Skip to main content

Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG Review: Quadruple Fan Cooling

High performance, if you can get it.

Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Galax provides a high performance RTX 3080 Ti solution with substantially improved cooling compared to the reference design, though the high price premium and lack of availability are still concerns.

For

  • Excellent GDDR6X cooling
  • Novel fourth fan
  • Second fastest GPU right now

Against

  • Requires a lot of space
  • High price premium
  • Lack of stock

The Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG — the SG is for "Serious Gamer," if you're wondering — looks to compete with the best graphics cards by offering a unique extra: a fourth clip-on fan to boost cooling performance. That's double the fans of Nvidia's reference GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, if you're keeping track. The 3080 Ti currently ranks as the second fastest GPU overall in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, just a couple percent behind the RTX 3090, and less than one percent ahead of AMD's competing RX 6900 XT — though those results don't include ray tracing, DLSS, or FSR performance comparisons. How does Galax fare against the competition, and more importantly, will you be able to find one in stock anywhere? The answer to the latter, unfortunately, is generally no, though readers over in Europe might have better luck.

Galax products are also sold under the KFA2 brand overseas, but other than slight differences in the box art, the cards are the same. The parent company for both brands is Palit, which by volume is one of the largest graphics card companies in the world. Despite the name, the Serious Gamer edition is basically equivalent to Nvidia's reference model. Out of the box, it sports a boost clock of 1695MHz, just 30MHz higher than the Founders Edition. If you install Galax's Xtreme Tuner Plus Software and use the 1-Click OC option, you'll get a mostly meaningless bump to a 1710MHz boost clock — that's less than a 1% difference. Still, we've used the factory overclock for testing, and we'll use that for the specs table below.

Galax RTX 3080 Ti SGRTX 3080 Ti Founders EditionZotac RTX 3080 Ti Holo Black
ArchitectureGA102GA102GA102
Process TechnologySamsung 8NSamsung 8NSamsung 8N
Transistors (Billion)28.328.328.3
Die size (mm^2)628.4628.4628.4
SMs / CUs808080
GPU Cores102401024010240
Tensor Cores320320320
RT Cores808080
Boost Clock (MHz)171016651710
VRAM Speed (Gbps)191919
VRAM (GB)121212
VRAM Bus Width384384384
ROPs112112112
TMUs320320320
TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)3534.135
TFLOPS FP16 (Tensor)140 (280)136 (273)140 (280)
Bandwidth (GBps)912912912
TDP (watts)350350350
Official Price$1,499 $1,199 $1,799

We've now tested three different RTX 3080 Ti cards, with the two custom cards having identical specs. But specs don't tell the whole store, as card design and cooling can also factor into the equation. The Zotac Amp Holo is the largest of the three cards, at least by certain metrics. It measures 317.8mm x 131.8mm x 64.6mm and weighs just over 1500g. The Galax SG card measures 317mm x 113mm x 61mm by comparison, so it's a bit longer but not as tall or as thick.

However, the Galax card also includes a support bracket that adds 12mm to the length and 17mm to the height of the card, and then there's the extra clip-on fan. That's 25mm thick, though it's only at the end of the card and sits on the back. The Galax RTX 3080 Ti SG weighs 1424g, including the extra fan but not the support bracket. In other words, it's a rather large card and definitely not something you'd want to try to cram into a smaller case.

As far as clock speeds go, even compared to the reference 1665MHz, the theoretical difference in performance is only 2.7%. In practice, all of the Nvidia Ampere GPUs we've tested tend to run well above the official boost clocks, and it's not uncommon to see cards with lower official boost clocks actually run at higher speeds in practice. As with the Zotac 3080 Ti, most differences between the GPUs can be chalked up to margin of error in testing, or differences between driver revisions and/or game patches.

The biggest problems with all of the RTX 3080 Ti cards are price and availability. Given current demand, one could argue that the RTX 3080 official launch price of $699 was simply far too low. That's mostly because cryptocurrency mining profitability basically quadrupled after the GPU launched, which meant every miner and their dog wanted to buy as many 3080 cards as possible. But absent cryptomining (see best mining GPUs) and component shortages, $699 was still the right price. Asking $1,199 for the RTX 3080 Ti for an extra 5–10% performance was too much, and third-party cards are taking things even further. Galax informed us there's a lot of variability in pricing right now, but that it expects the retail price for the RTX 3080 Ti SG to be around $1,500 — or £1,150 or €1,350. That's too high in our book, but unfortunately there are apparently plenty of people willing to pay such prices still, as the GPU price index indicates.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: GPU Benchmarks and Hierarchy

MORE: All Graphics Content

Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton's (Senior Editor) love of computers dates back to the dark ages, when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • Udyr
    The New Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG*
    *Some assembly required
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    What goes up must come down, eventually.

    Maybe when intel produces a competitive graphics card or when hell freezes over.
    Reply
  • coromonadalix
    Ugly as h .... I dont see any advantages, take lots of space for almost nothing ?? will it crash with lots of fps ??
    Reply
  • Why_Me
    Will Tom's ever get a drop down menu for their reviews or will they remain 15 years behind the times.
    Reply
  • Historical Fidelity
    Hey great article but the only thing I was looking for was the one thing that is different with this card compared to other 3080 tis and that is cooling performance with and without the 4th fan. Is it a gimmick or does it actually help?
    Reply
  • Yuka
    Historical Fidelity said:
    Hey great article but the only thing I was looking for was the one thing that is different with this card compared to other 3080 tis and that is cooling performance with and without the 4th fan. Is it a gimmick or does it actually help?
    It actually helps (or should), but the fan alone is not enough; it needs a heatsink as well. It's a famous mod, for 3090s especially, since they get REALLY hot. I have a friend with a 3080 and he modded it for the back heatsink and fan.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    Yuka said:
    It actually helps (or should), but the fan alone is not enough; it needs a heatsink as well. It's a famous mod, for 3090s especially, since they get REALLY hot. I have a friend with a 3080 and he modded it for the back heatsink and fan.

    Regards.
    It's why I specifically noted the GDDR6X temps were 14C below the Founders Edition under load, and 6C below the Zotac card. I don't know that it's from the 4th fan necessarily, but the cooler definitely makes better contact with the VRAM.
    Reply
  • pedi9004
    Admin said:
    High performance, if you can get it.

    Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG Review: Quadruple Fan Cooling : Read more

    Th for the review. its look like a solid card with very good thermal performance. also very nice rgb lightning. is overall build quality(chokes, capacitors and ...) also good in galax?
    Reply