December 9, 2022

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 16GB Founders Edition review

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 16GB Founders Edition review

After launching last month’s $1,599 Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, a graphics card largely intended for professional use, today the new generation of GPUs has finally arrived for the less affluent audience of PC gamers in the form of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080. 16GB Founders Edition, launching tomorrow, for $1,199. That means the entry point for the lofty performance claims of the frame-generating RTX 40 series and DLSS 3 series has dropped at least a bit. We’re still at the very beginning of this new GPU generation, but so far the RTX 4080 is a solid offering.

what’s in a name

Before we get to the spec sheet and performance numbers, we should cover the RTX 4080 kerfuffle nomenclature and talk a little bit about how Nvidia’s GPUs are usually placed — and why this generation is a little different from previous years. Nvidia GPUs dating back more than a decade, bearing the “-80” moniker, are considered to be the flagship cards, and have been priced in the $500-$700 range. Looking more specifically at recent trends, the GTX 1080 launched at $599, and the RTX 2080 and 3080 both launched at $699.

You might be wondering, then, why the RTX 4080 starts at nearly twice that range. The answer is in that failure to name the aforementioned. Originally, Nvidia planned two variants of the RTX 4080 — 16GB for $1,199 (the version we’re reviewing here) and 12GB for $899. This isn’t the first time Nvidia has released variable VRAM cards, but usually the amount of VRAM is the only difference, while in this case the two cards also carry a different core count and clock speed – differences that previously called for going up to another level (in this case). case, RTX 4070).

People rightly complained about the confusion this was already starting to cause, and it’s to Nvidia’s credit that they responded, opting to “unbox” the RTX 4080 12GB; It’s now rumored that these cards will be re-announced as the “RTX 4070 Ti,” though nothing official yet.

That’s all well and good, but it still leaves us with a “mainstream” card that carries enthusiast-class prices that would previously have been reserved for a “Ti”-branded card—representing a mid-generation step up. In other words, typical generation comparisons are a bit skewed this time around, so we’ll mostly be comparing the RTX 4080 against the RTX 3080 Ti, which also launched at $1,199 in June 2021, unlike the RTX 3080.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 – Design and Features

If you read my review of the RTX 4090, you’ll remember that it’s a pretty hefty card, both in terms of size and performance. Meanwhile, the RTX 4080 is… no smaller. It carries the same three-slot design, at 11.9 inches (304mm) long, 5.4 inches (137mm) wide, and 2.4 inches (61mm) thick—the exact same dimensions as the RTX 4090. big Card. For comparison, the RTX 3080 is 11.2 inches (285 mm) long, 4.4 inches (112 mm) wide, and 1.5 inches (40 mm) thick, while the RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 are smaller.

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Most of this heft comes from the large biaxial flow through coolant required to keep temperatures in check. The cooler’s design is mostly similar to that of the RTX 3090, but with larger fans and longer fins in order to achieve what Nvidia says is 15% more airflow at the same acoustic level. In practice, the RTX 4080 remained cool keeping temperatures hovering around 53-55C, with a peak of 57C, over an extended period of benchmarking.

Compared to the RTX 3080 Ti, the RTX 4080 has 9,728 CUDA cores (down from 10,240), 304 fourth-generation Tensor cores (versus 320 from third), and 76 third-generation RT cores (versus 80 from second). In other words: it has newer cores, but slightly fewer cores overall. However, the decrease in number shouldn’t be a concern, since the 4080 has a boost clock speed of 2,505MHz compared to the RTX 3080 Ti’s 1,665MHz, not to mention 16GB of GDDR6X VRAM, compared to 12GB. In series 30 “Predecessors.”

Like the RTX 4090, the 4080 uses the controversial 16-pin 12VHPWR power connector that was recently in the news due to reports of it overheating and melting. We didn’t have any problems with it in any of our tests, but we’ll definitely keep an eye on the situation as this generation of graphics cards matures.

Speaking of power, the RTX 4080 has a TDP of 320W, down from the RTX 3080 Ti’s 350W. Nvidia recommends a minimum of 750W power supply. There is also a 3x 8-pin adapter in the box for people whose power supplies do not have the new connector.

As for ports, the RTX 4080 has 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a and 1 x HDMI 2.1a. This is a typical design for today’s graphics cards, although AMD’s recently announced RX 7900 XT and XTX use the latest DisplayPort 2.1, which has more than three times the bandwidth and enables 4K resolution up to 480Hz, or 8K up to 480Hz. 165Hz, versus 240Hz at 4K and 60Hz at 8K for DisplayPort 1.4. Most games and monitors won’t be able to take advantage of that bandwidth, so it’s somewhat of a moot point, but AMD technically has the advantage.

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Nvidia Geforce RTX 4080 – Performance

Starting with our synthetic benchmarks, the RTX 4080 comes out swinging in 3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra with a 17% improvement over the RTX 3090 Ti, 28% over AMD’s RX 3950 XT – better graphics processors than the previous generation – and 35% higher than the previous generations price equivalent. , RTX 3080 Ti. As you’d expect it falls well short of the RTX 4090’s, though, with a score of 16,255 compared to the RTX 4090’s 21,872, which makes perfect sense given that this card costs $400 more.

Moving on to Unigine Heaven, the RTX 4080 beats the RTX 3090 Ti and RX 6950 XT at 1080p and 1440p, but it actually falls short of both cards at 4K. Against the RTX 3080 Ti, though, it consistently wins by 13% at 1080p, 14% at 1440p, and a slight 4% at 4K.

Ray tracing synthetics are more dramatic. The RTX 4080 delivers an average uptick of 28% over the RTX 3090 Ti across our three tests, and of course completely destroys the RX 6950 XT, which lacks Nvidia’s hardware ray tracing chops. Comparing it to the 3080 Ti delivers more impressive results, with an average improvement of 45% over that card.

Moving on to our gaming benchmarks, the RTX 4080 once again has a strong showing across all three tested resolutions. At this point, our benchmark tests are mainly CPU bound at 1080p, with the RTX 4080 among the benchmarks alongside the more powerful RTX 4090. 1440p is relatively similar, with the card showing significant gains over the last generation in non-CPU tests, and of course matching the best in tests.

However, given the high-end nature of this device, the real story is 4K. (If you don’t play at 4K or higher, you shouldn’t be spending that much money on a GPU.) Expanding our test suite a bit, you can see that the RTX 4080 offers significant gains over the previous generation, with an average improvement of 27 percent. % for the RTX 3090 Ti and 45% for the RTX 3080 Ti. Keep in mind that the latter of those cards launched at the same $1,199 price, while the former carried an MSRP of $2,000 when it launched earlier this year (although the prices have now dropped to what you should expect to pay). for a new RTX 4080 (shelf).

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These are impressive gains, but not out of the ordinary when you consider that this is a new graphics generation. Looking back at our RTX 3080 review, that card delivered 50% to 70% improvements over its predecessor, the RTX 2080 Super. This isn’t to disqualify the RTX 4080 – 4K framerates well above 60fps in more demanding games will raise eyebrows for a few years to come – I just feel like it’s important to remember we’re talking about high, if not enthusiast level pricing here, so my expectations are very high.

Finally, I want to touch on Nvidia’s new DLSS 3 frame generation technology. Check out my RTX 4090 review for a more in-depth explanation, but in short, the GPU looks at two consecutive frames, calculates the difference between them, and then uses AI to create a frame between them. As with the RTX 4090, I tested DLSS 3 and framerate generation in Cyberpunk 2077.

DLSS again offered an impressive climb, with the RTX 4080’s frame rate reaching 73 without frame generation, and 108 with it. Those are impressive numbers for one of the most technically demanding games available on PC today – and remember, this benchmark runs at 4K with extreme settings and ray tracing enabled. At the same time, 30-series RTX cards receive less boost from DLSS, and don’t have access to framerate generation all together.

Of course, DLSS 3 is still a new technology, and game support is limited at the moment. However, it is steadily being rolled out in more games, including Microsoft Flight Simulator, A Plague Tale: Requiem, and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. If support continues to grow as expected and the performance bump remains massive, DLSS 3 will be the killer feature that really makes upgrading to a 40-series card worth it for high-resolution, high-framework games.