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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Review

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Review

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 03The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the latest flagship graphics card from the current market leader in desktop graphics – and so, understandably, it’s an exciting release. The new Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti marks the consumer debut of the Turing architecture, and it also brings Ray Tracing to consumer graphics for the first time. The Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti we’ve reviewed has an overclock, too, and the new card’s prices start at $1,199 in the US and £1,099 in the UK. Can the latest Nvidia technology prove impressive? Read our RTX 2080 Ti review to find out.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Review – Overview

Nvidia claims that the new RTX 2080 Ti will handle every top-end game with more aplomb than previous flagships. While the GTX 1080 Ti handled most titles at 4K, it didn’t always provide smooth framerates in the toughest titles.

That’s something that Nvidia hopes to change in the RTX 2080 Ti. With this new card, Nvidia says that today and tomorrow’s top titles will run at 4K and at a smooth 60fps and beyond. Nvidia also says that the RTX 2080 Ti will handle games at refresh rates of up to 240Hz – dependant on resolution, of course – and that it’ll also run games better on VR headsets.

The RTX 2080 Ti aims to deliver better speeds thanks to the Turing architecture. It’s an impressive new design that doesn’t just deliver improved numbers where we conventionally expect them on a graphics card. It also deploys brand-new ways of working – methods and technologies that could, potentially, transform the way we play our games.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Review – The Turing Architecture

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 08The Turing architecture delivers AI and ray-tracing, for the first time, to a consumer graphics card – even though Turing was introduced on some Nvidia Quadro professional GPUs back in August.

Ray-tracing on a consumer graphics card is a huge, exciting development. It’s a technology that does a far better job of simulating lighting, shadows and reflections than anything that’s been seen on a graphics card before. Those are fundamental parts of any game, so improving this area can make a huge difference to how games appear on-screen. However, it’s also very difficult to implement, which is why Nvidia’s new technology is such a big deal.

It’s no coincidence that ray-tracing is often used in the film industry – where the world’s best graphics can be found. And, because ray-tracing is an extremely intensive computing process, it’s no surprise that the latest films don’t do any real-time ray-tracing.

Nvidia, though, says that the Turing architecture can do real-time ray-tracing thanks to the 68 dedicated RT Cores that are included on the RTX 2080 Ti.

The other big addition to the Turing architecture is the deployment of AI. Artificial Intelligence is used for Nvidia’s new Deep Learning Super Sampling feature, which is designed to improve and enhance anti-aliasing. That’s important, because anti-aliasing smooths out textures, giving games a crisper and cleaner appearance.

The new Deep Learning Super Sampling feature improves anti-aliasing performance by using AI to handle half of the workload for each frame the GPU renders. It does this by cleverly analysing the frames that the GPU is already creating – and then filling in the gaps itself, rather than waiting for the conventional graphics cores to handle the rest. This means that sampling workloads are divided between the GPU’s conventional cores and the Tensor Cores, which are specifically designed to handle AI workloads.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 09So, in essence, Turing GPUs use AI to render half of the the crisp, clean graphics that anti-aliasing delivers – while massively cutting down on the computational cost associated with this feature.

On paper, the Turing architecture delivers real-time ray-tracing and uses Deep Learning Super Sampling to improve anti-aliasing while using less of its graphical grunt to make it happen. And, on paper, that does sound great – ray-tracing will improve lighting, shadows and reflections to make games look far more detailed and realistic, while AI will deliver crisp anti-aliasing while keeping more resources free on the card.

In reality, though, the situation isn’t that simple.

For starters, anyone buying an RTX 2080 Ti or an RTX 2080 at launch won’t actually be able to use ray-tracing.

That’s because Nvidia’s ray-tracing is actually built on top of Microsoft’s ray-tracing API. This was announced early this year but hasn’t yet been introduced to Windows 10. An update is rumoured for October, but Nvidia won’t be able to do anything until that’s launched.

And, aside from that, hardly any games actually support ray-tracing. It’s included in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Assetto Corsa Competizione, and it’ll be available in Battlefield V, Control and MechWarrior 5. However, right now, only eleven games support it – and they’re waiting for the feature to be activated by Microsoft and Nvidia.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 01Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 07The situation with Deep Learning Super Sampling isn’t much better. Patches and behind-the-scenes work will be needed to get the feature implemented on individual games, it’s only supported in a handful of games. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, PUBG, MechWarrior 5, FF XV and Hitman 2 are on the list, but there are barely 25 in total.

Nvidia describes the Turing architecture as a “hybrid rendering” design, with traditional hardware lining up alongside its ray-tracing and AI technologies. Once you get past the new features and head into the more conventional areas of the Turing architecture, you’ll find numerous smaller improvements.

The streaming multiprocessors can now run integer and floating point operations concurrently, and the Turing architecture has 1.5x better shading performance when compared to Pascal cards.

Much of the architecture’s memory and texture caching has been condensed into single processing units, which means data is spending less time being flung around the card. The new cards are also Nvidia’s first consumer parts to use GDDR6 memory.

The Turing architecture supports VirtualLink over USB Type-C, which will improve compatibility with VR headsets – and it means you may not have to use quite so many USB ports. Nvidia also says that the new cards will be better performers with HDR, but this is another feature that’s currently suffering from poor game adoption.

Thinking of a new system? Here’s our in-depth guide to AMD’s AM4 platform – and the best motherboards

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Review – The RTX 2080 Ti Card

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 05The flagship GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is a hugely powerful graphics card that, on paper at least, delivers huge gains over the GTX 1080 Ti. The underlying GPU is called TU102 and deploys 18.9 billion transistors – compared to 12 billion inside the GTX 1080 Ti.

The RTX 2080 Ti includes 4,352 stream processors in 68 streaming multiprocessors. That means you get 64 stream processors in each multiprocessor, which makes each one of those blocks smaller than the 128-deep multiprocessors included in last year’s card. That’s a good move, because it means you get more stream processors in a more versatile design. Nvidia also includes 544 Tensor cores in the new card, dedicated to AI performance.

The RTX 2080 Ti’s clock speeds are worth examination. The RTX 2080 Ti runs at a default boost speed of 1,545MHz using GPU Boost 4.0. GPU Boost 4.0 also includes a new feature where users can alter the algorithms that govern boost speeds. That’s handy for tweakers, but it’s realistically only going to deliver tiny improvements over the card’s conventional boosting performance.

However, the GTX 1080 Ti’s boost clock of 1,582MHz is better than the RTX 2080 Ti’s boost speed, and the RTX 2080 Ti’s base clock of 1,350MHz isn’t particularly impressive – the GTX 1080 Ti arrived at 1,480MHz.

Those clock speeds are a little underwhelming, but remember that the new RTX 2080 Ti does make big gains elsewhere. Also consider that clock speeds on these modern GPUs vary all the time because of dynamic boosting. Many board partner cards also arrive overclocked anyway. More than ever, the base clock on a new graphics card doesn’t mean much. Ballpark boost figures are far more important.

The RTX 2080 Ti has 11GB of memory – the same amount as the GTX 1080 Ti – and it uses the newer GDDR6 design. That means you get a 352-bit memory bus that delivers 616GB/sec of peak bandwidth – 27% better than the GTX 1080 Ti.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 06The new card beefs up the design in so many ways, but it also increases the power limit to 260W. That’s 10W more than the GTX 1080 Ti, and it reverses several years of TDP consistency in Nvidia’s GPUs at this level. The new cards require two eight-pin power connectors, rather than single eight- and six-pin plugs.

Some of the theoretical performance numbers from the RTX 2080 Ti deliver a solid performance leap over the GTX 1080 Ti. The new card delivers 14.2 TFLOPS of single-precision performance. That’s about 2.5 TFLOPS better than the GTX 1080 Ti, which served up 11.79 TFLOPS at peak.

However, the RTX 2080 Ti serves up a pixel fillrate of 143.8GP/s. That’s virtually level with the GTX 1080 Ti.

The Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti that we’ve reviewed is a potent bit of kit. It’s got an overclock higher than the 90Hz offered by Nvidia’s Founders Edition cards.

The Zotac card features three fans and is a longer than the vast majority of GTX 1080 Ti cards on the market – so make sure you’ve got enough room in your case.

As ever, Nvidia board partners will release versions of the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080. Nvidia is also producing a Founders Edition version of the RTX 2080 Ti – perfect for those who just have to say that they were there on launch day.

The Founders Edition card certainly looks the part. A machined aluminium shroud envelopes the whole card. It’s also got a three-year warranty. The Founders Edition card also has a full-length vapour-chamber cooler, two fans and a 90Hz overclock, although that latter figure will be surpassed by board partners. Nevertheless, that improves the boost clock from 1,545MHz to 1,635MHz.

The Founders Edition GeForce RTX 2080 Ti costs $1,199 in the US and £1,099 in the UK.

If you want to buy the Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti that we’ve used in our review, complete with its triple fans and better overclock, you’ll have to pay $1,199 in the US and £1,224 in the UK.

Board partners are selling their RTX 2080 Ti cards at prices between $1,169 and $1,300 in the USA. In the UK, RTX 2080 Ti prices are currently varying between £1,099 and £1,340. Currently most GTX 1080 Ti cards in the US cost below $800, with many dropping below $700. In the UK, many GTX 1080 Ti cards are below £700.

Take these prices with a pinch of salt, because they always tend to vary when cards are extremely new. And, if you do want to get your hands on this card, you’ll have to wait a little longer. Nvidia was aiming for RTX 2080 Ti availability on the 20th September. Nvidia has pushed that back by one week.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Review – Performance

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 4K gaming averagesNvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 4K gaming minimumsNvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 4K gaming testsThe Turing-based RTX 2080 Ti delivers a solid improvement over the GTX 1080 Ti. In the 3D Mark Fire Strike test the overclocked Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti scored 27,818 points. That’s nearly 4,000 points beyond the GTX 1080 Ti.

In the 3D Mark Time Spy test the 2080 Ti scored 13,076 while the 1080 Ti couldn’t hit 10,000.

Those solid leads translated to good advantages in gaming. That’s not surprising considering how much beefier the RTX 2080 Ti is when compared to its predecessor.

In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided tested at 4K and Ultra settings, for instance, the RTX 2080 Ti averaged 51fps. The 1080 Ti could only manage 40fps. At this level of performance, that’s a big jump.

The RTX 2080 Ti hit 87fps in Witcher 3’s 4K test while the GTX 1080 Ti could only manage 62fps. The new card hit 57fps in Fallout 4 – ten frames beyond the GTX 1080 Ti.

The RTX 2080 Ti’s 4K average of 76fps was ahead of the GTX 1080 Ti’s 53fps score. The Turing-based card was ten frames faster than its predecessor in Ghost Recon: Wildlands. It opened up a vast 30fps lead in Battlefield 1. The RTX 2080 Ti was eleven frames faster in both of the Total War: Warhammer II benchmarks.

Our graphs show 4K minimum and average framerate results. We’ve also included 1080p and 1440p averages so you can further compare with the GTX 1080 Ti.

We have also compared key results between the overclocked Zotac and the reference RTX 2080 Ti. Don’t expect a huge gain if you buy an overclocked card when compared to reference models, though. In most games and tests the overclock only delivered a very small performance improvement.

The RTX 2080 Ti represents a decent improvement in VR tests. It was significantly quicker in the VRMark Cyan and Blue room benchmarks. Howeverm the VRMark Orange Room test saw it fall a little behind.

There’s no doubt that the RTX 2080 Ti is an extremely fast card. It delivers a hefty dose of extra speed when compared to the GTX 1080 Ti.

However, the new GPU doesn’t nail 60fps in every single game at 4K. It doesn’t always beat the GTX 1080 Ti in benchmarks – it has that VRMark blemish. And, of course, we can’t yet test how ray-tracing impacts on performance levels.

We’ve tested the RTX 2080 Ti on a Core i7-8700K system with a 5GHz overclock. We’ve used GeForce driver 411.51 to test the RTX 2080 Ti, and version 399.24 for the GTX 1080 Ti.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 4K gaming tests Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 4K gaming tests Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 4K gaming tests

Here’s Our Guide to the Best PCs for Work, Play and Everything In Between

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Review – Conclusion

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is a very fast graphics card. There’s no doubting that. It’s quicker than the GTX 1080 Ti in virtually every benchmark. It makes impressive, double-figure gains in the toughest games when they’re run at their top settings and 4K resolution.

However, several other issues mean that it’s still difficult to recommend the RTX 2080 Ti for most users.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review RTX 2080 Ti review GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review 04For starters, Nvidia’s much-touted new features aren’t yet accessible. Ray-tracing could be transformative, but it’s off-limits until Microsoft implements it. The AI feature’s success relies on developers getting on-board.

The price, too, is off-putting. The RTX 2080 Ti costs upwards of $1,000 and £1,000. That makes it far more expensive than the GTX 1080 Ti. It does deliver a solid gain, but few people will be struggling with Pascal so badly they need a day-one upgrade. When it comes to buying this card straight away, only the keenest and wealthiest of speed freaks should bother.

The RTX 2080 Ti is a powerful card that provides a solid leap over the last generation. It also delivers an even bigger jump when compared to older cards. However, the missing features and huge price hinder the new card’s prospects. Instead of shelling out for the 2080 Ti, we’d wait until a couple of months, or until after Christmas – or until the RTX 2080 or RTX 2070 emerge. By then prices will have stabilised and dropped a little. By then, also, the new features will be better-supported, and more board partner cards will be available.

The card in our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review costs $1,199 in the US and £1,099 in the UK – and here’s its official site for US and UK pre-orders.  Discuss our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good

  • Impressive gains over the GTX 1080 Ti
  • Lots of impressive new technology on-board

The Bad

  • Ray Tracing doesn’t work yet
  • AI support patchy
  • Very expensive

The Specs

Stream processors: 4,352
Base clock: 1,350MHz
Boost clock: 1,545MHz
Memory: 11GB, 352-bit 7,000MHz GDDR6
Connectivity: PCI Express 3.0
Display Outputs: DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b
Max Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
TDP: 260W
Power connections: 2 x 8-pin
Supported APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 2.2, Vulkan 1.1, CUDA 7.5

About Author

Mike Jennings

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