1 Cool Thing: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founder’s Edition

by birtanpublished on October 4, 2020

hi this is john burick i'm here with chris stobing of pcmag.com um this is one cool thing where we show off the coolest stuff coming through pc labs of course pc labs is virtual these days as you can see we're at home here but we have a very special one cool thing today because we have the geforce rtx 3080 founders edition which is nvidia's new um flagship video card now we'll be seeing different versions of the rtx 3080 over the coming days but chris has um nvidia's version of it there which you'd be happy to show to us

We put it through a whole ringer of tests we put all of our legacy gpus that we have in pc labs through an all new set of tests to coincide with that so we have a lot to say about the rtx 3080 so let's get started chris um first impressions of the hardware that you have there in your hands uh yeah so this is uh the new founders edition card like you mentioned uh this is uh made by nvidia with i think they generally partner with evga

On the actual production of this card are these series of cards we've seen the founders edition before uh in both the 10 series and the 20 series um and yeah it's uh it's a beautiful card it's really well made uh feels extremely solid in the hand it doesn't feel like it's gonna fall apart the second you put it in your pc um and it's just got this very sort of sleek cool sort of industrial design that i think you know i think graphics cards in general or components in general have

Been lacking for a long time i really really love the design of this thing and it looks even better once you turn it on because unlike some uh you know maybe third-party manufacturer cards that go you know as rgb as you can possibly go this one's very minimal it's just got a white led strip that actually lines the front fan right here and then the uh the logo will light up when you turn it on and um yeah it looks really really good with it with it on or off to be to be honest so uh yeah what else did

They change there chris um yeah so if you take a look you can actually see that there are two fans on this card and two fans is pretty normal uh from you know anywhere from lower lower end cards to real high-end cards as well um sometimes i'll go triple fan i don't think we've seen any quad fans before but um the one major difference that you'll notice is actually it only looks like there's one fan on each side when you really got two and you look at it this way and all of a sudden

You've got two fans and the reason for that is because this is an entirely new cooling design that is exclusively um nvidia's sort of brainchild and what they've done here is they've actually created a cooler where uh instead of air just being pulled uh into the car and then passed into the back plate uh there's actually a a dual air flow so you have air that comes in over this part of the of the um the heat sink and over this part and it's pulling from different parts of the case at the same time right so i guess in

Both cases pulling from underneath the card and then out the top or out the back is that the idea exactly so this fan is actually responsible for getting air in getting cool air in and pushing it out the back plate and this one is responsible for getting it from the front of the case so generally uh you know users will have anyone who buys this card will have fans that are at the front of your case and they're pumping cool air in this fan excuse me this fan captures that cool air

Passes it straight over what is effectively a giant uh heatsink there is no pcb under this part of the car it is just heatsink this whole thing or half of this thing is just heatsink the rest is the pcb that's sitting on this side so it blows out the top and uh presumably out the back using exhaust bands that are already in the case i guess is the idea exactly exactly and some people are a little bit concerned because uh if you look at even in videos on materials where they say oh this is the

Air pattern that we want for your card uh you know the key and i will sort of notice well hey isn't that where the cpu is so um you know nvidia has responded to this by saying that you know they're not too worried about people who are buying this level of carb with still having uh air cooled setups which is it could affect that a little bit of the hot air going over the cpu cooler could have a problem um but most nvidia says most of their customers who are at this level are already on liquid cooling in which case

The radiator is located in a different part of the case and that shouldn't be a conflict of uh sort of heat exhaust as it were right makes sense so apart from the cooling stuff there's a lot of changes to the specs this time around with this generation of cars so first of all i mean the big one is the architecture um this one's based on uh what nvidia is called ampere architecture which is um built on a eight nanometer process as opposed to the 14 nanometer process that the earlier cards were built on

Um lots of other changes in here though right i mean new type of video memory you've got gddr6x in here and there's 10 gigs of it which is kind of the unusual increment right chris um yeah but it's ger 6x and so we're sort of in this new paradigm of performance that i don't think skews one-to-one with gddr6 like it's it's just a bit of a different a bit of a different scale now i guess or spectrum to compare on there's much higher memory bandwidth going on here correct

And uh much higher much higher yes so and i mean tying into that like looking at the card there'll be other card designs i don't know necessarily if you all one-to-one match to this but in terms of the ports on it you've got your typical three display ports um you don't have a virtual link port which seems to have gone away from last generation right and then you've got an hdmi 2.1 uh port on there as well right what's the import of that uh yeah so uh well so first the the

Import of uh losing virtual link i mean that was um something that nvidia was trying to get off the ground for a little while um and it just never really saw widespread adoption i mean you know nvidia was one side of it putting virtual link on the car but what they needed was you know virtual developer or virtual reality headset developers to follow suit um the valve index didn't have it the new oculus quest ii doesn't have it um uh the the new

Rif2 doesn't have it i mean basically there are no major there's some business html hmds that do work with it but it was just no one really grabbed it no one really wanted to use it so it never took off um and so i think that's why nvidia was happy to cut it um valve index was actually valve was going to make an adapter for the valve index so it could plug into virtual link and then they scrapped that so they weren't more willing to make an adapter for it let alone a whole headset

So some cards had some parts didn't even in the last generation touring parts exactly yeah so i mean it just never really had that hit that adoption rate that i think nvidia really was saying okay you know must have feature for the next card and like we said before this is a 50 shrunk pcb i'm sure that every inch of space was a lot more valuable than it was the last time around good point yeah so but they did include the hdmi 2.1 port what's the

Significance of that they did so hdmi 2.1 we've been waiting a long time for it it's been promised to us a million different times and now this is finally kind of hitting the mainstream actually just yesterday was our first hdmi 2.1 monitor was announced previously you needed to use uh displaypoint 1.4b to get anything like a higher refresh rate on 4k than 60 hertz um sometimes you need to use two of those just to get that uh so hdmi 2.1 just ups the bandwidth for

Everything it can handle um uh 8k or it's uh for excuse me 4k at 120 fps which is what the new consoles are going to be and what many of the new tvs are going to handle um and then it will do 8k 60fps uh where previously hdmi 2.0 would only do 8k 30fps so it's just everything is faster and it's more attuned and helpful for high refresh displays and tvs right so this kind of reminds me the early days of 4k when for 4k gaming was first a thing and 4k uh monitors person thing the early

Ones were using dual um video links you know from the video card oftentimes to be able to handle the bandwidth so this is basically just getting you prepared for the next generation which presumably will be 8k and how soon do we think that will be we'll start seeing mainstream 8k monitors will that be this year next year uh main school mainstream stream 8k 8k is still mainstream aka anything is still i think probably a ways off but uh nvidia was kind of excited to show off that not the 3080

Not the rtx 3080 we have no idea what that can do with uh aka but they said uh they showed off their own numbers with the rtx 3090 um and they said that they've been able to achieve uh 8k 60fps on quite a few um esports titles like apex legends and rocket league will already natively run at max settings uh with the 3090 at 60fps or above and then aaa games that have a lot of ray tracing and you know crazy effects like control uh will also go to 8k

If you turn on dlss and i think that's the key point that they wanted to make is that you know you could you could do this without dlss but this is what you know you're going to get with dlss so that's a that's a big big thing for them the big thing there will be whether dlls feels like more than a handful of games right and if it does you know with the future version then then your business right so um exactly we talked about that in our previous video you know they were well if you want to learn more about dlss 3.0 check out our other video we go

Pretty in-depth on it okay fair enough um so in terms of other features on the card there there is actually one other oddball i can say oddball but unique thing on it if you want to show off the top of the card there the connector for the power supply is changed right so typically your video card uh psu is going to assume your video card psu connector is going to be an eight pin a six pin or some combination thereof uh but here we've got one 12 pin connector um how does that work so the 12 pin connector is another

Evolution of this sort of new die or not die shrink but a pcb shrink style that nvidia has gone for with this card which is that when the card is that much smaller you need the component or anything that plugs into the components to also match that smallness and so you'll notice it's a 12 pin and it has more pins but this 112 pin looks smaller to me physically than i would say even you know a six pin on another card uh might be and it's just because it's got two it's so what you have you get an

Adapter that plugs in two eight pins turns them into a 12 pin and then sends it to the card so you plug two eight pin ordinary psu connectors into it and then that goes into the card okay exactly and you get an adapter with every card that you don't have to go out and buy a special thing or it's extra or anything like that it comes with the card so no worries there what about the power consumption on this i mean we're looking at a uh a recommended um power supply wattage of what for the

Founder's edition card so it's it's 320 watts which is quite a bit more than the 2080 super 2080 founders edition which were both 200 uh 220 watts for the founders and 250 watts for the super um so yeah it's a it's a bit of a bump but not as much as we were maybe expecting especially for the amount of power that you get out of this thing it kind of makes sense right it doesn't make sense that if you're in the market for this kind of card you probably already have a high

Wattage power supply to start with where you can swap the card in hopefully you didn't buy one on the edge like a 650 or a 700 um i've been guilty of that um and you may need to upgrade if you're on the edge especially third party card has you know greater power consumption requirements so okay so uh yeah that'll be um interesting to see if that 12-pin connector is implemented across all the third-party cards or if this is just a foundry's edition thing and um a thing in cards that are based on

The founders edition like reference based um versions of the rtx 3080 so we'll be seeing as we get more cards in like how it's implemented because from what i've seen of some other cards they don't necessarily use like the top and bottom fan paradigm some of them do you know all fans on one side like a conventional uh video card design so cool so yeah so i mean the most important thing about this card of course though is kind of a crisis right or can it run any other x game that you um want to put in its place

So um we did a heck of a lot of testing on this um we retested the entire sort of slate of touring cards of amd's uh recent navi cards the previous generation of vega cards and some key pascal cards from nvidia um with uh i think it was about 16 to 17 games many of which we haven't used before so let's get into the um sort of the nitty gritty of that um we would classify the tests we did into four categories synthetic tests uh aaa

Tests multiplayer game tests and legacy tests we did a handful of sort of older aaa games just to see how the card runs with some of those so um let's bring up some of that on screen here and uh chris would you like to um sort of talk us through the general um sort of broad takeaways from the multi the multiplayer and the triple a tests um yeah sure so in our multiplayer testing and in our aaa testing um the rtx 3080 was a full-on blowout i mean there wasn't any

20 series card uh from nvidia or for that matter any card from from amd that could even come close to the performance of the rtx 3080. um right out of the gate it's clear that we're doing we're definitely dealing with the newer architecture we're definitely doing dealing with a new chipset and a new design um and everything that they're doing is just getting more and more power out of what looks to be a lot less space if you again take that pcb into account

Um so um you know what what what we saw in general was that you know it's a it's a great card for 4k gaming now the gains that we saw in 4k gaming both in in multiplayer and in aaa games um were substantial i mean we saw anywhere from 20 kind of on the low end to up to 35 even 40 in some cases improvement over the 2080 ti so we're saying now saying 699 card or 69.99 card is now upwards of anywhere between 20 to 30

Faster in 4k than what was a 1200 card right before this launch so that's a huge deal i mean it's a lot it's a lot more performance for a lot less money which was what i think nvidia was going for let's emphasize it again you said 2080 ti not 2080 right correct correct and and nvidia you know was also clear on that point in their marketing materials that they said you know you want to think about the the 3080 uh as faster than the 2080 ti whereas if you want to think about the

3090 uh it's 228 it's more powerful than two 2080s so they have a sort of a strange distinction but regardless they said in their all the marketing materials that said the 3080 is faster than a 2080 ti and they came and they proved that so that is pretty impressive so um yeah we'll flip through some more of these here but we have a um you know a whole heap of testing on the you know the full review at pcmag.com which chris is diligently put together for us

You can look through um many many different um high-end aaa games there and uh as well as you know some older games and some multiplayer titles so in terms of the multiplayer stuff what's you what's your take there i mean we're talking you know in an age of 360 hertz or 300 hertz monitors you know is this relevant for that crowd or what's what's going on there sure so there is one caveat to the rtx 3080 in that most of its performance gains and

The biggest performance gains you're going to see for it are kind of strictly in 4k um it's very dependent on the game you'll see the variants happening in aaa as well as our multiplayer testing but the gap between the 3080 and any previous 20 series cards whether it's a 2080 to 3080 or 2080 ti 3070 even in 1080p and 1440p resolutions that's a much smaller gap and there's a lot of different reasons for that it can come down to the game engine it can come down to how well that

Engine optimizes for either using the cpu or the gpu um and then in the case of 4g 4k gaming when you're talking about triple a games where quality matters and you want the best visuals and that kind of thing this is a really good choice because it's going to do you know all of that just that much better when you're talking about multiplayer gaming you're talking about gaming on settings like high sometimes even medium and you're also talking about games that are so well optimized that an rtx 3080

Is going to blow out your monitor's refresh rate so far that it is kind of overkill if you're only playing counter-strike if you're only playing rainbow six this card is going to be way too much it's just it's not going to get you the gains that you want in 1080 and 1440 which is where you should be playing anyway for a high refresh monitor and it's really just it's too much it's too much power for not enough gain i mean if you're only playing that the

Percentage gains are minimal at best so if for a multiplayer card i mean it can do it don't get me wrong it's it's a heck of a beast and it's super powerful and it's the best of the best but if you want to maybe save some money on your card and put that towards a higher refresh monitor you know that might get you a few more kills than uh you know in rainbow six or counter strike than just a strictly more powerful card which means then you'll either have to buy a previous generation touring

Or navi car or a car generation navi card or you would have to wait for nvidia's next thing which presumably will be the uh rtx 3070 um and we'll have to see how that you know shakes out when we actually get one of those that's a little further out than 3080 is so um yes we do have an awful lot of data here i was just briefly looking at the data for uh multiplayer games and even if 4k you're looking at uh some you know things in the 400 fps range which i don't believe there's a 400 fps 4k

Monitor out there anywhere um not yet but don't tempt them uh you know it's uh we just got our first 360 hertz 1080p so if you want a scale of how far out we are from 400 hertz 4k just think about how long it took us to get to 300 360 hertz 1080 and it sort of gives you an idea right yeah looking at like rainbow six for instance looking at over 400 fps at 1080p so that's kind of if you're on the extreme sort of competitive edge

Of playing some of these games this is where it might become relevant but for the most part something like the 36 30 70 will probably be more your more your speed exactly yeah but anyway we have tons more testing on pcmag.com and i'll review the 3080 founders edition um welcome you to check it out and click through the various graphs and look at the different resolutions for what you own in terms of a monitor and what games you play um there's a just a huge depth of information there um

To see how this car does and again this is only the first of many there will be a lot of third-party cards there are going to be you know a 30 70 to 30 90 coming soon which um yeah i'm sure to be testing and uh yeah this is a heck of an exciting launch with ampere and the rtx 3080 founders edition so um chris any final um wrap up thoughts that you'd like to impart for me before we go um yeah no i mean we've been waiting a long time for this card the rumor mill has been swirling for almost a year

About the word ampere and then everything else that came after it and uh it's delivered i mean it's delivered on every single front that it possibly could have um you know nvidia really kind of held their cars close to the chest on this one but we're glad they did they did because the the end result is just a stack of cards that you know this one does really well we're sure the 3090 is going to do even better and like you said later uh in october

Or at some point in october when the 30-70 comes out uh we could have a really good mid-range car on our hands as well so amd definitely has it's more cut out for it in terms of big navi and next whatever comes after that um to match up with these so we'll be interested to see what their response is as well right now it looks like uh nvidia's had a really high mark to meet they did yeah a lot to live up to yep so cool well thanks for joining us one cool thing again

Check out our full review of the rtx 3080 founders edition on pcmag.com we'll be seeing you again soon as soon as we get some more cards and hit test thanks chris and thank you all for joining us

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