NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
The move from a full-HD 1080p resolution to 4K is something that has happened rather quickly over the past few years – especially in the traditional TV space. When it comes to PC gaming though, the jump to this new 3840 x 2160-pixel resolution represents more of a giant leap than simple hop. At four times the pixel-count the sheer hardware cost to get a game running in 4K - and at a frame-rate high-end PC players are used to - has been a challenge. It’s why so many displays and monitors offer the in-between resolution of 1440p. And even though previous high-end cards like the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti could push resolutions at 4K – to maintain a 60fps or higher frame-rate, sacrifices often had to be made in terms of turning off features or dialling down settings to the dreaded ‘Medium’.
When NVIDIA lifted the lid on its new RTX line of GPUs earlier this year, the focus was primarily on the ground-breaking new technology that would allow for real-time ray tracing and AI-powered rendering. And the new Turing architecture. Important features of the new RTX line, especially in the flagship 2080 Ti. But, in dazzling viewers with lighting and explosions that looked better than anything seen before - the lead was somewhat buried.
Make no mistake about it, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is an absolute 4K powerhouse. A card that just about transcends the concept of what you picture when you hear the term gaming rig. To the point where we had to pair it with not only one of the best 4K monitors currently available. The Acer Predator X27
- for some 4K HDR Battlefield V and Forza Horizon 4 running at a blisteringly fast 80-100 frames-per-second. But also, a 65” LG OLED. Perhaps the greatest television ever made, which when paired with the 2080 Ti led to some crisp and smooth 4K HDR 60 Hz couch gaming the likes of which we’ve never seen.
Of Numbers and Heat Sinks
Comparing numbers when it comes to hardware can be tricky – which is true with the RTX 2080 Ti. Outside of the relatively unknown figures like 78T “RTX-OPS” and the difficult to gauge clock rate in terms of the new architecture - the bump in CUDA Cores and the faster GDDR6 memory of the 2080 Ti begin to tell the overall picture.
Which is, that it’s currently the most powerful consumer-grade GPU on the market. By a pretty sizable stretch too. It’s also the priciest, but one must give NVIDIA credit for looking to not just provide a performance boost over the last generation. But intrinsically tie the new RTX line to a blend of architectural innovation with the likes of ray-tracing and deep-learning AI hardware in addition to software. This futuristic approach also means that this review can only honestly deal with the one side of the RTX 2080 Ti mentioned earlier – that being its performance as an absolute 4K powerhouse.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
- Architecture (GPU): Turing (TU102)
- CUDA Cores: 4352
- RTX-OPS : 78T
- Base Clock Rate: 1350 MHz
- GPU Boost Rate: 1635 MHz
- Memory Capacity: 11GB GDDR6
- TDP: 260W
And for this review we’re looking at NVIDIA’s own Founders Edition 2080 Ti, which in addition to being the priciest flagship card NVIDIA has ever released is also the most well-built. The new cooling and form-factor make it NVIDIA’s best Founders Edition to date, so much so that its overclocking capabilities and sizable power consumption make it comparable to even the most outlandishly designed 1080 Ti or equivalent last-gen card. The extra power-draw no doubt is there for the Turing RTX to do its thing. That’s not to say the RTX 2080 Ti looks otherworldly either, as its visual design is sleek and modern with clean lines and a wonderful two-tone look.
Sleek, modern, two-tone? What is this Architectural Digest? Ahem. Let’s get to the meat of it shall we. The filling if you will. RTX 2080 Ti in-game full 4K performance mode. With visual fidelity dialled up and maximum settings, err, set to maximum. Before we begin though, it’s important to know some of the other bits of hardware used in the testing. Here’s a quick rundown.
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
- Display: Acer Predator X27 (4K HDR)
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming 5
- Memory: Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR4 3200 Memory
With that out of the way it’s worth noting that posting 1080p performance numbers for the RTX 2080 Ti is, well, meaningless. In that the card not only eats this resolution for breakfast but most of the numbers you find will be limited by the CPU, memory, or even game engine itself. Bottlenecks they call them. It’s also worth noting that even at 1440p, the 2080 Ti is a monster – with no game we tested dropping below 60 frames-per-second at maximum detail settings. Even the visually intensive Assassin’s Creed Odyssey from Ubisoft ran at an average 68 frames-per-second on the taxing Ultra detail mode. Battlefield V, arguably the best-looking game of the bunch thanks to a blend of truly amazing HDR lighting, environmental detail, and texture work – ran at 115 frame-per-second on average at 1440p with everything dialled up.
Here are the 4K performance numbers for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition.
Outside of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, which felt incredibly smooth thanks to the G-SYNC capabilities of the Acer Predator X27, the overall performance of the 2080 Ti is truly impressive. Making 4K gaming with the card a sight to behold. Even looking at the higher end of the spectrum, with Wolfenstein II and DOOM running on the stable id Tech 6, these figures were captured in the most action-packed moments we could find. Simply walking around or engaging with only one or two enemies, the performance sat comfortably in the 144-fps range - matching the limit of the Acer Predator X27
The same goes for Overwatch. In fact, as Overwatch lets you scale the output right there in the options, we set it to 200% - effectively providing a super-sampled 8K image. The result was a stable 31 frames-per-second. Not exactly ideal or smooth, but the fact that the 2080 Ti can push something at 8K with max detail and still be playable – is impressive to say the least. Which also means that for the first time we were able to get 3D Mark scores in the 97th percentile – without overclocking the CPU or memory outside of factory settings.
Just for reference, the Timespy test lists a score of 6733 as recommended or the minimum for 4K gaming.
Perhaps the bigger takeaway more-so than numbers though, is just how amazing games can look running in native 4K on a PC – fast, smooth, and with all the detail they can handle. Titles like Forza Horizon 4 and Battlefield V, with HDR and G-SYNC, results in an experience that feels next-gen. It’s a side of the story often overlooked in hardware reviews like this, but it’s worth highlighting. Paired with the right display, and the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti transcends simple performance increases. It brings together all the best stuff we’ve seen recently when it comes to display technology – 4K, HDR, and G-SYNC – in a way that is not only on the cutting edge, it is
the edge or pinnacle of what’s currently available.
A Quick Word on Ray-Tracing and DLSS
Okay, so maybe you came here for a deep dive into ray-tracing. Which makes sense when you factor in that we’ve been using the 2080 Ti extensively for almost a month now. The truth is, stuff like ray-tracing and DLSS – which are core parts of the 2080 Ti architecture are still too early to properly talk about. Only one game supports the new RTX-powered real-time ray-tracing, and that’s Battlefield V. In execution it looks incredible, with easily the best explosions we’ve ever seen – to a level that would even make Michael Bay jealous. But you need to lower the resolution to 1440p and even then, the frame-rate takes a massive hit. NVIDIA and DICE note that the software side needs work and will improve in the coming months – which means that stuff like the new lighting and DLSS stuff will be something that will take time to properly emerge. The promise is there, and we’ll be providing a separate look at this side of the RTX 2080 Ti in a follow-up piece.
No doubt there’s a lot that’s new about NVIDIA’s new GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, from the Turing architecture to the AI deep-learning Tensor Cores. And then there’s the RT cores. New in the world of graphics is generally a good thing, especially when it can lead to innovations in rendering and the seemingly impossible, real-time ray tracing, made possible. The only trouble with new technology is that it takes a while to catch on. Even now we’re only beginning to see the benefits of the RTX line’s innovations and new direction for the GeForce line. More and more games are set to take advantage as the months go by and we’ll be keeping a close eye on how the RTX story evolves.
In the meantime, though we can only go by what’s in front of us. And in that sense what you get with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the most powerful and impressive card on the market – with 4K performance that is not only impressive but a glimpse into the next few years of gaming.