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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Super Founders Edition review: Better performance, significant price drop

By Aaron Yip - 31 Jan 2024

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Super Founders Edition review: Better performance, significant price drop

When NVIDIA launched the GeForce RTX 4080 in November 2022, it immediately raised eyebrows with a price tag that that was closer to the excellent GeForce RTX 4090 but with a performance that was closer to the GeForce RTX 4070 Ti.

Fast forward to January 2024, and NVIDIA has rolled out the Super variants of three selected GPUs from the RTX 40 series – the GeForce RTX 4070 Super, RTX 4070 Ti Super and now the RTX 4080 Super. Just like the RTX 4070 Ti Super, the RTX 4080 Super effectively replaces the vanilla RTX 4080. Unlike the previous two Super cards that offers incremental performance boost but sold at the same price point as their respective predecessors, the RTX 4080 Super is the only Super card that deviates from the original RTX 4080’s launch price of US$1,199 – selling at a more palatable US$999.

In short, the RTX 4080 Super gets a price drop and that’s a good thing. But if you’re hoping for the new card to offer a substantial leap in performance over the original RTX 4080, then you are going to have to manage your expectations. The Super cards are more like “overclocked” or souped up versions of the cards that they replace (with the RTX 4070 Super the exception).

That said, and with the benefit of hindsight now, it’s amusing to note that the RTX 4090, with its launch price of US$1,599, being the more compelling value proposition than its less powerful, yet pricey sibling, the RTX 4080. At US$999, the RTX 4080 Super does address this disparity to some extent, though it's still a noticeable jump from the RTX 3080's more modest 2020 launch price of US$699. Nonetheless, I think it’s still a move in the right direction by NVIDIA.

The steep pricing of the original RTX 4080 made it hard for us to recommend it at launch, but this new Super’s price tag goes a long way in correcting our opinion – since the next best and more powerful GPU is now US$600 more (as opposed to the previous US$400 difference). The RTX 4080 Super is not anywhere near the RTX4090 nor does it outclass the RTX 4080 overwhelmingly, but at a lower price point I could now recommend an RTX 4080 Super more easily than I could with the RTX 4080. After all, you’re getting better performance over and at a lower price point, what’s there not to like? I just wished this was the original price point that NVIDIA set for the RTX 4080 – I can imagine how existing RTX 4080 owners are going to be pretty upset with the RTX 4080 Super but I digress.

The GeForce RTX 4080 Super Founders Edition

Set both the RTX 4080 and RTX 4080 Super Founders Editions side by side and you’ll be hard-pressed to spot any notable differences between the two cards. But just like it did with the RTX 4070 Super Founders Edition, NVIDIA has also given the darker alloy treatment to the the RTX 4080 Super Founders Edition – and it’s remarkably beautiful (this is probably the sixth time I’ve said that about an RTX 40 series card). That also means it maintains the same physical dimensions of the RTX 4080 (and also the RTX 4090), which means it’s not going to fit all casings.

GeForce
Graphics Card
RTX 4080 Super FE RTX 4080 FE RTX 4070 Ti Super RTX 4070 Super FE
GPU Ade Lovelace (AD103) Ade Lovelace (AD103) Ade Lovelace (AD103) Ade Lovelace (AD104)

Process

5nm (TSMC)

5nm (TSMC)

5nm (TSMC)

5nm (TSMC)

Transistors 45.9 billion 45.9 billion 45.9 billion 35.8 billion
Streaming Multi-processors (SM) 80 76 66 56
CUDA cores 10240 9278 8448 7168
Tensor Cores 320 304 264 224
RT Cores 80 76 66 56
GPU base / Boost clocks (MHz) 2295 / 2550 2205 / 2505 2340 / 2610 1980 / 2475
Memory 16GB GDDR6X 16GB GDDR6X 16GB GDDR6X 12GB GDDR6X
Memory bus width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 192-bit
Memory bandwidth 736.3 GB/s 716.8 GB/s 672.3 GB/s 504.2 GB/s
Interface PCIe 4.0
TDP 320W 320W 285W 220W
Price (at launch) US$999 US$1,199 US$799 US$599

Other aspects of the RTX 4080 Super Founders Edition remain unchanged from its vanilla predecessor, so it still has the same three DisplayPort 1.4 ports and a single HDMI 2.1 port, and single 12-pin PCIe 5 connector (a 12VHPWR adapter cable is included in the box as well).

For memory, the RTX 4080 Super retains the 16GB of VRAM found in the RTX 4080, but steps up the bandwidth to 736GB/s from the RTX 4080's 717GB/s. CUDA core count has also jumped to 10,240 as with the base and boost clock. These account for how the RTX 4080 Super is able to exceed the RTX 4080’s in-game performances at 1440p and 4K, as you’ll see in our benchmark results below. Remarkably, NVIDIA has managed to eked out all these extra performance juice yet retain the GPU’s TDP to 320W – the same as the RTX 4080.

Performance benchmarks

Here's a refresher of our test rig's specifications:

For this review, I’ll be comparing the RTX 4080 Super Founders Edition with its predecessor, the RTX 4080 Founders Edition. I've also added in both Super variants of the RTX 4070 series and just for good measure, the RTX 4090 Founders Edition as well – just to see where the RTX 4080 Super stands when compared to the king of the hill.

At its heart, the GeForce RTX 4080 Super is very much a 4K powerhouse – not that much different from its RTX 4080 predecessor – and it will be rather silly and an awful waste of money to pair this with a 1080p-only gaming monitor. I’d even go so far as to say to not waste the GPU on a 1440p either (the RTX 4070 cards are better suited here), and to only invest in the RTX 4080 Super if you already have or plan to get a 4K monitor.

In every 1440p and 4K performance benchmarks, the RTX 4080 Super card shines brilliantly. Especially at 4K resolution, and even with NVIDIA’s excellent DLSS technology turned off. Take Cyberpunk 2077, for example, where it hit a respectable 55fps with the visual settings cranked up to Ultra. Running DLSS on “balanced” mode, and with Ray Tracing turned on, the RTX 4080 Super achieved a comfortable 65fps at 4K in separate tests.

Yet, while the RTX 4080 Super's performance is undeniably strong, it's worth noting that the vanilla RTX 4080 delivers almost identical result. Essentially, the RTX 4080 Super offers at best a five to seven percent improvement in performance. This marginal gain, and crucially, running at the same TDP as its predecessor, is somewhat offset by the fact that the RTX 4080 Super comes in at a lower price point than its predecessor, making it a somewhat more appealing option for gamers eyeing aiming for high-end gaming but not wanting to go for an RTX 4090 card.

Final thoughts

The Super variant of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 4080 now makes this GPU a compelling choice for gamers looking for a suitable upgrade to their older GPUs. Especially for those still holding on to their RTX 3080 cards, which is four years old by now and is now primed for an upgrade. There’s where the RTX 4080 Super comes in, with its more accessible pricing and performance edge, albeit just slightly. But a win is a win.

While it doesn’t bridge the performance gap with the more formidable RTX 4090, for those eyeing a 4K graphics card around the US$1,000 mark, the RTX 4080 Super is easy to recommend.

As this marks the end of our Super trilogy (haha) of reviews, I have to add that out of all the three Super cards launched this month, the RTX 4070 impresses the most with its significant performance jump over the RTX 4070 at the same price point. Not surprisingly, NVIDIA is not phasing out the older RTX 4070, but instead dropping its price and thus making this a great card from a value perspective. And if you want higher 1440p performance, the RTX 4070 Super is a great choice too.

The RTX 4070 Ti Super, on the hand, is a bit of an enigma despite having a VRAM upgrade to 16GB. It’s selling at the same SRP at launch as the vanilla RTX 4070 Ti, and though it offers tangible performance improvements over the RTX 4070 Super at higher resolutions, it does not quite offer the same performance-to-value as the RTX 4070 Super or the RTX 4080 Super. That’s not to say it’s not a good card, but sandwiched between a US$599 and US$999 card that offers great 1440p and 2160p (aka 4K) performances respectively meant that gamers already have two excellent choices for these two mainstream resolutions. So I'm not quite sure which gaming segment the RTX 4070 Ti Super is for, and I suspect NVIDIA isn't quite clear about that either.

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8.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 9
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Excellent power efficiency
Still good 1440p and 4K performances
Dark alloy is really attractive
New price makes more sense now
The Bad
Marginal performance gains over the RTX 4080
AIB partners are unlikely to stick with NVIDIA's SRP
Still nowhere close to the RTX 4090 (but i'm nit picking here)
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