Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition review: A modest upgrade to a powerful GPU

Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 Super is the second most-powerful GPU ever released, but it loses its unique identity in the new-look Super lineup.

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GTA V

We’re going to wrap things up with a game that isn’t really a visual barn-burner, but still tops the Steam charts day in and day out. We test Grand Theft Auto V ($30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gta v Brad Chacos/IDG

Real-time ray tracing performance

Nvidia crammed more dedicated real-time ray tracing hardware into the Super GPUs, so we wanted to put that to the test, too.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider supports ray traced shadows, and it doesn’t instantly tank your frame rate, especially when paired with Nvidia’s Deep-Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology. DLSS uses the dedicated tensor cores in RTX GPUs to use AI to perform supersampling with a lower performance hit, reclaiming some of the frame rate lost by enabling real-time ray tracing. If you want to know more nitty-gritty details, be sure to check out our deep-dive into the Nvidia Turing GPU architecture. It’s fascinating stuff.

ray tracing Brad Chacos/IDG

We tested ray tracing performance with RTX Shadows set to both Medium and Ultra settings, and DLSS on and off for each, using the game’s built-in benchmark. Resolution was set to 2560x1440 for all runs. Radeon cards lack dedicated ray tracing hardware and cannot enable these options, so we didn’t benchmark any of AMD’s offerings.

The RTX 2080 Super doesn’t provide much of a boost over the vanilla RTX 2080, but it is noticeably faster than the RTX 2070 Super in real-time ray tracing performance.

Next page: Power draw, thermals, and synthetic benchmarks

At a Glance
  • The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition is the second most-powerful GPU ever released and great for 4K or ultra-fast 1440p gaming, but this modest upgrade loses its unique value proposition in the new-look RTX Super lineup.

    Pros

    • Excellent 1440p and good 4K gaming performance
    • Supports real-time ray tracing and DLSS
    • Nvidia's metallic Founders Edition design is gorgeous
    • Fastest GDDR6 memory available
    • Supports multi-GPU SLI configurations

    Cons

    • Not much faster than original RTX 2080
    • Ray traced games picking up steam, but still relatively rare
    • RTX 2070 Super serves same basic needs at much lower price
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