near an RTX 2080 Ti? Not a chance, as a cursory glance at the specs would indicate. There was just too great a disparity in CUDA count to have a chance at this. The real question becomes how much ground can be made up between the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti.
Let’s find out.
|RTX 2080 SUPER||RTX 2080||RTX 2070 SUPER||RTX 2070||RTX 2060 SUPER||RTX 2060|
|Base Clock||1650 MHz||1515 MHz||1605 MHz||1410 MHz||1470 MHz||1365 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1815 MHz||1710 MHz||1770 MHz||1620 MHz||1650 MHz||1680 MHz|
|Memory||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6||6GB GDDR6|
|Memory Data Rate||15.5 Gbps||14 Gbps||14 Gbps||14 Gbps||14 Gbps||14 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||496.1 GB/s||448 GB/s||448 GB/s||448 GB/s||448 GB/s||336 GB/s|
|Die Size||545 mm2||545 mm2||545 mm2||445 mm2||445 mm2||445 mm2|
|Process Tech||12 nm||12 nm||12 nm||12 nm||12 nm||12 nm|
With the RTX 2080 SUPER we are getting the full implementation of the TU104 GPU with all 48 SMs enabled and a total of 3072 CUDA Cores. Additionally the RTX 2080 SUPER offers “the fastest GDDR6 in the world” with a memory data rate of 15.5 Gbps, and with a 256-bit interface it provides 496 GB/s of memory bandwidth.
Like the RTX 2070 SUPER this new card replaces the original version in the lineup, with both the RTX 2070 and now RTX 2080 now replaced with these ‘super’ versions, and at the same prices. Of note is the fact that new RTX 2080 SUPER is $699 for the Founders Edition; gone is the $100 premium for the higher-clocked variant with NVIDIA’s cooler.
I won’t belabor the point, but all of the results you are about to see were recorded in the last few days using a brand new GPU testbed. All existing benchmark results were tossed, with these fresh results produced on a faster system with the latest build of Windows 10 (1903) and the latest graphics drivers (as of July 19, 2019).
|PC Perspective GPU Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-9700K|
|Motherboard||GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO|
|Memory||Crucial Ballistix Sport LT DDR4-3200 32GB (16GBx2)|
|Storage||CORSAIR Neutron Series XTi 480GB SSD|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit (1903)|
|Drivers||Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.7.2
GeForce Game Ready Driver 431.36, 431.56 (RTX 2080 SUPER)
In the rush to re-test everything there was not time to benchmark all that we would like to see here, with AMD’s earlier Vega and Polaris GPUs notable omissions along with the non-RTX Turing cards and Pascal cards beyond the GTX 1080/1080 Ti. Still, there are a dozen cards on the charts to follow, with more to follow in future reviews and updates.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
The latest installment in the AC series can be very tough on systems, especially at higher resolutions with settings cranked up to ultra. It may surprise some that this new game uses the DirectX 11 API, but Windows 7 holdouts will be fine with this.
Right off the bat we see results with the RTX 2080 SUPER that sit between the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti – though decidedly closer to the 2080 Founders Edition. Pricing needs to be considered here, as well as in all of the results to follow, as this new card is $699 and the Founders Edition of the RTX 2080 we are comparing it to is sold at a $100 premium ($799) over a stock RTX 2080.
Still, a gain of 5.2% (3.3 FPS) over the RTX 2080 FE is not very exciting. On the other hand the 2080 Ti FE only manages to best this new card by 10% (6.7 FPS) in this game, at a premium of $500. The value proposition is certainly in the RTX 2080 SUPER’s favor.
Beyond these RTX 2080 SUPER results a couple of things stand out with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. First, this is a rather punishing title at 2560×1440/Ultra, with the GTX 1080 Ti the first card in the lineup to average 60 FPS and the $1199 RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition needed to consistently hit that number (factoring in 95th percentile FPS) out of this group.
The second notable aspect of the chart is that NVIDIA’s DX11 performance is clearly higher than AMD’s in this game. Call it a lack of optimization or some sort of green team conspiracy, but it’s there on the chart with the latest drivers for both sides. Still, you will see a different order on some of the charts to follow with DX12 and Vulkan tests.
Far Cry 5
Next up is another fairly recent DX11 title, but this time we are looking at results from a game that offers better optimization for team red than we saw with ACO.
Here we have a better showing for AMD, but a much less impressive showing for the RTX 2080 SUPER considering it trails the RTX 2080 Ti be a considerable margin at the top of the chart. We have a small 3.8% (3.2 FPS) gain over the RTX 2080 FE, but that 13.6% (15.5 FPS) lead from the RTX 2080 Ti looks pretty huge.
Final Fantasy XIV Shadowbringers
This is the latest FFXIV expansion pack, released earlier this month (July 2, 2019). At this point FFXIV is showing its age, but this latest expansion does offer its own standalone benchmark application and it was run at its maximum settings. (Yes, this is a GameWorks title and will undoubtedly work better on NVIDIA hardware, but we can at least use the chart to compare GeForce results.)
As with Far Cry 5 we again see modest gains over the RTX 2080 Founders Edition for the new 2080 SUPER, with a 6.1% performance advantage which translates into 8.4 FPS here. The RTX 2080 Ti FE is a whopping 20% faster (30 FPS) in this test. All cards tested exhibited the same lack of smoothness with a wide disparity in frametimes producing the 95th and 99th percentile numbers in the chart above.
Finally a DirectX 12 title! Metro Exodus was run at its ultra preset (which actually sits below ‘extreme’ but is still pretty brutal).
It’s more of the same for RTX 2080 SUPER with Metro Exodus, with a 3.9% gain over the RTX 2080 FE (2.7 FPS). The RTX 2080 Ti FE sits 19.7% (14.3 FPS) ahead at the top of the chart.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Another DX12 test, this one historically favors NVIDIA but will serve to further explore the differences between these GeForce cards.
Here we find a 6.7% increase (5.3 FPS) for the RTX 2080 SUPER over the RTX 2080 FE, with the RTX 2080 Ti FE taking a 17.9% (15 FPS) lead. For their part AMD cards do not fare that badly in this sometimes reviled test, and you may have noticed the RX 5700 XT’s position relative not only to the GTX 1080 Ti, but the Radeon VII. Not bad for $399.
World of Tanks enCore
Moving forward in alphabetical order (did you notice?) we fall back from DX12 to another DX11 benchmark with World of Tanks enCore. This was run at its ultra preset, though you will still see an average of 100 FPS+ from all but one card.
Another benchmark, another modest gain for the RTX 2080 SUPER. This times it’s 7.4% (10.9 FPS) over the RTX 2080 FE, with the RTX 2080 Ti FE another 18.4% (29.2 FPS) above this. Yes, it’s pretty conclusive that the RTX 2080 Ti FE is still the much faster card, with the RTX 2080 SUPER just a bit faster than the outgoing RTX 2080 Founders Edition. But what about the wild card?
Let’s take a trip to Planet Vulkan.
World War Z
Both a DX11 and Vulkan API title, WWZ offers our lone taste of that AMD-favored API in this review. How will these cards stack up with the game run at its highest settings?
Do not adjust your display, the differences between AMD and NVIDIA are very real when we look at highly optimized Vulkan API results like these from World War Z. At ultra settings the RTX 2080 Ti is still on top, but the both the Radeon VII and RX 5700 XT beat out the RTX 2080 SUPER! Comparing the 2080 SUPER to the 2080 FE we have a 3.8% (6.7 FPS) gain for the new card, with the RTX 2080 Ti FE 10.6% (19.5 FPS) ahead.
Power, Temps, and Noise
Taking measurements of total system power from the wall using a Watts Up power meter we see how the RTX 2080 SUPER compares to the group benchmarked in this review:
Compared to our RTX 2080 Founders Edition the RTX 2080 SUPER draws an additional 15W from the wall under load, placing the new card exactly between the RTX 2080 FE and RTX 2080 Ti FE in power consumption.
As the RTX 2080 SUPER sent over for review is a Founders Edition card, with a cooler unchanged from the RTX 2080 FE other than the chrome on the front, temps are very good as expected. With a room temperature of ~27 C the 2080 SUPER was 32 C at idle, climbing to 72 C under load.
This leads us to noise levels, which are very low. With the sound meter 12 inches away from the GPU on the open testbed we recorded 33.4 dBA at idle, rising to just 36.8 dBA under load. With this design loads live mostly in the 35-40 dBA range – though of course this will depend on current load temp, ambient temp, placement/enclosure, etc… Still, these are quiet coolers and it’s nearly unnoticeable over normal background noise unless you manually crank up the fans for overclocking.
While the RTX 2060/2070 SUPER launch was in some ways a price correction for the RTX series, as essentially the next card up in the lineup became suddenly far less expensive (less so with the RTX 2070 SUPER vs. RTX 2080, but still within about 10%), the story with this new RTX 2080 SUPER is more about the value of the card compared to the outgoing RTX 2080 Founders Edition than it is about big performance gains.
This is obviously less exciting, and I had perhaps irrationally hoped for results somehow closer to that of an RTX 2080 Ti, but this is, at the end of the day, a faster version of the RTX 2080 without being any more expensive than its predecessor.
While performance around 5% faster overall doesn’t seem very “super”, we have to consider that we have only compared the new GPU to the Founders Edition of the RTX 2080 – a $799 card. Sure there are factory overclocked variants of the RTX 2080 already that offer similar or greater levels of performance than a RTX 2080 FE, but those are also priced above the $699 price level of the stock RTX 2080 and this new 2080 SUPER.
At the end of the day this new RTX lineup offers better price/performance than it did before the introduction of the SUPER cards, though clearly the RTX 2060 and 2070 SUPER have made $399-$499 something of a sweet spot in the range.
I was a little underwhelmed by this launch after the excitement of the previous SUPER cards and AMD’s Navi already this month (with AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 XT making its own case at $399), but the modest gains and more attractive pricing with RTX 2080 SUPER vs. Founders Edition and similar aftermarket designs does make this a good launch for consumers. Just not as big as RTX 2060/2070 SUPER was.