NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review

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Introduction

NVIDIA has perfected its art of graphics cards from the last decade and producing some impressive graphics cards every year. In this race of better graphics and better hardware, they release RTX 3080 Founders Edition. It is an excellent leap from the previous RTX 2080 in terms of 4K gaming. The price point is exactly near the value most gamers want as it comes almost $300 less than its predecessor.

The GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition is powered by Ampere—2nd NVIDIA’s gen RTX architecture— serves to deliver the extreme performance that gamers demand. It has improved RT Cores and Tensor Cores and new streaming multiprocessors, and faster G6X RAM for an incredible gaming experience. The advanced features amaze its users with unbeatable power.

Nvidia is taking a different approach with the launch of Founders Edition. It draws inspiration from previous technical revolutions, but it also forges its own route ahead, offering new approaches to past problems that might alter how PC players engage with their graphics designing applications and games in the next years (if it is not decades). The new RTX 3080 Founders Edition is a beautifully designed, high-performance graphics card that is the future ruler of 4K gaming.

RTX 3080

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

Muhammad Kashif

Design
Price
Features

Summary

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders edition shows a remarkable performance upgrade over RTX 2080 in 4K gaming. It is worth every penny for its impressive cooling system, less noise, and good overall potential. Its $699 price makes it more favorable for gamers.

4.7

Specifications

ManufacturerNVIDIA
ModelGeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition
GPU Memory Size10GB
GPU Memory TypeGDDR6X
Clock Rate1440 MHz
Boost Clock Rate1710 MHz
Memory Bus320-bit
Memory Clocks1188 MHz
Shader Units8704
Power connector1 x 12-pin
Recommended PSU700W
Display outputs1 HDMI, 3 DisplayPort
Multi-Display CapabilityYes
DirectX12
OpenGLOpenGL 4.6

A Closer Look

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition’s overall appearance is 10.5-inch-long, and the design is contemporary, beautiful, and nearly entirely free from issues that gamers reported frequently. It also comprises an impressively designed cooling system representing a black and silver scheme as its unique identity. Third-party card manufacturers will, of course, adopt a variety of techniques and will not be able to compete with the Founders Edition’s distinctive design as its top has a cooling fan and another fan on its lower end.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

The length of the card has two bands of LEDs that run throughout, one to highlight the fan that is on the upper side of the card and the other to illuminate the GeForce RTX 3080 emblem on the side. Aside from it, the card’s brushed-metal shell remains protected by external damages to a greater degree. This is perhaps the most “grownup”-looking of all the standard GPU designs produced over the years. The card is both professional and scary, which is a challenging balance to strike when you’re diving into the realm of manufacturing design while also attempting to please eSport fans.

The engineers designed it in a highly compact PCB design that is 50% smaller than earlier GPUs to manage a place for an extra fan to circulate air straight through the internal board and card module. They built it from the ground up rules to provide the best possible thermal efficiency without sacrificing the acoustics of its users. It’s quite cool and peaceful in terms of noise-free produce. It’s known as a flow-through model, commonly prevalent in the PC chassis for cooling, drawing the external air while throwing heated air out. The mechanism follows the pattern where air enters through the front of the card. It is then forced out from PCB and the backplate, adding to its efficiency.

Its best trait is that its GPU does not heat any other parts during its cooldown. This process is no doubt one of the most challenging when designing a GPU for high-end gaming. That is why Nvidia has chosen an unconventional methodology to address it. That may be appreciated or criticized as “over-engineered.” 

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Vs NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080

The distinctions between the Ampere and Turing families do not begin with the same launch cost. The RTX 3080 has approximately three times the number of CUDA cores from RTX 2080 due to the performance gain given by switching from the old 14nm technology to Samsung’s 8nm node. However, the price remains the same.

It is really interesting to know that Nvidia’s DLSS technology than prior generations, owing to its lower Tensor-core count. These Tensor cores are the third generation and are more powerful than the predecessor, hitting 2X the numbers from the previous generation. By DLSS technique NVIDIA applies anti-aliasing quicker and with effectiveness due to its AI-based neural network. This is made feasible by some pretty sophisticated calculations by RTX-based video cards containing the manufacturer’s Tensor cores.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 FE

In RTX 3080 Founders Edition, the performance per watt (PPW) is 1.9% higher than the previous generations.  “This is an advanced approach for more effective GPUs that, in principle, could be downscaled to Nvidia’s inexpensive products to more effect than what we see with the RTX 3080.

The advanced technology introduced in the Nividia RTX 3080 is undoubtedly more efficient but still requires more power than NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080. The previous version only needed 225 watts, while the latest requires 320 watts for its operations. The requirement of more than optimal energy and a bigger size left engineers with another challenge to keep working on it and to decrease it in size. Another issue was to manage its power requirements that were inconsistent with the typical coupling of an 8-pin and a 6-pin power connection.

Find more about Best RTX 3090 GPUs

For the issue described above, the new 12-pin connection is the right solution. The new 12-pin power connector is thwacked amid the card’s rim, is considerably smaller than previous generations of graphics cards. It accompanies by an adaptor that converts two standard 8-pin PSU power connectors to the more modern 12-pin connector. Consequently, the PCB and GPU may be connected to any standard power source while maintaining their reduced size without losing performance. For usage with the RTX 3080 FE, Nvidia recommends a least 750-watt power supply.

In terms of other modifications, the RTX 3080 is better with its improved memory pool. With advancement, it is replaced with bigger and smarter memory with 10 GB in the RTX 3080 compared to the RTX 2080 with 8 GB memory. The RTX 3080’s GDDR6X memory employs advanced signaling channels to increase bandwidth size from 14 Gbps in the RTX 2080 to 19 Gbps in the RTX 3080.

Overclocking

The overclocking does seem much different on RTX 3080 Foundation Edition. The process is the same on “Ampere” that we follow on “Turing” architecture. The card does not jump much regarding the power rating, even during the overclocking. Because of these power limits achieving the desired clock speed can become challenging. At the same time, the GPU frequency hits a lower value due to the light load. There needs a balance between the overclocking value as setting the maximum value for stable and heavy loads can result in crashing on light loads. This issue arises from the Boost, which keeps running at a higher level and gives unstable clocks.

After going through the overclock, we realized that the power limit ranges greatly influence the whole process. You may expect only a 1% performance increase in real life. The problem lies in the manual power limit adjustment range that caps the value at 370W against the default value of 320W.

GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition

Besides the caps on the power limit, the voltage limit shows some range of adjustability but not to a large margin that can influence the values. The fan adjustment shows a similar pattern to the previous Foundation Edition, showing a range between 30 to 100%. Overall, these both do not yield much improvement in the process, making the time invested not worth much.

Need More Overclock potential? Check Out ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 3080

Regarding the memory overclock, there are certain interesting advancements by NVIDIA happened in RTX 3080 Founders Edition. It does not work like the previous crashes indicator for the memory clock. Due to its smart error detection and replay function, you need to monitor the memory stability while the EDR functionality replays no transactions. This is evident that replaying memory errors keeps that overall memory performance at bay.

The maximum stable overclocks after all this process was almost 11% for the memory. It shows a 1320 MHz over the stock clock speed. Besides that, the stable GPU overclock only registered a 1% improvement that totals an 1855 MHz boost. The average GPU clock hit the maximum value of 1947 MHz. These figures are not much impressive but at least something that can slightly improve the gameplay over the stock values.

Power and Temperature Testing

The temperature testing yield some impressive stats that we will share here. We ran our standard 10 minutes FurMark stress test on our test card, “NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition.” The temperature reading takes us by surprise that it peaked at 66 degrees Celsius. This is hotter, but for a graphics card of this caliber, this is amazingly moderate.

The temperature control is definitely improved, which shows its cooling architecture working efficiently. We observed that it passes the airflow currents from the top to the heatsink effectively, which enhances the overall power and temperature dynamics of the GPU. The airflow design won’t work well if the case is not closed properly. For this, make sure to close the case that allows the airflow in a specific direction.

Gaming Performance

How can we review a GPU and does not include some insights about its gaming performance? Well, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition has uplifted the gaming potential to a new level. We have tested their performance claim on some AAA titles. These titles were a mix of old but gold games like Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution.

The performance on the RTX 3080 is almost 50% more than RTX 2080 on these titles when we compare the 4K gaming. This is a huge leap from the previous generation to the RTX 3080 in case of performance. Besides these titles, the performance jumped is prominent in other AAA gaming titles, making it worth every penny to upgrade.

Bottom Line

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 has great potential for 4K gaming at 60 FPS. It outsmarts its predecessor in every aspect. However, for the people who do gaming at 1080 and 1440p, there is not much upgrade. If you like to overclock your GPU, RTX 3080 is tricky due to its continuous power management. Regarding pricing, 3080 offers a competitive price for Founders Edition at $699, far less than RTX 2080 $1000 price, while providing a nice 4K gaming boost of almost 50% on some old AAA titles.

Reasons to Buy
  • The cooling system is innovative
  • A huge performance boost from RTX 2080
  • Decent overclocking potential
  • Noise-free working experience
  • Improved power efficiency
Reasons to Avoid
  • Works in power limit
  • Difficult to set overclocking due to power limits
  • 1080p gains are less exciting
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