Overall, performance from the MSI RTX 3080 12GB was basically equal to the reference RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, but MSI does list a higher power consumption of 400W and includes three 8-pin power connectors. Our Powenetics testing looks at in-line GPU power consumption, so we'll be able to see just how much juice the card requires, and we'll also look at other aspects of the cards. We collect data while running Metro Exodus at 1440p ultra and run the FurMark stress test at 1600x900. Our test PC remains the same old Core i9-9900K as we've used previously, to keep results consistent.
It's not the most power-hungry graphics card we've ever tested, but the MSI 3080 12GB Suprim X can draw quite a bit of power. It averaged 384W in both FurMark and Metro Exodus, about 25W more than the 3080 Ti and 3090 Founders Edition cards, and over 50W more than the 3080 10GB. Let's look at the other aspects of the card to see where the extra power goes.
Running more GPU cores at higher clock speeds is a great way to consume power, which is why the 3090 and 3080 Ti both have lower average clocks than the other Nvidia GPUs. The MSI card meanwhile goes the other direction and averaged about 100MHz higher clocks than the reference 3080 10GB in Metro and nearly breached the 2GHz mark. Clock speeds in FurMark were much lower, falling just under the 3080 FE and sitting at around 1.55GHz.
Despite the high power use and high clocks, the MSI card still keeps thermals and fan speeds at reasonable levels. FurMark averaged 69C, largely due to the throttled GPU clocks, while Metro hit 71C. That was just a hair above the RTX 3080, but much lower than the RTX 3080 Ti's 76C while gaming. Fan speeds were also lower than the 3080 Ti FE, which was expected as that card tended to get quite loud.
We measured noise levels at 10cm using an SPL (sound pressure level) meter, aimed right at the GPU fans in order to minimize the impact of other fans like those on the CPU cooler. The noise floor of our test environment and equipment measures 33 dB(A). The MSI RTX 3080 12GB Suprim X isn't a silent card, but noise levels maxed out at 48.8 dB(A), which isn't bad considering the performance and power use. That equated to a 60% fan speed, and we also tested with a static 75% fan speed that bumped the card up to 54.6 dB of noise.
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I guess that's one way to hit the price point and raw performance metrics.
The interesting thing is that it is the only game (sim to me) that shows a leg stretch gap between the lower tiered/VRAM'd cards, including this 10GB 3080, at 4K. My guess is that's where the Ti's wider memory bus bandwidth, CUDA cores (I still call Nvidia GPU cores that), and extra 2GB VRAM come together to show off the power of the GPU. The same can be said with the 3090 sitting at the top of the FS2020 chart at 4K.
May as well buy a 3080 Ti then.