NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review
RTX 3090 – 12GB = RTX 3080 Ti?
The very short wait after the announcement is over: all over the world RTX 3080 Ti reviews are popping up on YouTube and traditional online outlets, and we also received a card for review. NVIDIA sent over the Founders Edition, which is externally nearly identical to the RTX 3080 FE card that we looked at back in September.
But internally this card has much more in common with the RTX 3090, and its $1199 starting price (don’t laugh, we’re pretending that MSRP’s still exist) places it between the $699 RTX 3080 and $1499 RTX 3090 in NVIDIA’s RTX 30 Series product stack.
Here are some specs:
|RTX 3090||RTX 3080 Ti||RTX 3080||RTX 3070||RTX 3060 Ti|
|Base Clock||1395 MHz||1365 MHz||1440 MHz||1500 MHz||1410 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1695 MHz||1665 MHz||1710 MHz||1725 MHz||1665 MHz|
|Memory||24GB GDDR6X||12GB GDDR6X||10GB GDDR6X||8GB GDDR6||8GB GDDR6|
|Memory Data Rate||19.5 Gbps||19 Gbps||19 Gbps||14 Gbps||14 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||936 GB/s||912 GB/s||760 GB/s||448 GB/s||448 GB/s|
|Die Size||628 mm^2||628 mm^2||628 mm^2||392 mm^2||392 mm^2|
|Process Tech||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung||8nm Samsung|
This is another GA102 based card, manufactured using the same Samsung 8nm process tech. The SM count is 80, which is just 2 shy of the RTX 3090’s SM count of 82, which translates into 10240 CUDA cords vs. the larger card’s 10496 CUDA core count. Memory is cut in half at 12GB vs. 24GB, and this new card’s GDDR6X memory is clocked at an effective 19 Gbps (same as the RTX 3080) rather than the 19.5 Gbps of the RTX 3090.
Having studied these specs I’m sure that many readers will reach the conclusion that this new card will have very, very similar gaming performance to the RTX 3090. But let’s explore that anyhow, because this is a review. First, however, a look at this very familiar card.
The RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Card
Talk about Déjà vu! This card’s similarity to the RTX 3080 Founders Edition is so high that it’s nearly a perfect mach. NEARLY a perfect match. There are two crucial differences, which I will spend two paragraphs on.
Crucial Design Difference #1: The 8 in 3080 has been corrected, and this fact alone may be worth the upgrade from an RTX 3080 FE if you were THAT bothered by the upside-down 8 before. As stated, this is crucial stuff. Next, we have Crucial Design Difference #2: No, your eyes did not deceive you. If you studied the above gallery photos you will undoubtedly note that the original RTX 3080 Founders Edition’s powder black I/O backplate is GONE, replaced by a shiny chrome backplate.
The audacity of this move is difficult to put into words. Now, I’m sure this backplate finish modification will divide a lot of people, but I can see both sides of this crucial issue – such as the potential for scratching the black finish on the original. Disaster averted? Oh, and we still have the 12-pin power connector that everyone loves, along with the same popular Y-cable. Thank goodness.
RTX 3080 Ti Performance Testing
What sort of review would this be without some benchmark results? So here they are.
|PC Perspective GPU Test Platform|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 3900X|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII HERO WIFI|
|Memory||Patriot Viper 4 Blackout 16GB DDR4-4266 @ 3600 16-18-18-36|
|Storage||Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD|
|Power Supply||CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit (1909)|
|Drivers||GeForce GRD 452.06 – 456.96 (Legacy Tests)
GeForce GRD 466.54 (Press Driver, RTX 3080 Ti)
Radeon Software Adrenalin 2020 Edition 20.8.3
3DMark Time Spy Extreme
Looking at the Time Spy Extreme (4K DX12 test) graphics score, the RTX 3080 Ti sits 1060 points above the RTX 3080, with the RTX 3090 SUPRIM 568 points ahead at 10455. In other words, this new card more than bridges the gap between the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090, with the theoretical $1199 MSRP making a lot of sense based on this synthetic benchmark.
It’s time for some math (or an online calculator), so let us shift to percentages. Looking at the results from Metro Exodus at 4K/high, we find that less than 5% separates the factory overclocked MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM and the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition – about a 4.2 FPS deficit for the RTX 3080 Ti. The RTX 3080 Ti FE holds a large 9 FPS lead over the RTX 3080 FE in this test, which is an advantage of just over 11%.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
This test ended providing the biggest difference between the RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 Ti among the game benchmarks, with the MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM about 7.5% ahead of the RTX 3080 Ti FE, which was an 8.4 FPS advantage in this benchmark.
Far Cry 5
Checking out Far Cry 5 at 4K/Ultra now, we find a slim 2.5% difference between the RTX 3080 Ti FE and MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM cards, with the latter just 2.7 FPS ahead this time. The RTX 3080 Ti FE manages to pull ahead of the RTX 3080 FE by 11.2 FPS here, and this translates into another 11% increase over the earlier GPU.
Moving on to a benchmark that takes advantage of NVIDIA RTX, we ran Wolfenstein: Youngblood at 4K res with the highest detail settings, and enabled DLSS with the “quality” preset. The result is a 6.8 FPS gap between RTX 3080 Ti FE and MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM, with the latter just under 5% ahead here. The RTX 3080 Ti FE was 13 FPS ahead in this test, an advantage of 10%.
Bright Memory Infinite RTX Benchmark
The toughest benchmark I’ve found for these RTX cards, Bright Memory Infinite was set to the “very high” RTX preset with DLSS set to quality. 2560×1440 was used here, and even at this lower resolution the MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM averages under 80 FPS – though it is just over 5% faster than the RTX 3080 Ti FE with a 4 FPS edge. The RTX 3080 Ti FE provided an increase of 9% over the RTX 3080 FE – a little over 6 FPS faster on average.
Frequency and Power Draw
GPU clocks topped out at 1935 MHz in this series of tests, with maximum board power draw of 354.1 watts. We didn’t get an RTX 3090 Founders Edition card so I can’t compare this power draw to a 3090 FE directly, but this RTX 3080 Ti shares its 350 W TGP and obviously uses this fully.
As to thermals, in a 25.4 C room the highest temperatures recorded during testing were 77.5 C core, 84.9 C hot spot with our Founders Edition sample, with the fans spinning up to the 63% – 68% range with a high of 2304 RPM. This was not torture testing, and was simply taken from the 10x iteration Metro Exodus 4K/high benchmark session used for GPU clocks and board power draw.
Ok, you’ve made it this far (or just skipped to the end), and now you want to know what conclusion we may have drawn here. Well, this card is almost exactly 5% behind the MSI RTX 3090 SUPRIM in the gaming benchmarks above, with an MSRP some 22% lower. At any other time this would be a big deal, and calling this the new gaming flagship in NVIDIA’s lineup would make a lot of sense, too. Of course we’re living in 2021, the second consecutive year of high retail prices driven by scarcity, scalping, and mining. NVIDIA has worked on limiting the mining appeal of their latest GPUs, but scarcity will still be an issue for the foreseeable future.
IF you can track one of these down for anywhere near the $1199 starting price, you’ll be getting something that comes within 5% of the RTX 3090, and represents a pretty big upgrade over the RTX 3080. And it’s an even more significant upgrade over the RTX 2080 Ti if you’re on that 20 Series card and still looking to upgrade.
As we reach the end of another GeForce graphics card review, and I think about NVIDIA’s current lineup, the RTX 3060 Ti is still my favorite member of the RTX 30 Series based on price/performance – in the fantasy world where that card is actually $399. This new card is a lot more than that, but does serve to theoretically bring near-RTX 3090 performance down to a more competitive level. But getting into pricing is an exercise in pain so I’ll just leave it there.
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How Product Was Obtained
The product is on loan from NVIDIA for the purpose of this review.
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