NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review

NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition is here, with NVIDIA calling it "The Ultimate Ti Upgrade" and they're not wrong.

@anthony256
Published Wed, Jun 2 2021 7:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Jun 8 2021 10:54 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: NVIDIA (GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition)

Introduction

We are finally here... reveal day for NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card, and what a card it is. NVIDIA has finally made the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti official, and we're going to dive right into it with our first review on the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition.

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VIEW GALLERY - 66 IMAGES

I do have some custom GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics cards here as well, including MSI's new flagship GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM X, the flagship ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC Edition, and an interesting and very kick-ass dual-slot Inno3D GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Dual-Slot X3 graphics card.

NVIDIA has positioned the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti between its GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090, with varying amounts of super-fast GDDR6X memory. The new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has 12GB of GDDR6X, up from the 10GB GDDR6X on the RTX 3080 and down from the huge 24GB of GDDR6X on the flagship RTX 3090.

We all know how popular the Ti series GPUs are from NVIDIA, with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti being a pretty kick-ass card at the time... but man, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is still a monster today, sans RTX and DLSS technologies the GPU itself still holds up.

But enter the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti -- a new Ti series GPU for the games of today and tomorrow including titles like Cyberpunk 2077, Microsoft Flight Simulator, the new Battlefield coming soon, and everything in between at most resolutions apart from 8K.

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Speaking of 8K, once I'm through this wave of GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card reviews I will take a closer look at 8K gaming performance on the new RTX 3080 Ti to see how that 12GB framebuffer helps over the 10GB on the RTX 3080, and how far it lags behind the 24GB provided on the RTX 3090.

NVIDIA is calling the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti the "new gaming flagship" and it is surely that as you'll see throughout the review. It's faster than the GeForce RTX 3080, has 2GB more VRAM, and has plenty of interesting custom models to keep you happy (if you can find one, that is).

Pricing

Now... this is where things get hairy... and fast. NVIDIA introduced the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card in September 2020 for $699 which, at the time, I said was "pretty damn good". AMD retaliated with the Radeon RX 6800 XT which was priced at $649.

NVIDIA is pricing the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti at $1199... a $500 premium over the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition (at least its starting price, back in September 2020 before GPU pricing really got insane). The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti ships with 12GB of GDDR6X while the RTX 3080 has 10GB of GDDR6X... meanwhile, the Radeon RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and flagship RX 6900 XT all ship with 16GB of GDDR6 (non-X) memory.

Hell, AMD launched the Radeon RX 6900 XT with 16GB of GDDR6 for $999... while NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has less VRAM (12GB versus 16GB) it is faster than RDNA 2 in virtually everything bar some games and situations, or games that are better tuned for Radeon.

We are in a new world my friends, a world where $1199 is... well... whatever.

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I don't even think I can score graphics cards and associate pricing with them right now, or for the foreseeable future. Like previous reviews, and for all of my new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and GeForce RTX 3070 Ti wave of reviews, I will only brush on the price from here on out.

I'm not going to whinge and bitch about pricing of graphics cards when I actually have 4-5 of each sitting here, and they're impossible to find, and I don't know which market you're from or the pricing of every single country. These things are as rare as hens teeth... impossible to find.

You are the ultimate judge on price.

There are plenty of people who will pay $2000 at launch for a GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, and I'm sure there will be bitch fests everywhere about pricing and gamers saying NVIDIA is over and that they would never pay more than $100 more than the $699 price of the RTX 3080 for the new RTX 3080 Ti.

Whatever.

We're in a shitty timeline right now, accept it... suck up the pricing and enjoy the tech and nerd out (that's what I'm doing) or move on. Pricing aside, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is a wicked infusion of everything NVIDIA has been working towards for many years now.

Let's dive right into the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card.

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Everything You Need to Know About Ampere

  • Ampere GPU architecture: NVIDIA has so much going on under the Ampere GPU hood, with the GA102 GPU packing a huge 28 billion transistors (that's 28,000,000,000) on the Samsung 8nm node. We have a huge 10240 CUDA cores on GA102, over double the 4608 CUDA cores on the TITAN RTX.
  • RTX improvements: NVIDIA has effectively doubled everything when it comes to RTX, where it will rips and tears your games and delivers them to your eyeballs faster than ever before with Ampere. If you want to run any RTX-powered games, you'll want a new GeForce RTX 3080.
  • GDDR6X memory: The new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has 12GB of GDDR6X memory on a 384-bit memory bus, with a massive 912GB/sec of memory bandwidth. You should see the 4K gaming results for the evidence of the Ampere GPU + GDDR6X memory slaying it.
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  • PCIe 4.0 connectivity: NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards are now PCIe 4.0 compatible, so if you're building a new AMD Ryzen 3000 series system with an X570 motherboard -- you will be ready to rock and roll with PCIe 4.0 connectivity.
  • HDMI 2.1: 4K 120Hz + 8K 60Hz = single cable: If you are buying a new TV in the coming months or years, HDMI 2.1 is going to be something you want. It opens up the bandwidth floodgates to 4K 120Hz and 8K 60Hz over the single HDMI 2.1 cable.
  • RTX IO: NVIDIA's introduction of RTX IO with Ampere is very similar to the ultra-fast game load times on the next-gen Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles. You can read all about RTX IO right here, which is something we'll see build more foundation in 2021 and beyond.

RTX 3080 Ti Tech Specs

NVIDIA has up to 1.5x more performance at 4K with the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti over the previous-gen Turing-based GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, which can lead to a gigantic improvement in frame rate in the latest games at the glorious 4K resolution on the RTX 3080 Ti.

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If we do a direct comparison between the new Ampere-based GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and the previous-gen Turing-based GeForce RTX 2080 Ti there are some stark differences. The new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has 10240 CUDA cores up from the 4352 CUDA cores on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.

The new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has 80 SMs, 320 Tensor Cores (3rd Gen) and 80 RT Cores (2nd Gen) versus the 68 SMs, 544 Tensor Cores (2nd Gen) and 68 SMs (1st Gen). There's 320 Texture Units and 112 ROPs on the RTX 3080 Ti, versus the 272 Texture Units and 88 ROPs on the RTX 2080 Ti.

GPU boost clocks are around the same on both the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in Founders Edition form, while the new RTX 3080 Ti packs 12GB of GDDR6X against the 11GB of GDDR6 found on the RTX 2080 Ti.

GDDR6X provides a huge injection of performance, key to 4K gaming dominance -- with the 12GB of GDDR6X placed on a 384-bit memory bus providing a huge 912GB/sec of memory bandwidth. NVIDIA used 11GB of GDDR6 (non-X) on the RTX 2080 Ti on a slightly smaller 352-bit memory bus, which spits out 616GB/sec of memory bandwidth.

Detailed Look + RTX 30 FE Family Photo

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition Family Photo

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Detailed Look

NVIDIA has used the same retail packaging across all of its GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition graphics cards, with the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition being no exception.

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It arrives in a sleek box, where inside you'll find... well... not much -- you do get the super-important 12-pin PCIe power adapter that springs out to dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors for your PSU that you'll need to plug into the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition.

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NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition has the same unique look as the other RTX 30 FE cards, but it's a thinner dual-slot card compared to the gigantic triple-slot GeForce RTX 3090 FE. That card is so ridiculously oversized (in both a good and bad way) while NVIDIA keeps things thinner with the RTX 3080 Ti FE.

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We still have the single 12-pin to dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors on the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FE.

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The same applies for the display output configuration, with NVIDIA giving you 3 x DP 1.4 connectors and a single HDMI 2.1 port.

There's no NVLink support here, with SLI and NVLink exclusive to the flagship GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card.

Test System Specs

Latest upgrade:

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ASUS provided a rather large upgrade to my GPU testing lab -- or rather, I kept the ASUS ROG Swift PG43UQ gaming monitor after my review on it. The 43-inch 4K 144Hz panel is just glorious to look at -- it's huge, the DPI for Windows 10 when set perfect for your viewing distance is kiss-fingers-emoji good. It's just amazing -- for work, and gaming.

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Sabrent sent over their huge Rocket Q 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSD, which will be my new Games install SSD inside of my main test bed.

I'll be making some changes over the coming months to the GPU test bed here for TweakTown, to both the Ryzen 9 5900X and then Intel's new Core i9-11900K to do some proper PCIe 4.0 testing between the chipsets for GPUs + super-fast load times into games on these new super-fast Sabrent SSDs.

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Sabrent helped out with some new storage for my GPU test beds, sending over a slew of crazy-fast Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2280 SSDs. I've got this installed into my GPU test bed as the new Games Storage drive, since games are so damn big now. Thanks to Sabrent, I've got 2TB of super-fast M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD storage now.

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Anthony's GPU Test System Specifications

I've recently upgraded my GPU test bed -- at least for now, until AMD's new Ryzen 9 5950X processor is unleashed then the final update for 2020 will happen and we'll be all good for RDNA 2 and future Ampere GPU releases. You can read my article here: TweakTown GPU Test Bed Upgrade for 2021, But Then Zen 3 Was Announced.

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Benchmarks - Synthetic

3DMark Fire Strike

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3DMark has been a staple benchmark for years now, all the way back to when The Matrix was released and Futuremark had bullet time inspired benchmarks. 3DMark is the perfect tool to see if your system - most important, your CPU and GPU - is performing as it should. You can search results for your GPU, to see if it falls in line with other systems based on similar hardware.

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3DMark TimeSpy

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Heaven - 1080p

Heaven benchmark

Heaven is an intensive GPU benchmark that really pushes your silicon to its limits. It's another favorite of ours as it has some great scaling for multi-GPU testing, and it's great for getting your GPU to 100% for power and noise testing.

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Benchmarks - 1080p

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

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Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

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1080p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

You're not here for the 1080p performance on NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, but if that's what you're after -- then it crushes 1920 x 1080. You could play popular esports games like Overwatch, League of Legends, CS:GO, Rocket League, and many others at 240FPS+ on the RTX 3080 Ti.

Benchmarks - 1440p

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

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1440p Benchmark Performance Thoughts

Once again at 1440p the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti absolutely destroys the competition, slaying our 1440p benchmark charts without an issue. 200FPS+ in Shadow of the Tomb Raider... 85FPS in Metro Exodus, I mean that is some impressive stuff right there.

Benchmarks - 4K

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Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is the latest game to be inserted into our benchmark suite, with Ubisoft Montreal using its AnvilNext engine to power the game. It scales really well across the cards, and has some surprising performance benefits with AMD's new Big Navi GPUs.

You can buy Assassins Creed: Valhalla at Amazon.

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Middle-earth: Shadow of War is a sequel to the popular Shadow of Mordor, which was powered by the Lithtech engine. When cranked up to maximum detail, it will chew through your GPU and its VRAM like it's nothing.

You can buy Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Amazon.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review 118 | TweakTown.com
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review 4013 | TweakTown.com

Metro Exodus is one of the hardest tests that our graphics cards have to go through, with 4A Games' latest creation being one of the best looking games on the market. It is a serious test that pushes GPUs to their limits, and also features RTX technologies like DLSS.

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review 4002 | TweakTown.com

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of the latest games to join our graphics card benchmark lineup, with the game built using the Foundation engine as a base, the same engine in Rise of the Tomb Raider. Eidos Montreal R&D department made lots of changes to the engine during the development of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to make it one of the best-looking games out right now.

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4K Benchmark Performance Thoughts

This is where the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti flexes its muscle, where in the AMD dominant title Assassin's Creed: Valhalla the new RTX 3080 Ti when overclocked can keep up with the chart-dominating Radeon RX 6900 XT.

4K 120FPS for the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti in Shadow of War is incredible, beating the RTX 3090 by 3FPS and the Radeon RX 6900 XT by over 10%. Metro Exodus hums along at 60FPS average at 4K on stock settings, 65FPS (beating the RTX 3090 by 2FPS) when overclocked.

124FPS in Shadow of the Tomb Raider... so good.

Overclocking

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Out of the box my GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition sample was running at around 1830-1890MHz GPU boost.

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Here you can see the GPU temps at around 65-66C under load, the GDDR6X is running at around 82C -- this is with the fans at 100% and the power limit unleashed to 114%. The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition will easily consume 400W on its own if you let it... but you can tweak this and get better power numbers without sacrificing that much performance.

NVIDIA has a decent amount of wiggle room for some manual overclocking on the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, where my sample was able to have the GPU boost pushing over 2100MHz but it really depends on the game or application you're running.

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If you've tried tweaking and overclocking the new Ampere-based GeForce RTX 30 series GPU, then the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is no different. It still has the same walls at around 2100MHz, but the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition has a cherry-picked GPU so this is one of the very best RTX 3080 Ti cards you'll ever be able to buy.

The 12GB of GDDR6X memory was overclocked by 1000MHz+ up to just over 21Gbps, resulting in just over 1TB/sec of memory bandwidth. We should expect this to be some of the best results for GPU boost and overclocking, but I do have some custom GeForce RTX 3080 Ti graphics card reviews coming right after this with varying OC results.

Power Consumption & Temps

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With the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition running out of the box, we have GPU temps of around 75-77C, GPU hotspot at 81-83C or so, and the 12GB of GDDR6X memory at around 92-94C. This can get much cooler, and we just need to turn up the fans on the RTX 3080 Ti FE.

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When the RTX 3080 Ti FE is overclocked and the fans are cranked up to 100% we see the GPU drop to around 54-55C or so, the GPU hotspot at 61C or so, the GDDR6X running at around 70C, and the entire card consuming around 350W or so at stock and up to 400W when overclocked (114% power limit).

What's Hot, What's Not

What's Hot

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  • The Ultimate Ti GPU: Seriously, NVIDIA has polished the Ti brand perfectly with the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. It has powerhouse performance, a great design, it runs cool for the most part, there's plenty of custom cards on offer, and it's ready for today's and tomorrow's games.
  • Best gaming GPU out right now: If you can find it (and for a reasonable price) the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is a kick-ass GPU offering from NVIDIA with the Ti GPU this time around with Ampere. It's not going to leave the same mark as the GeForce GTX 980 Ti or GTX 1080 Ti, but we're in a different GPU landscape right now compared to those launches.
  • Stellar 4K gaming performance: The ability to play something like Call of Duty: Warzone at 4K and at around 120FPS average on the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is nothing short of impressive. You'll need DLSS turned on to hit 4K 120FPS, but the target is there. 4K 120FPS gaming is next-level stuff.
  • Decent OC headroom: I was pushing upwards and over 21Gbps bandwidth on the 12GB of GDDR6X memory, and a stable 2160MHz GPU boost on the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card. Not too damn shabby at all.
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  • GDDR6X memory: 12GB of GDDR6X memory on the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is a nice bump from the 10GB of GDDR6X on the RTX 3080. It's not enough to compete with the RTX 3090 and its ridiculous 24GB of GDDR6X but it's a better VRAM deal than the RTX 3080.
  • Founders Edition styling: I've come to truly appreciate the design work NVIDIA put into its GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition cards, and they're some of -- if not my favorite Ampere GPU. They look great in any machine, and the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FE is a nice and tight dual-slot card. Perfect.
  • RTX + DLSS: If you are upgrading from the likes of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, then you're going to get stellar gaming performance out of the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti -- but then you've got to add in that RTX and DLSS magic and you've got a totally next-gen gaming experience on your hands.
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  • Gimped ETH mining performance: NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti has a tweaked GPU with gimped ETH mining through its new Lite Hash Rate (LHR) cryptocurrency mining nerfing at a hardware level. The GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 destroy the RTX 3080 Ti in crypto mining (85-115MH/s compared to 55-65MH/s). But this is good news for gamers, no miners will want to buy this card.

What's Not

  • Only 12GB of GDDR6X: This isn't really a downer considering most gamers won't need more than 8-12GB of VRAM but it would've been nice to have had 16GB of GDDR6X here. Especially with the price of GPUs at the moment, it's not like the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti would've been any more experience at this point. Oh well, next-gen will be the push-up and over 16GB for NVIDIA.
  • 400W power consumption: NVIDIA's next foray into Samsung's custom 8nm node will help, and then the move to 5nm with TSMC and the next-gen Ada Lovelace GPU architecture will see these power consumption numbers come back down to reality.
  • No stock/price insanity: Sigh, this needs no explanation and I don't even want to put time into it because it's a shit show.

Final Thoughts

NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is the ultimate gaming GPU, offering unrivaled 4K gaming performance across the board -- and when you mix in technologies like RTX and real-time ray tracing alongside DLSS then you've got a true 4K gaming powerhouse graphics card.

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The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti will beat the flagship GeForce RTX 3090 for the most part, while crypto miners will stay away from the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti as it has gimped ETH mining. If you didn't buy the GeForce RTX 3080, or missed out on a few waves of them and held off... and you don't mind paying the "$1199" price that NVIDIA has on the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti FE, then this is your time.

NVIDIA has crafted yet another shining example of a kick-ass Ti series graphics card, where the only downfall from a technology or feature set perspective is what I would have rathered that it had 16GB of GDDR6X memory and not 12GB. AMD now has more VRAM across its range of Radeon RX 6800 series graphics cards than NVIDIA does on the "$1199" GPU that is more expensive than the rest of AMD's Big Navi range.

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  • From left to right: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition and GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

If you were building a new gaming PC and wanted to target 4K and beyond 60FPS, let's say a large 43-inch 4K 120/144Hz gaming monitor or even a huge 49/55/65/77-inch 4K 120Hz OLED TV from LG... then the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is a perfect fit.

It's not as ridiculous as the GeForce RTX 3090, but offers enough grunt that it will keep up with the RTX 3090 and just have its VRAM sliced in half. 4K 120FPS gaming is absolutely incredible, something I spent many hours playing Call of Duty: Warzone at... 4K 120FPS with DLSS on Quality on the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti was pitch-perfect.

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NVIDIA has yet another winner on its hands with the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, it's just a pity that there's such a gigantic silicon shortage right now and these cards will end up being 2-3x the price they really should have launched at.

The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is effectively a GeForce RTX 3090 with 12GB of VRAM, with the same-sized dual-slot cooler as the GeForce RTX 3080 FE. Not bad at all, NVIDIA... another great Ti card to the stack.

Performance

100%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

75%

Overall

94%

The Bottom Line

NVIDIA's new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition is a fan-freaking-fastic graphics card, but the $1199 price and GPU shortage is going to ruin its legacy.

TweakTown award
94%

GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 3080 Xtreme Graphics Card

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$2549.99--
* Prices last scanned on 6/16/2021 at 4:18 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

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