While the RTX 3090 was Nvidia’s big dog, the RTX 3080 has been their gaming flagship, leaving the 3090 to fill a role similar to the Titan cards in the past. So Nvidia’s announcement of the RTX 3080 Ti Monday was big news for 4k focused gamers. The RTX 3080 Ti is situated to be the new gaming flagship. It’s hard to believe that the RTX 3080 was launched 9 months ago and the last flagship Ti card the RTX 2080 Ti was back in September of 2018. Unlike the RTX 3080 which had a 2-week wait from announcement to the launch, the RTX 3080 Ti on the other hand was announced Monday, reviews are out today and you can (hopefully) buy them tomorrow. But before then, today I’m going to see what the 3080 Ti is all about and how it performs, so let’s dive in!

Product Name: Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition

Review Sample Provided by: Nvidia

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

How does the RTX 3080 Ti compare

So the RTX 3080 Ti runs on the same Ampere architecture and GA102 GPU that the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 are based on. Nvidia has then mixed the two up, turning off a few SMs from the 3090 and downclocking things slightly, and most importantly cutting the crazy 24 GB VRAM of the RTX 3090 down to 12GB. What you end up with is an amped up 3080. The 3080 Ti breaks through the 10k CUDA core count with 10240 cores. Then with the third generation Tensor cores, you go from 272 on the RTX 3080 to 320 on the RTX 3080 Ti. Then for the ray tracing RT cores, the RTX 3080 has 68 of the gen 2 cores and the RTX 3080 Ti steps up to 80. This is all a big step up over the RTX 3080 so the boost clock speeds calm things down slightly being lower than the RTX 3080. The RTX 3080 runs at 1710 MHz where the RTX 3080 Ti is 1665 MHz.

On the memory side of things, the RTX 3080 Ti jumps from 10GB of VRAM on the RTX 3080 up to 12GB of VRAM. They both run GDDR6X and at 19 Gbps. The RTX 3080 Ti however runs on a 384-bit memory controller compared to the 320 bit of the RTX 3080 which gives it a lot more bandwidth. The RTX 3080 has 760GB/sec vs the 921GB/sec of the RTX 3080 Ti with more memory and the bigger controller. They are both built on the same custom 8nm process from Samsung and the transistor count is also the same. But for TGP to power having more of the GA102 enabled the RTX 3080 Ti needs 350 watts where the RTX 3080 was at 320 Watts.

Specifications

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

Founders Editon

GeForce RTX 2080 Super

Founders Edition

GeForce RTX 2080 TiFounders Edition

GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

GeForce RTX 3080 Ti

Founders Edition

GPU Codename

GP102

TU104

TU102

GA102

GA102

GPU Architecture

Pascal

Turing

Turing

Ampere

Ampere

GPCs

6

6

6

6

7

TPCs

28

24

36

34

40

SMs

28

48

68

68

80

CUDA Cores / SM

128

64

64

128

128

CUDA Cores / GPU

3584

3072

4352

8704

10240

Tensor Cores / SM

N/A

8 (2nd Gen)

8 (2nd Gen)

4 (3rd Gen)

4 (3rd Gen)

Tensor Cores / GPU

N/A

384 (2nd Gen)

544 (2nd Gen)

272 (3rd Gen)

320 (3rd Gen)

RT Cores

N/A

48 (1st Gen)

68 (1st Gen)

68 (2nd Gen)

80 (2nd gen)

GPU Boost Clock (MHz)

1582

1815

1545

1710

1665

Frame Buffer Memory Size and Type

11264 MB GDDR5X

8192 MB GDDR6

11264 MB GDDR6

10240 MB GDDR6X

12 GB GDDR6X

Memory Interface

352-bit

256-bit

352-bit

320-bit

384-bit

Memory Clock (Data Rate)

11 Gbps

15.5 Gbps

14 Gbps

19 Gbps

19 Gbps

Memory Bandwidth

484 GB/sec

496 GB/sec

616 GB/sec

760 GB/sec

912 GB/sec

ROPs

88

64

88

96

112

Texture Units

224

192

272

272

320

L2 Cache Size

2816 KB

4096 KB

5632 KB

5120 KB

6144 KB

TGP (Total Graphics Power)

250W

250W

260W

320W

350W

Transistor Count

12 Billion

13.6 Billion

18.6 Billion

28.3 Billion

28.3 Billion

Manufacturing Process

TSMC 16nm

TSMC 12 nm FFN

TSMC 12 nm FFN

Samsung 8 nm

Samsung 8 nm

 

Before diving into everything I do always take a look with GPUz to double-check that the listed specifications match up with what I am getting in my testing. In this case, Nvidia has the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition clocked at 1665 Mhz for the boost clock and GPUz does confirm that. This also documents the firmware version our card is running at and the driver which is the 466.54 beta driver provided to press prior to launch.

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Packaging

The packaging for the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition sticks with Nvidia’s normal packaging for their Founders Edition cards. This means it has a black background with grey strips across the front of the box. Unlike the aftermarket cards, these don’t have to have the green wrap around so the packaging is ultra simple with the Nvidia logo in the top corner and the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti for the model name below that. Then around on the back they just have the system specification requirements, a list of what is included inside the box, and warranty information which is repeated in multiple languages. Beyond that, the back has the barcodes and of course all of the normal regulation logos. The box itself smaller than most aftermarket card boxes and Nvidia uses thick cardboard where other cards will come with a normal brown box with a printed box over top. This is just one box and you open it up by cutting the seals on the back.

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When you pull the top off, the top has firm foam on its underside that helps keep the card inside from moving around and keep it safe. Then you are greeted by the RTX 3080 Ti right up on top. They have it flipped around like it would be installed in a case so you can read the branding on the backplate and the top edge branding. The card also doesn’t come wrapped in a static protective box at all and doesn’t have any plastic on the card so you get the full experience when you open things up.

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When you pull the card out of the custom fit foam you have a thin layer of foam under the card then a box you can pull out. This has the quick start guide, a support guide, and a warning about using the included power adapter cable or you could void your warranty. Then you also have the cable they mentioned. For this generation Nvidia has introduced a new 12 pin plug that is more compact than past PCIe power cables and supports more power, this cable adapts your dual 8-pin cables down to the 12-pin to power everything until power supplies start coming with the new cable (hopefully). The adapter is all black and the wires are sleeved as well.

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Card Layout and Photos

The RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition has the same card design as the RTX 3080 Founders Edition. That design is extremely unique where they have an X shape splitting the card up into four sections on the front. The left section has a single fan in it with a black heatsink all around it in a horizontal layout. The top and bottom sections in the middle have an angled orientation to their heatsink fins, then the end section which is the biggest has a V shape. Nvidia throws out the idea of a fan shroud and brings the heatsink out into the open to be seen. This can only really be pulled off with a higher-end cooler design without it looking like your everyday aluminum heatsink.

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So the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition comes in at 285mm in length, 112mm in height, and 40mm thick. These are the same dimensions that the RTX 3080 Founders Edition had and from what I can see the 3080 Ti is using the same cooler with one or two small changes. This is where aftermarket cards separate themselves from Nvidia’s design the most. Most aftermarket cards just go crazy with width, height, and sometimes length to pack in an even larger cooler. This means they can often run cooler, overclock more, and be quieter. But the Founders Edition design sticks right within your “standard” PCI specs which is a lot easier to plan for when it comes to cases and especially for OEM builds.

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Taking a look at what I would consider to be the front of the 3080 Ti Founders Edition which is normally where we would see two or even three fans the 3080 Ti Founders Edition however has just one fan on the left. But this side view gives us a little more information on what is going on. Like the original RTX 3080, we can see that the 3080 Ti Founders Edition has a PCB with a V-shaped end that follows the X shape of the card. All of the V-shaped heatsink on the right side of the card passes through with four thick heatpipes being visible and you can just barely see a fan through the heatsink as well. The front fan is between 85mm and 90mm (depending on if you go by blade size or opening width) and has an axial layout that blows down against the PCB. From there the air flows through the exposed heatsink both left and right. When it goes to the left it goes out of the PCI bracket and to the right the dual angled sections divert half up and out the middle of the top and the other half down and out the middle of the bottom. The fan has 9 blades and has a thick ring around the entire outside that helps give the blades extra rigidity. Then in the center, they have a machined aluminum cap with a grey tinted finish that matches the all solid metal construction of the Founders Edition cards. The X shape that divides things up is thick/heavy and cast in metal with a machined edge. Up on the top edge to the right of the front fan, they also have RTX 3080 Ti etched into that edge. It’s a small touch but it looks good. If you look closely the X shape also has two V-shaped light diffusers built-in as well. Nvidia changed things up for the 3000 series of cards giving RGB options rather than just the Nvidia green and the 3080 Ti Founders Edition is no different.

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Around on the back side of the card where we would normally just have a cool backplate the 3080 Ti Founders Edition back looks more like an old Founders Edition card with a blower cooler. That is because it has the fan on the left side and then where the PCB is they do have flat black metal plates as well as a matching X-shaped divider as well. They have the RTX 3080 Ti branding on here again. Then for the fan, it is a blow-through design that exits out of the front. The heatsink around it is the same V-shaped design as we saw on the front. The fan is the same size and design as well, here the blade itself looks to be around 85mm.

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With the open air heatsinks, the actual fan shroud ends up being the thick metal sections that surround the two ends of the card and are visible on the top edge of the card. The top also has the GeForce RTX branding on it, which Nvidia always includes. This is backlit as well but only with white, unlike the side lighting. White is a lot easier to match with builds than the green from the past so we can’t complain too much there. The top also has the angled heatsink that redirects some of the airflow up and away from the card. This is also where Nvidia integrated their new 12-pin power connection and on the 3080 Ti Founders Edition, like with the 3080 the connection has a nice angle to help direct the cable down rather than sticking directly up like on a few of the cards. This is the end of the PCB which is why the plug isn’t farther out on the card, but being in the middle does require some unique wiring to keep things clean and you are almost guaranteed to end up covering up that backlit GeForce RTX logo to the right given the angle.

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Here is a look at things with the included 12-pin to dual 8-pin adapter cable. The blacked out design doesn’t look too bad, but it does cover up that lighting.

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Looking around at the edges of the card we can see how the metal shroud wraps around the ends of the X shape with just the heatsinks exposed in the middle to vent out of the top and bottom. This all-metal design gives the card a lot of strength. Unlike some aftermarket designs which have to rely on the backplate for help to keep the card from sagging and with some even coming with anti-sag brackets now Nvidia’s design is solid. If you haven’t held a Founders Edition card before you should, its like holding a solid piece of metal. You know where the money is going, that’s for sure. The end does have two tiny screws that can be removed to expose mounts for OEM and server use. Beyond that the overall finish of the card has a lot of flake and depending on the lighting can look more graphite like in these pictures due to the wood reflecting up or more grey.

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The PCI bracket end of the 3080 Ti Founders Edition isn’t any different than the RTX 3080. It has a slightly tinted finish on the bracket itself which I would always still prefer it to be blacked out but is an improvement over bare metal. They have all of the required certification logos etched on the bracket which is cool and your serial number is here as well. Then for display connections, it has the normal three DisplayPort and one HDMI with the HDMI down at the bottom. The big change for the 3000 series cards was the huge openings that Nvidia went with for airflow. In the past with blower cards, the vents have been much smaller and more restrictive for airflow. Even with this being closer to a hybrid blower design the added airflow here has to help a lot.

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Before getting into testing I did also want to check out the lighting. Like I mentioned before the top branding is just backlit with white but with some software you can at least control the brightness. I would prefer that this have the RTX 3080 Ti branding lit up personally. I don’t mind showing off what I have inside, but prefer it to not just be like a billboard for brands. Then on the X shape on the front of the card, you can see the addressable RGB lighting as it rotates through its colors by default. Nvidia did a great job here with the diffusers being hidden, when I took a look at the original RTX 3080 I didn’t even see the lighting until later when I had the card running. This gives a nice shadow effect rather than just having lighting in your face. Especially with it reflecting off of the metal finish.

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Test Rig and Procedures

 

Test Rig

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3900X

Motherboard: Asus Crosshair VIII HERO WiFi

Memory: G.Skill Trident Z Royal 3600MHz 16-16-16-36

Storage: Corsair MP600 2TB

Cooling – Corsair H100i RGB Pro XT

Power Supply - Corsair AX1200w

Case - Primochill Wetbench

OS - Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

 

Our Testing Procedures

3DMark

The same goes for the most current version of 3DMark using the Fire Strike benchmark in normal, extreme, and ultra settings. Tests are also run in the DX12 focused Time Spy benchmark as well as the Time Spy Extreme test. Port Royal is also used on video cards that support DirectX Raytracing

Unigine Superposition

1080p Medium, 1080p Extreme benchmarks along with the VR Maximum and VR Future tests, both done at the Vive resolution

VRMark

Cyan and Blue rooms tested, use Average FPS for the result

Borderlands 3

Built-in benchmark testing with the ultra detail setting and medium detail setting, done at full screen with default settings at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k.

Metro Exodus

Using built-in benchmark, testing at ultra and normal details at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k.

The Division 2

Built-in benchmark at Ultra detail with V-Sync turned off at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k resolutions.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

Built-in benchmark using the Battle Benchmark setting. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k at both Medium and ultra detail settings

World War Z

Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k in both Medium and Ultra Detail using the built-in benchmark.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Built-in benchmark, tested using the Medium texture setting and again at the highest texture detail setting. Both tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Far Cry 5

Built-in benchmark, tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k with the Ultra and Medium detail settings

Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War III

Built-in benchmark, Image and Texture settings set to the maximum setting and V-Sync turned off. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Watch Dogs: Legion

Built-in benchmark testing at ultra and high details. Tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Built-in benchmark, tested using the Medium texture setting and again at the highest texture detail setting. Both tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k

Far Cry 5

Built-in benchmark, tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k with the Ultra and Medium detail settings

Passmark Performance Test 9

Test using the GPU Compute Score inside of Passmark’s Performance Test 9

Blender

Using the new Blender Benchmark with the Quick Benchmark setting set to use the GPU, not the CPU. The result is in total seconds the test took, lower is better. All cards tests were done using the 2.90 build for compatibility with the latest cards

Basemark GPU

GPU tests were done using the OpenGL and DirectX12 APIs

Power Usage

Results come from a Kill-A-Watt hooked up in line to the power cord for the test rig. Two tests are done, one using the AIDA64 Stress Test and the second uses the 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark on the Performance setting using the combined test.

Noise Testing

Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 18 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test at both 50% and 100% fan speeds. The 100% test isn’t a representation of typical in-game noise levels, but it will show you how loud a card can be if you run it at its highest setting or if it gets very hot. Under load testing is also done, measuring the noise levels of the card when under load in AIDA64 over a half hour. This is done using a Protmex PT02 Sound Meter that is rated IEC651 type 2 and ANSI S1.4 type 2. Tests are done set weighted to A and set to a slow response using the max function. The ambient noise level in the testing area is 33.3 decibels using the test settings.

Temperature Testing

Using AIDA64, the GPU stress test is run for 30 minutes or until the result has leveled off. The test is run twice, once with the stock fan profile and a second time with 100% fan speed.

 

 


Synthetic Benchmarks

As always I like to start my testing with a few synthetic benchmarks. 3DMark especially is one of my favorites because it is very optimized in both Nvidia and AMD drivers. It's nice to not have to worry about it being favored too much either way and the repeatability of the results makes it a nice chance to compare from card to card, especially when comparing with the same GPU. In this case, we don’t have the RTX 3090 to compare with sadly so my focus is on how the 3080 Ti Founders Edition compares with the RTX 3080 Founders Edition and the overclocked 3080 Suprim X.

The first round of tests were done in the older Fire Strike benchmark which is a DX11 test. There are three detail levels, performance, extreme, and ultra. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition didn’t do as well here, Nvidia’s latest gen cards have as a whole performed a down compared to AMDs comparable cards when it comes to the Fire Strike tests so the RX 6800 XT was up over the 3080 Ti Founders Edition even with it being a jump in performance over the 3080.

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The next two were both based on the Time Spy benchmark. One is the standard test and then there is the extreme detail level. Here the 3080 Ti Founders Edition comes out to shine with these DX12 focused benchmarks. It sits up at the top of the charts with a 9% lead in the base Time Spy over the original 3080 and less with the Time Spy Extreme benchmark with the improvement being 3.5% but it was enough to still stay ahead of the overclocked 3080 Suprim X which did well here. It does make you wonder just how well a 3080 Ti with a similar overclock will do though.

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The last test was using the Unigine based Superposition benchmark and I tested at 1080p with medium detail and again at 1080p with the extreme detail setting. In the extreme detail setting the 3080 Ti Founders Edition is once again up at the top with an 8.6% lead over the 3080 FE. The medium detail settings on the other hand are running into a wall with our now aging 3900X in the test bench (updates coming soon).

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VR Benchmarks

As for Virtual Reality, I love it but it is more demanding than traditional gaming. This is partially because of the resolutions needed to render for two eyes and because they render more than what is immediately visible. But also because of post effects to get the proper “fisheye” effect for it to look proper in your eyes with the HMD. You also have to have much higher expectations for frame rates in VR, skipping frames or lower FPS can cause motion sickness in VR. Because of that, I ran a few tests.

My first test was again in Superposition. This time I tested the VR Maximum and VR Future tests using the Vive resolution. Here the 3080 Ti Founders Edition sits at the top of the charts with 94 FPS for a 7.6% improvement over the 3080.

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My second round of VR testing was in VRMark which has two tests that are similar to the VR tests in Superposition. One is future-looking and extremely demanding and the other (cyan room) is more like modern VR games. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition was in a similar position here as well dominating the top of the chart without the RTX 3090 to take its crown. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition sits out 11% faster than the original RTX 3080 on the higher detail blue room and just under 8% on the lower detail cyan room test with a still crazy 330 FPS.

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In-Game Benchmarks

Now we finally get into the in game performance and that is the main reason people pick up a new video card. To test things out I ran through our new benchmark suite that tests 9 games at three different resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4k). Most of the games tested have been run at the highest detail setting and a mid-range detail setting to get a look at how turning things up hurts performance and to give an idea of if turning detail down from max will be beneficial for frame rates. In total, each video card is tested 48 times and that makes for a huge mess of results when you put them all together. To help with that I like to start with these overall playability graphs that take all of the results and give an easier to read result. I have one for each of the three resolutions and each is broken up into four FPS ranges. Under 30 FPS is considered unplayable, over 30 is playable but not ideal, over 60 is the sweet spot, and then over 120 FPS is for high refresh rate monitors.

So how did the 3080 Ti Founders Edition do when we get a look at the overall numbers? Well, there weren’t any big surprises at 1080p where it just whipped through everything. 12 out of the 16 tests were up over 120 FPS and of course, the other 4 were all up over 60 FPS as well. The same goes for 1440p really where 10 results were over 120 FPS and 6 were over 60 FPS. It isn’t until we hit 4k that the 3080 Ti Founders Edition really saw any resistance at all and even there everything went smoothly. Everything was playable, only 2 were in the 30-59 FPS range with 12 over 60 and 2 over 120 FPS.

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Of course, I have all of the actual in game results as well for anyone who wants to sort through the wall of graphs below. Let's get the biggest part out of the way right at the start, the 3080 Ti Founders Edition came in at the top of our chart in every single game tested. That isn’t a huge surprise without the RTX 3090 in the mix but it is consistently fast at 4k. There are a few games where we are starting to hit a wall at the lower resolutions where we don’t see it setting ahead of the other cards like it should but those are almost all related to CPU limitation. I did also run into issues with Watch Dog Legion at those resolutions as well that weren’t an issue in the past. I will be following up on those after this launch as they require more testing or potentially retesting all of the cards. To get a look at the overall performance of the 3080 Ti Founders Edition I did also average out its numbers as well as the 6800XT and the overclocked 3080 Suprim and as you can see below, even when comparing it with the overclocked 3080 it is a big step up in performance giving 8 FPS each game on average at 4k.

Average FPS

4K

1440P

1080P

3080 Ti Founders Edition

97.1

128.6

135.5

MSI 3080 Suprim X

88.8

127.0

137.1

XFX MERC 319 6800 XT

87.9

125.3

134.1

 

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Compute Benchmarks

Now some people don’t need a video card for gaming, they need the processing power for rendering or 2D/3D production, or in some cases people who game also do work on the side. So it is also important to check out the compute performance on all of the video cards that come in. That includes doing a few different tests. My first test was a simple GPU Compute benchmark using Passmark’s Performance Test 9 and the 3080 Ti Founders Edition just completely dominates. This is a 39% jump in performance over the original RTX 3080 FE, getting up past 10k CUDA cores really made a big difference!

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In Basemark I test with the DirectX12 setting and again with OpenGL. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition does top this chart as well, but the gap between it and the two RTX 3080’s is a little smaller at 11.6%. In fact, the 3080 Ti Founders Edition came in lower on the OpenGL test even.

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Blender is always my favorite compute benchmark because the open-source 3D rendering software is very popular and it isn’t a synthetic benchmark. Here I render two scenes and combine the total time it takes. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition did well in Blender but only matched what I previously have seen with the RTX 3080 Founders Edition and the overclocked Suprim X 3080 was still faster. The lower clock speed seems to be hurting Blender's performance. Switching to Optix however, the 3080 Ti Founders Edition still shines coming in 10 seconds or 19% improvement over the 3080 Suprim X.

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RTX and DLSS

Being an RTX card I also like checking out the performance of some of Nvidia’s features. Namely the ray tracing performance and the performance improvements you can see by using DLSS combined with the tensor cores. In most of the tests, I’m only comparing a few of the RTX cards as well as a GTX 1080 Ti for comparison. But in the 3DMark Port Royal test, I have been tracking ray tracing performance in all of the RTX cards as well as a few of the GTX cards introduced into the mix as well. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition of course topped the charts here with a 15% jump up over the 3080 FE.

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I then jumped into game tests, this time with the just recently released Watch Dogs: Legion. For this one, I wanted to get an idea of the performance you will see when taking advantage of Nvidia’s RTX and DLSS features. Here I tested with both on, just RTX on, and with neither on. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition is of course at the top of the charts here. But more importantly, we can see how big of a different DLSS makes when running RTX. You end up running at nearly the same FPS as if you had DLSS and RTX both off or a gain of 72% from RTX to RTX with DLSS!

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Next, I wanted to check out the performance in Metro Exodus which I do our normal testing in as well. The 3080 Ti Founders Edition sits at 45 FPS with RTX on and without DLSS which is playable but not ideal. Rather than bumping the detail down, turning DLSS takes that up over 60 FPS. You can also see an improvement from having none of it on to just running DLSS which gets you 10 more FPS, not as big of a gain as with RTX but still respectable.

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With Wolfenstein: Youngblood I tested at 4K using their Mein Lenen! Detail setting which is the highest detail. I tested with RTX on and just compared running with DLSS on the balanced setting and with it off entirely. Overall this test shows how much of an improvement DLSS can get you in Wolfenstein: Youngblood especially when adding RTX into the mix. Here the 3080 Ti Founders Edition is up over the base 3080 by 21 FPS but the big overclock on the Suprim X takes that down to just 6. Turning DLSS on however kicks the FPS up well past the 120 FPS threshold and even over 144 FPS for a 144Hz monitor meaning you can get true high refresh gaming on an extremely detailed game at 4k, not bad!

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Next, I tested using a benchmark based on the game Boundary. For this one, I wanted to see how all of the different DLSS settings would perform, including turning it off completely. Even with the 3080 Ti Founders Edition, this benchmark struggles with DLSS off with it running at 23.1 FPPS. All three DLSS settings were enough to get things into the playable range with the performance setting even getting close to averaging 60 FPS. The breakdown is a 73.6 % improvement for the quality setting, 106% on the balanced setting, and 148.5% which is just crazy.

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The last tests were done in a benchmark based on the game Bright Memory. Here I wanted to check out the performance difference between different RTX settings. So with the 3080 Ti Founders Edition running on RTX low, the FPS jumps up to 78. Running at very high, high, and normal on the other hand are much closer together with just 5 FPS between very high and high and 4 FPS between high and normal. This does give a little flexibility when you want to run ray tracing to fine-tune your performance into a range that you are comfortable with. In this case, running at RTX normal or low gets things up over 60 FPS for example.

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Cooling Noise and Power

For my last few tests, rather than focusing on in game performance, I like to check out other aspects of performance. These are also the most important ways to differentiate the performance between cards that have the same GPU. To start things off I took a look at power usage. For this, I use our Kill-A-Watt hooked up to the test bench to record the total wattage of the system. I ran two tests with the first using 3DMark Fire Strike to put the system under a load similar to normal in game performance. Here our test system with the 3080 Ti Founders Edition pulled 492 watts in the 3DMark benchmark which put it only behind the Vega 64 Liquid Cooled card. In the AIDA64 stress test that number went even higher pulling 517 watts which is 54 watts more than the RTX 3080 FE.

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My next round of tests were looking at noise levels. These are especially important to me because I can’t stand to listen to my PC whirling. Especially when I’m not in game and other applications are using the GPU. For my testing, though I first tested with the fan cranked up to 100% to get an idea of how loud it can get, then again at 50% to get an idea of its range. The Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti FE came in the middle of the pack for its 100% fan speed at 59.7 decibels and 37.9 decibels at 50% fan speed. In the most important test with the card under load, the Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti FE ends up higher up in the charts at 42.3 dB. When we check out the fan RPMs you can see that the front fan is running at 3795 where Nvidia has the rear fan a little lower at 3396 right at the same speeds as the RTX 3080 FE so it does make sense that the 3080 Ti which is pulling more power would run a little noisier than the 3080 FE with the same cooler.

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To finish up my testing I of course had to check out the cooling performance. To do this I ran two different tests. I used AIDA64’s Stress Test run for a half-hour each to warm things up. Then I documented what temperature the GPU leveled out at with the stock fan profile and then again with the fans cranked up to 100%. With the stock profile, the Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti FE runs at 74c which is warm but a few degrees lower than the RTX 3080 FE did for us with the stock fan profile. Nvidia must have a more aggressive fan profile to make up for the additional heat. Then at 100% fan speed, it is again up near the top of the charts at 59c, 1 degree warmer than the 3080 FE. The delta between the two was 15c which is about average meaning there is still a little room left in the cooling though I don’t know if I would want to make it any noisier.

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While running the stock fan profile testing I also took the time to get a few thermal images so we could see what is going on. The Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti FE with its exposed heatsinks is also a little unique to see with the thermal camera. On the back of the card, we can see that the hottest spot is in the top section in the center which on the surface is showing 73c, even on the other surfaces where you can see the warmer temps but we do have to keep in mind this is the heatsink, not the fan shroud. The front side of the card is similar as well but you can see how much cooler things are running behind the fan itself on the left. Then the top view shows how hot the PCB is getting in that hot area in the top center where the card vents.

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Overall and Final Verdict

With the RTX 3080 being Nvidia’s gaming flagship card for 8 months now the addition of the RTX 3080 Ti is a little surprising. But it was clear from the start that the RTX 3090 was more focused on 8K and workloads like Nvidia’s Titan series of cards given it's monster 24GB VRAM. So filling in the gap between the RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090 with a card that gets you the same 10496 CUDA cores, 328 Tensor cores, and 82 RT cores while cutting that memory size in half to keep the cost down makes sense. In actual use getting to use the rest of the GA102 GPU translated to a monster when it comes to 4K performance. It rips through 1080p and 1440p games as well, but honestly, in a lot of those situations, you are more likely to be CPU limited than anything so the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition shines at 4K the most.

Nvidia also did it in the original RTX 3080 Founders Edition package, not the huge card they designed for the RTX 3090 which makes it a lot more usable. That also means the card has the same unique styling that I loved before and like all Founders Edition cards, the quality is off the charts. Holding the card is like holding a chunk of solid metal and it feels more like an award than a video card. While there are a few designs I like a lot, I still think this is the best looking of them all.

Packing a higher TGP GPU into the same cooler as the previous RTX 3080 FE does mean that the cooling performance could be a little better. The original 3080 FE wasn’t exactly topping the charts and this thing does run a touch warmer. They tweaked the fan profile which helps, but it also has it running louder while under load as well. The other big downside is power usage, the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition topped our charts when properly loaded. You do want to make sure you have a power supply to support things, especially if you pair a CPU with it that can get the best possible performance.

We have talked about it a lot and I hate to even bring it up again, but 2020 was a crazy year and 2021 isn’t far off as well. Especially in the PC market where things have become the wild west in a lot of ways. The GPU market has had cards selling for unthinkable markups and card availability has been tough, to say the least. So I expected the price of the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition to be higher. But the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition has a launch MSRP of $1199 which surprised me when the RTX 3080 Founders Edition launched at $699. It is somewhat in the middle between the RTX 3090 ($1499)and the RTX 3080($699) for their launch prices but on the higher side even with dropping the larger 3090 cooler and half the VRAM. That said, given that lower-end cards like the RTX 3060 Ti are selling for even more I don’t think people who manage to get their hands on the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition are going to be too upset. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the price ends up adjusted if/when things settle down which they have been calming down slightly from the looks of it.

fv5recommended

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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