Prices of graphics cards are declining. Not only that, availability is better now compared to the previous months or last year. Even the newly released RTX 3090 Ti is selling for MSRP and it’s on the shelf. Today, let’s compare the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and its predecessor, the RTX 2080 Ti. If you’re currently using an RTX 2080 Ti, or even a much older GPU like the GTX 1080 Ti or GTX 980 Ti, this article will give you some idea whether upgrading to an RTX 3080 Ti is worth it or not. Surprisingly, the RTX 2080 Ti sells for around $1,200 to $1,600, which is about the same selling price as the RTX 3080 Ti today! Anyway, let’s check out some benchmarks below and find out.
Is the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti A Good Upgrade From RTX 2080 Ti?
The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti was launched on September 20, 2018; that’s almost 4 years ago. Together with the RTX 20 series, NVIDIA introduced ray tracing and DLSS. Unfortunately, not a lot of games supported ray tracing back then, and the early version of DLSS wasn’t so great.
I could remember that NVIDIA was marketing Battlefield V hard since it’s one of the first games to feature ray-traced reflections. Then there is Metro Exodus with ray-traced global illumination and Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ray-traced shadows. Today, there is a growing number of games that supports ray tracing and DLSS. DLSS has greatly improved as well. It offers a significant FPS boost while offering the same image quality as native, if not better.
Powering the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is a 12nm TU102 GPU based on Turing Architecture. It has 4352 CUDA cores, 544 Tensor cores, and 68 RT cores. The GPU is paired with 11GB of GDDR6 memory running at a 14Gbps effective memory speed.
On the other hand, the newer GeForce RTX 3080 Ti features Samsung’s 8nm fabrication process. It features a GA102 GPU based on Ampere architecture. When it comes to core count, it has more than twice compared to the RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 3080 Ti has 10240 CUDA cores, 320 Tensor cores, and 80 RT cores.
One might expect we’ll also get double the memory capacity. But the RTX 3080 Ti has 12GB of memory only. Although, it is the faster GDDR6X memory that has an effective memory speed of 19Gbps. The RTX 3080 Ti has a higher power target of 350W, which is higher compared to the 2080 Ti’s 260W GPU power.
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 2080 Ti Specifications
|MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X||NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti FE|
|Fab Process||8nm Samsung||12nm TSMC|
|Tensor Cores||320 (3rd gen)||544 (2nd Gen)|
|RT Cores||80 (2nd gen)||68 (1st Gen)|
|Base Clock||1365 MHz||1350 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1830 MHz||1635 MHz|
|Memory Clock||19 Gbps||14 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||912 GB/s||616 GB/s|
|Power Connectors||3x 8-pin||2x 8-pin|
Now let’s check out how these numbers translate into performance or frames per second. I compare the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM X against the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card. Unfortunately, I don’t have an RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition card. The RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM X features factory overclock speeds. But the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition card runs at overclocked speed as well, out of the box. I tested the graphics cards with an Intel Core i7-10700K paired with a DDR4-4000 memory kit.
RTX 3080 Ti vs RTX 2080 Ti – Synthetic Benchmarks
In 3DMark’s benchmark suite, there is a significant performance difference between the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 3080 Ti offers around 40% to almost 50% performance uplift from the RTX 2080 Ti. But these are synthetic benchmarks, and the results may be different in actual games. Let’s find out below.
RTX 3080 Ti vs RTX 2080 Ti – 1080p Benchmarks
The resolution 1920×1080, or 1080p, is not the target resolution of the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti. If you own a 1080p monitor and don’t have plans to upgrade to a higher resolution monitor (1440p or 4K), I do not recommend the RTX 3080 Ti. You’ll be wasting the GPU’s potential since there is performance left on the table at this resolution. It’s like the resolution is “bottlenecking” the 3080 Ti.
While there is a significant difference in some of the games above, notice that there are also games where the performance of the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 2080 Ti are somewhat similar. Some examples are Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs Legion, and The Witcher 3. Both GPUs performed similarly, as the RTX 3080 Ti is bottlenecked or “limited” by the resolution.
RTX 3080 Ti vs RTX 2080 Ti – 1440p Benchmarks
Moving up to 2560×1440 resolution, we can see that the RTX 3080 Ti is now performing faster than the RTX 2080 Ti on the three games where it performed poorly at 1080p. At this resolution, we can also see that the performance gap between the two GPUs becomes wider. For example, in Monster Hunter World, there is around a 51% increase from the RTX 2080 Ti to RTX 3080 Ti. Meanwhile, at 1080p, the increase was only around 36%.
Of course, the performance difference varies from one game to another. As you can see, the RTX 3080 Ti performed better at higher resolutions. It’s what I meant earlier that the RTX 3080 Ti is somehow “bottlenecked” by the lower 1080p resolution.
RTX 3080 Ti vs RTX 2080 Ti – 4K Benchmarks
Finally, at 3840×2160, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti easily outperforms and outshines the RTX 2080 Ti by a substantial margin. It is, after all, a GPU designed for higher resolutions like 4K gaming. With an RTX 3080 Ti, you can enjoy playing games above 60fps in 4K UHD resolution.
You can even push the frame rates higher with the help of DLSS. Although I didn’t include any benchmarks here, the RTX 3080 Ti can handle ray tracing better as well compared to the RTX 2080 Ti.
Here are the 12-game FPS average results. At 1080p the RTX 3080 Ti is around 22% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti on average. The performance difference increases at 1440p, with the 3080 Ti being 34% faster than the 2080 Ti. Finally, at 4K, where most of the games are GPU bound, the RTX 3080 Ti is around 55% faster than the RTX 2080 Ti.
GeForce RTX 3080 Ti vs RTX 2080 Ti Conclusion
Overall, if you currently own an RTX 2080 Ti and you plan to upgrade to an RTX 3080 Ti, you’ll definitely see some performance improvements. The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti performs best at 4K UHD resolution. Although, it would be a good GPU for (super) ultrawide 1440p monitors as well.
Speaking of 4K, if you’re planning to get one, here are some of the best 4K gaming monitors in the market.
You might be thinking, why not upgrade to an RTX 3090 instead? If you’re considering an RTX 3090 instead of an RTX 3080 Ti, I guess budget is a none issue for you. Well, between the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3090, the RTX 3080 Ti is the better deal. The performance difference between the two is very small, a single-digit percentage only.
Instead of the RTX 3090, I would suggest you go for the (newly released) GeForce RTX 3090 Ti. The performance difference is more noticeable and you get the 24GB of GDDR6X memory with the RTX 3090 Ti. This makes the RTX 3090 Ti not only great for gaming but for content creation, rendering, and other professional work as well.
At the time I published this article, believe it or not, the RTX 3090 Ti is selling at a similar price range as the RTX 3090. Some RTX 3090 are even priced higher than the Zotac RTX 3090 Ti AMP Extreme Holo, which currently sells for $2,099.99 (MSRP). Or the EVGA RTX 3090 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming that currently retails for $2,199.99 (a much better card by the way). That’s how volatile and crazy the current GPU prices are. But the good thing is, prices are coming down and stocks are back.
At the end of the day, if you’re currently using a GTX/RTX XX80 Ti graphics card, the best upgrade path would be the current RTX 3080 Ti or RTX 3090 Ti, in my opinion. Especially if you are gaming at 4K UHD. Just choose which graphics card design or brand suits your preference. You can also check our best GeForce RTX 3080 Ti cards here.