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After two years of ready, Nvidia’s ferocious GeForce RTX 30-series graphics playing cards are right here, beginning with the highest-end choices. Now that the mud has settled, lovers could also be questioning: Ought to I purchase the $700 GeForce RTX 3080, or the $1,500 GeForce RTX 3090? We’ve reviewed a number of fashions of every, and after hours of hands-on testing, we now have the solutions you want.
Backside line? It will depend on what you’re planning to make use of them for. Listed here are our quick-hit suggestions.
GeForce RTX 3080 vs RTX 3090: Which do you have to purchase?
Purchase the GeForce RTX 3080 when you’re a pure gamer. Nvidia calls the RTX 3080 this era’s gaming flagship, and it delivers staggering efficiency effectively in extra of the hallowed 60-frames-per-second mark at each 4K and high-refresh-rate 1440p, in addition to 3440×1440 ultrawide. And sure, that’s with all the attention sweet cranked to 11. This GPU is so quick you may lastly play ray traced video games with DLSS enabled and nonetheless hit 60 fps at these lofty resolutions—one thing you couldn’t say with comparable RTX 20-series graphics playing cards.
The RTX 3080 is a monumental improve over the RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti alike. Simply make sure your energy provide can deal with the RTX 3080, as Nvidia’s new “Ampere” GPU structure and ultra-fast GDDR6X reminiscence modules use considerably extra energy than prior GeForce generations.
Purchase the GeForce RTX 3090 provided that you’re an expert who can use it for content material creation or analysis duties, or when you’re a deep-pocketed gamer who values pure efficiency over precise price-to-performance worth. Let’s sort out these individually, beginning with gaming.
The GeForce RTX 3090 is simply 10 to 15 p.c quicker than GeForce RTX 3080 at 4K and 3440 ultrawide gaming, however prices greater than twice as a lot. It does unlock some new 8K gaming potentialities, however solely in esports video games, video games than help Nvidia’s new DLSS 2.1 “extremely efficiency” mode, and significantly quick and well-optimized DirectX 12 and Vulkan video games. Most video games in our testing suite got here nowhere close to 60 fps at 8K, even after bumping the attention sweet from Extremely to Excessive. Sure, it’s quicker, and that’s all that issues to some people. However most players will likely be a lot comfortable shopping for the RTX 3080 for a lot much less dough.
Skilled customers who can put the RTX 3090 to work will discover it an distinctive worth, although. Nvidia’s “BFGPU” stomped all around the competitors in our content material creation checks, shoving apart the RTX 2080 Ti and AMD’s coveted-by-creators Radeon VII. The RTX 3080 can land inside 15 to 20 p.c of the RTX 3090 in duties that purely hammer the GPU, however the RTX 3090 has an important ace within the gap: its large 24GB capability of GDDR6X reminiscence.
Demanding content material creation and AI analysis duties can require effectively past the 10GB supplied within the lower-priced RTX 3080. We tried testing 8K media renders in DaVinci Resolve, and the 24GB RTX 3090 was the one card able to ending the duties. NVLink is one other function important for some professional makes use of, and it’s solely obtainable on the 3090. Nvidia’s invested quite a lot of money and time into growing its software program, too. In case your workload can leverage CUDA, OptiX, or DLSS capabilities, the outcomes smash what you get with non-RTX GPUs.
To place it in perspective, the prior-gen RTX Titan with 24GB of RAM price $2,500. The RTX 3090 is a full $1,000 much less. It’s a horrible worth for players, however a shocking one for creators.
These could also be our high-level suggestions, however if you wish to study extra, we extremely advocate testing our opinions of the Nvidia RTX 3080 Founders Version and RTX 3090 Founders Version. The RTX 3080 overview supplies an outline of Nvidia’s Ampere structure and radical Founders Version cooler design, whereas our RTX 3090 overview digs deep into that GPU’s content material creation and 8K gaming chops. After all, you’ll discover loads of 4K and 1440p gaming benchmarks in each as effectively, if you wish to see the uncooked knowledge informing our recommendations.
In an uncommon transfer, customized variations of those playing cards from Nvidia companions additionally turned obtainable on day one for every launch. We’ve reviewed MSI’s Gaming X Trio model of each the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 if you wish to see how aftermarket choices stack up. Spoiler: It rocks on the “cheaper” GPU.
Associated Nvidia RTX 30-series tales:
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Version overview: Staggeringly highly effective
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Version overview: Titan for work, luxurious for play
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series vs GeForce RTX 20-series: Full spec comparability
- How Microsoft and Nvidia plan to kill game-loading instances on PCs
- Nvidia’s $500 GeForce RTX 3070 will get an October 15 launch date
- Why there’s no GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (but)
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Senior editor Brad Chacos covers gaming and graphics for PCWorld, and runs the morning information desk for PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot, and TechHive. He tweets too.