Date: September 18, 2020
Author(s): Rob Williams
We were left impressed with our look at NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080 in creative applications, so now it’s time to turn our attention to gaming! In this article, we’re going to take a look at 4K and ultrawide performance in a selection of current games, as well as explore some RTX titles, including Fortnite, Minecraft, and Control.
Don’t miss our creator look at the GeForce RTX 3080/3090, including benchmarks for Octane, Blender, V-Ray, Arnold, KeyShot, and Redshift.
We kicked off our GeForce RTX 3080 launch coverage with a look at ProViz performance (linked above), as the gains seen there wowed us to the point that we just had to start there. If you care at all about the creator angle, we encourage you to check out that article, but you’ve found the right place if you want to see what this new Ampere-based GPU is capable of on the gaming side.
To recap: NVIDIA’s new RTX 3080 is the first GeForce built around its Ampere architecture, and it’s the first of three models announced so far. This 10GB 3080 is priced at $699, while an RTX 3090 due soon will come equipped with even more performance, along with a 24GB frame buffer, for $1,499.
In mid-October, NVIDIA will release the GeForce RTX 3070, an 8GB option priced at $499 that is said to easily exceed the performance of the last-gen 2080 Ti – even though price-wise, it should be compared to the 2070 SUPER.
The Founders Edition of the RTX 3080 can be seen above. The PCB under the cooler is modest in size, especially compared to previous generations, so the bulk of the card’s design aides in efficient cooling – which is why you can see directly through the right fan area. With this many fins, NVIDIA wants to make sure noise levels are kept modest even if the going gets tough. We can say from experience that you won’t want to touch the card immediately after finishing a gaming session, however.
The FE version of this card includes a new 12-pin power connector, which can be made use of with the help of a dual 8-pin to single 12-pin adapter provided in the box. It’s expected that power supply vendors are going to begin including these adapters in their boxes, if not native cabling. That said – for it to become standard like that, we’d really hope to see industry support for it grow. Most of the launch RTX 3080s from vendors do not include these new connectors.
Since the RTX 3080 is pretty well-known about now, we’ll expedite this intro a bit, and get right into testing. If you want to learn more first about GeForce Ampere, you can check out our announcement article. Otherwise, you can look through our testing methodology preamble, and then jump right into the results.
|Techgage Gaming GPU Test PC|
|Processor||Intel Core i9-10900K (3.7GHz Base, 5.3GHz Turbo, 10C/20T)|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Maximus HERO Wi-Fi|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro (CMW32GX4M4C3200C16) 8GB x 4
Operates at DDR4-3200 16-18-18 (1.35V)
|AMD Graphics||AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT (8GB; Adrenaline 20.8.3)
AMD Radeon VII (16GB; Adrenaline 20.8.3)
|NVIDIA Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 (10GB; GeForce 456.16)
NVIDIA TITAN RTX (24GB; GeForce 452.06)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (11GB; GeForce 452.06)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER (8GB; GeForce 452.06)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11GB; GeForce 452.06)
|Storage||GeForce: WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
Radeon: WD Blue 3D NAND 1TB (SATA 6Gbps)
|Power Supply||Corsair RM650x (650W)|
|Chassis||NZXT S340 Elite Mid-tower|
|Cooling||Corsair Hydro H100i V2 AIO Liquid Cooler (240mm)|
|Et cetera||Windows 10 Pro build 19041.329 (2004)|
All of the GPUs have been tested with current (as of the time the round of testing began) drivers, and with an up-to-date Windows 10 (2004). Our operating system is kept clean and optimized to reduce benchmark interference, ensuring accurate results. V-Sync, G-SYNC, and FreeSync are disabled at the monitor and driver level. Both Intel’s chipset driver and Management Engine (ME) are updated to the latest versions.
This article includes six regular game titles for testing, along with four more specific to ray tracing, two more specific to high-performance eSports, and also a bunch of synthetics with the help of 3DMark and Superposition. Since our last NVIDIA gaming GPU review, we’ve improved our 3DMark testing to include testing for ray tracing, DLSS, and VRS.
Here’s the full breakdown of our benchmarks:
Note: You can download all of the tested setting images at once here (ZIP, 7MB).
We’re off to an impressive start, at least with regards to how well the RTX 3080 performs against the competition. It’s been a while since we benchmarked Borderlands 3, so we were rather surprised to see that it takes the RTX 3080 to breach 60 FPS at 4K, using the High graphics preset. There are two more presets above that one, so this game might be pushing GPU hardware for a while yet.
At ultrawide, a smooth 100 FPS can be achieved, with the 0.1% low of the RTX 3080 matching the overall average FPS of the RTX 2080 Ti. Clearly, this game is a bit rough at 4K, unless you have a top-end GPU, while all cards but the 1080 Ti managed 60 FPS average at 3440×1440.
Destiny 2 gives us much better frame rates than Borderlands 3 did, despite us using the top graphics profile. At 4K, 100 FPS is broken through pretty easily, although the gain over the TITAN RTX isn’t quite as impressive as it was with Borderlands. For ultrawide, the RTX 3080 could power this game past 144Hz.
It’s easy to compare the RTX 3080 against the TITAN RTX when that’s the GPU glued to second place, but the better comparison is the 2080 SUPER, since it’s been priced at the same $699 USD up until this launch. At 4K, the 3080 made a 53% improvement to the frame rate over the 2080S. Those are the kinds of generational gains we like to see.
The TITAN RTX continues to get smacked around in Monster Hunter: World by the RTX 3080, with a healthy 31% gain for the new card. Again, the TITAN RTX is a bit of an unfair target, so against the equally-priced 2080 SUPER, the RTX 3080 delivers 68% more FPS. It’s really hard to get over gains like that, and we can say while GeForce Turing was respectable in its own right, it didn’t excite us like this RTX 3080 is proving to.
For ultrawide users, the load is eased quite a bit, with the RTX 3080 peaking at 135 FPS, representing a 61% gain over the 2080S.
Horizon is the first new game in our test suite, and it also happens to be one on our “must play” list, because the game looks really captivating. It also proves to be a great performance test. At 4K, the RTX 3080 peaks at 73 FPS, although it’s important to note that we’re running the game at top detail levels, and there’s plenty of options to tweak if you’re looking to breach 100 FPS.
Or, if you’re an ultrawide user, you can enjoy 100+ FPS out-of-the-box with the RTX 3080, simply using that top graphics profile.
Just as it’s obvious that Lewis Hamilton is going to win the next Formula 1 race, it’s also obvious that the other GPUs in this lineup had no chance against the RTX 3080. We’re yet again seeing a 30% improvement at 4K, compared against the TITAN RTX, which is bumped to 61% when we compare against the 2080 SUPER.
Games like these are meant to be enjoyed with fast frame rates, and with fewer pixels to render than 4K, the ultrawide resolution easily surpasses 100 FPS here, even hitting that on the minimum (okay… 99 FPS).
The Total War series doesn’t seem to release a title that doesn’t have the capacity of making any GPU cry. The great thing is that the game has a ton of graphics options to tweak until you can reach your desired frame rate. We had to move anti-aliasing to FXAA, shadow detail to Medium, and disable screen-space shadows in order to deliver realistic playable frame rates on the bottom cards in this lineup.
With the tweaks made to the graphics settings, the RTX 3080 hits 80 FPS at 4K, and hovers around 55 FPS at minimum. Compared to the RTX 2080 SUPER, the new 3080 improves 4K performance by 61%, while ultrawide users could expect to see these high detail levels at over 100 FPS.
CS: GO is a bit of an odd duck to benchmark for a review like this, but the fact of the matter is, it remains one of the de facto most popular eSports titles going. It also requires a fast CPU to see good scaling on a GPU, which leads us to believe the Source engine could be further optimized to increase the frame rates. After all, Siege, as we’ll see next, has no problems breaching 300 FPS, and will still scale at 1080p.
Nonetheless, at ultrawide, the CPU bottleneck (we used an Intel Core i9-10900K) seems to glue our frame rate to around 230 FPS, while 4K actually does give us some scaling, albeit the least impressive scaling we’ve seen thus far.
Siege doesn’t suffer a CPU bottleneck like CS: GO does, so it’s been able to deliver some really nice scaling results here, even at ultrawide. At 4K, the 3080 delivered 49% more FPS than 2080 SUPER, while ultrawide proved 40% better. These frame rates explain why NVIDIA is using this title in its marketing push for 360Hz displays.
With those eight titles covered, we’re going to move into a look at RTX-specific titles on the next page.
We have tackled RTX-specific game testing in the past, but haven’t made it a regular feature in our NVIDIA launch content. That could change, as more and more content is coming out that supports ray tracing or DLSS.
Because time was of the essence during the review period, we didn’t get to real-world DLSS testing outside of Minecraft, as it seems implied there. For a direct DLSS scaling test, we’ll be looking at 3DMark on the following page.
While we covered both 4K and ultrawide resolutions on the previous page, we’re largely sticking to 1080p and 1440p for our RTX testing here. This is due to the fact that ray tracing in general is a performance hog, which is the exact reason DLSS is typically meant to be used in conjunction to upscale the resolution to 4K with AI. So, the performance you see here could be further improved with DLSS at the higher resolutions. We plan to get more testing with DLSS done in time for the RTX 3070 launch.
It’s clear that NVIDIA has optimized quite a bit for Minecraft RTX, because when it first became available, it seemed like a 2080 Ti would be required to even enjoy it. Things have clearly changed, since on our detailed benchmarking level (Portal Pioneers), even the lowbie RTX 2060 managed to deliver more than 60 FPS. There is no specific DLSS option to toggle in the game, but when in an RTX level, the top text on the screen implies that DLSS is being used, which would explain these healthy frame rates.
Ahead of the RTX 3080’s launch, NVIDIA gave us access to an RTX-specific map in Fortnite that we could test out. It’s called Treasure Run, and it incorporates many RTX features, including impressive looking reflections. We envision a scenario where someone may be able to see someone else sneaking up on them because a mirror-like surfaces happens to be in view.
4K for Fortnite RTX isn’t really going to happen at least on any of the current stack. The upcoming RTX 3090 might fare better, especially thanks to its generous helping of memory (24GB). Still, at 1440p, the RTX 3080 still delivers great performance, breaching 80 FPS on the average, and 70 FPS minimum.
Of the four RTX titles covered here, Control is the one that requires the most graphics horsepower to deliver a smooth frame rate. Part of that might be because we chose to run with the highest detail settings, which includes reflections, diffused lighting, and contact shadows – while skipping DLSS. So, don’t take these results as gospel; you can tweak the settings a bit and get a nice boost pretty easily.
It might be old, but Quake II (RTX) is another game we want to spend more time with, because it’s one of the coolest mixtures of nostalgia and technology we’ve seen in a while. As with the other games on this page, this one requires a lot of RTX horsepower to deliver quality frame rates, but at 1440p, it’s still easy to break past the 60 FPS mark.
We’re going to take a look at synthetic benchmarks on the next page, including a fleet of RTX-specific tests from 3DMark that we’ve pretty much ignored up until this point.
3DMark tends to be a great solution for showing the best-case scenario of a GPU, and that doesn’t change with the RTX 3080. Across these DX12 and DX11 tests, the RTX 3080 performs at least 50% better than the 2080 SUPER. With Time Spy’s 4K test, the 3080 proves 26% better than the TITAN RTX.
As mentioned before, we’re planning to dive into more RTX-specific testing down the road, having focused primarily on ray tracing on the previous page. 3DMark still gives us a great way to test specific features on their own, though.
With the Port Royal test, the RTX 3080 leaps 63% ahead of the 2080S, and 24% ahead of TITAN RTX. The DLSS test gives us similar gains, with RTX 3080 proving 59% better than 2080S, and places 22% ahead of TITAN RTX.
The VR tests show the biggest gains gen-over-gen here. The Tier 1 test shows a staggering 87% improvement over the 2080 SUPER, and 34% over the TITAN RTX. The Tier 2 test shows reduced gains, but they’re still really impressive: 3080 scores 53% higher than 2080 SUPER.
We probably didn’t need another synthetic benchmark to tell us what we already know, but it’s good to be thorough, right? In Superposition, the RTX 3080 outperforms the 2080 SUPER by 54% with both these 1080p and 4K profiles.
Wfrapping our gaming review, on the next page we look at power and temperature, as well as our closing thoughts on the RTX 3080 launch.
To take a look at the RTX 3080 from a power and temperatures perspective, we rely on both rendering and gaming workloads to push the GPU. For rendering, we use the Classroom 2.8 project in Blender, and for gaming, we use UL’s Fire Strike Ultra. Both tests are run for ten minutes, with their maximum wattage and temperatures reported. The power test is total system power pulled from the wall, using a kill-a-watt meter.
The RTX 3080 offered a few surprises here; primarily with the fact that the card draws about the same amount of wattage from the wall whether rendering or gaming. We’ve heard reports of others finding slightly different scaling with their gaming tests, but after a retest, we still found the same result.
With a rated TDP of 320W, it’s probably no surprise to you that the RTX 3080 is the most power-hungry of this bunch. At the same time, it’s far faster than the rest of them, so most users will probably be able to ignore that hike. Even with this configuration, we’re well short of 450W total system power.
There used to be a time when enthusiasts thought that at a 1,000W power supply was basically required for their system, to allow for lots of breathing room. Nowadays, even 600W will suffice for most. Adding lots of disk drives – and of course a second GPU – would change that requirement.
As soon as we stepped foot into our test results, it became immediately obvious that this RTX 3080 is a bit special. It’s not uncommon for a new GPU architecture to drop that’s much faster than the previous-gen, but NVIDIA’s taken things to a bit of a new level here.
This generation’s $699 GeForce GPU is much faster than last-gen’s $1,199 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. It’s even faster than the top-end TITAN RTX, which means that series is going to be due for an upgrade at some point (40GB, please!).
As our benchmarks have shown, the RTX 3080 can definitely be considered a true 4K card. In all of our tests, we managed to surpass 60 FPS quite easily, and in most of the cases where we were only 10 or so FPS ahead, it’s partially our fault for using such high detail settings. If you want to hit 4K/100 FPS, it shouldn’t be too hard in any modern game, assuming it has sufficient graphics options (it seems rare when that’s not the case nowadays).
4K isn’t the only ideal target for this card, though. Our ultrawide results have shown the RTX 3080 to provide more than enough horsepower to easily breach 100 FPS. In fact, all of our tested games surpassed 100 FPS at ultrawide with the new GPU, and if you happen to be blessed with a 144Hz panel, you can likely hit that with some minor tweaking – assuming you’re willing to forego a bit of graphics fidelity (which in some cases can feel superfluous anyway).
This article goes live after the RTX 3080 went on for sale, and to say it went off without a hitch would be a lie. No one we personally talked to who planned to pick one up managed to score one, but without fail, scalpers popped-up on eBay and the like with unbelievable speed. So, like many GPU launches, the RTX 3080 is immediately scarce, and we’re not sure when supply will improve. If you ask NVIDIA, it’s working tirelessly to ensure that supply is as good as it can possibly be. It’s just best to be aware that if you want an RTX 3080, you will in all certainty need to exercise a bit of patience.
Long story short, the RTX 3080 is a screamer, and represents one of the most impressive GeForce launches we’ve ever seen. The Turing launch was cool in its own right, but Ampere pushes things forward in a way we wouldn’t have assumed would happen. The RTX 3080’s performance is seriously impressive, especially for its $699 price tag. We just hope its availability improves soon.
The GeForce RTX 3080 isn’t the only GPU that NVIDIA is launching around this time. On September 24, the company is expected to launch its even bigger Ampere chip, RTX 3090, equipped with 24GB of memory. We won’t have a review of that card for launch, but we will have a look at the upcoming RTX 3070 when it releases mid-October. That $499 card is still said to beat out the last-gen RTX 2080 Ti, so it could prove just as interesting as this RTX 3080. Time will tell.
What about AMD? Well, its current stack doesn’t have a competitor to NVIDIA’s RTX 3080, or even the top of the previous-gen GeForce stack. RNDA2 / “Big Navi” is due to be announced in late October, so to learn whether or not AMD is going to have a strong answer to these new Ampere cards, we must exercise even more patience. Let’s hope the company does have some surprises in store!
Copyright © 2005-2020 Techgage Networks Inc. - All Rights Reserved.