Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition Review: Faster, More Expensive Than GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

Conclusion

Nvidia made it easy for us to fall in love with GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, the Turing-based flagship. The company started with a sophisticated TU102 processor architected to run faster, yet more efficiently than the generation prior. It flanked that chip with 11GB of GDDR6, giving us a first taste of memory bandwidth numbers above 600 GB/s on the desktop. A big vapor chamber was dropped on top, dissipating the board’s 260W as quietly as possible.

Then, Nvidia put rubber to the road with unprecedented performance in today’s games. GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is fast enough for smooth frame rates at 4K using the highest quality presets available. Only one other graphics card comes close to rivaling it: the mighty Titan V. Of course, $1200 is a lot of money. But $1200 to do something that wasn’t possible before makes the pill a little easier to swallow.  

Now, the problem with GeForce RTX 2080, Nvidia’s second-fastest Turing card, is that it’s only marginally faster than GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Moreover, Nvidia’s Pascal-based flagship is currently available for about $100 less than the RTX 2080 Founders Edition. Neither card allows you enjoy 4K gaming unconditionally. If you want to crank up the detail settings, they both necessitate dropping to 2560x1440 occasionally. In fact, it’s easier to think of them as ideal companions for high-refresh QHD monitors.

Nvidia does try for a more favorable comparison by pitting the 2080 against GeForce GTX 1080. But there’s no way to reconcile a greater-than $300 difference between the cheapest 1080s and GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition’s asking price. It’d be like comparing GeForce GTX 1080 Ti to GTX 980 a year ago; they’re simply in different classes.

Star Wars Reflections

Notice that we’re not talking about ray tracing as a reason to buy GeForce RTX 2080 instead of GTX 1080 Ti. Without question, the technology packed into Turing has us captivated. And if the first game to launch with real-time hybrid rendering support bowls us over, we’ll change our tune. However, we’re not going to recommend paying a premium today for hardware that can’t be fully utilized yet based solely on what it should be able to do in the future. This is doubly true since we don't yet know how RTX 2080 fares with two-thirds of RTX 2080 Ti's RT core count.

There will come a time when the availability of Pascal-based GeForce cards tapers off, removing the choice between GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080. By then we hope to see 2080s that start in the $700 range, replacing GTX 1080 Ti with a more capable successor. For now, though, GeForce RTX 2080 feels like a side-grade to GTX 1080 Ti. It's faster and more expensive, with a lot more potential, but not something we'd rush to jump into right now.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: Desktop GPU Performance Hierarchy Table

MORE: All Graphics Content

90 comments
    Your comment
  • wh3resmycar
    failure, this is a failure.

    this gtx20 series looks like it won't be worth it.
  • velocityg4
    What? No “just buy it” in your conclusion.

    Considering Founders edition usually starts about $100 more that standard edition. Plus, it is new to market. If a 2080 can be had for $100 more than a 1080 Ti. The price is as expected.
  • tojumikie
    another price-panicked pundit
  • Krazie_Ivan
    2080 should have been the 2070, as it barely beats a 1080ti and is the TU104 die. and given the 30mo since Pascal launch, we should almost be looking at 3000 series benches. combine those two with the insane pricing, and Turing/RTX is a huge disappointment. DLSS could be nice and i'm glad Nvidia is pushing for RT development, but there's not enough positives here to justify the costs. $380 2080 / $500 2080ti (and relabel them to match their die codes, like Keplar-Pascal)... otherwise, no thx.
  • chaosmassive
    thank you for your thorough review on these cards,
    finally the card has been demystified and indeed for the price is it not worth the buy considering 1080 ti in such a low price..

    turned out I dont need ray tracing in my life before I die.
  • shrapnel_indie
    Quote:
    After seeing the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti serve up respectable performance in Battlefield V at 1920x1080 with ray tracing enabled,

    Quote:
    Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for another day to measure RTX 2080’s alacrity in ray-traced games. There simply aren’t any available yet.


    Odd... either ray tracing graphics games are available or they're not. You can't test what isn't available for testing... and RT for BF5, last I heard was a zero-day patch... (or was it the modifications to RT that was supposed to improve FPS to acceptable levels.)
  • cangelini
    330834 said:
    Quote:
    After seeing the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti serve up respectable performance in Battlefield V at 1920x1080 with ray tracing enabled,
    Quote:
    Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for another day to measure RTX 2080’s alacrity in ray-traced games. There simply aren’t any available yet.
    Odd... either ray tracing graphics games are available or they're not. You can't test what isn't available for testing... and RT for BF5, last I heard was a zero-day patch... (or was it the modifications to RT that was supposed to improve FPS to acceptable levels.)


    They're not available, but we've seen Battlefield 5 in action with ray tracing enabled ;)
  • WINTERLORD
    wait a minute the 2080 has only one RT core and the 2080 has 72 RT cores? I think there may be an error in the review. update spoke to soon i think that means 1rt cluster...

    first page says " TU104 is constructed with the same building blocks as TU102; it just features fewer of them. Streaming Multiprocessors still sport 64 CUDA cores, eight Tensor cores, one RT core, four texture units, 16 load/store units, 256KB of register space, and 96KB of L1 cache/shared memory. "
  • jimmysmitty
    147653 said:
    failure, this is a failure. this gtx20 series looks like it won't be worth it.


    I think sales will determine that and if history is anything without stiff competition from AMD I am sure they will sell just fine especially once the AiB cards come out.

    112024 said:
    What? No “just buy it” in your conclusion. Considering Founders edition usually starts about $100 more that standard edition. Plus, it is new to market. If a 2080 can be had for $100 more than a 1080 Ti. The price is as expected.


    Chris has never been like that.

    That said, the pricing should be decent for AiB after a few months. When they launch they get price gouged. Still I would have loved a GTX 1080 price number. That GPU outperformed the 980 Ti by a good margin and was cheaper at launch.

    Maybe AMD will come out with something sometime soon. Otherwise we wont see pricing drop. That or AMD will take advantage of the pricing increase and up theirs too.
  • hixbot
    Such a shame 2.5 years after pascal launches, performance per dollar does not improve.
  • mapesdhs
    Wait, are you comparing to a 1080 Ti FE here? But who has that? Most people would have AIB versions of the 1080 Ti, in which case the margin between it and the 2080 FE will be smaller, and in more cases the 2080 FE will be slower. The charts really should include at least one typically decent AIB card, like an FTW3 or something.
  • jimmysmitty
    117741 said:
    Wait, are you comparing to a 1080 Ti FE here? But who has that? Most people would have AIB versions of the 1080 Ti, in which case the margin between it and the 2080 FE will be smaller, and in more cases the 2080 FE will be slower. The charts really should include at least one typically decent AIB card, like an FTW3 or something.


    True but the AiB versions of the 20 series will be out soon as well meaning they should also increase performance with higher stock clocks/faster VRAM.
  • TMTOWTSAC
    Looks like the 2080 ti is the first true no-compromise 4k card. That's going to be worth it to a lot of people regardless of price. The 2080 will live or die based on its performance in RT titles, and whether or not RT games take off quickly enough of course.

    All of which makes me think the 2070 is DOA. There's no way it can be as fast as the 1080 ti. It might not even be cheaper. And RT performance? It has half the RT cores of the 2080 ti running at a lower clock speed. If the 2080 ti is targeting 60fps@1080p with RT on, there's no way the 2070 can produce acceptable framerates. Is there anywhere in the product stack for that card?
  • saunupe1911
    You guys are missing the big picture here. It's the later half of 2018 and we still can't get 4K 60 FPS gaming at Ultra settings on a graphics card for under $1K. I would rather just stick to my little 1070 and crank settings down here and there to achieve what I need smh. I could care less about 144 MHz at 1440p.

    And I don't even want to read a 2070 review. That card simply won't be worth it.
  • cryoburner
    I'm glad to see the review put a heavy focus on price compared to the 1080 Ti, rather than just saying "Wowzers, look at how much faster it is than a 1080!"

    Also, I found it interesting that the performance of these cards if often a bit more similar to Vega. Not the specific performance levels, but the performance of the architectures in general relative to Pascal. In the games that Vega hits harder against Pascal, like BF1 or Forza, Turing tends to as well, while the games where Vega Falls behind, Turing's results are also less impressive. That is, aside from maybe Division, where Vega does exceptionally well, but Turing does somewhat poorly. Perhaps upcoming cards that show more performance overlap between the two companies will perform more similar than we've seen in recent years though.

    Of course, there's also raytracing performance that could affect things to some unknown degree. Turing should handle raytraced effects far better than Pascal, but it's yet to be seen whether AMD's next cards will offer competitive raytracing performance as well, or even if raytraced effects will become common enough within the next couple years for it to even matter much. The same goes for DLSS, which could potentially provide better or faster antialiasing. Though I would take Nvidia's cherry-picked Final Fantasy tech demo with a grain of salt, since it's difficult to say what exact settings were used, or whether they selected a certain scene where the feature worked atypically well. Until proper games are able to be tested with the feature, it's anyone's guess.

    2020099 said:
    Looks like the 2080 ti is the first true no-compromise 4k card.

    I wouldn't say that. As soon as games start adding raytraced effects, it might might be lucky to maintain 60fps at 1080p. : P It would certainly be a compromise having to disable major visual effects just to get anywhere close to pushing 4K resolution on a $1200 card. It's certainly possible that developers will greatly tone down the quality of the effects to get them running better though, but that means these technology demonstrations of RTX that Nvidia has been showing off might not actually be all that representative of how the effects will look when they appear in actual games. I know Battlefield V's developer was already talking about having to scale back the raytracing effects from what was shown at Nvidia's conference. Either way, I don't expect the 2080 Ti to be running next year's games at max graphics settings with stable frame rates at 4K.
  • TJ Hooker
    It looks like the 2080 consumers nearly as much power as the 1080 Ti. That means that, in addition to not offering a meaningful improvement to performance per dollar compared to a card that came out 1.5 years ago, it doesn't significantly improve on performance per watt either...
  • newsonline5000000
    Last time the 1060 replaced the 980

    and the 1070 was faster than 980 and same speed of 980 ti


    and now after 2.5 years Nvidia is giving us What exactly ? RTX 2080 for $800 ??? The RTX 2080 should replace 1070 at $450
  • none12345
    About what i expected. The 2080ti is the money is no object champion. For anyone who can afford it, its the card to get.

    The rest of the RTX series is not worth it. Performance/$ goes down, which is absurd. Performance/$ has never gone down before for a new line of gpus. Especially after waiting over 2 years(which is a long time to wait for a new gen of gpus compared to the past).

    I don't have a 16nm card, but I'll wait for 7nm cards, i want a performance/$ increase on a new generation or no sale. And i don't want to buy into a >2 year old generation, so im not buying a 1080 at this point either. I'll wait for something better at a reasonable price.

    While i have been wanting high fidelity real time ray tracing for the past 20 years...i am not willing to pay a premium for a first draft, especially when there are no games to play. Ill be looking at ray tracing when the next iteration is out. When the bugs have been worked out, when games are out, and when performance is acceptable. For now, i only care about rasterization. History has taught us that when new gpu features come out in a card, the first gen isnt usually very good at it.
  • cryoburner
    1636679 said:
    It looks like the 2080 consumers nearly as much power as the 1080 Ti. That means, in addition to not offering a meaningful improvement to performance per dollar compared to a card that came out 1.5 years ago, it doesn't significantly improve on performance per watt either...

    It makes some sense, since it has fewer graphics cores, but the ones that are there are clocked higher to make up the difference, and it is also adding RT and Tensor cores, while the efficiency gains moving from 16nm to 12nm should be a lot smaller than the jump from 28nm to 16nm.

    I'm curious how much something like hybrid raytracing will affect the power use as well. It seems like the card sticks hard to a 225 watt limit though, so perhaps it will cut into the graphics core clocks when RTX is active to divert power to the RT cores.
  • TJ Hooker
    582021 said:
    1636679 said:
    It looks like the 2080 consumers nearly as much power as the 1080 Ti. That means, in addition to not offering a meaningful improvement to performance per dollar compared to a card that came out 1.5 years ago, it doesn't significantly improve on performance per watt either...
    It makes some sense, since it has fewer graphics cores, but the ones that are there are clocked higher to make up the difference, and it is also adding RT and Tensor cores, while the efficiency gains moving from 16nm to 12nm should be a lot smaller than the jump from 28nm to 16nm.

    Sure, but you can still get efficiency gains from architecture, independent of process node. Just look at Maxwell vs Kepler, both on 28 nm. It looks like any gains here are either very small or offset by RT/tensor cores as you suggest, making the inclusion of that hardware even more of a gamble on things like ray tracing and DLSS taking off.
  • redgarl
    Price wise, this is unacceptable and offer less value than a Vega 64.
  • mapesdhs
    jimmysmitty (sorry, can't quote properly, forums are fubar), yes but we don't know that there will be any vetter value there with the AIB cards, and there's a different binning process now. I also notice that the oc'd results are not that impressive anyway, doesn't really boost things that much, not like it used to with GPUs, because of course the numbers one dials in are not what are actually used, and there's voltage lockouts, all sorts of things now. Either way, I am not impressed, 2020 basically the same give or take as a 1080 Ti, it makes the 2080 pointless. Plus, I have no doubt supply will be such that actual retail will be way over RRP anyways, so again it's kinda daft. I also disklike the lack of "SLI" on the 2070 and below. I don't know what the heck these things are nowadays but they're not "midrange" cards, not at these prices and with feature lockouts, etc. The 2050/2060 will be even more gimped I'm sure, possibly rehashed Pascal.

    I had thought JZ2C's idea about maybe NVIDIA was being shy about the performance, the poor PR, etc., as a ploy to encourage people to buy surplus Pascal stock, but no, in reality it's because they're just not that faster overall, and even if they were, at these prices there's no value there, at least not for me, I guess some will buy them anyway if they can afford it and aren't bothered, etc., that's up to them as I've said before.

    I was surprised to find btw my old GTX 980 SLI result was basically the same as a 2080 for Firestrike Ultra. Either way, I can't see a rationale for buying any 20x0 card when the 1080 Ti is now so much cheaper, and the situation for RTX is even more hoopla (LTT's video about this is a good summary).

    Ian.
  • cangelini
    117741 said:
    Wait, are you comparing to a 1080 Ti FE here? But who has that? Most people would have AIB versions of the 1080 Ti, in which case the margin between it and the 2080 FE will be smaller, and in more cases the 2080 FE will be slower. The charts really should include at least one typically decent AIB card, like an FTW3 or something.


    Yes, as mentioned in the piece, all cards are Founders Edition or reference (in the case of AMD). Picking AIB cards to represent each model gets tricky, as you might imagine; as soon as you grab an overclocked 1080 Ti, for example, you'd better have a comparably-tuned Vega 64 as well or everyone starts keeping score of who gets favoritism ;)

    I do have plans to start testing AIB cards next, at which point, we'll be using third-party AMD *and* Nvidia hardware for those types of comparisons.

    Hope you're well, by the way. It's been a while!
    Chris
  • mitch074
    Funny that Doom isn't tested using TSAA - it seems Nvidia still doesn't support asynchronous compute, so let's not make them look bad.