Computing

Nvidia RTX 4080 vs. RTX 3080: Is Ada Lovelace Worth the Upgrade?

Nvidia has officially announced the RTX 4080 at its GeForce Beyond event. While we don’t have all the specifics yet, we have enough information to compare the next-generation Ada Lovelace card to its predecessor, the RTX 3080. In this article, we’ll analyze the pricing, availability, specs, and expected performance of these two graphics cards.

Pricing and Availability

The RTX 4080 series of graphics cards.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The RTX 3080 was launched on September 17, 2020, with a list price of $700. However, it was often sold at a higher price, remaining expensive for nearly two years. Currently, you can find models available for around $750, but as the RTX 40-series becomes more common, we expect these prices to drop.

Meanwhile, the RTX 4080 was unveiled during Nvidia’s special GeForce Beyond broadcast on September 20, 2022. Although a release date hasn’t been confirmed yet, Nvidia states that the cards will be available sometime in November. There are two models available: one with 16GB of memory and another with 12GB. The 16GB model is priced at $1,200, while the 12GB model is slightly cheaper at $900. Keep in mind that these are Nvidia’s prices, and board partner cards may have a higher price tag.

RTX 3080 graphics cards among other GPUs.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It’s worth noting that there is also a second version of the RTX 3080 with 12GB of memory and a slight boost to cores. This variant is slightly more expensive, ranging from around $800 to $900, but Nvidia never set an official list price for this card. Some retailers sell it simply as an RTX 3080, sometimes with a slightly higher markup.

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If you’re considering the price alone, the RTX 3080 seems to be the better option for now, but keep in mind that prices may change once the RTX 4080 is released.

Specs

Specs for the RTX 4080 graphics card
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When it comes to raw specs, the most notable aspect of the two RTX 4080 models is the significant boost in clock speed. The core counts see a slight increase, especially in the 16GB model, but the 800MHz boost stands out, particularly considering the utilization of TSMC’s 5nm node in the RTX 4080.

While the previous Ampere architecture benefited from Samsung’s 8nm manufacturing process, the advancement in manufacturing technology cannot be ignored. TSMC’s 5nm process allows for more power in the same area. So, while the specs may not appear to be a massive upgrade on paper, they should be considered in the context of the new node.

One aspect we can compare is the memory bandwidth. Nvidia continues to use the same GDDR6X, but the bus width has been reduced while the capacity has been increased. This is an interesting move that Nvidia experimented with in the previous generation with the RTX 3060. Although bandwidth is unlikely to be a significant concern for these flagship cards, it’s worth noting for lower-end RTX 40-series offerings.

Contrary to rumors, Nvidia did not increase power demands. In fact, the 12GB RTX 4080 reduces power demands to 285W, which is a decent drop. With power demands generally increasing in recent years, it’s refreshing to see this generation taking a different direction.

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Expected Performance

The MSI Suprim X RTX 3080 installed in a PC.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Nvidia has not shared many details about the performance of the RTX 4080 yet, so we can’t accurately gauge its capabilities. However, Nvidia claims that it is two to four times faster than the RTX 3080 Ti, which itself is around 10% to 15% faster than the RTX 3080. Nevertheless, it is important to approach these numbers with caution since the RTX 4080 introduces new technologies.

One of these technologies is DLSS 3, which improves upon its predecessor by actually predicting new frames. This means that some frames in your game can be completely generated without your GPU rendering a single pixel. Additionally, the RTX 4080 features Shader Execution Reordering (SER), which boosts ray tracing performance by prioritizing ray tracing operations based on available computational power.

The main concern with Nvidia’s performance claims is whether these technologies, SER and DLSS, are factored into them. We expect a significant performance boost over the RTX 3080, but without concrete benchmarks, it’s challenging to make a definitive statement at this point.

Go for the Deal or Performance?

Nvidia RTX 4080 vs. RTX 3080: Is Ada Lovelace worth it?
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

While the RTX 4080 may offer a substantial performance increase over the RTX 3080, it comes at a significant cost. At the very least, you can expect a $200 price difference and potentially up to a $500 increase. Keep in mind that these comparisons are based on current RTX 3080 prices, which are likely to drop further once the RTX 4080 hits the market.

Ultimately, the decision between the two cards hinges on performance, and at this point, we must wait for benchmark results to circulate. If you prioritize value, the RTX 3080 remains an attractive choice.

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Read More: Editors’ Recommendations

  • MSI’s new RTX 4090 might finally convince me to buy one
  • Despite mixed reviews, the RTX 4060 is moving the needle for Nvidia
  • Half-Life 2 is getting Nvidia’s RTX treatment with DLSS 3
  • This absurd PC with 7 RTX 4090s costs an eye-watering $31,600
  • Modders just changed GPU overclocking forever

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