At Gamescom 2018, Nvidia had announced their revolutionary new GPUs, the 20xx series, under the new tag of RTX, which pretty much replaced the previous GTX series. Having already tasted a glimpse of the GPUs’ performance at Gamescom, I was excited to test things out for myself. Well, Nvidia did provide us with a review unit for the RTX 2080, the GPU sitting comfortably between the affordable RTX 2070 and the flagship RTX 2080 Ti. But with a price tag of $799 (Rs. 68,500 in India), is the GPU actually that good, or should you hold on that kidney of yours for a while? Well, let’s find out, as we review the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition:
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition Specs
Before we get started with the actual review of the graphics card, let us get the specs out of the way, shall we? The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition features beastly specs, and on paper, the GPU stands second to none
|TFLOPs (FMA)||60 TFLOPs (8 Giga Rays)|
|Memory Clock||14Gbps GDDR6|
|Memory Bus Width||256-bit|
What’s in the Box
The contents of the package are quite minimal and there is not much to talk about. There is the RTX 2080 Founders Edition itself, a Display Port to DVI Converter, and a couple of booklets that nobody really cares about.
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition
- DisplayPort to DVI Converter
- Quick Start Guide
- Support Guide
Design and Build Quality
Nvidia’s Founders Edition cards have had the same design language for a couple of years now, and quite frankly, I’m pretty impressed. Crafted with premium materials and components, the RTX 2080 is a work of art. The symmetry of the dual-fan setup is amazing, and the RTX branding is subtle, yet powerful.
The biggest change has got to be that dual-fan setup which replaces the single-fan blower system found in previous generations. While it certainly looks a lot better, we will be discussing its impact on the thermal performance later on in this review.
The bottom portion of the GPU consists of the PCI Express x16 pins, while the upper half houses the next-gen 8-phase power supply along with a GeForce GTX SLI HB bridge port.
As for the ports, you get 3x Display Port, an HDMI port, and a Type-C port which can be used for VirtualLink. This is followed by the exhaust for the blower fans.
Last but not the least, there is the GeForce RTX logo on the top of the GPU, which looks damn amazing, especially when it lights up in Nvidia’s signature green color.
All in all, the build quality of the RTX 2080 is top-notch, the way it has always been. The design is where Nvidia has introduced a new change and it looks pretty amazing as well.
Based on Nvidia’s all-new Turing Architecture, the company claims a 6X performance boost than previous generation GPUs. However, this is only in terms of Ray Tracing, a technology not yet available for gamers to try in games as of this writing. Well, I was pretty much interested in checking out the raw performance of the RTX GPUs, and here are my findings.
To test the RTX 2080, I installed it on my test system which comprised of the Intel i7-8700K processor coupled with 32GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM. All benchmarks were run with the OS loaded on a 120GB SSD while the games were loaded on a 2TB 7200RPM HDD.
In all of my tests, I ran the games at 1920×1080 resolution and maxed out graphics quality, running settings labeled as Very High, Ultra, Extreme etc.
As you can see, RTX 2080 handles benchmarks quite well. It blazes past the 3DMark FireStrike Benchmark, which is pretty much the industry standard for DirectX12 Gaming. Even in all other benchmarks, the RTX 2080 manages to beat other GPUs out there quite easily. As for gaming, the GPU oozes past through previous flagships like The Witcher 3 and manages a score of 109 in still the industry standard, that is Metro Redux. In all the other games, the GPU maintains a score above 100FPS, while just falling short of that mark in Hunt Showdown.
Just for reference, in my earlier review of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, the GPU had managed to pull off 122 FPS in the 3DMark FireStrike Benchmark, which is something that the RTX 2080 manages to beat easily. However, it is worth pointing out that both the tests were performed on different test benches. If you are wondering how much of a difference the RTX 2080 brings over 1080 Ti, we will have a detailed article on the same, so stay tuned.
It is no doubt that the GPU would perform very well in 4K resolutions as well, but since that resolution is restricted to 60FPS only, I had decided to perform my reviews on the 1080p display only, to see the maximum performance that the RTX 2080 could shell out. You can check out a detailed benchmark review of the RTX 2080 here.
Ray Tracing and DLSS
The major advantage of the new RTX GPUs is the addition of Ray Tracing. Unfortunately, the feature will not be usable in games until the time Microsoft launches the RS5 update which is said to bring forth the DirectX for Ray Tracing (DTR) support. As for DLSS, the feature is said to work only on 4K systems, and that too requires the aforementioned update from Microsoft. However, Nvidia did provide us with a demo of Epic Games’ Infiltrator, and here’s the basic difference that DLSS provides:
As you can see, the difference is there, but DLSS doesn’t really bring a massive change to the overall experience, especially if you’re not gaming at 4K resolutions. Now, I know, the flagship series is meant for 4K, but there are still plenty of people out there, including me, who value higher frames at 1080p more than 4K, and for them, DLSS won’t make a difference to be very honest.
Ah, the thermals. Truth be told, Nvidia’s GPUs have always been the best, but their thermal management in the Founders Edition cards has been disappointing, as compared to their AIB ports. However, with the new RTX series, Nvidia has let go of their single fan system and has adopted a dual-fan system. As a critic, my favorite part of a review has got to be the section where I am able to highlight all the negativity in a product. And it is in that respect that I hate the RTX 2080, simply because it leaves pretty much nothing to complain about.
According to Nvidia, the RTX 2080 uses a “dual-axial 13-blade fans coupled with a new vapor chamber for ultra-cool and quiet performance.” If you don’t quite understand what that means, just understand that it houses a dual-fan system, and the performance, well, is pretty damn good. When we talk of gaming or benchmarking, or even stress testing, the 60-80 degree Celsius region is said to be the standard. In my testing, the RTX 2080 stayed under 62-degrees after 30 minutes of rigorous stress testing with synthetic benchmarks.
I wanted to test this GPU even more, so I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider, on the most graphics demanding games out there for over 4 hours continuously. And surprisingly, the maximum temperature that I managed was just 77-degrees which is just amazing. Honestly, the RTX 2080 manages to handle heavy loads very well while keeping the temperatures quite low. The best part is that the GPU actually supports overclocking up to 1.8GHz out-of-the-box, and considering how well the thermal management is at the base frequencies, I expect the GPU to keep things cool even at higher frequencies.
Pricing and Availability
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 is priced at $799 in the US. While that does translate to Rs. 58,000 roughly, Nvidia’s official price for the RTX 2080 in India is Rs. 68,500. As such, you will have to shell out a premium of Rs. 10,500 for the same GPU. I mean, it’s not as bad as how Apple prices its devices, but a premium of 10.5K is pretty steep. The GeForce RTX is up for pre-order with shipping estimated at 27th September. However, considering the massive price tag, one must wonder, if the Nvidia RTX 2080 is worth it or not?
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080: Worth It?
At this point of time, many of you must be wondering if the RTX 2080 is worth your money or not? There’s no denying the fact that it’s just a couple of weeks until the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1080 Ti see their prices drop, making them just a little bit more affordable. As such, which GPU should you go for? Well, if you’re someone planning to use the GPU for gaming and want it to be a long-term purchase, the RTX 2080 is the one for you. However, if you’re looking for value for money, the GTX 1080 Ti will practically make more sense, since it offers almost the same performance, at least in 1080p.
The truth is, leaving the factor of Ray Tracing away, the RTX 2080 does not bring a lot more to the table as compared to the GTX 1080 Ti. Despite being a revolutionary change in the gaming world, Ray Tracing is still in its infancy, and it will take at least a year for the technology to be adopted by both developers and gamers alike. As such, if you’re planning to buy a GPU right now, personally I’d pick the GTX 1080 Ti once the prices drop.
Just to make things clear, the RTX 2080 is in no way a bad option, but once you remove the factor of Ray Tracing from it, it does seem overpriced as compared to the GTX 1080 Ti.
- Great Design and Build Quality
- Breathtaking Performance
- Out-of-the-box Overclocking
- Superb Thermal Management
- Will be deemed overpriced until Ray Tracing is properly adopted and implemented
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition Review: Ray Tracing Revolution!
Ray Tracing is amazing. Having experienced it at Gamescom 2018, I know it. Sadly, there’s not much for me to show for it, apart from the same old footages that Nvidia has already pushed out. Which pretty much establishes my point. As a GPU, the RTX 2080 is a fantastic GPU, which does offer better performance than the GTX 1080 Ti and an even better thermal management system which keeps the card cool under the heaviest of loads. However, that’s not the highlight of the GPU. The highlight of it is Ray Tracing, the revolutionary technology that should make the lighting conditions in gaming super-easy. Sadly, it’s still in its infancy, with developers still trying to fully understand how to make the most of it. As such, until and unless developers have rolled out full support for games along with Microsoft supporting the technology, it is best for consumers to wait out purchasing the RTX 2080.