Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti review: Basically a 3090, but for gamers

Say hello to Nvidia's "new gaming flagship."

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Gears Tactics

Gears Tactics puts it own brutal, fast-paced spin on the XCOM-like genre. This Unreal Engine 4-powered game was built from the ground up for DirectX 12, and we love being able to work a tactics-style game into our benchmarking suite. Better yet, the game comes with a plethora of graphics options for PC snobs. More games should devote such loving care to explaining what flipping all these visual knobs mean.

You can’t use the presets to benchmark Gears Tactics, as it intelligently scales to work best on your installed hardware, meaning that “Ultra” on one graphics card can load different settings than “Ultra” on a weaker card. We manually set all options to their highest possible settings.

gears Brad Chacos/IDG

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Wolfenstein: Youngblood is more fun when you can play cooperatively with a buddy, but it’s a fearless experiment—and an absolute technical showcase. Running on the Vulkan API, Youngblood achieves blistering frame rates, and it supports all sorts of cutting-edge technologies like ray tracing, DLSS 2.0, HDR, GPU culling, asynchronous computing, and Nvidia’s Content Adaptive Shading. The game includes a built-in benchmark with two different scenes; we tested Riverside.

wolf Brad Chacos/IDG

Metro Exodus

One of the best games of 2019, Metro Exodus remains one of the best-looking games around, too. The latest version of the 4A Engine provides incredibly luscious, ultra-detailed visuals, with one of the most stunning real-time ray tracing implementations released yet. The Extreme graphics preset we benchmark can melt even the most powerful modern hardware, as you’ll see below, though the game’s Ultra and High presets still look good at much higher frame rates.

We test in DirectX 12 mode with ray tracing, Hairworks, and DLSS disabled.

metro Brad Chacos/IDG

Borderlands 3

Borderlands is back! Gearbox’s game defaults to DX12, so we do as well. It gives us a glimpse at the ultra-popular Unreal Engine 4’s performance in a traditional shooter. This game tends to favor AMD hardware.

borderlands Brad Chacos/IDG

Strange Brigade

Strange Brigade is a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blasts through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine. We test using the Vulkan renderer, which is faster than DX12.

strange brigade Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: gaming benchmarks continue

At a Glance
  • Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is essentially an RTX 3090 in all but name (and memory capacity). It's an exceptional graphics card for 4K gaming with no major weak links, but the Founders Edition cooler isn't quite as impressive in this form and still needs an ugly power adapter. Actual price and availability remain a concern during the crippling worldwide GPU shortage.

    Pros

    • Excellent 4K and 1440p gaming
    • 12GB of high-speed GDDR6X memory
    • Best-in-class ray tracing, DLSS 2.0
    • Nvidia software: Reflex, G-Sync, Shadowplay, Broadcast, RTX IO, DLSS
    • Founders Edition design is gorgeous and effective
    • PCIe 4.0, Resizable BAR, and Nvidia Lite Hash Rate tech

    Cons

    • Big price increase vs. prior xx80 Ti models
    • Proprietary 12-pin power connector requires ugly adapter
    • Actual price, availability in doubt due to GPU shortage
    • Founders Edition design isn't as effective as on other RTX 30 models, and lacks extra features
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