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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Review: High-Res Gaming at a Premium Price

Conclusion

In the space beyond GeForce RTX 2070 Super’s performance, Nvidia lives in its own world. The GeForce RTX 2080 Super and 2080 Ti are simply uncontested by anything in AMD’s portfolio. We’re reminded of this by their price tags: $700 and $1,200, respectively.

The GeForce RTX 2080 Super is 13% faster than GeForce RTX 2070 Super through our benchmark suite at 2560 x 1440, yet 40% more expensive. Meanwhile the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is 28% faster than 2070 Super at the same resolution, and 140% pricier. But if you’re a gamer with a high-refresh QHD display or a 4K monitor, these two cards are your best options for high frame rates with the nicest-looking quality settings enabled.

Although GeForce RTX 2080 Ti lives on at $1,200, Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 2080 Super improves upon the 2080 Founders Edition’s price and performance by posting average frame rates 6% higher for $100 less. The result is a 21% improvement in performance per dollar. Of course, less expensive 2080s make the 2080 Super a more modest proposition; they already sell for as little as $700, leaving you with just the 6% speed-up to speak of.

Beyond the numbers, GeForce RTX 2080 Super is interesting for its use of a complete TU104 processor and Samsung’s 16 Gb/s GDDR6 memory modules.

According to Nvidia, the 2080 Super’s similarities to its GeForce RTX 2080 are deliberate. By leveraging the same PCB, power supply, and thermal solution, the company’s partners can ramp up supply of the new card more easily. And that’s a good thing because once Nvidia sells out of its own Founders Edition cards, there may not be another batch to take its place; third-party boards will be the only game in town. Tangentially, it’s worth noting that the out-of-stock GeForce RTX 2060 Super and 2070 Super card’s on Nvidia’s own web store will be replenished.

The downsides to creating a more power-hungry product without upgrading its cooler include warmer operating temperatures, higher fan speeds to cope with the thermals, and more noise. Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Super isn’t loud by any definition. But it certainly loses some of its elegance compared to the other two Supers, which maintain lower temperatures despite slower-spinning fans.

As with its 2060 Super and 2070 Super cards, Nvidia does bolster the value of GeForce RTX 2080 Super by including copies of Control (coming late-August) and Wolfenstein: Youngblood (launching in just a few days). While we don’t give out bonus points for temporary game bundles, they’re certainly worth calling out for the gamers who would have purchased those titles anyway. Naturally, both games feature ray tracing support.

In the end, GeForce RTX 2080 Super represents a slight performance improvement over GeForce RTX 2080. It’s quite a bit less expensive than GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition but matches the price of third-party 2080s already available. The 2080 Super was designed in a way that allows Nvidia’s partners to repurpose their existing efforts. Its power consumption is 25-35W higher though, so expect warmer GPU temperatures, faster fan speeds, and slightly elevated acoustics. Although the GeForce RTX 2080 Super isn’t perfect, enthusiasts who crave more performance than what GeForce RTX 2070 Super or Radeon RX 5700 XT offer only have one option under the opulent GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and that’s the 2080 Super. If you need the frame rates it offers, this is your only choice short of Nvidia's flagship.

Image Credits: Nvidia, Tom's Hardware

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Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.