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MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X Review
Review By @ 03:23pm 13/01/21

Product: MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X 10G
Type: Graphics Card
Price: $1799 AUD ($899 USD)
Availability: Now

There's a chance this thing is too big, hey.

Hear me out. I know nobody cares at this point, right. At this stage, if you have the money available and a reputable store says they've got a GeForce RTX 3080 in stock but they'll only take payment in cans of tinned spaghetti, you'd be down at Coles cleaning them out of SPC like it was toilet paper and there was a 3-day lockdown coming up.

Like, there are factors that just aren't a concern for people any more. “Oh this card is too big," "this card needs more power”, "this one doesn't really vibe with my Chi”. None of it matters. If the stars align and you can get a card, you'll make it work, right? The GPU shortage is real and up there with the very real and still fresh hype surrounding the release of the GeForce RTX 3080 -- NVIDIA’s latest flagship.

And if you can get a card, you can do a lot worse than the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X. Actually, scratch that. Based on our testing, short of getting an RTX 3090 all you can do is get an RTX 3080 worse than MSI's RTX 3080 Suprim X. This is like shopping for a new car and driving straight past your Toyotas and Fords and heading straight to that one swanky part of town where the Jaguar and Bentley dealerships are found.

But... it's kinda bloody big.

From Turing to Ampere

The below is a summary of the RTX 30 Series technology, applicable to all RTX 30 Series models. An Ampere primer if you will.

The next generation of games across PC and consoles, in terms of AAA high-end titles, will be driven by resolution, frame-rate, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing. The latter was first brought to the scene in 2018 with the GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. The original ‘RTX On’, the 20 series of GPUs from NVIDIA made that tech-dream of real-time ray-tracing a reality.

In order to make that possible, additional hardware in the form of RT Cores were brought into the picture to take some of the taxing light rays bouncing around a scene computation off the GPU processors, NVIDIA’s CUDA Cores. To ensure that games were, well, playable, Tensor Cores were also introduced -- leveraging NVIDIA’s expertise in the field of AI to drive rendering with DLSS.

If you can get a card, you can do a lot worse than the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X. Actually, scratch that. Based on our testing, short of getting an RTX 3090 all you can do is get an RTX 3080 worse than MSI's RTX 3080 Suprim X.

Ray-tracing was groundbreaking in 2018 but it took a while to take off. Hardware appeared on shelves long before the first ray-traced games did, and from there everything from game optimisation to Windows 10 support to NVIDIA’s own AI-based DLSS rendering went through a growth period. The results though, came. If you build it they will come.

Remedy’s Control, Cyberpunk 2077, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, Watch Dogs: Legion, and more all feature ray-tracing and DLSS 2.0 support -- proving that these features should be taken into consideration. This is where Ampere comes in, the architecture that powers NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series. Think of it as the second generation of RTX – the PlayStation 2 to the original PlayStation. Ampere features second generation RT Cores (NVIDIA’s dedicated ray-tracing hardware) and third-generation Tensor Cores (the AI stuff that makes DLSS the perfect match for hardware intensive ray-tracing in addition to simply boosting performance).

Then there’s the new custom Samsung 8nm process and a chipset that radically re-designs the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) to effectively double the concurrent calculations and what have you. To get technical we’re talking about FP32 and INT32 operations, two things that are, err, things. In the end Ampere is all about the future -- resolution, frame-rate, AI-rendering, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing using smart design that features forward thinking innovations like DLSS.

And now back to our scheduled broadcast…

Of Numbers and Heat Sinks

From a cooling perspective, the Suprim X is best in class. Thermal complications that might arise from it being giant aside, the Tri Frozr 2S design does a phenomenal job at keeping the card hovering at around 63 degrees C under load — when idle it sits at 36C, which is room temperature to us Aussies. Keeping the overall temp in the 60s for a high-end GPU is pretty remarkable, and this is backed up by a design that is as sturdy as it is cutting edge.

The gorgeous brushed aluminium backplate provides fantastic heat dissipation while also looking stylish and high-tech. MSI's Dragon Center software lets you customise the RGB however you like (and you can turn it off to amp up that minimal feel), while also allowing you to monitor its vital statistics — from GPU temp, fan speed, and memory frequency all laid out within.

From a cooling perspective, the Suprim X is best in class.

As the top of the range MSI GeForce RTX 3080 offering, the Suprim X boasts a higher Boost clock speed than other RTX 3080 cards — up to 105 MHz more than its little brother the already OC-friendly MSI GeForce RTX Gaming X Trio and 210 MHz more than NVIDIA’s own RTX 3080 Founders Edition card.
MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X 10G
  • Architecture (GPU): Ampere
  • CUDA Cores: 8704
  • RT Cores: 68
  • Tensor Cores: 272
  • GPU Boost Clock: 1905 MHz (1920 MHz via Dragon Center)
  • Memory Capacity: 10GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Interface: 320-bit
  • Memory Speed: 19Gbps
  • Output: DisplayPort x 3 (v1.4a) / HDMI 2.1 x 1
  • TDP: 370W
  • Dimensions: 336 x 140 x 61mm
  • Weight (with packaging): 1882 g

As per the dimensions the Suprim X is a long card, so pairing it with the right case is something that will need to be taken into consideration if you’re planning on going Suprim. For my own testing a huge part of what affected some initial thermals issues was the triple-slot thickness affecting airflow intake. The case in question is the Lian-Li o11 Dynamic.

Now, this is purely a “My Story” situation. The thermals of the RTX 3080 Suprim X were fine - despite being hotboxed. And really that’s something of an unintended and welcome endorsement of MSI’s engineering and design. Problem was, my CPU would throttle due to the excess heat -- taking the edge off of some of that sweet RTX 3080 performance high. Which ahead of the review Kosta told me was akin to a runner’s high.

Thermal throttling meant I was posting some frankly woeful benchmark results, and it was upsetting to me. I didn't expect to beat Kosta — his Ryzen 3800X is better than my 3700X, after all — but I was seeing results that weren't even close. Long story short, to solve this case -- I had to open my case.

Game Performance

Before we get to the in-game performance there is one area of particular interest that arises before you turn on your PC. The Suprim X features dual BIOS, with the default being Silent Mode. It's ultra-quiet, to the point where if it weren’t for the RGB you wouldn’t be mistaken thinking it was turned off. For the purposes of testing we used the other option — Gaming. Now, Make sure you set your Suprim X card to Gaming mode, people. It doesn't change the clock speed, but it does alter the fan curve allowing the card to hold its Boost for longer — and doesn't make that big a difference noise wise anyway.
  • GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Suprim X
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • Motherboard: MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk
  • Memory: PNY XLR8 DDR4 RAM (32GB at 3200 MHz)

Straight off the bat, you can see this thing belts. The RTX 3080 is a 4K powerhouse, and the Suprim is more than capable of pushing 60 frames-per-second for almost every game we tested. It's not wise to compare my test scores directly to some of our previous RTX 3080 reviews — Kosta and I have different components — but as a broad guide it's quite telling. The Suprim X is notably faster than the Founders Edition. And it’s cooler and quieter to boot.

Better still, coming to a RTX 3080 from the GeForce GTX 1070, the differences were mind-blowing. When NVIDIA's Jensen Huang unveiled the RTX 3080 last year from the comfort of his spatula-laden kitchen he wasn’t kidding when he said it was time for Pascal owners to make the upgrade. Games not only look better, they run better. A given, obviously -- but that’s why you make the jump to a new high-end GPU. And when it comes to 4K gaming, the Suprim X delivers that in spades (and spatulas).

The RTX 3080 is a 4K powerhouse, and the Suprim is more than capable of pushing 60 frames-per-second for almost every game we tested.

DOOM Eternal basically runs faster than any 4K display you can currently buy, with it regularly sitting in the 150fps region -- and this comes from a benchmark where we test the game using intense demon-infested Master Levels.

And then... you turn on DLSS and everything else goes out the window. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War looks and plays brilliantly on the RTX 3080, and even though it’s not included in our benchmarking Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K is only possible due to DLSS. In some cases there was a near 60% increase in performance when using DLSS Quality (that number jumps even higher when running DLSS Performance mode), which is a generational leap on top of the already impressive generational leap.

Kosta added Death Stranding to the Official AusGamers Benchmark List recently, probably to punish me for some unknown slight. And as much as I hate the game, as a technological showcase it can't be beat. It looks as good as it runs, which is to say… incredible.

At 1440p the Suprim X is a straight up no-brainer, something that applies to the entire RTX 3080 range. Paired with the right display this thing will get you playing with G-Sync goodness all the time, every damn time. For some reason Ubisoft's titles, Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Odyssey and Watch Dogs Legion, struggle to make the 100 frames average, with the story there seemingly feeling like Ubisoft is doing everything in its power to make sure games don’t run in the triple digits with max settings enabled. Anyway, those DOOM Eternal 1440p numbers - remarkable. Maybe id Software needs to spend a few weeks jet-setting over to the 10,000 Ubi studios to inject some of their own magic.

Ray Tracing

Ray Tracing is still the buzzword, even if it hasn't really transformed the way we play games. They certainly look better, mostly in subtle ways that can't always be nailed down. And it's often hard to grasp the improvement because of the associated performance hit that comes with the technology's inclusion.

But with the advent of second-gen RT Cores found in the RTX 3080 and DLSS getting better and better, RTX and real-time ray-tracing is becoming a far more viable option in games. At its best, as seen in Cyberpunk 2077 (bugs and glitches and missing content aside) the results and in-game environments that look, well, too good to be true. The real kicker though is that it's the simplest games of game that show it off best. It's easy to differentiate between Quake II's graphics with RTX On and Off, or Minecraft with RTX based game modes, because these are games that are texturally simplistic.

Control is the highpoint for RTX use, it's a game that although struggles with RTX On at 4K (even with DLSS picking up the slack) at 1440p you can enjoy one of the best storytelling experiences in games at more than 100 frames-per-second.

For me Control is the highpoint for RTX use, it's a game that although struggles with RTX On at 4K (even with DLSS picking up the slack) at 1440p you can enjoy one of the best storytelling experiences in games at more than 100 frames-per-second. Not only that but the ray-tracing adds to the immersion, from the subtle and always there reflections to the *check notes* ambient occlusion and other effects that elevate the experience. So much so that at times it can feel like a different game.

As per above, Watch Dogs Legion proved to be the worst performer of the bunch, but you can see here that it still wallops AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT when it comes to ray-tracing. AMD is (relatively) new to the RTX and ray-tracing game, but this is also another case where DLSS is the difference between playable and unplayable. Until AMD comes out with a DLSS analog, it will struggle to compete with NVIDIA when it comes to next-gen effects like real-time ray-tracing.


The MSI GeForce RTx 3080 Suprim X is something of a beast, in terms of performance, build quality, stature, and size. On that front the seemingly simple act of installing the Suprim X is an effort. It's not enough to click it into the PCI-E slot, you also have to plug in three PCI-E 8-Pin power cables (a dedicated cable for each, please and thank you). And because it weighs nearly 2 kilograms — 1882g, according to the specs — you also need to prop up the edges with the included support stand.

The MSI GeForce RTx 3080 Suprim X is something of a beast, in terms of performance, build quality, stature, and size.

When it was all plugged in and ready to rock, I had about 20mm clearance between the side window and the edge of the card. And really, that’s probably the biggest problem I have with the Suprim X. Personally, I think we've reached a point where the goal should be miniaturisation, not expansion. Kind of like that scene in the first Zoolander. Some reckon that Thomas Watson, the head of IBM, was crazy to claim that “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers''. At the time he was talking about a machine about as capable as your Casio calculator watch the size of a Sydney apartment (but half the price) — but he might also be talking about whatever supersedes the Suprim X in size. MSI’s Suprim XX maybe?

That said, the Suprim X is it worth its weight in frames. Suprim by name, Supreme by nature. MSI’s premium RTX 3080 is, without question, the best 3080 out there. But there's one big drawback we haven't yet mentioned. It retails at $300 AUD more than its little brother, the MSI GeForce RTX Gaming X Trio. And while it is a better card in every regard, it may not be that much better.

It has oodles of potential provided you can fit it into your case, it's quiet as all hell and it outperforms every card I've seen, but you're definitely paying a premium. Thankfully you see evidence of that premium constantly. That brushed metal backplate, the slick MSI logo emblazoned upon it. The GPU temp idling at 36C with the fans actually off, passive cooling doing all the work. And of course the frame-rate when you boot into literally any game out there. So, yeah, it's worth noting that it's more expensive than its contemporaries.

Though that's almost a moot point, though. Buying a graphics card these days is an exercise in paying a premium, and the only thing you get out of that extra money is the comforting knowledge that some scalper scum made a bit more profit. Whereas with the Suprim X, you pay that premium for superior cooling, clock speeds, build quality, performance, and size. I mentioned that it's big right?
What we liked
You're simply the best
Better than all the rest
Better than any RTX 3080
Any RTX 3080 we've ever met
Stays cool
Two bios modes for extra options
Premium feel and performance
What we didn't like
It's big
It's expensive
It requires 3x8-Pin connectors which can mess up cable management
It comes with the "Quiet" BIOS option set as the default for some reason
We gave it:
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