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Nvidia RTX 3080 versus RTX 2080 Super

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 has been officially announced as Team Green’s new flagship gaming graphics card, and while it promises great things when it comes to powering the best PC games, how does it compare to its predecessor, the RTX 2080. Super?

This is a question we’ll answer here, comparing the Nvidia RTX 3080 and RTX 2080 Super. We’ll see if the RTX 3080 is a worthwhile upgrade for RTX 2080 Super owners, as well as see if the older card is a better buy for gamers on a tight budget.

Because, even though the RTX 3080 (along with its siblings, the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3090) is the new spiciness, the RTX 2080 Super is still an excellent card in its own right. For people looking to upgrade their gaming PCs, then, this offers a dilemma: Nvidia RTX 3080 or RTX 2080 Super: Which GPU is best for you?

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia RTX 3080 vs RTX 2080 Super price

In the run-up to the launch of the RTX 3080, many of us were concerned about how much Nvidia would ask for the GPU. After all, the company has quite a reputation when it comes to releasing expensive components.

However, with the revelation that the RTX 3080 will cost $ 699 (£ 649, around AU $ 950), we were pleasantly surprised. Sure, it’s still high, but not as high as we feared, due to the specs, and it actually launches for roughly the same price as the original. RTX 2080 launched for, as well as RTX 2080 Super.

Now, if the 2080 Super were still sold at that price, there would be no competition – the RTX 3080 is the one thanks to the leap in performance over the 2080 Super – and at no extra cost.

However, since the RTX 2080 Super launched last year, prices have dropped and you can now get it for around $ 100 / £ 100 less. With the release of the RTX 3080, prices may drop further. That would make the RTX 2080 Super a more attractive purchase.

However, as the RTX 2080 Super is still a recent and powerful card, don’t expect the price to drop mashed potato a lot, especially with some retailers who now no longer stock the card.

It does mean, however, that you could sell your RTX 2080 Super to finance the purchase of the RTX 3080. But would it be worth it? Let’s take a deeper look.

(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia RTX 3080 vs RTX 2080 Super: specifications

On paper, the RTX 3080 looks like a decent upgrade with some very exciting technology:

  • CUDA cores: 8,704
  • Boost Clock: 1.71 GHz
  • Basic clock: 1.44 GHz
  • Memory interface: 320 bits
  • TDP: 320W

So how does it compare to the 2080 Super? Here are the specs of the old card:

  • CUDA cores: 3,072
  • Boost Clock: 1.8 GHz
  • Basic clock: 1.6 GHz
  • Memory interface: 256 bit
  • TDP: 250W

By comparing these two specs, you can quickly see what a leap the RTX 3080 is over the RTX 2080 Super – and that’s before we even get into the new tensor cores and advantages of the 3080’s Ampere architecture over the 2080 Super’s Turing.

The clear advantages, looking at the specs, are when it comes to CUDA cores and memory. On the CUDA front, the RTX 3080 offers more than double that. But what does it actually mean?

Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) cores are essentially parallel processors that allow an Nvidia GPU to handle multiple complex tasks simultaneously, such as rendering lighting, character models, and scenery at the same time. Basically, the more CUDA cores, the more efficient the GPU is for handling demanding and complex graphics, similar to a quad-core processor for multi-tasking compared to a dual-core processor.

So, the RTX 3080’s big CUDA advantage over the RTX 2080 Super could be one of the main reasons for choosing the newer card.

Then there is the memory. Not only does the RTX 3080 have more, but it uses faster GDDR6X memory, compared to the 2080 Super’s GDDR6.

The memory interface of the RTX 3080 is also faster, so once again the RTX 3080 has a big advantage. Having more, faster, memory will pay off when playing at high resolution. So, if you’re looking to play games at 4K or even 8K resolutions, or you’ll be using an ultrawide monitor or multiple monitors at the same time, the RTX 3080 is, again, the one.

However, we should note that the specs for the RTX 2080 Super are still very good, and it has a faster base and boost clock than the RTX 3080. If you have a 2080 Super, don’t think it’s outdated yet.

Now, comparing specs will only get you so far when you understand what kind of performance difference there will be. Once we have finished our extensive tests of the RTX 3080, we will be able to better compare the two cards.

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Nvidia RTX 3080 vs RTX 2080 Super: which one to buy?

So, should you buy RTX 3080 or RTX 2080 Super? If you are looking to upgrade your PC with a new GPU and you have the budget, you should go for the RTX 3080 every time. The spec bump means it will be a heck of a GPU and happily power upcoming games for years to come. When you pay this kind of money, you’ll want to try and get the most capable GPU possible, which is easily the RTX 3080.

The fact that Nvidia has been pretty aggressive with the price of the new GPU means it’s even more attractive.

If you’re on a tight budget, the RTX 2080 Super might be a cheaper way to get high-end graphics, but mitigate your expectations with how low the GPU price will drop. You may still find the RTX 3070 a better buy, offering Ampere functionality for less money.

But what if you already own an RTX 2080 Super? Should you upgrade? Perhaps, if you can sell your card for a decent amount, it could mean getting a much more powerful GPU for a small initial outlay.

However, the RTX 2080 Super is still an excellent card, so you might want to hold on to it for now, as it will continue to easily play modern games at 1080p, 1440p, and even 4K, with relative ease. So when the RTX 4000 series comes out, you may find that you can get an even better upgrade.

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