Nvidia RTX 3080 vs. Microsoft Xbox Series X vs. Sony PlayStation 5: A Battle for Gaming Supremacy

The gaming landscape is about to change forever with the arrival of the next generation of gaming consoles and powerful graphics cards. Nvidia recently unveiled its most powerful consumer graphics card to date, the GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, sparking a debate between PC gaming and console gaming. Both Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5, powered by rival AMD’s silicon, are set to dominate the console market.

These products will revolutionize gaming with real-time ray tracing for stunning graphics and high-resolution, high refresh rate capabilities. But the question remains: which one should you choose? Let’s delve into the details to help you decide.

Pricing and Availability

PS5 Console and Remote
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If we consider pricing alone, console gaming offers better value. The flagship Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are expected to launch at $499, while Nvidia priced its flagship GeForce RTX 3080 at $699. Though the $200 difference may not seem significant, it’s important to note that a console comes as a complete system, ready for immediate gaming. On the other hand, PC gaming offers more power, but the $699 price tag only covers the graphics card. To play games, you’ll need to factor in the cost of a CPU, memory, storage, power supply, cooling solutions, a case, and other peripherals. These additional expenses can end up rivaling the price of a used car.

Fortunately, you still have time to decide. The RTX 3080 GPU is launching on September 17, while both consoles are set to arrive before the end of the year. Microsoft recently announced that the Series X will be available on November 10.


In terms of raw performance, the GeForce RTX 3080 stands as the undisputed champion, boasting almost three times the computational power of its closest competitor. Nvidia claims that the RTX 3080 is capable of 29.7 TFLOPs, compared to the 12 TFLOPs on the Xbox Series X and 10.2 TFLOPs on the PlayStation 5.

To achieve this level of performance, Nvidia packed 50% more CUDA cores into the RTX 3080, thanks to its more compact 8nm Ampere microarchitecture. The card also features more ray tracing and Tensor cores, faster GDDR6X memory, and support for RTX I/O to enhance game loading times.

Nvidia claims that the Ampere-powered RTX 3080 offers double the performance of the previous generation, Turing-based RTX 2080. In our tests, we found that the RTX 3080 outperformed the RTX 2080 Ti by 23% in Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and 22% in Battlefield V, both at 4K resolution with the highest game settings. These results indicate that Nvidia’s promises of 4K gaming at 60 fps will become a reality for PC gamers. However, the metrics used by Nvidia to arrive at the 2x performance uplift compared to the previous generation remain unclear.

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Xbox Series X and S
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Comparing the RTX 3080’s performance to that of the custom AMD silicon in the consoles, the Nvidia card boasts nearly four times the shader units of the PlayStation 5. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 come with 3,328 and 2,304 shader units, respectively. It’s important to note that these numbers don’t directly correlate to real-world performance due to differences in microarchitecture design. The RTX 3080 utilizes Nvidia’s Ampere design, while the consoles are based on AMD’s RDNA 2 graphics.

Notable differences between Nvidia’s GPU and the consoles lie in memory. While the RTX 3080 shares the same 10GB of video memory as the Xbox Series X, it utilizes the faster GDDR6X memory standard. In comparison, the consoles rely on GDDR6 non-X memory, with the PlayStation 5 offering 16GB. The RTX 3080 also boasts a wider 320-bit memory bus, providing more memory bandwidth (760 GBps) than the Xbox Series X (560 GBps) and PlayStation 5 (448 GBps).

Another significant distinction is that the RTX 3080 is a discrete graphics solution, designed to be paired with a powerful processor for optimal performance. In contrast, the consoles feature semi-custom silicon built by AMD, integrating the GPU with the processor for better power consumption and efficiency.

However, the RTX 3080 consumes more power than the consoles, with a TDP of 320 watts compared to approximately 200 watts for both the Xbox and PlayStation. Therefore, PC gamers should expect to install a power supply of at least 750 watts to ensure smooth operation.

All three products are expected to deliver substantial performance enhancements compared to their predecessors. Nvidia claims that the RTX 3080 offers twice the performance of the previous generation RTX 2080. Although unconfirmed, reports suggest that the Xbox Series X will offer a similar uplift compared to the Xbox One X. All three competitors – Nvidia, Microsoft, and Sony – incorporate machine learning, DLSS, and ray tracing to enhance graphics and performance in 2020.

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Resolution and Frame Rates

Nvidia RTX 3080 vs. Microsoft Xbox Series X vs. Sony PlayStation 5
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Your preferred gaming experience will also impact your decision between PC and console. PC gamers often prioritize lower resolutions with faster refresh rates, benefiting from technologies like Nvidia’s G-Sync and AMD’s FreeSync for smooth visuals. Nvidia’s promise of 4K gaming at 60 fps with the RTX 3080 will undoubtedly push the boundaries this year.

In our review, testing the RTX 3080 on a test PC equipped with an Intel Core i7-10700 processor, we found that Nvidia’s claims held true. Graphics-intensive titles such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Battlefield V exceeded the 60 fps promise at 4K resolution with the highest game settings. Less demanding titles like Fortnite and Civilization VI achieved significantly higher frame rates at 4K.

On the other hand, console gamers often prefer higher resolutions, up to 4K, with a target frame rate of around 30 fps. With the new generation of consoles, it remains to be seen how Microsoft and Sony will implement technologies like Nvidia’s DLSS for upscaling, especially since both consoles are expected to support HDMI 2.1. Previous demonstrations have showcased DLSS-like technology for both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.

While the RTX 3080 offers improved ray tracing performance, it remains more effective at lower resolutions. In our testing, we discovered that ray tracing at 4K resolution still poses a challenge unless DLSS is enabled. Without testing both consoles, we cannot determine how the Xbox and PlayStation 5 will handle ray tracing and DLSS, especially at higher resolutions.

Both Microsoft and Sony have hinted at the potential for 120 fps, but it’s more likely that they will opt for 4K at 60 fps. Sony has also announced its ambition to support 8K resolution, which aligns with Nvidia’s RTX 3090 graphics card capabilities. However, for mainstream audiences, Sony promises up to 120 fps at 4K resolution.

To achieve smooth and responsive gaming, HDMI 2.1 support is crucial. This specification enables consoles to leverage auto low-latency mode (ALLM) and variable refresh rate (VRR). HDMI 2.1 offers increased bandwidth, up to 48 gigabits per second, which is more than double the previous capacity of HDMI 2.0b. Both Nvidia’s GPU and the consoles are expected to support HDMI 2.1.

ALLM minimizes input latency, resulting in more responsive gaming, particularly beneficial for players of first-person shooters and esports titles. VRR is an adaptive sync technology that brings console gaming closer to the competitive experience of PC gamers using G-Sync or FreeSync. Coupled with quick frame transport and quick media switching, screen latency and ghosting should be minimized. However, taking advantage of these new features requires a television with HDMI 2.1 support.

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Although all three solutions are expected to offer 4K resolution and 60 fps support, the varied implementation may yield different results. To ascertain the true verdict, we will have to wait until all three products are released.


Nvidia RTX 3080 vs. Microsoft Xbox Series X vs. Sony PlayStation 5
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While analyzing technical specifications and performance is crucial, the ultimate gaming experience lies in the games themselves. Fancy features are meaningless if your favorite games aren’t compatible with the platform you choose. That’s why Microsoft and Sony prefer to release exclusive games for their respective platforms. To make an informed decision about the system that suits you best, it’s essential to explore the games available on each platform.

Each system offers its unique streaming service options, along with a range of individual game titles. Microsoft’s Game Pass provides access to a vast library of over one hundred games that you can play on your computer or console. Sony’s Playstation Now lets you enjoy PS2, PS3, and PS4 games using DualShock controllers, either on a current console or PC. PC gamers, with their open configuration, enjoy even more features and connectivity to hardware like AR glasses and VR.

All three platforms offer fast loading times, allowing you to dive into your games swiftly. Technological advancements have significantly reduced loading times. Nvidia’s RTX I/O taps into Microsoft’s DirectStorage on Windows, directly communicating with the server, speeding up the loading process exponentially. Both PlayStation and Xbox, through the Series X Velocity system, are expected to offer this feature.

Choosing between the Nvidia RTX 3080, Microsoft Xbox Series X, and Sony PlayStation 5 is a difficult decision. Consider the price, availability, performance, resolution, frame rates, and game selection before making your choice. Each platform offers unique advantages and delivers an exceptional gaming experience. Regardless of your decision, rest assured that the future of gaming is incredibly bright.

This article is brought to you by OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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