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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)

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Our test configuration for the hardware and software remains unchanged from other recent reviews. We're using an 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K running stock clocks, but with DDR4-3600 memory and the XMP profile enabled. The CPU generally runs at 4.7 GHz during our gaming benchmarks, though the slightly older Coffee Lake architecture can be a bit of a bottleneck at lower resolutions.

We already tested ray tracing and DLSS performance in the reference RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition review, and for third-party cards, we're only going to look at our standard 13 game test suite, running at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p and ultra settings. Each test setting gets run multiple times, to ensure the consistency of our results. Considering the similar specs on the Galax card and other 3080 Ti models, we should see very little difference between the offerings.

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Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Performance from the Galax card was right where we'd expect, though a few games show a slight drop or gain in performance that we believe comes from game updates (drivers could also be a factor). The Galax card came in less than 1% behind the other two 3080 Ti cards we've tested in our overall metric, and all of the individual results are within margin of error. We tested the Galax with Nvidia's latest 471.41 drivers, while the other two cards were tested with the launch drivers.

In short, we didn't see anything particularly worrisome with the Galax card. Slight variations between benchmarks are the norm, particularly for cards that were tested two months apart from each other. Anything less than a 5% difference in performance certainly isn't noticeable when actually playing games, and we'd say even 10% differences are right at the threshold of perceptibility. That doesn't mean one card isn't slightly faster, but small differences in performance aren't nearly as important as other aspects, like aesthetics or price — or just finding a GPU in stock.

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Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

At 1440p, the overall results from the three RTX 3080 Ti cards are even closer, with the usual variations in the individual games. Sometimes the Galax card is the 'slowest' of the three 3080 Ti cards; other times it's the 'fastest' option. Practically speaking, the cards are all basically tied. Do note that Red Dead Redemption 2 got a recent update that enables DLSS support, and that may have dropped the non-DLSS results a bit.

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Galax GeForce RTX 3080 Ti SG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Finally, 1080p ultra puts more of a load on the Core i9-9900K, and performance ended up as a tie between the three 3080 Ti cards. Also note that AMD's RX 6800 XT now places ahead of the 3080 Ti, though just barely — another tie. We'd generally skip buying a card like the RTX 3080 Ti for 1080p gaming, as 'slower' GPUs end up performing just as well. Even if you have a high refresh rate eSports monitor, usually the game matters more than the GPU. CSGO and LOL don't need a 3080 Ti any more than a 3080 or even a 3060, for example.

You can of course make the argument that maxed out ray tracing effects at 1080p could benefit, but the most demanding ray tracing games — like Cyberpunk 2077 as an example — also tend to support DLSS 2.0, which means 1440p and 4K are still within reach of GPUs like the 3080 Ti. There's nothing stopping you from using an extreme GPU at 1080p, but overall the 3080 Ti was only 6% faster than the RTX 3080, and plenty of games run into CPU bottlenecks. 

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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