NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Review — almost a RTX 3090 for $300 less
NVIDIA released the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition as the new flagship in their product stack, and it delivers performance much closer to the GeForce RTX 3090 than a GeForce RTX 3080, while being significantly more affordable than the GeForce RTX 3090.
+ Amazing attention to detail in its design
+ 2-slot design means that you will have less clearance issues to worry about
+ Excellent performance at up to 4K
+ Almost as fast as a RTX 3090 for a lot less money
+ Fans can be quite audible under heavy load
+ VRAM gets rather toasty
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 was a really potent GPU that I believe would have satisfied most gamers with its sheer performance. For those who had a lot of extra money, there was the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090. Then, now we have the new GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, offering some sort of a middle ground for those who want more than the GeForce RTX 3080 but don’t want/need the GeForce RTX 3090. Let’s check out the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition we have here today.
NVIDIA keeps the packaging across their lineup pretty similar, with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition featuring the same diagonal lines cutting across the black box. It is worth mentioning that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition’s box is actually slightly thinner than the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition and GeForce RTX 3070 Founders Edition we have previously reviewed.
That might be due to how the card is actually laid flat in the box, despite the foam actually sporting an incline. Regardless, the unboxing experience is as grand as you would expect, not unlike a premium smartphone unboxing. Lift the lid and you will get to lay eyes on your $1199 investment.
Aside from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition itself, there’s the 12-pin power connector as well as some standard documentation. I think NVIDIA can probably consider bundling one of those GTX USB thumb drives with pre-loaded drivers as a novelty addition to the Founders Editions’ package. Not like you should use outdated drivers that come in the box though.
NVIDIA reused the cooler from the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition. This is my first time seeing it, and I must say that I was quite surprised by just how long the card actually is, despite being just a two-fan design. The figure-8 frame encases the fans, and features a fancy beveled edge that really highlights just the amount of detail to attention that NVIDIA put into the design of this card.
The side frame hosts a middle section of sparse fins that also hosts the 12-pin power connector. NVIDIA milled the GeForce RTX emblem into the side, and it is beautifully flush with the metal despite being transparent to let light out.
A lot of images online show off the backside of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series Founders Edition cards, and for good reason. This is probably the prettiest view of the card, not to mention that it lets you easily identify what card you have in your system. The backplate feels great to touch, and contrast well against the gunmetal frame. Similar beveled edges for the frame are seen here.
A large vent at the rear is expected, as this is the only exit for hot air from the fan on the front of the card. The output options are standard, with three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.1 port.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition does not have RGB, but it does have quite a bit of white lighting to improve the overall aesthetics of the design. Two slivers of light are here on the front pointing towards the center like a cute >-< emoji of sorts.
The side GeForce RTX logo we mentioned earlier is illuminated, along with another sliver of light highlighting the rear fan. NVIDIA does the lighting quite tastefully, and I do appreciate that it is white, instead of green. It makes it much easier to match with any existing builds, although I do think if NVIDIA went the extra distance and made them RGB, it would be even more interesting.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (GA102)
|Clocks||Base Clock: 1365MHz
Boost Clock: 1665MHz
|Cores||10240 CUDA Cores
320 Tensor Cores
80 RT Cores
|Display outputs||3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
1 x HDMI 2.1
|Power connector(s)||12-pin (2 x 8-pin)|
|Interface||PCIe 4.0 x16|
|Dimensions||28.5 x 11.2 x 4 cm
|CPU||Intel Core i9-11900K @ 5.1GHz|
|Motherboard||ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Hero|
|Memory||2 x 8GB T-Force Xtreem ARGB 3600MHz CL14|
|Storage||250GB Samsung 850 EVO SATA SSD
960GB Kingston UV500 SATA SSD
1TB Kingston KC2500 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe SSD
|Power Supply||Cooler Master V1200 Platinum|
|GPU Driver||NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Drivers 466.54|
3DMark Time Spy is the only benchmark that puts the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition pretty much exactly in between the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 cards we have tested.
In 3DMark Port Royal, we see that the card is definitely much closer to the GeForce RTX 3090 than the GeForce RTX 3080 cards. Given how it is has just two RT cores less than the GeForce RTX 3090, I guess this result was to be expected.
Superposition also reveals a similar scenario, despite this benchmark purely taking advantage of raster performance. It sure looks like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition is more of a GeForce RTX 3090 Lite than a GeForce RTX 3080 Pro, if we were to go by smartphone naming conventions.
Gaming performance at 4K is nothing short of amazing, with above 60FPS seen in most games except for the most taxing titles.
Playing at 1440p we start pushing into the 100+ FPS region. I would consider it probably the sweet spot, but you will definitely need a fast CPU to keep up with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition at 1440p, as we even see our Core i9-11900K at 5.1GHz starting to be the limiting factor here.
1080p is going to be CPU-limited with a GPU of this caliber. Most games are running well above the 144FPS threshold now, so you can consider the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition way overkill for this resolution. If you are still running a 1080p monitor, you should definitely consider upgrading that first before thinking about the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, unless you are an esports pro.
Despite the cooler having to deal with around a slightly beefier GPU than the GeForce RTX 3080, with the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti pulling 345W on average, it seems that it is still able to keep everything well under control. Clock speeds were also well above the rated Boost Clocks, running at an average of 1779MHz.
The highest GPU temperature observed was 78°C, with the average across the 30-minute run of Superposition stress test being 76°C. VRAM temperatures were slightly more worrying with an average of 98°C and peaks of 102°C, although no throttling was observed. The fan is quite audible under load, but it will most probably be nearly silent if put into a well-designed case.
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti vs GeForce RTX 3090?
We did not have a GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition, so our most recent ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3090 OC Edition will have to suffice as a representative. The latter barely outperforms the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition here, with the exception of Metro Exodus with DLSS and DXR on, where it somehow manages to deliver 30% higher performance. Even so, the average difference across these 10 games is still less than 5% across the board, in favor of the pricier card.
At 1440p we see results that are much more in line with what you would expect. But now somehow Far Cry 5 is the outlier here, with the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3090 OC Edition being nearly 19% faster in this one title. Overall, the difference has gone down to less than 3% on average.
The results here are very good in favor of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition. Considering that we are comparing against an overclocked, better cooled example of the GeForce RTX 3090, these sub 5% differences should probably mean that we will probably not see any difference at all when compared against the GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition.
While I still think that there is little reason for NVIDIA to release this card, I guess NVIDIA decided that they have to address the gap between the GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition is an excellent card for that, but as there’s only less than 15% difference between a GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 in the first place, this card further muddies the waters.
The $1199 MSRP puts it closer to the GeForce RTX 3090 than the RTX 3080, but the performance results do more than speak for themselves. With less than 5% difference between an overclocked GeForce RTX 3090 and the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition we have here, it goes without saying that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition is a much better buy than the $1499 GeForce RTX 3090, if all you are going to do is game.
The GeForce RTX 3090 is intended for more than just gaming with its massive 24GB frame buffer, and I guess NVIDIA wants to keep it that way. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, with half the VRAM, is meant for gamers, does well in games, and is significantly more affordable while delivering very similar performance across the board. What’s not to like?
NVIDIA has set the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti to start from RM5800 here in Malaysia, so it should apply some pressure on the GeForce RTX 3080 cards that are going for way above that in the market now as well. But of course, given that NVIDIA doesn’t actually sell their Founders Edition cards here in Malaysia, we are still at the mercy of various parties, meaning that we will probably never see the cards at MSRP except for maybe on launch day.
Our thanks to NVIDIA for sending us the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition for review.