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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review: Say hello to 4K ray traced gaming

By Aaron Yip - 20 Dec 2020

Conclusion

Closing Statement

Look forward to PSU brands making their own 12-pin power cable.

At one point during NVIDIA's CEO Jensen Huang's RTX 30 Series keynote, he made the GeForce RTX 3080 pitch to existing GTX 10 Series card owners. And my benchmarks clearly shows why - the RTX 3080 truly represents a marked leap in performance not just over the four-year-old cards but also the not-quite-that-outdated RTX 20 Series as well. NVIDIA wasn't kidding when they claimed the RTX 3080 to be twice as fast as the RTX 2080 (even if that is only with certain games, but we'll accept that claim).

The key question now is, should you upgrade? That really depends on what cards you use right now, and if you have or will have a 4K gaming monitor.

The answer is a no brainer if you happen to own any of the GTX 10 Series cards. Or even any of the AMD graphics cards. The age of these cards are showing, and will no doubt not give you the best experience with upcoming releases such as Cyberpunk 2077 and the new Call of Duty just to name a couple. Upgrading to an RTX 3080, or even the upcoming RTX 3070 will give you a huge performance boost and new gaming experience - welcome to ray tracing and DLSS.

My recommendation for GeForce RTX 2080 / RTX 2080 Super owners to switch to a GeForce RTX 3080 depends on a couple of things. The kind of games played, framerates at 1440p resolution gaming, and if there's an intention to want to enjoy ray tracing at higher resolutions. Again, if upcoming release like Cyberpunk 2077 and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 are titles you want to play then things will get a little scratchy. For instance, it's very likely that these games will run like Metro: Exodus or even Red Dead Redemption 2 in our benchmarks. That is, even at 1440p it's going to struggle at full graphics settings. The price of the RTX 3080 Founders Edition at US$699, the same price as the RTX 2080 Founders Edition at launch but for twice the firepower, is another compelling reason to want to consider the upgrade.

It's only with RTX 2080 Ti card owners that the decision to want to consider the upgrade a bit more painful. Especially if you'd just splashed more than S$1,500 on an RTX 2080 Ti partners card before the RTX 30 Series announcement. My recommendation would still be to upgrade to an RTX 3080, but perhaps eventually rather than immediate. This is an assumption that RTX 2080 Ti card owners are likelier to want to play their PC games at 4K (I know, I do), and the RTX 3080 does outperform the RTX 2080 Ti cards resoundingly at 4K with ray tracing switched.

So to close off my review, my view is that the GeForce RTX 3080 is a truly remarkable card. Despite what NVIDIA said two years ago, the RTX 2080 didn't quite usher in 4K gaming - the RTX 2080 Ti did in a limited capacity but at a crushing price point. Now, 4K gaming is reality and at a more reasonable price point with the RTX 3080.

9.5
  • Performance 9.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 9
The Good
Excellent 4K performance
Huge ray tracing performance improvement
Solid built
Great price point
The Bad
New approach to cooling may not appeal to some PC enthusiasts
Location of power point is understandable but awkward still
10GB may not be enough for 4K gaming at max settings for selected games
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