Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

There is no doubt that the jump between the Nvidia RTX 3080 and its predecessors is impressive, because it does not matter what game you play: it will be much better

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

Nvidia claimed in its promotional material that the new generation of graphics cards in the RTX 3000 range was the biggest leap they had made in their history as GPU manufacturers. And it turns out they were telling the truth, at least with the RTX 3080. But no, it's not twice as powerful as the 2080Ti in every game.

In my tests of the RTX 3080, I have found that games that previously suffered to maintain 60fps, in Ultra quality and with the lighting and advanced processing technologies of Nvidia itself activated now quietly reached 100fps on average without any problem. . Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a perfect example of what I say.

In the absence of testing the little sister of the RTX 3080, the RTX 3070; and the older sister, the RTX 3090; I can say without fear of being wrong that it is well worth the 719 euros it costs, especially when we consider that the equivalent of two years ago, the RTX 2080Ti, cost more than double.

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

RTX 3080, not everything is raw power

The first thing that stands out about the RTX 3080 is that Nvidia has taken great care this time with the design, but taking more into account a fundamental section of any computer part: how much it spends, how much it occupies and how much it heats up.

At the expense, we are facing a graph that requires a special 12-pin adapter (one is included in the box) and that can consume up to 320 watts of consumption, 100 more than its predecessor. I have a 650 watt power supply and have had no problems, but Nvidia rightly recommends using a 750 watt minimum.

My box (Fractal Design R6 Define) has a good size and the graphic has entered without problems and I do not notice that its weight can damage my motherboard, and the detail of the white light on the logo and on the top of it is great if you're one of those who wants your computer to look like a spaceship.

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

It is not my case, that I prefer a quiet computer to a colorful one, hence the choice of my box, which has everything closed tightly so that the noise does not escape so much. This has a problem: it cools somewhat worse than other competitive cases, but the RTX 3080 has not had any problem in that sense: between 40 and 45 degrees with its fan off while I work with the computer, with hardly doing anything else than writing .

At the time of playing, the benchmarks never managed to exceed 70 degrees despite working 100% for a long time. It is a high figure, but that the RTX 3080 maintained without even putting its fan at maximum (60%) and that I do not consider dangerous at all. And it is incredible that a graph that can consume 100 watts more than its predecessor does not heat up more, but less.

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

If you are one of those who feared that the new Nvidia ventilation system, with its lower fan putting fresh air and an upper fan expelling hot air to the CPU heatsink; Know that my processor hasn't gotten one degree hotter than it did using the RTX 2080Ti: around 35 degrees on idle and up to 65 degrees during the RTX 3080 intensity tests.

The reality of raytracing

There are still few games that use raytracing, the tracing of beams of light in real time, but for the tests of the RTX 3080 I have tried all the ones on the market: Control, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Wolfenstein: Younblood, Metro Exodus, Minecraft, Fortnite, Quake 2 …

The general norm with all of them is that there is an improvement of between 30 and 40% more performance with a resolution of 1440p and 60fps as a target. All of them are games that demand an extra power when the advanced effects of RTX are activated, even more so if you put them in Ultra, but with the DLSS activated (Nvidia's edge processing system), they all won at least 50% more fps compared to the RTX 2080ti. On average, DLSS-enabled video games gained an average of 20% extra performance.

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

Activating this type of processing has its buts, as it is not always as accurate as other traditional forms of 'antialiasing', but in its version 2.0, the truth is that the DLSS has taken a great leap in quality and now the difference is usually zero , being usual that the DLSS allows a greater graphic definition in games like Death Strading, which have implemented it very well.

The RTX 3080 owes as much to its brute strength as it is to how well games have adapted Nvidia's technology to use DLSS. It is a pity that Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most anticipated games of this year and that uses both RTX and DLSS, is not yet on the market to do the benchmark with it.

In video games that do not use DLSS and that work in a more traditional way, such as The Witcher 3, Destiny 2, Valorant, Apex Legends or Assetto Corsa, the performance improvements are also spectacular, to the point of being able to play without problems to several of them in 4K resolution.

Destiny 2, a game that works on DirectX 11, almost maintained 120fps at that resolution without problems, although in moments of great intensity or when playing competitive mode, the frame drops placed it more around 80 on average. On the other hand, Doom Eternal, developed in Vulkan, keeps in 4K more than 120fps without any problem, with all the graphics in Ultra and is impressive. In fact, Nvidia showed just this on video.

So is it possible to make the leap to 4K with the RTX 3080? Leaving aside if that much resolution is really necessary on a monitor screen, the answer to this question is a 'yes, but'. Yes, you can play the vast majority of modern games at 60fps, but I'm not so sure you'll be able to do it with a Cyberpunk 2077 with full graphics. Lowering some things, no doubt.

Exceeding that frame rate requires to a large extent that games are very, very well adapted and thought about exceeding it. And they will also require you to buy an HDMI cable designed for that combination of 4K and 144hz, as well as a monitor with HDMI 2.1, both of which are not on the market yet. Playing on the computer, in my opinion, is still going to be tied to 1440p if you want to do it at high refresh rates. Whatever you choose, at least the RTX 3080 has three DP 1.4 ports and that necessary HDMI 2.1 that ensures that it will be a graphics that will be up to date in terms of standards for years.

And part of the blame for this is that the PC is a very open world and each studio does what it wants or can. And although the RTX has brute force to pull the bandwagon with whatever it takes, as demonstrated by performance in games with DirectX 11 or 12 or that are poorly optimized, such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, the games that are going to make power come true. playing at 4K and over 60fps will be highly optimized games (such as eSports) or those that use native Nvidia technologies (DLSS).

If you are able to live with 30fps, on the other hand, know that with this graph I have played Flight Simulator in 4K at around 40fps, which is quite an achievement in itself given how much this game demands in all sections had and to have. Absolutely savage that this is possible.

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

Not everything is raw power

What I mean is that the performance jump of the RTX 3080 has to be understood in two ways: by the extra brute force that this graph adds with its 10GB of GDDR6X memory at 19Gbps and its 4,352 CUDA Cores as the most subtle force that they contribute. the Tensor Cores dedicated to 'artificial intelligence' tasks (understanding this in a broad sense) as the second generation and RT-Cores for raytracing tasks.

The power of the RTX 3080, and of any new graphics from Nvidia, cannot really be measured with the standards of all life and you have to use more specific tests. For example, with ray tracing, you have to use newer programs that fully exploit this facet of graphics. The result is still brilliant even so: an average of more than 60fps in a test that makes the most of the graphics and light-haloing capabilities of Nvidia graphics.

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

With its ups and downs, because the bechmark (video below) is very demanding, the RTX 3080 copes perfectly with a multitude of real-time light sources, complex geometries and advanced particle effects.

This test made me think about how the ruthless use of teraflop as a unit of measure of power for consoles or graphics cards is worth so little. PlayStation 5 has 10, Xbox Series X has 12, and the RTX 3080 has three different ways of evaluating its power, so a comparison is difficult. It can be said that it has 30 teraflops, but this would not sum up its power with adequate precision.

But not everything is video games. Although it is not my area of work, the RTX 3080 has given me very good results in video processing and 3D rendering of design programs. In Blender, the graphics performance is impressive, almost doubling that of its predecessor.

Nvidia's efforts to improve in areas other than just video game playback is a very positive thing, as those professionals who cannot access the expensive Quaddro graphics may be able to have much better performance without making such a high outlay.

What is to come

One thing that Nvidia has announced, but we have not been able to test because it is not yet available is its Nvidia IO system, which depends on new Microsoft drivers and that, speaking in silver, will allow better communication between computer components to load much faster the games. In other words, so that the magic of the super-fast hard drive of PS5 and Xbox One X also reaches computers.

This is one of the most promising technologies and one that makes this new generation of graphics even more interesting, although we have not been able to test it and we cannot guarantee that it is everything that Nvidia promises it will be.

I have also not had the opportunity to properly test Nvidia Reflex, a new technology that Nvidia has developed together with partners such as Epic Games or Riot so that there is lower latency in their video games, that is, so that not only the fps that you see on the screen, but also the speed with which your movements are processed and reflected on the screen.

It is a very complex subject that can give a lot to talk about, although Nvidia promises that Reflex will be available in graphics of previous generations and that it will not give a competitive advantage to those who have better components.

An impressive graphic, hype aside

Nvidia RTX 3080 review: a graphics card for the next generation

I don't know if this text has killed a certain 'hype' that this graphic was going to be twice as powerful as its predecessor, because except for Minecraft RTX and Quake II RTX, two games that I can't say are the most demanding in the world, the truth is that the real improvement is more between 25% and 40%, depending on how well optimized the game is.

And you know what? That leap is still impressive, whether you're a video game fan and are willing to screw up building a more powerful one this year, or a computing or design or architecture professional that needs raw power and processing bandwidth. of huge projects.

All the fears around this graph are unfounded. Is it much more powerful? Yes, although not double. Does it get too hot? No, quite the opposite. Will the rest of my computer heat up from the direction of the fan? No, seriously, it's well thought out. Do I have to change my power supply? I have not done it and nothing has happened to me, but perhaps I have risked a lot.

Nvidia is going to sell in 2020 a much more powerful graphics card than its predecessor for half the price of this one, I think that is enough to convince anyone that this is a good product that I recommend to anyone with a graphics lower than that GTX 1070 and 700 euros to burn. If you don't have that much money and are going to update graphics this year, I hope to talk about the RTX 3070 soon.

And for commenting on the constant war between consoles and PCs, absurd in itself, yes, I am sure that with this graphic you will be able to throw away the entire generation of new video consoles because it includes the advances and power necessary so that, when the games start Released only for PS5 and Xbox Series X, your computer can continue to play them in all their glory.

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