Back in September last year, NVIDIA gave PC gamers the GeForce RTX 3080, the first card in its arsenal that was truly capable of sustaining high framerates at 4K. Nearly a year later, the GPU brand launched a follow-up to it, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.
Now, a little more than a month after its grand launch with the RTX 3070 Ti, the card has finally arrived in our hands for testing. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get started.
In comparison to the RTX 3080, NVIDIA is clearly giving the RTX 3080 Ti a lot of love. As I mentioned in initial reports prior to this review, the majority of this card is almost akin to the RTX 3090, having nearly as many CUDA cores, RT Cores, and Tensor Cores as the card itself.
Even its memory bandwidth is similar at just 24GB/s shy of the full monty, as is the card’s TDP of 350W and 384-bit memory bus. That said, the RTX 3080 Ti does have only half the amount of graphics memory at 12GB GDDR6X, but that is still 2GB more than the RTX 3080.
As it is with all Founders Edition (FE) cards, the aesthetics and cooler design of the RTX 3080 Ti is no different than the RTX 3080 FE or RTX 3090 FE. That means, you still get the same Dual Axial Flow Through technology, the same ultra-compact PCB beneath it, and the wickedly cool multi-fin heatsink and cross-pattern look that also serves as the bulk of the card.
In fact, the only difference that would allow me to tell the RTX 3080 Ti from its non-Ti sibling is its slightly brighter outlook, literally. Side by side, the edges and outline of the card actually bear a more polished sheen. At the same time, the plates inside these aesthetic boundaries also seem darker in colour.
As is the standard with all graphics cards, the RTX 3080 Ti has three DisplayPort 1.4 ports and an HDMI 2.1 port, the latter capable of supporting resolutions up to 8K.
Aside from its design though, one of the card’s massive drawbacks would have to be its starting price tag of RM5680. Mind you, that’s just the price of the Founders Edition model, so you can imagine just how much AiB partners are marking up the price of their cards.
To test the RTX 3080 Ti, the other components in my testbed remains the same. This includes the same Ryzen 9 5950X CPU, MSI motherboard, and 16GB of RAM. For comparison sake, I am obviously benching the card against the RTX 3080 FE, but also the RTX 3070 Ti FE, and AMD Radeon RX 6800XT.
So, the question is: just how much more powerful is the RTX 3080 Ti FE compared to the RTX 3080? The short answer would be not by a whole lot. The longer version of that answer, though, is that it actually varies from title to title.
On the synthetic benchmark portion of this review, you can see the RTX 3080 Ti FE maintaining a decent lead ahead of the other three cards in most scenarios while screaming past in one or two of them.
Suffice to say, gaming is when the RTX 3080 Ti FE obviously really begins to come into its own. In the five titles that I use – Control, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, DOOM Eternal, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Watch Dogs Legion – the card is more than able to maintain more than 60 fps in most of them, especially in titles without DXR switched on.
For DOOM Eternal, I will point out that the average framerate seen here are reflective of the game being run without ray-tracing and DLSS turned on. On average, the RTX 3080 Ti FE runs approximately 30 fps faster at 4K and close to 80 fps at 1440p. With ray-tracing and DLSS set to Balanced, those numbers obviously drop, but to my surprise, it was still above the 100 fps mark at 4K.
As for the other two RTX-capable titles, it is equally surprising to see the RTX 3080 Ti actually blow the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark out of water, and by a significantly wide margin, for that matter. With RTX turned on and DLSS disabled, the card isn’t breaking past the 60 fps threshold, but it is leaving the other cards in the dust. Likewise, the same applies to the other two resolutions.
Watch Dogs Legion seems to be the exception to the rule, with the card performing just slightly worse than its non-Ti sibling. What is a little odd is that the card’s performance in the other two resolutions was identical, especially when the framerates should theoretically be higher in Full HD.
Temperature and Power Consumption
In regards to overall temperature, the RTX 3080 Ti FE’s runs only mildly hotter than the RTX 3080 when I tested it, at 74.6°C on a full load. Now, it should be reiterated that I use an open testbench and the ambient temperature of my lab is always a cool 19°C at all times, which are quite likely contributing factors to the obtained temperature. In a closed and encased system, the RTX 3080 Ti’s temperature shoots up and can stay within the 80°C range.
In terms of power consumption, the RTX 3080 Ti clearly consumes its stated TGP, never going beyond the 350W line.
There is little doubt that the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is an absolute unit and, like its predecessor, continues to push the limits of what NVIDIA’s Ampere-powered lineup is capable of achieving. That said, while we are looking at an average increment of 20 frames across the board for all titles, I genuinely do not believe that its starting asking price of RM5680 is entirely justified.
Remember, when the RTX 3080 launched, NVIDIA had priced it at least half the price of its last generation flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti, which was sold at an average of RM7000 at the time. If you’re planning on bumping up from an RTX 3080, I highly recommend that you don’t. Barring the fact that supply for the card is scarce, this really is a graphics card that would better serve those wanting an upgrade from their Turing-power RTX 20 Series cards or older.