Keeping their tradition alive of launching a new graphics architecture every two years, this year, NVIDIA introduces its Ampere GPU. The Ampere GPU is built upon the foundation set by Turing. Termed as its biggest generational leap, the NVIDIA Ampere GPUs excel compared to previous generations at everything.
The Ampere lineup offers faster shader performance, faster ray tracing performance, and faster AI performance. Built on a brand new process node and featuring an architecture designed from the ground up, Ampere is a killer product with lots of numbers to talk about.
The fundamental of Ampere was to take everything NVIDIA learned with its Turing architecture and not only refine it but to use its DNA to form a product in a completely new performance category. Tall claims were made by NVIDIA when they introduced its Ampere lineup earlier this month & we will be finding out whether NVIDIA hit all the ticks with its Ampere architecture as this review will be your guiding path to see what makes Ampere and how it performs against its predecessors.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Gaming Graphics Cards – The Biggest GPU Performance Leap in Recent History
Turing wasn’t just any graphics core, it was the graphics core that was to become the foundation of future GPUs. The future is realized now with next-generation consoles going deep in talks about ray tracing and AI-assisted super-sampling techniques. NVIDIA had a head start with Turing and its Ampere generation will only do things infinitely times better.
The Ampere GPU does many traditional things that we would expect from a GPU, but at the same time, also breaks the barrier when it comes to untraditional GPU operations. Just to sum up some features:
- New Streaming Multiprocessor (SM)
- New Turing Tensor Cores
- New Real-Time Ray Tracing Acceleration
- New Shading Enhancements
- New Deep Learning Features For Graphics & Inference
- New GDDR6X High-Performance Memory Subsystem
- New 2nd Generation NVLINK Interconnect
- New HDMI 2.1 Display Engine & Next-Gen NVENC/NVDEC
The technologies mentioned above are some of the main building blocks of the Ampere GPU, but there’s more within the graphics core itself which we will talk about in detail so let’s get started.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Pricing Per Segment
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series is made up of a diverse portfolio of graphics cards. Currently, you will only be limited to the higher-end configurations starting at $499 US for the GeForce RTX 3070, $699 US for the GeForce RTX 3080, and $1499 US for the GeForce RTX 3090. NVIDIA themselves call the GeForce RTX 3080 the flagship graphics card and not the GeForce RTX 3090.
The RTX 3080 & RTX 3070 are both priced well and in-line with their predecessors but the GeForce RTX 3090 goes all out with a price of $1499 US. NVIDIA calls the GeForce RTX 3090 the “BFGPU” and as per the terminology, it seems like this is a new marketing name for the Titan graphics card. It is likely that we could see a Titan based card under the Quadro branding with faster specs out of the box but the GeForce RTX 3090 is purely a gaming graphics card first with all the horsepower for intense professional and workstation workloads.
With that said, the GeForce RTX 3080 replaces the RTX 2080 SUPER at the same price point and the GeForce RTX 3070 replaces the GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER at the same price point. Given this trend, we might see the more mainstream variants cost just as much as their RTX 20 SUPER series cards but with a higher performance out of the box.
NVIDIA GeForce GPU Segment/Tier Prices
|Titan Tier||Titan X (Maxwell)||Titan X (Pascal)||Titan Xp (Pascal)||Titan V (Volta)||Titan RTX (Turing)||GeForce RTX 3090|
|Price||$999 US||$1199 US||$1199 US||$2999 US||$2499 US||$1499 US|
|Ultra Enthusiast Tier||GeForce GTX 980 Ti||GeForce GTX 980 Ti||GeForce GTX 1080 Ti||GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||GeForce RTX 2080 Ti||GeForce RTX 3080 Ti|
|Price||$649 US||$649 US||$699 US||$999 US||$999 US||$1199 US|
|Enthusiast Tier||GeForce GTX 980||GeForce GTX 1080||GeForce GTX 1080||GeForce RTX 2080||GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER||GeForce RTX 3080|
|Price||$549 US||$549 US||$549 US||$699 US||$699 US||$699 US|
|High-End Tier||GeForce GTX 970||GeForce GTX 1070||GeForce GTX 1070||GeForce RTX 2070||GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER||GeForce RTX 3070 Ti
GeForce RTX 3070
|Price||$329 US||$379 US||$379 US||$499 US||$499 US||$599
|Mainstream Tier||GeForce GTX 960||GeForce GTX 1060||GeForce GTX 1060||GeForce GTX 1060||GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER
GeForce RTX 2060
GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER
GeForce GTX 1660
|GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
GeForce RTX 3060 12 GB
|Price||$199 US||$249 US||$249 US||$249 US||$399 US
|Entry Tier||GTX 750 Ti
|GTX 950||GTX 1050 Ti
|GTX 1050 Ti
|GTX 1650 SUPER
|$149 US||$139 US
In addition to the specs/price update, NVIDIA’s RTX technologies are being widely adopted by major game engines and APIs such as Microsoft’s DirectX (DXR), Vulkan, Unreal Engine, Unity, and Frostbite. While there were only three RTX titles around the launch of the RTX 20 series cards, NVIDIA now has at least 28 titles that utilize their RTX feature set to offer real-time ray tracing with more coming soon.
In addition to that, with the upcoming consoles confirmed to feature ray tracing, developers can also make use of the RTX technology to fine-tune future games for the GeForce RTX hardware. Currently, NVIDIA has 13 game engines that are leveraging their RTX technologies for use in their upcoming and existing games while both Vulkan and DirectX 12 Ultimate APIs are part of the RTX ecosystem on the PC platform.
So for this review, I will be taking a look at GALAX’s flagship GeForce RTX 3080 HOF graphics card which goes for a premium of $2200 US since it is a limited edition product aimed at enthusiasts & modders.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Graphics Card
At the heart of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card lies the GA102 GPU. The GA102 is one of the many Ampere GPUs that we will be getting on the gaming segment. The GA102 GPU is the fastest gaming GPU that NVIDIA has produced. The GPU is based on Samsung’s 8nm custom process node designed specifically for NVIDIA and features a total of 28 Billion transistors. It measures at 628mm2 which makes it the 2nd biggest gaming GPU ever produced right below the Turing TU102 GPU.
The new shader core on the NVIDIA Ampere architecture is 2.7x faster, the new RT cores are 1.7x faster while the new Tensor cores are up to 2.7x faster than the previous generation Turing GPUs. The 2nd Generation RT core delivers dedicated hardware-accelerated ray-tracing performance & features twice the ray/triangles intersection with concurrent RT graphics and compute operations.
For the GeForce RTX 3080, NVIDIA has enabled a total of 68 SM units on its flagship which results in a total of 8704 CUDA cores. In addition to the CUDA cores, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3080 also comes packed with next-generation RT (Ray-Tracing) cores, Tensor cores, and brand new SM or streaming multi-processor units.
In terms of memory, the GeForce RTX 3080 comes packed with 10 GB of memory and that too the next-generation GDDR6X design. With Micron’s latest and greatest graphics memory dies, the RTX 3080 can deliver GDDR6X memory speeds of 19.0 Gbps. That along with a bus interface of 320-bit will deliver a cumulative bandwidth of 760 Gbps.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series ‘Ampere’ Graphics Card Specifications:
|Graphics Card Name||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090|
|GPU Name||Ampere GA106-300||Ampere GA104-200||Ampere GA104-300||Ampere GA102-200||Ampere GA102-300|
|Process Node||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm||Samsung 8nm|
|Transistors||TBC||17.4 Billion||17.4 Billion||28 Billion||28 Billion|
|TMUs / ROPs||112 / 64||152 / 80||184 / 96||272 / 96||328 / 112|
|Tensor / RT Cores||112 / 28||152 / 38||184 / 46||272 / 68||328 / 82|
|Base Clock||1320 MHz||1410 MHz||1500 MHz||1440 MHz||1400 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1780 MHz||1665 MHz||1730 MHz||1710 MHz||1700 MHz|
|FP32 Compute||13 TFLOPs||16 TFLOPs||20 TFLOPs||30 TFLOPs||36 TFLOPs|
|RT TFLOPs||25 TFLOPs||32 TFLOPs||40 TFLOPs||58 TFLOPs||69 TFLOPs|
|Tensor-TOPs||101 TOPs||192 TOPs||163 TOPs||238 TOPs||285 TOPs|
|Memory Capacity||12 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6||8 GB GDDR6||10 GB GDDR6X||24 GB GDDR6X|
|Memory Speed||16 Gbps||14 Gbps||14 Gbps||19 Gbps||19.5 Gbps|
|Bandwidth||384 Gbps||448 Gbps||448 Gbps||760 Gbps||936 Gbps|
|Price (MSRP / FE)||$329 US||$399 US||$499 US||$699 US||$1499 US|
|Launch (Availability)||25th February 2021||2nd December 2020||29th October 2020||17th September 2020||24th September 2020|
In case you want to read our full NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture deep dive and GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition review, head over to this link.