The flagship AIB for the Nvidia’s Ampere comes to town

Comparisons are challenging

Robert Dow

The new 3080 TI. (Source: EVGA)

Nvidia introduced its new flagship Ampere AIB at Computex 2021 this week, the RTX 3080 TI. The RTX 3000 series was introduced in September 2020 with the top-of-the-line RTX 3090 ($1,499) and the RTX 3080 ($699) released first; The high-end RTX 3070 ($499) and RTX 3060 TI ($399) were released in October and December 2020, respectively, with the mainstream RTX 3060 ($329) revealed in January 2021.

The gaming industry,  particularly the PC gaming industry, continues to expand with an estimated 60 million new PC gamers; yet, according to the latest Steam survey, 8 out of the top 10 most popular AIBs are from the 4-year-old Kepler 1000 series. Nvidia is hoping to convert those gamers to the 3000 series by offering ray tracing, Reflex, and DLSS. Ray tracing provides more realistic vivid gaming, and DLSS gives a better gaming experience with high framerates at top resolutions. Ray tracing and DLSS have now been adopted by over 100 games and most of the top titles.; This also provides an incentive for those late adopters to consider an investment and upgrade.

In addition to 2nd generation ray tracing and DLSS, the 3080 TI provides the important hardware upgrades you’d expect from a next-generation GPU. The 3080 TI has over double the number of cores of its Turing predecessor, 20% more memory, and 14.5% more TFLOPS.

Nvidia’s low-latency Reflex software technology was introduced with Ampere in September 2020. It promises to reduce PC response time. With latency being cut down by as much as 14 ms in some games. 14 ms might not seem like a lot in everyday life, but in gaming, it is often the difference between a hit and being hit. More and more Esports shooters are supporting Reflex.

RTX 3080 TI RTX 3080  RTX 2080 TI
Architecture Ampere Ampere Turing
Process 8 nm 8 nm 12 nm
Transistors (M) 28,300 28,300 18,600
Die Size 628 mm² 628 mm² 754 mm²
Cuda Cores 10240 8704 4352
Clock 1365 1440 1350
Boost Clock 1665 1710 1545
Power (TGP) 350 320 260
TFLOPS 34.1 29.77 13.45
Memory 12GB 10GB 11GB
Memory Clock 1188 MHz 1188 MHz 1750 MHz
MSRP $1199 $699 $799
RTX 3080 TI specifications as compared to its predecessors

We tested the RTX 3080 TI versus the previous generation Turing RTX 2080 TI and its contemporary, the RTX 3080, released in September 2020.

Our testbed is based on an Intel Core-i9 10900K running at 3.7 GHz, in a Gigabyte Z490 AORUS Master with 16 GB of RAM. We tested games at Ultra settings at 4K and 1440P. In addition to the game test, we run the full 3D Mark suite for AIBs, BMI, and Neon Noir, which focus on DLSS and ray-tracing capabilities.

Time Spy Time Spy Extreme
Port Royal Neon Noir
3DMark Shader Test Bright Memory Infinite
3DMark Ray Tracing 3DMark DLSS Test
Assassins Creed Valhalla – Ultra 4K & 1440P Metro Exodus: RTX DLSS (on/off) Ultra 4K &1440P
Watchdog Legions: Ultra DLSS (on/off) 4K & 1440P Wolfenstein Youngblood: UBER 4K & 1440P
Red Dead Redemption II: Ultra 4K & 1440P
Benchmark Suite used to test the RTX 3080 TI, RTX 3080, RTX 2080 TI

The raw average FPS and synthetic scores are represented in the following table. In addition to the game scores, JPR includes its Pmark computation, which factors in power and MSRP of the add-in boards.

RTX 3080 TI RTX 3080 RTX 2080 TI
Average FPS 75 68 53
Average Score 13922 13215 11531
TFLOPS 34.1 29.77 13.45
Power (TGP) 350 320 260
MSRP (at launch) $1199 $699 $799
Results and Pmark variables

Pmark scores

The RTX 3080 TI and its predecessor, the RTX 2080 TI

RTX 3080 TI RTX 3080 RTX 2080 TI
Pmark FPS 18.57 32.96 30.07
Pmark Scores 17.94 21.83 21.35
Pmark TFLOPS 7.9 13.31 6.73
Pmark scores: Higher is better

Pmark comparisons

The newest addition, the Ampere line-up, does not test out well when it comes to Pmark; for raw power and FPS, the RTX 3080 TI is an obvious upgrade over the previous generation and provides the performance that one would be delighted within the high-end segment. The lower-than-expected Pmark scores are a result of the price point, $1,199 MSRP is $500 more—50% than RTX 3080 released in September with a roughly 10% better performance output.

This is where things begin to get cloudy with pricing. Although the RTX 3080 was released with a $699 price point, you would be hard-pressed to find one at that price, if at all. The industry has been suffering from supply constrictions due to Covid as well as Crypto miners buying up everything in sight. We looked for the RTX 3080 around the web and came up empty.

Nvidia says an RTX3080ti offers the same performance as an RTX3090, and at today’s scalper prices, a 3090 is going for $3,000+, so a $1,200 AIB with the same performance is a good deal. Except that the street price of an RTX3080Ti is now $1,999—probably more by the time you read this.

It is very hard to find a quality AIB on the market today esp. at MSRP as
supply chain constraints continue to take their toll 

Not only are the AIBs out of stock, but, but we could also see prices of $200 to $300 above MSRP almost immediately. These are issues the gaming community has been dealing with and loudly complaining about. In the next few months, we are hoping to see these supply issues fixed. With the post-Covid reopening, we could see demand slip, and Nvidia released its Cryptocurrency Mining Processor and boards aimed at miners in an attempt to shield gamers from shortages and resellers. Time will tell if the supply chain and retailers find any relief.

What do we think?

The RTX 3080 TI is a solid performer and delivers the frame rates and beautiful gaming that ray tracing and DLSS can deliver. It is an expensive AIB compared to the RTX 3080, with the performance/price ratio not exactly in line. But as we talked about, MSRPs are virtually non-existent in today’s market, prices for AIBs are still sky-high: the RTX 3080 TI is a reflection of the times.

Best Buy has a fix—don’t sell them online. Best Buy will be only selling Founders Edition cards in-store. As a result, there were long lines outside Best Buy—what a great way to get people back into the brick and mortar retail spots—say thank you Nvidia.