The Bottom Line
- + 4K 120FPS gaming!
- + 2.7GHz+ GPU clocks (2.0GHz on RTX 3090 Ti)
- + Beats the RTX 3090 + RTX 3090 Ti GPUs
- + Fantastic design + thermals
- + DLSS 3 monster performance
- - No DisplayPort 2.1 connectivity... why!
- - Navi 31 isn't far away... keep that in mind
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
NVIDIA has the most powerful graphics card on the planet with its new flagship GeForce RTX 4090, but now we have the second Ada Lovelace GPU release which is almost as impressive: the new GeForce RTX 4080 with 16GB of GDDR6X memory.
We all know about the "unlaunched" GeForce RTX 4080 12GB graphics card, but with that aside we have our first review of the RTX 4080 which is the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition directly from NVIDIA. Inside the GPU we have 9728 CUDA cores spooling around in the next-gen Ada Lovelace GPU architecture, with NVIDIA cramming 45.9 billion transistors into the GeForce RTX 4080 GPU on TSMC's 4N custom process
NVIDIA compares its new GeForce RTX 4080 against the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, which it says that it has over twice the power of the RTX 3080 Ti... something that you'll be able to see on the benchmark charts later on in the review.
- Read more: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition Review
- Read more: COLORFUL iGame GeForce RTX 4090 Vulcan OC-V Review
- Read more: ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 4090 OC Edition Review
- Read more: MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM LIQUID X Review
- Read more: MSI GeForce RTX 4090 SUPRIM X Review
- Read more: GAINWARD GeForce RTX 4090 Phantom "GS" Review
NVIDIA engineers have continued to put some serious work into the cooling design of the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition, just like they did with the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition. The new GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition might look like the Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition... which is something I love the design of, but NVIDIA engineers created a new design that boosts airflow and makes the heatsink more effective.
The company has made adjustments to all of the new Ada Lovelace Founders Edition GPUs where the distance between the heatsink fins is ever-so-slightly different (depending on the height of the cooler) with taller fin stacks that have more distance between the fins in order to maintain consistent airflow and pressure.
NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition costs $1199 and is available starting November 16.
NVIDIA ships its GeForce RTX 40 series graphics cards in a very plain box, but inside of the box is your brand new GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition graphics card. This is virtually the same plain packaging that NVIDIA shipped its higher-end GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition card in, too.
Out of the box you've got a very pretty -- but plain -- retail package. I do like the design of the box, just like the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition before it. But let's dive inside for the good stuff, eh?
Opening the box is easy, just tear off those tabs... and then you're in.
I do love the way NVIDIA presents the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition to you... it really stands out. Under the card itself, you've got a little pull tab that pulls out a box, giving you the 16-pin 12VHPWR power adapter to 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors.
NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition graphics card in all its glory, looking dapper... just like its bigger brother in the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition. I love the style NVIDIA has gone with here, with it being one of -- if not my favorite -- designs of the GeForce RTX 4080 graphics cards so far.
On the back, you've got the "RTX 4080" branding on the left and the upgraded, bigger fan on the right.
NVIDIA is keeping it tighter here with the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition, with a chunky triple-slot design meaning it will fit inside of your system much easier than the bigger GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition will.
This will be a continued disappointment: display connectivity on Ada Lovelace GPUs... NVIDIA is not using DisplayPort 2.1 here unlike its competitors AMD and Intel which are both using DP2.1 connectivity that can drive 8K 165Hz and 4K 480Hz. You've got 3 x DisplayPort 1.4 connectors and a single HDMI 2.1 port on the back of the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition graphics card.
The 16-pin power adapter to 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, with up to 450W max power used.
Test System Specs
I've recently upgraded my major GPU test bed for 2022, but I will be upgrading again soon enough once Intel launches its new 13th Gen Core "Raptor Lake" CPUs and Z790 motherboards, and AMD with its upcoming Ryzen 7000 series "Zen 4" CPUs and X670E motherboards.
The new upgrades include the shift to the Intel Core i9-12900K processor, ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, 64GB of Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800 memory, and 8TB of Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD goodness. Intel's flagship Core i9-12900K is a beast, with the Alder Lake CPU packing 8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 8 Efficient cores (E-cores) at up to 5.2GHz.
Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme
I've got that installed into the bigger-than-life ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme motherboard, which is absolutely loaded to the brim with technologies and features that it houses everything you need. We're talking about one of the best-looking designs on a motherboard yet, PCIe 5.0 support, enthusiast-grade 10GbE networking, and oh-so-much more.
RAM: 64GB Sabrent Rocket DDR5-4800
Sabrent helped out in a huge way by sending over 64GB of DDR5-4800 memory in the form of 4 x 16GB DDR5-4800 modules of its new Sabrent Rocket DDR5 memory. The company also helped out in an even bigger way, supplying us with a gigantic and super-fast 8TB model of its Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD.
SSD: 8TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus M.2
We're talking about 7.5GB/sec+ (7500MB/sec) from a single M.2 SSD, along with a gigantic 8TB of capacity. The 2TB drives aren't big enough for all of our game installs for GPU testing... the 4TB is much better, but the 8TB gives us room to move into 2023 without worrying about installing multiple games that are 200GB+ in size.
Some glory shots, of course.
Displays: ASUS ROG Strix 43-inch 4K 120Hz
ASUS has been a tight partner of TweakTown for many years, with the fine folks at ASUS Australia sending over their ROG Strix XG438Q and ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitors for our GPU test benches. They're both capable of 4K 120Hz+ through their DisplayPort 1.4 connectivity.
I will be upgrading these in the near future, over to some DisplayPort 2.0-capable panels and some new HDMI 2.1-enabled 4K 165Hz panels in OLED form of course...given that next-gen GPUs are right around the corner, there has been no better time to upgrade your display or TV.
I've been working on this system for a while now, but now we're stretching its legs with the newly-released PC port of Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered. Not just in 1080p or 1440p, not even in just 4K... but at 8K with a native resolution of 7680 x 4320. I've run through some of the very fastest GPU silicon on the planet.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: CORSAIR iCUE H150i ELITE LCD Display (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Sabrent Rocket 64GB DDR5-4800 (4 x 16GB) (F4-3600C18Q-32GTZN) (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent 8TB Rocket 4 Plus PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: MSI MPG A1000G Gaming Power Supply 1000W (buy from Amazon)
- Case: InWin X-Frame 2.0
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro x64 (buy from Amazon)
- Display: ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ (4K 120Hz) (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - Synthetic
Benchmarks - 1080p
Benchmarks - 1440p
Benchmarks - 4K
Temps & Power Consumption
NVIDIA keeps things rather cool with its GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition graphics card, keeping the AD103 GPU down at around 62C on average while GPU hotspot temperatures sit at around 71C. This is with the fans spinning at default speeds of 1300RPM or so (37%).
270-280W power consumption is where it sits for the most part, too.
What's Hot, What's Not
- 4K 120FPS gaming powerhouse: NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4080 isn't quite as fast as the higher-end GeForce RTX 4090, but it doesn't mean it can't slice through games at 4K 120FPS. If you've got a high-end gaming display or 4K 120FPS-capable TV, then you can smash through 4K 120FPS on the new RTX 4080. Not all games, but it is a huge jump over the RTX 30 series GPUs.
- 2.7GHz+ GPU clocks: NVIDIA's own GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition sees GPU clocks boosting above 2.7GHz all day long, which is a huge deal considering even the previous-gen RTX 3090 was barely managing to breach 2.0GHz GPU clocks.
- Beats the RTX 3090, RTX 3090 Ti: Very, very easily beats the RTX 3090 while using 100W+ less power.
- 16GB of GDDR6X memory: You don't need 24GB of GDDR6X memory in most games (unless you're playing at 8K) but 16GB is definitely where I want to see things... 12GB wouldn't be enough for a GPU of this class, nor price, so thankfully NVIDIA "unlaunched" the RTX 4080 12GB and now we have the RTX 4080 16GB to dominate.
- Runs really cool, and uses less power than the RTX 3090, RTX 3090 Ti: The new GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition uses 100W+ less power than the RTX 3090, which is an impressive thing to see... especially when it smashes the RTX 3090 in terms of performance.
- TSMC 4N process node: NVIDIA has been limping along using a custom 8nm process node at Samsung, but now they've been unshackled with Ada Lovelace being made on TSMC's new 4N process node (which in reality, is 5nm, but "4N" is for NVIDIA).
- DLSS 3: I say this with every evolution, but DLSS is like black magik -- only this time, NVIDIA has sacrificed something (Jensen, maybe) to the AI upscaling technology gods. DLSS 3 is freaking incredible, truly offering double, triple, and sometimes even more performance over native rendering. It's simply amazing to sit back and watch Microsoft Flight Simulator or Cyberpunk 2077 go from 60FPS or so, to 150FPS+ with a few button presses enabling DLSS 3.
- Ray tracing + DLSS 3 = more FPS than no ray tracing: DLSS 3 super-powers any game that's blessed enough to feature Ada's exclusive upscaling technology, whereas in games like Cyberpunk 2077 turning DLSS 3 on allows you to run ray tracing with MORE performance, not less.
- No DisplayPort 2.0 connector, WTF: NVIDIA not including the new display connector moving forward -- DP2.0 -- is a huge mistake. It means anyone buying a $1500+ graphics card in the tail end of 2022 is not going to be able to use next-gen DP2.0-capable gaming monitors that we'll begin seeing debut in the coming months, probably at CES 2023 in January. WTF, NVIDIA? Even Intel's is-it-even-real Arc GPUs have a DP2.0 port.
NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4080 is a powerhouse graphics card that doesn't push GPU performance through the roof like the bigger brother RTX 4090 does, but it is freakishly fast... beating out the RTX 3090 and RTX 3090 Ti without stressing out, and using less power in the process.
As for NVIDIA's in-house GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition graphics card, in particular, they've done it again: a fantastic design, very impressive thermals, and undeniable performance. NVIDIA is effectively competing with itself right now because its competitor has only just announced its new Radeon RX 7900 XTX and Radeon RX 7900 XT, but they're still a month away.
AMD's upcoming RDNA 3-based Radeon RX 7900 XTX graphics card will directly compete against NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4080 -- AMD has made a point of this, Radeon RX 7900 XTX will NOT be competing with the GeForce RTX 4090 -- so now we just need to re-look at the GeForce RTX 4080 in a month or so once Navi 31 drops.
For now, NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4080 comes in plenty of custom AIB forms as well... with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition being one of the very, very best. This has been the way for a couple of generations now, with one of the more plain designs that aren't throwing RGB lighting and gigantic designs that won't fit in many systems.
Performance-wise, NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 4080 sits right between the RTX 3090, RTX 3090 Ti, and the powerhouse RTX 4090. Whatever game you're playing -- whether it's with ray tracing or DLSS, or not -- the new GeForce RTX 4080 is going to cut through them like hot butter.
I wouldn't be recommending the GeForce RTX 4080 for 1080p gamers unless you need 240FPS+ but more so for 1440p (2560 x 1440) and especially ultrawide (3440 x 1440, 5120 x 1440, and other ultrawide panels) monitors at 120FPS+. But for 4K, you will have to decide between the GeForce RTX 4080 and GeForce RTX 4090... there are a few hundred dollars between them, but if you want absolute brute performance... the RTX 4090 is there. If you can't quite afford it, or you're NOT gaming on a 4K 120FPS+ display... the GeForce RTX 4080 is perfect.
The Bottom Line
NVIDIA's second outing of Ada Lovelace in the form of the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition is another tour de force of GPU technology. Beats the RTX 3090 + RTX 3090 Ti, with less power and runs cooler... FTW.