Keeping their tradition alive of launching a new graphics architecture every two years, this year, NVIDIA introduces its Ampere GPU. The Ampere GPU is built upon the foundation set by Turing. Termed as its biggest generational leap, the NVIDIA Ampere GPUs excel compared to previous generations at everything.
The Ampere lineup offers faster shader performance, faster ray tracing performance, and faster AI performance. Built on a brand new process node and featuring an architecture designed from the ground up, Ampere is a killer product with lots of numbers to talk about.
The fundamental of Ampere was to take everything NVIDIA learned with its Turing architecture and not only refine it but to use its DNA to form a product in a completely new performance category. Tall claims were made by NVIDIA when they introduced its Ampere lineup earlier this month & we will be finding out whether NVIDIA hit all the ticks with its Ampere architecture as this review will be your guiding path to see what makes Ampere and how it performs against its predecessors.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Gaming Graphics Cards – The Biggest GPU Performance Leap in Recent History
Turing wasn’t just any graphics core, it was the graphics core that was to become the foundation of future GPUs. The future is realized now with next-generation consoles going deep in talks about ray tracing and AI-assisted super-sampling techniques. NVIDIA had a head start with Turing and its Ampere generation will only do things infinitely times better.
The Ampere GPU does many traditional things that we would expect from a GPU, but at the same time, also breaks the barrier when it comes to untraditional GPU operations. Just to sum up some features:
- New Streaming Multiprocessor (SM)
- New Turing Tensor Cores
- New Real-Time Ray Tracing Acceleration
- New Shading Enhancements
- New Deep Learning Features For Graphics & Inference
- New GDDR6X High-Performance Memory Subsystem
- New 2nd Generation NVLINK Interconnect
- New HDMI 2.1 Display Engine & Next-Gen NVENC/NVDEC
The technologies mentioned above are some of the main building blocks of the Ampere GPU, but there’s more within the graphics core itself which we will talk about in detail so let’s get started.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Pricing Per Segment
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series is made up of a diverse portfolio of graphics cards. Currently, you will only be limited to the higher-end configurations starting at $499 US for the GeForce RTX 3070, $699 US for the GeForce RTX 3080, and $1499 US for the GeForce RTX 3090. NVIDIA themselves call the GeForce RTX 3080 the flagship graphics card and not the GeForce RTX 3090.
The RTX 3080 & RTX 3070 are both priced well and in line with their predecessors but the GeForce RTX 3090 goes all out with a price of $1499 US. NVIDIA calls the GeForce RTX 3090 the “BFGPU” and as per the terminology, it seems like this is a new marketing name for the Titan graphics card. It is likely that we could see a Titan-based card under the Quadro branding with faster specs out of the box but the GeForce RTX 3090 is purely a gaming graphics card first with all the horsepower for intense professional and workstation workloads.
With that said, the GeForce RTX 3080 replaces the RTX 2080 SUPER at the same price point and the GeForce RTX 3070 replaces the GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER at the same price point. Given this trend, we might see the more mainstream variants cost just as much as their RTX 20 SUPER series cards but with a higher performance out of the box.
NVIDIA GeForce GPU Segment/Tier Prices
|Titan Tier||Titan X (Maxwell)||Titan X (Pascal)||Titan Xp (Pascal)||Titan V (Volta)||Titan RTX (Turing)||GeForce RTX 3090|
|Price||$999 US||$1199 US||$1199 US||$2999 US||$2499 US||$1499 US|
|Ultra Enthusiast Tier||GeForce GTX 980 Ti||GeForce GTX 980 Ti||GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||GeForce RTX 3080 Ti|
|Price||$649 US||$649 US||$699 US||$999 US||$999 US||$1199 US|
|Enthusiast Tier||GeForce GTX 980||GeForce GTX 1080||GeForce GTX 1080||GeForce RTX 2080||GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER||GeForce RTX 3080|
|Price||$549 US||$549 US||$549 US||$699 US||$699 US||$699 US|
|High-End Tier||GeForce GTX 970||GeForce GTX 1070||GeForce GTX 1070||GeForce RTX 2070||GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER||GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
GeForce RTX 3070
|Price||$329 US||$379 US||$379 US||$499 US||$499 US||$599
|Mainstream Tier||GeForce GTX 960||GeForce GTX 1060||GeForce GTX 1060||GeForce GTX 1060||GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER
GeForce GTX 1660
|GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB
|Price||$199 US||$249 US||$249 US||$249 US||$399 US
|Entry Tier||GTX 750 Ti
|GTX 950||GTX 1050 Ti
|GTX 1050 Ti
|GTX 1650 SUPER
|$149 US||$139 US
In addition to the specs/price update, NVIDIA’s RTX technologies are being widely adopted by major game engines and APIs such as Microsoft’s DirectX (DXR), Vulkan, Unreal Engine, Unity, and Frostbite. While there were only three RTX titles around the launch of the RTX 20 series cards, NVIDIA now has at least 28 titles that utilize their RTX feature set to offer real-time ray tracing with more coming soon.
In addition to that, with the upcoming consoles confirmed to feature ray tracing, developers can also make use of the RTX technology to fine-tune future games for the GeForce RTX hardware. Currently, NVIDIA has 13 game engines that are leveraging their RTX technologies for use in their upcoming and existing games while both Vulkan and DirectX 12 Ultimate APIs are part of the RTX ecosystem on the PC platform.
So for this review, I will be taking a look at KFA2’s GeForce RTX 3080 Ti EXG graphics card which goes for a premium of over $1500 US since it is aimed at enthusiasts.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Graphics Card
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is a force to be reckoned with. It takes the throne of the fastest PC gaming graphics card with nothing coming even close to it. It’s surprisingly much faster than the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti which is its Turing-based predecessor but just being fast isn’t enough for a card of this scale or price. The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti carries more cores, more memory, higher performance efficiency, and also carries next-generation ray-tracing and tensor cores that make this a truly next-generation graphics card.
NVIDIA designed the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, not just for any gamer but all gamers who want to have the best 4K graphics performance at hand to power the next-generation of AAA gaming titles with superb visuals and insane fluidity. It’s not just the FPS that matters these days, it’s visuals, and a smoother frame rate too and this is exactly what the GeForce RTX 30 series is made to excel at. There’s a lot to talk about regarding NVIDIA’s flagship Ampere gaming graphics cards so let’s start off with the specifications.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Graphics Card Specifications
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 12 GB FE (Founders Edition) graphics card features the PG132-SKU18 PCB design and the GA102-225-KD-A1 graphics core. The GA102-225 GPU features a total of 10240 CUDA cores within 80 SM units. The GPU features a clock speed of 1365 MHz base and a 1665 MHz boost, both of which are slower than the existing GA102 GeForce RTX GPUs.
As for memory, the card will feature 12 GB of GDDR6X memory. Unlike the 19.5 Gbps speeds of the RTX 3090, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is said to retain the same memory speeds as the RTX 3080 at 19 Gbps. Since we are getting 12 GB memory, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti will be using a 384-bit bus interface which equals a total bandwidth of 912 GB/s. So while we see an 8 GB VRAM reduction over the previous spec, the larger bus interface should drive higher memory bandwidth.
The TGP for the card is set to be slightly higher than the RTX 3080 at 350 Watts. That’s definitely needed to feed the extra cores so NVIDIA might have to optimize the clocks a bit here. In terms of performance, the graphics card is said to be as fast as the RTX 3090 but with half the memory & LHR technology-enabled. As for compute numbers, the RTX 3080 Ti features 34 shader TFLOPs, 67 RT-TFLOPs, & 273 Tensor TFLOPs (Sparsity).
The design of the card is similar to the existing NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics cards. NVIDIA didn’t go with the bulky BFG design like its RTX 3090 and kept the more standard 2-slot FE Flow-Through air-cooled design. The card is powered by a single 12-pin Microfit connector. Display outputs include 1 HDMI 2.1 and three DP 1.4 connectors. The card will be available to buy on the 2nd of June at $1199 US. Expect several custom models to be announced shortly by the NVIDIA board partners.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Product Gallery & PCB Shots:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series ‘Ampere’ Graphics Card Specifications:
|Graphics Card Name||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090|
|GPU Name||Ampere GA107||Ampere GA107||Ampere GA106-300||Ampere GA104-200||Ampere GA104-300||Ampere GA104-400||Ampere GA102-200||Ampere GA102-225||Ampere GA102-300|
|Process Node||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm|
|Transistors||TBA||TBA||TBA||17.4 Billion||17.4 Billion||17.4 Billion||28 Billion||28 Billion||28 Billion|
|TMUs / ROPs||64 / 40||80 / 48||112 / 64||152 / 80||184 / 96||192/ 96||272 / 96||320 / 112||328 / 112|
|Tensor / RT Cores||64 / 16||80 / 20||112 / 28||152 / 38||184 / 46||192/ 48||272 / 68||320 / 80||328 / 82|
|Base Clock||TBA||TBA||1320 MHz||1410 MHz||1500 MHz||1575 MHz||1440 MHz||1365 MHz||1400 MHz|
|Boost Clock||TBA||TBA||1780 MHz||1665 MHz||1730 MHz||1770 MHz||1710 MHz||1665 MHz||1700 MHz|
|FP32 Compute||TBA||TBA||12.7 TFLOPs||16.2 TFLOPs||20 TFLOPs||22 TFLOPs||30 TFLOPs||34 TFLOPs||36 TFLOPs|
|RT TFLOPs||TBA||TBA||25.4 TFLOPs||32.4 TFLOPs||40 TFLOPs||42 TFLOPs||58 TFLOPs||67 TFLOPs||69 TFLOPs|
|Tensor-TOPs||TBA||TBA||101 TOPs||129.6 TOPs||163 TOPs||174 TOPs||238 TOPs||273 TOPs||285 TOPs|
|Memory Capacity||4 GB GDDR6?||4 GB GDDR6?||12 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6X||10 GB GDDR6X||12 GB GDDR6X||24 GB GDDR6X|
|Memory Speed||TBA||TBA||15 Gbps||14 Gbps||14 Gbps||19 Gbps||19 Gbps||19 Gbps||19.5 Gbps|
|Bandwidth||TBA||TBA||360 Gbps||448 Gbps||448 Gbps||608 Gbps||760 Gbps||912 Gbps||936 Gbps|
|Price (MSRP / FE)||$149?||$199?||$329||$399 US||$499 US||$599 US||$699 US||$1199||$1499 US|
|Launch (Availability)||2021?||2021?||February 2021||December 2020||29th October 2020||10th June 2021||17th September 2020||3rd June 2021||24th September 2020|
In case you want to read our full NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture deep dive and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition review, head over to this link.