Today we are going to look at and review the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition. We previously reviewed the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition if you want to check that one out as well. I decided to make a separate review for the RTX 2080 since there are some things I would like to point out. And my take on the RTX 2080 is a bit different compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, despite the later having a much higher price tag. The NVIDIA RTX 2080 Founders Edition features an all-new design and aesthetics similar to its big brother RTX 2080 Ti. The GeForce RTX 20 series graphics cards (in general) are based on the new Turing architecture; and two of the most highlighted features are the real-time ray tracing and DLSS or Deep Learning Super-Sampling. Similar to our review of the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, real-time ray tracing and DLSS featured games are not yet available at this time. But we will definitely cover them on a future review. In this review, let’s see what the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition can do with the traditional and current gaming technology; and how does it compare with the previous GTX 10 series graphics card. Check out our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition review below.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition Review – Features and Specs
The new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series cards are unlike any other GPUs released by NVIDIA before. Aside from the usual CUDA cores that we are very familiar with, the new Turing architecture offers new types of cores designed to do specific tasks and functions. With the new Turing architecture, NVIDIA claims that they have “reinvented graphics” and it’s the biggest architectural leap in over a decade (that’s when CUDA cores first arrived). The new Turing GPU architecture basically comprises of a new Turing Streaming Multiprocessor, RT Cores and Tensor Cores. This enables the GPU to bring both real-time ray tracing and artificial intelligence to gaming.
Real-Time Ray Tracing and Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS) are the two main selling / key features of the new RTX 20 series graphics cards. With real-time ray tracing, gamers are presented with a more realistic graphics and visual effects. Lighting or illumination, reflections, refraction and shadows are accurate and will look realistic; similar to how they would act naturally in real world. However, ray tracing is computationally-intensive and rendering just a single frame would literally take hours or even days or weeks for a scene to be finished.
This is actually where the new RTX GPUs come in; they are basically a specialized hardware designed to run games (with ray tracing features) at a playable frame rate. Unfortunately, games that will feature real-time ray tracing are not yet released at this time. Battlefield V, one of the games that should have this feature, is moved to November 20. Shadow of the Tomb Raider will also feature real-time ray tracing but the game developers has yet to release the patch for that feature. So it’s going to be “RTX Off” and “DLSS disabled” for this performance review. We will publish a new review when RTX and DLSS-featured games are out or patched. For now, if you want to see how real-time ray tracing works in games, head over to our article here: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Graphics Card Unleashed.
Another key feature of the RTX GPU is Deep Learning Super Sampling or DLSS. This feature basically uses the Tensor Cores to improve the performance of the game, not only in terms of visual fidelity, but in actual frames per second as well. DLSS works by leveraging deep neural network to extract multidimensional features of the rendered scene and intelligently combine details from multiple frames to construct a high-quality final image. This allows Turing GPUs to use half the samples for rendering and use AI to fill in information to create the final image. The result is basically a clear and crisp image with similar quality compared to the commonly used TAA or Temporal Anti-Aliasing, but with higher performance. Unlike real-time ray tracing, DLSS is easier to integrate for game developers. So expect more games to feature DLSS than real-time ray tracing or expect that DLSS will be implemented sooner than real-time ray tracing. Unfortunately for previous gen. graphics cards, DLSS is an exclusive feature of the new RTX 20 series graphics cards and it’s also one key advantage over the previous generations.
Aside from the features mentioned above, the new GeForce RTX 20 series graphics cards also features the following:
- New NGX Neural Graphics Framework integrates AI into the overall graphics pipeline, enabling AI algorithms to perform amazing image enhancement and generation.
- New Turing Shader Architecture with Variable Rate Shading allows shaders to focus processing power on areas of rich detail, boosting overall performance.
- New memory system featuring ultra-fast GDDR6 with over 600GB/s of memory bandwidth for high-speed, high-resolution gaming.
- NVIDIA NVLink, a high-speed interconnect that provides higher bandwidth (up to 100 GB/s) and improved scalability for multi-GPU configurations (SLI).
- Hardware support for USB Type-C and VirtualLink, a new open industry standard being developed to meet the power, display and bandwidth demands of next-generation VR headsets through a single USB-C™ connector.
- New and enhanced technologies to improve performance of VR applications, including Variable Rate Shading, Multi-View Rendering and VRWorks Audio.
I’m not going to dive deeper into the Turing architecture in this review since that’s a whole new topic. In this review, we’ll focus more on the performance that the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition has to offer and I’m sure that’s what many of you are most interested about. If ever you are interested to learn more about NVIDIA’s Turing architecture, you can read more about it here: NVIDIA Turing Architecture In-Depth
Above you see the graphical illustration of the GeForce RTX 2080’s GPU Chip. It’s an NVIDIA TU104 with 2 SM disabled. The RTX 2080’s GPU is not a cut down version of the GPU that is powering the RTX 2080 Ti. The RTX 2080 Ti is already a cut down version of the TU102, found on thr Quadro RTX 8000 and RTX 6000. So both RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 are not using a full TU102 and TU104 GPU chip. The GeForce RTX 2080 features 2944 CUDA cores, 46 RT cores, 368 Tensor Cores and has a boost clock speed of 1710 MHz. However, the new Founders Edition comes with a higher (factory overclock) boost clock speed of 1800 MHz. That’s 90Mhz higher compared to the reference RTX 2080.
The RTX 2080’s GPU is paired with the 8GB of GDDR6 memory running at 14 Gbps. It’s 3GB less compared to the RTX 2080 Ti and it only runs on a 256-bit memory interface, resulting on a peak memory bandwidth of 448 GB/s. The new GeForce RTX 20 series graphics cards also features the new GPU Boost 4.0 with NVIDIA Scanner for easy overclocking. With GPU Boost 4.0 users are able to manually adjust the algorithms that GPU Boost uses to dial in the clock. For those who are less adventurous and doesn’t have the time to tweak; NVIDIA Scanner is your “one-click” solution. It basically tests the GPU and looks for the most stable and optimal overclock for the graphics card.
Below is a specifications table of the RTX 2080 (Ti) graphics card compared with their respective GTX predecessors. Let’s take a closer look and explore the new features of NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition graphics card.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 Series Graphics Card Specifications
|Specifications||RTX 2080 Ti||RTX 2080||GTX 1080 Ti||GTX 1080|
|Architecture||Turing - TU102||Turing - TU104||Pascal - GP102||Pascal - GP104|
|Process||12nm FNN||12nm FNN||16nm||16nm|
|Giga Rays||10 GR/s||8 GR/s||1.1 GR/s||0.877 GR/s|
|RTX OPS||78 Trillion||60 Trillion||11.3 Trillion||8.9 Trillion|
|Compute||14 TFLOPS||10.1 TFLOPS||11.3 TFLOPS||8.8 TFLOPS|
|Base Clock||1350 MHz||1515 MHz||1480 MHz||1607 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1635 MHz (OC) FE|
1545 MHz (Reference)
|1800 MHz (OC) FE|
1710 MHz (Reference)
|1582 MHz||1733 MHz|
|Memory Clock||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||5505 MHz||5005 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||616 GB/s||448 GB/s||484 Gb/s||320 GB/s|
|Max. GPU Temp||89||88||91||94|
|Power Connectors||8+8 pin||6+8 pin||6+8 pin||8 pin|
|Graphics Card Power (TDP)||260W FE |
|Price (At Launch)||$1,199 FE|
GeForce RTX 2080 latest pricing and availability:
For US: Available at Amazon.com here
For Canada: available at Amazon CA here
For UK: available at Amazon UK here
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition Packaging and Closer Look
NVIDIA uses the same packaging concept as with their previous Founders Edition graphics cards. The box is compact overall and you get that black and green color scheme. The previous GTX 10 series has a “rasterized” box art; this time it’s more of an industrial look. You can see the big GeForce RTX logo in the front and a small 2080 at the bottom.
Sliding up the top cover reveals the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition sitting nicely on the lower portion of the box, wrap with a plastic covering. The box includes a DVI to HDMI adapter, since NVIDIA has removed and replaced the DVI port on the RTX 20 series cards with a USB Type-C VirtualLink connection for VR headsets. There’s also a quick start guide and a support guide.
NVIDIA has completely redesigned the Founders Edition for their RTX 20 series graphics cards. The blower cooler design is gone and it is replaced by a dual fan cooler. Majority of the materials on the cooler shroud is metal and oh man this card really feels rock-solid and premium! It’s heavy and the metal shroud wraps around the graphics card, giving it a “more cohesive look”. Both the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti shares the same design. Only their respective name and the power connectors are what distinguish them from one another.
According to NVIDIA, the new GeForce RTX Founders Edition graphics cards have been tailored for gamers who demand the most from their graphics card. With the new cooling solution and factory overclock settings, looks like the Founders Edition will compete with custom designed RTX 20 series graphics cards from AIB partners.
On the rear output ports, you can see the usual suspects but without the DVI port. The DVI port is replaced with a USB Type-C VirtualLink connector for next-gen VR headsets. This eliminates the need to connect several cables from the VR headset to the graphics cards. There are three DisplayPort 1.4a (with DSC 1.2) that are capable of driving up to 8K resolution at 60Hz from a single cable. The single HDMI port is version 2.0b with HDCP 2.2 support.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition draws power from a 6-pin+8-pin PCIe power connector. I find it a bit annoying that one column on the 6-pin power connector is blocked. This leaves the two-pin connector on the (6+2 pin PSU cable) sticking out. Anyway, moving on, it is recommended to power the graphics card with a 650W PSU, as it draws around 225W. I would strongly recommend that you use a high quality, 80 Plus certified PSU for the RTX 20 series graphics card.
NVIDIA is now using the new NVLink connector (for SLI) on the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards. The NVLink connector is covered with a matching cover that did a good job at “hiding” it discretely. Only the TU102 and TU104 (or RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080) will support NVLink or SLI for gaming. With the GTX 10 series, SLI was still supported up to GTX 1070; but the upcoming RTX 2070 will no longer support SLI as it doesn’t have any NVLink connector.
Additionally, NVIDIA’s NVLink is a high-speed interconnect that provides dependable, high bandwidth and low latency connectivity between pairs of Turing GPUs. With up to 100GB/sec of bidirectional bandwidth, NVLINK makes it possible for customized many workloads to efficiently split across two GPUs and share memory capacity. For gaming workloads, NVLINK’s increased bandwidth and dedicated inter-GPU channel enables new possibilities for SLI, such as new modes or higher resolution display configurations.
The two fans on the new cooler is a 13-blade axial fans built with a three-phase motor. The fans are silent and inaudible (up to a certain point); and the 13-blade design helps to push more air without the need to spin faster. The fins on the full-length vapor chamber on the RTX 20 series Founders Edition cards are position vertically. This means that air is blown sides ways (toward and outward the motherboard). Hot air is no longer exhausted at the back or through the output ports of the graphics cards. You will need to consider this if you plan to install this card on a small casing or a system with limited air flow.
NVIDIA also made some serious improvements on the power subsystem of the graphics card. It’s built with an all-new 8-phase iMON DrMOS power supply. In comparison, the RTX 2080 Ti is built with a 13-phase due to the larger TU102 GPU chip. The power supply features a new dynamic power management system that is capable of sub-millisecond current monitoring and control, which allows the power supply to more tightly control the flow of power into the GPU. As a result there is more power headroom for overclocking. There’s also a 2-phase power supply on the RTX 2080 for the GDDR6 memory, whereas the RTX 2080 Ti gets 3-phase power system for the memory.
I haven’t dismantled my GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition yet, but above you can see how the RTX 2080 PCB looks like underneath the cooler shroud. It’s somewhat different compared to the RTX 2080 Ti’s PCB; it has noticeably fewer components compared to the RTX 2080 Ti. Thanks to the new cooler design, all the memory and VRMs on the RTX 2080 are passively cooled as well.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition – Test Setup
In testing and benchmarking the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition, our test system is powered by an 8th Gen. Intel Core i7-8700K, overclocked to 5GHz. The CPU is installed on a Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5 motherboard. Below are the rest of the system specifications:
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64bit
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 5
Processor: Intel Core i7-8700K
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake Pacific RL360 LCS with Pacific W4 RGB CPU Block.
Memory: Crucial’s Ballistix Sport AT DDR4-3000 32GB
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition
Storage Drives: Kingston KC1000 NVMe SSD 480GB OS
Power Supply: Seasonic 850W Prime Titanium
Chassis: Thermaltake Core P5
When I tested the graphics cards, I was using the GeForce driver version 411.51 for Windows 10 64bit. All games are tested in three resolutions, namely: 1920×1080 or full HD, 2560×1440 or WQHD and 3840×2160 or 4K ultra HD. For the synthetic benchmarks, I used the benchmark tools from 3DMark and Unigine 2. I also used the following games to test the graphics card: Battlefield 1, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Final Fantasy XV, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, Mass Effect: Andromeda, Middle Earth Shadow of War, Monster Hunter World, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Star Wars Battlefront II and The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt.
Below are GPUz and GPGPU screenshots of the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition – Noise and Temperature
The previous blower type Founders Edition cards are quite notorious for their noise, specially when the fan is cranked up. Blower type cooler tends to get more audible and loud compared to custom designed coolers (that has two or three fans). With the new cooler design on the GeForce RTX 20 series Founders Edition graphics cards I expect that somehow the temperature would improve and keep the noise level to silent or inaudible at all. I don’t have an accurate sound meter, but my ears are just 2 to 3 feet away from my open test system. And the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition is inaudible at light to medium load, and depending on the fan speed.
To be specific, below 50% of fan speed the card is inaudible; it starts to get audible at 50% above. At 60% the card starts to get noticeable audible, remember I am using a Thermaltake Core P5 case which is very open. For closed case system, you may or may not hear the fans starting to speed up. But at 70% it starts to become noisy but not obnoxiously loud. The fans, combined with the gushing of air, becomes loud at around 80%. Finally, 90% and above, the card sounds like a small drone hovering.
As for temperature, the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition’s new cooler design is doing a great job at keeping the temperatures low; similar to what you expect from a custom cooler design. During light to medium workload and normal desktop operation, the temperature just hovers around 40° Celsius. Fans do not stop though, but they are running at around 40% fan speed, which I believe is the minimum speed when in default. This is the same idle to medium load temperature I got with the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition. Note that, I was just browsing the internet, editing photos and playing some videos at this time. Haven’t fired up any games yet, as that will definitely increase the GPU load.
Once I fired up FurMark GPU stress test at 1440p, GPU load shot up to 100% and the fans went up to 55% or around 2000+ RPM. Temperature could get as high as 77° Celsius; but that’s a few degrees cooler compared to the RTX 2080 Ti. I’m not surprised if the RTX 2080 runs cooler, in fact I expect it to be cooler compared to the RTX 2080 Ti since it has fewer cores and lesser power.
Note that the heat coming from the graphics card is blown sideways. Meaning towards the motherboard and towards the side (of the case) or away from the motherboard. Heat is not exhausted through the rear output ports due to the design and positioning of the vapor chamber / aluminum fin stack. It’s time to see what kind of scores and fps we get from the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition – Synthetic Benchmarks
I tested the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition with some synthetic benchmarks first; to see how it stood against the previous flagship GTX 10 series and AMD’s flagship graphics card. The synthetic benchmarks include 3DMark Fire Strike, 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme, 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra, 3DMark Time Spy and 3DMark Time Spy Extreme. I’ve also included Unigine 2’s Superposition benchmark, which is a very demanding benchmark test; at 1080p, 1440p and 2160p or 4K UHD resolution. Below are the scores that I got with the RTX 2080 Founders Edition:
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition is definitely faster than the GTX 1080, the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini to be exact. We see around 23% increase on the DX11 Fire Strike, Extreme and Ultra tests; and a huge 47% to 50% increase on the DX12 Time Spy, Time Spy Extreme tests.
The scores only gets better with Unigine 2 Superposition as the RTX 2080 is 69% to 92% faster than the GTX 1080. However, it looks like it’s having a hard time competing with the Zotac GTX 1080 Ti AMP on the Fire Strike tests. Although it’s a tad faster than the GTX 1080 Ti on the Superposition tests.
Battlefield 1 Benchmarks
Like I said earlier, we can’t test real-time ray tracing games yet since they are not available at this time. One good example is Battlefield V; this game will feature real-time ray tracing but it’s move to a November 20 release. For now, I tested the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition in Battlefield 1 at ultra settings in three different resolutions: 1080p, 1440p and 2160p. Below are the results I got:
In Battlefield 1, I got around 29%-33% performance increase from the GTX 1080 Mini. It’s a good performance increase from its predecessor; however looks like the RTX 2080 is neck and neck with the GTX 1080 Ti. Let’s investigate further and check out more games on the succeeding pages.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Benchmarks
In Deus Ex Mankind Divided, I used the in-game benchmarking tool to test the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition. This game can get pretty demanding specially if you set the graphics settings to ultra. Below are the results I got for 1080p, 1440p and 2160p:
In Deus Ex Mankind Divided, I am getting around 34% to 38% increase with the RTX 2080 Founders Edition from the GTX 1080 Mini. Also note that the performance increase increases as the resolution goes higher. The RTX 2080 got around 34% increase from GTX 1080 on the 1080p resolution; while it’s around 38% increase on 2160p resolution. This is a performance increase pattern we observed with the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition card.
Final Fantasy XV Benchmarks
For the Final Fantasy XV benchmark, I also used the in-game benchmarking tool when testing the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition. This is not the canned-benchmark provided by NVIDIA, instead this is one that is available for public via FFXV’s site. We’ll test the DLSS capability and show you the result later when that feature becomes available.
The results below are calculated scores and not in frames per second. Below is a table from FFXV’s site showing what these scores indicate for the gameplay.
Final Fantasy XV is one of the games that will feature DLSS, but today we are testing the RTX 2080 without DLSS since that patch isn’t rolled out yet. We see a 27% to 33% performance increase from GTX 1080 to RTX 2080; but looks like the RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti is neck and neck again. Hopefully, we will see the performance gap to get wider between the RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti once DLSS feature is implemented.
Ghost Recon Wildlands Benchmarks
Ghost Recon Wildlands is another graphics intensive game, especially when set to ultra graphics settings. It’s like turning “RTX-ON”, except that there’s no real-time ray tracing. You’ll need at least a GeForce GTX 1080 to get an average of 60 fps on ultra settings at 1080p resolution. Let’s see how the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition performs on this game:
The GeForce RTX 2080 is very much capable of driving this game at 60fps on 1080p and 1440p; but still not there yet when it comes to 2160p resolution. The performance increase from the GTX 1080 to RTX 2080 is just around 21% to 27% with this game. However, looks like the RTX 2080 is (surprisingly) equal with the GTX 1080 Ti in this game.
Mass Effect Andromeda Benchmarks
Mass Effect Andromeda is a game where I see a huge variance in the game’s performance. The gap between the minimum frame rates to average, to high is just wide; definitely wider compared to other games I have tested. Below are the results I got with the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition in this game:
The GeForce RTX 2080 has no problems driving this game even at 4K UHD resolution; although the minimum and average is somewhat below 60 fps already at 4K. Meanwhile, the performance increase from the GTX 1080 to RTX 2080 is around 38% to 41%; that’s a good performance increase. But again, we see the RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti neck and neck. Feels like the RTX 2080 is GTX 1080 Ti but without the ray tracing and DLSS features.
Middle Earth Shadow of War Benchmarks
For those who loves to slaughter and decapitate orcs, you’ll be happy to see that the GeForce RTX 2080 is capable of driving this game well even at 1440p resolution. Although, you may want to tone down just a bit on 2160p if you want to maintain above 60fps on this resolution. I’m also using the in-game benchmark tool to test the graphics card and below are the results I got:
Again, we see a pattern where the GeForce RTX 2080 gets a huge performance increase at 4K UHD from the GTX 1080. I’m getting around 33% increase on 1080p, 43% increase on 1440p and a huge 47% increase on 2160p – from GTX 1080 to RTX 2080. This time, the RTX 2080 is a bit faster than the GTX 1080 Ti AMP.
Monster Hunter World Benchmarks
One of my favorite game this year – Monster Hunter World; it’s not the most visually eye-pleasing game released, but the graphics is pretty decent and the game is fun to play overall. I do hope Capcom would release an HD / Hi-Res texture pack for this game though. Also, Monster Hunter World doesn’t have an in-game benchmark tool. But I am using one of the game’s cutscene, “Asteria”, to benchmark the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition. Below are the results I got with this graphics card in MHW:
The GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition is capable of driving Monster Hunter World above 60fps average on 1080p and 1440p. But it struggles to drive this game on 4K UHD; well even the RTX 2080 Ti barely gets close to 60fps. I hope DLSS will be enabled in this game as well.
Good news is, I see a huge 37% to 41% performance increase from the GTX 1080 to the RTX 2080. However, it looks like the RTX 2080 is just a few hair lines faster than the GTX 1080 Ti AMP; just like what we see on the previous tests.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Benchmarks
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a new game released just recently. It’s also one of the games that will feature both real-time ray tracing and DLSS. Although, at the time I tested and benchmarked the game, both features are not available yet. I will test this game again when real-time ray tracing and DLSS is rolled out. Also, note that I am using the in-game benchmark tool to benchmark Shadow of the Tomb Raider. For now, below are the results I got with the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition:
This game is visually pleasing already even without the real-time ray tracing features. How much more once real-time ray tracing is rolled out. However, it’s also a bit graphics intensive. Even the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti barely achieves 60 fps average at 2160p. I’m pretty sure this would improve once the DLSS feature is rolled out.
When it comes to performance increase from the GTX 1080 (Mini) to the RTX 2080 Founders Edition; at 1080p I’m getting around 19% increase, at 1440p it’s around 27%, but at 2160p it’s a huge 41% increase.
Star Wars Battlefront II Benchmarks
Still playing Star Wars Battlefront II? This game is visually pleasing but it’s not hard to drive compared to the other games I tested. Below are the results for Star Wars Battlefront II with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition graphics card:
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition has no problems driving this game from even at 2160p 4K UHD with ultra settings. Performance increase from the GTX 1080 isn’t that huge compared to the other games, but it’s still around 22% to 32%. Again, we also see that the GTX 1080 Ti AMP is on par with the RTX 2080 Founders Edition; with the RTX 2080 having just a few fps advantage.
The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Benchmarks
Last but not the least, I tested the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition with (also) one of my favorite games – The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. This game is both visually pleasing and impressive at the same time quite demanding as well. Below are the results I got with the RTX 2080 Founders Edition card:
Looks like the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition is capable of driving this game from 1080p to 2160p. I’m getting around 59 fps on average at 4K UHD resolution, with a minimum of around 50 fps. That’s not bad at all! When comparing the GTX 1080 (Amp) to the RTX 2080, I see a huge 38% to 42% performance increase. The RTX 2080 also beats the GTX 1080 Ti AMP but by only a small margin.
GeForce RTX 2080 Pricing and Availability
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition is now available to order from NVIDIA’s site. The Founders Edition has an MSRP of $799 and comes with a 3-year standard warranty. Non-Founders Edition or reference cards from AIB partners are said to be priced starting at $699. But since most of the partner cards feature custom cooler design, expect prices to be similar or even higher than the Founders Edition. You can check out the latest pricing and availability of the GeForce RTX 2080 graphics cards below.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition Review: Conclusion
There you have it, now that we have reviewed both the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, we have a better picture about their respective performance and their current standing. I’m sure many of you were quite disappointed when NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang didn’t present any performance numbers comparing the new RTX 20 series graphics card with the previous GTX 10 series graphics card. Instead, Jensen focused more on the features that these new cards would bring. Features like real-time ray tracing, AI, Deep Learning Super-Sampling, and many more. These are new features that are not available and will not be available on any current competing graphics card in the market and even on NVIDIA’s previous generation graphics cards.
While I don’t think there is anything wrong with his presentation, and I think he should focus on the new features because NVIDIA is bringing something really new on the table and not just more performance or more frames per second. I’m all for visual improvement and I hope that one day we will be able to play games with visual effects and graphics fidelity similar to what we see on a game’s cutscene movie (think Blizzard’s Diablo or StarCraft’s or Final Fantasy cutscenes).
Real time ray tracing is just a small step, but it is forward thinking. I think this (Turing and all its features) has to happen, otherwise we would be stuck playing games with old visual tricks to fool our eyes. While real-time ray tracing is not as easy to implement and still a very much new feature, DLSS is the killer feature on new RTX graphics card, thanks to the Tensor Cores. This is much easier to implement for game developers compared to real-time ray tracing; and it would bring the performance of these new RTX graphics cards to the next level.
It’s just unfortunate and disappointing to see that there are no real-time ray tracing and/or DLSS enabled games available at the time these new RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 are released. But we will test and review the performance of these graphics cards again once real-time ray tracing and DLSS features are rolled out.
In terms of looks and aesthetics of the RTX 2080 Founders Edition, I like the almost all-metal cooler shroud that wraps around the entire PCB. The cooling performance the new full-length vapor chamber combined with two 13-blade axial fans is quite impressive as well. It’s definitely more silent and more effective compared to the previous blower type design; resulting in a more stable and higher sustained boost clock speeds. Speaking of boost clock speeds, NVIDIA also introduced GPU Boost 4.0, giving users more control when it comes to overclocking these new RTX graphics cards. We’ll post a separate article or guide for overclocking these new cards.
As for the performance, in my tests, I see around 20%+ up to 40%+ increase in gaming performance when the RTX 2080 Founders Edition is compared to a GTX 1080 (Zotac Mini variant). That’s actually not bad at all. The Founders Edition comes with a retail price of $800 USD, and I bet most custom cooled RTX 2080 from AIB partners will also be priced at $800 USD despite that $700 is the starting price. You can probably get an RTX 2080 at $700, but it’s going to be a blower type cooler with no bling. The most expensive or higher priced GTX 1080 I could find is around $600 USD, while the cheaper ones are priced at around $500 USD. $500-$600 USD to $700-$800 USD is roughly 33% to 40% increase; that’s also the performance increase you get from a GTX 1080 to an RTX 2080.
The GTX 1080 isn’t the problem here, in fact I would recommend that you get a GTX 1070 Ti and overclock it instead of a GTX 1080, since the GTX 1070 Ti has the better value between the two. The problem here is the GTX 1080 Ti. In my tests, you can see that the GTX 1080 Ti AMP Edition, or probably any factory overclocked GTX 1080 Ti, performs on par with the RTX 2080. Sometimes the RTX 2080 would take a lead but by a very small margin, almost negligible. Current, the most expensive GTX 1080 Ti I could find is the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3, a really good card, and it retails for around $820 to $850, depending on where you buy it. Most GTX 1080 Ti in the market currently starts at $700 USD. Price is also somewhat on par with the RTX 2080 (if you can find an RTX 2080 at MSRP). This leaves potential buyers a wild question, should you get a cheaper GTX 1080 Ti or the brand new RTX 2080? It’s not a very difficult question to answer and it somehow depends on your setup.
The way I look at it, the GTX 1080 Ti is still a very capable graphics card. You can play games from 1080p (high refresh) up to 1440p, and even on 4K provided that you sacrifice some graphics fidelity to achieve an average of 60 fps in 4K. If ever you spot a really good deal on a GTX 1080 Ti and you don’t care on any of those real-time ray tracing features and DLSS, then it might be good for you to get a GTX 1080 Ti instead.
However, the new GeForce RTX 2080 has a feature that isn’t available in the previous GTX 10 series graphics card. Aside from real-time ray tracing, it has DLSS or Deep Learning Super-Sampling. This would push the performance of the RTX 2080 further and expect that the performance difference between an RTX 2080 and GTX 1080 Ti on a DLSS-supported game would widen. If you plan to explore and try some real-time ray tracing-featured games and you plan to take advantage of the new technology such as DLSS, then the clear choice is the RTX 2080 (or RTX 2080 Ti).
Almost forgot to mention, if you have an HDR capable monitor, these new RTX 20 series cards are simply the way to go. There’s very little to no performance hit when using the RTX 2080 / RTX 2080 Ti cards with an HDR monitor. Unlike with the previous GTX 10 series cards, there is a performance hit.
Finally, while the GTX 1080 Ti may look more attractive compared to the RTX 2080; thanks to the almost same performance at a lower price, the GTX 1080 Ti isn’t built with features that the new RTX 2080 has. At some point in the near future, the performance gap between the two would only widen once DLSS is implemented. The RTX 2080 Ti has more raw power compared to the RTX 2080, but the huge $400 price difference (around 50% increase) is what makes the RTX 2080 Ti out of reach for most gamers. This makes the RTX 2080 a “more affordable” option compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, and could be a better option for you if you plan to experience real-time ray tracing and DLSS (very) soon. This review is somewhat incomplete since I wasn’t able to test the two main features of the RTX 20 series graphics card. But I’m more positive that it will only make the RTX 2080 better once they are rolled out.