After last month’s launch of the $1,599 Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, a graphics card primarily intended for professional use, today’s new generation of GPUs finally arrives in the form of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 16GB Founders PC for a slightly less affluent PC came for the gamer crowd. Edition that goes on sale tomorrow for $1,199. This means that the entry point for the RTX 40 series’ high performance claims and frame-generating DLSS 3 has dropped at least a little. We’re still early in this new generation of GPUs, but so far the RTX 4080 is a strong showing.

What’s in a name

Before we get to the spec sheet and performance numbers, we should cover the RTX 4080 naming umbrella and talk a little about how Nvidia’s GPUs are typically positioned and why this generation is a bit different than previous years. For more than a decade, Nvidia GPUs, nicknamed “-80”, have been considered mainstream mainstream cards and cost between $500 and $700. Taking a closer look at recent trends, the GTX 1080 has been launched for $599, while both the RTX 2080 and 3080 have been launched for $699.

Maybe that’s why the RTX 4080 starts at about twice that range? The answer lies in the aforementioned naming fiasco. 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 introduced VRAM-variant cards, but usually the amount of VRAM was the only difference, whereas in this case the two cards also carried different core counts and clock speeds – which would previously have provided those differences. step down to another level (in this case RTX 4070).

People rightfully complained about the confusion this caused, and to Nvidia’s credit, it chose to “remove” the RTX 4080 12GB; Now there are rumors that these cards will be re-announced as “RTX 4070 Ti”, although nothing is official yet.

That’s all well and good, but it still leaves us with a “core” card that represents the rise of the middle generation, carrying the enthusiast-level prices previously reserved for a “Ti”-labeled card. In other words, the typical generational comparisons are a bit skewed this time around, so we’ll mostly be comparing the RTX 4080 to the RTX 3080 Ti, which launches in June 2021 for $1,199, as opposed to the RTX 3080.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 – Design and Specifications

If you read my review of the RTX 4090, you’ll remember that it’s an absolutely massive card, both in terms of size and performance. Meanwhile, the RTX 4080 is no smaller. It carries the same triple-socket design at 11.9 inches (304 mm) long, 5.4 inches (137 mm) wide, and 2.4 inches (61 mm) thick – the same dimensions as the RTX 4090. big card. By comparison, the RTX 3080 measured 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 were smaller.

Much of this load comes from the large, dual-axis flow cooling solution required to keep temperatures under control. The cooling design is largely similar to that of the RTX 3090, but with larger fans and taller fins to achieve 15% more airflow at the same acoustic level, according to Nvidia. In practice, the RTX 4080 remained whisper-quiet during the long-term benchmark while maintaining temperatures around 53-55C, with a peak of 57C.

Compared to the RTX 3080 Ti, the RTX 4080 has 9,728 CUDA cores (down from 10,240), 304 fourth-gen Tensor cores (vs. 320 third-gen), and 76 third-gen RT cores (80 second-gen). In other words: it has newer cores, but slightly less of them overall. The number drop shouldn’t be a concern, as the 4080 includes a clock speed of 2,505 MHz compared to the RTX 3080 Ti’s 1,665 MHz clock, not to mention 16 GB of GDDR6X VRAM compared to 12 GB on the 30 series. predecessor”.

Like the RTX 4090, the 4080 uses the somewhat controversial 16-pin 12VHPWR power connector, which has been the subject of recent reports of it overheating and melting. We haven’t had any issues with this 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 350W on the RTX 3080 Ti. Nvidia recommends using a minimum 750W power supply. There is also a 3x 8 pin adapter in the box for people who don’t have the new connector on their power supply.

For ports, the RTX 4080 has 3x DisplayPort 1.4a and 1x HDMI 2.1a. This is a typical setup for current-generation graphics cards, although AMD’s recently announced RX 7900 XT and XTX, which have more than three times the bandwidth and can display 4K at up to 480Hz or 8K at 165Hz uses the newer DisplayPort 2.1 which allows 240Hz at 4K and 60Hz at 8K for DisplayPort 1.4. Most games and monitors won’t be able to use this bandwidth, so it’s a moot point, but AMD has a technical advantage.

Nvidia Geforce RTX 4080 – Performance

Starting with our synthetic benchmarks, the RTX 4080 is 17% better than the RTX 3090 Ti in 3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra and 28% better than AMD’s RX 3950 XT – the two best GPUs from the previous generation – and swings at 35. % increase over generation price equivalent RTX 3080 Ti. As you’d expect, that’s significantly less than the RTX 4090, but with 16,255 points compared to the RTX 4090’s 21,872, it makes sense considering the card costs $400 more.

Moving on to Unigine Heaven, the RTX 4080 edges out the RTX 3090 Ti and RX 6950 XT at 1080p and 1440p, but actually lags behind both cards at 4K. However, the RTX 3080 consistently wins against the Ti by 13% at 1080p, 14% at 1440p, and a slight 4% at 4K.

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

Moving on to our gaming benchmarks, the RTX 4080 again performed strongly at all three resolutions tested. At this point, our benchmark tests are mostly CPU-bound at 1080p, with the RTX 4080 pinging the counter alongside the more powerful RTX 4090. 1440p is relatively similar, with the card showing big gains over the last generation in non-CPU tests. , and certainly matches the best in tests.

Given the high-end nature of this hardware, the real story is in 4K. (If you’re not gaming at 4K or higher resolutions, you shouldn’t be spending that much on a GPU.) Expanding our test suite a bit further, you can see that the RTX 4080 offers significant gains over the previous generation. A 27% improvement over the RTX 3090 Ti and a 45% improvement over the RTX 3080 Ti. Note that the latter of these cards retails for the same $1,199 price tag, while the former carried an MSRP of $2,000 when it launched earlier this year (though prices have now dropped to a level you’d expect to pay for an RTX 4080 fresh off the shelf).

These are impressive gains, but not really out of the ordinary when you consider that this is a new generation of graphics. Looking back at our RTX 3080 review, this card offered a 50%-70% improvement over its generational predecessor, the RTX 2080 Super. That’s not to discount the RTX 4080 – 4K frame rates well above 60fps in the most demanding games will raise eyebrows in a few years – I just think it’s important to remember that we’re talking high-end, if not enthusiast-level. prices here, so my expectations are very high.

Finally, I want to touch on Nvidia’s new DLSS 3 frame generation technology. See my RTX 4090 review for a more detailed 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 frame generation in Cyberpunk 2077.

DLSS again offered a stunning boost, pushing the RTX 4080’s framerate to 73 without frame-dropping and 108 with it. These are great numbers for one of the most technically demanding games available on PC today – and remember, this benchmark is at 4K with maximum settings and ray tracing enabled. The 30-series RTX cards, meanwhile, both get less boost than DLSS and lack the ability to frame together.

Of course, DLSS 3 is still a new technology and game support is limited for now. However, it’s steadily rolling out to more games, including Microsoft Flight Simulator, A Plague Tale: Requiem, and Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered. If support continues to grow as expected and performance gains remain huge, DLSS 3 will be a killer feature that makes upgrading to a 40-series card worth it for truly high-resolution, high-framerate gaming.

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