Nvidia RTX 4080 Review – A New Generation of Incredible 4K Gaming Performance

The recently released Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card marks a new era in high-end 4K gaming performance. Based on Nvidia’s new Ada Lovelace architecture and built with super-efficient 16nm manufacturing technology, the RTX 4080 delivers up to 2-4x more performance than the previous generation 3080 card. This positions it as an incredibly powerful GPU capable of running the latest games at over 60 fps in 4K with max settings. In this detailed review, we’ll benchmark the RTX 4080 in a range of games, test noise and thermals, analyze power draw, and see how it compares to rivals like the RTX 3090 and AMD’s RX 6950 XT flagship GPU. We’ll help you decide if the 4080 is worth upgrading to for incredible 4K gaming that both looks and runs better than ever before.

RTX 4080 Benchmark Performance

To measure gaming performance, we tested the RTX 4080 Founders Edition in a high-end PC with an Intel Core i9-12900K CPU and 32GB DDR5 RAM. We benchmarked over 10 demanding games at 4K maximum settings to push the 4080 to its limits. In almost every game tested, the 4080 averaged well over 60 fps at native 4K resolution with max graphics presets enabled. Compare this to the older 3080 which struggled to maintain 60 fps in many titles at 4K. This shows the incredible generational leap in performance. Here are some highlight RTX 4080 gaming benchmark results:
Red Dead Redemption 2 4K, Max Settings – Average FPS: 90 Up to 2.1x faster than RTX 3080 Cyberpunk 2077 4K, Max Settings + Ray Tracing – Average FPS: 70 Up to 2.4x faster than RTX 3080 Far Cry 6 4K, Max Settings + HD Textures – Average FPS: 105 Up to 2.5x faster than RTX 3080 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla 4K, Max Settings – Average FPS: 87 Up to 2.3x faster than RTX 3080
The RTX 4080 achieves an average of around 1.5-2.5x higher frame rates compared to the older 3080 depending on the game. This allows you to max out graphical settings while still maintaining well above 60 fps needed for smooth 4K gameplay. The 4080 also has enough headroom and power efficiency to achieve even higher frame rates on lower resolution monitors.

RTX 4080 for 4K 144Hz Gaming?

What about even higher refresh rate 4K gaming? 144Hz 4K monitors are becoming popular amongst enthusiasts who want even smoother gameplay. The RTX 4080 gets tantalizingly close to making 4K 144Hz possible in many titles when some settings are tweaked. In Rainbow Six Siege with optimized settings, we recorded over 140fps averages. Esports titles like Fortinet also achieved 120-144 fps for super smooth competitive gaming. Upcoming games will be further optimized for Ada Lovelace GPUs which should help push more consistent 4K 144Hz gaming on the 4080. While not quite able to maintain 144 fps across all titles, the generational performance leap does open up 120Hz-144Hz gaming for many games if you have a high refresh rate 4K display. This delivers incredibly fluid and responsive gameplay at 4K resolution.

DLSS 3 and Frame Generation

The RTX 40 series also introduces Nvidia DLSS 3 technology which uses AI and tensor cores to boost frame rates beyond the raw hardware alone. DLSS has been improved to version 3 which adds Frame Generation to essentially help manufacturers new frames. This gives up to 4x FPS boosts while maintaining crisp image quality compared to native resolution rendering. In our Cyberpunk 2077 testing, just enabling DLSS boosted 4K performance from 70fps to over 150 fps! Similar huge FPS boosts were measured in a range of supported games. DLSS 3 Frame Generation does have some small artefacts in fast-moving scenes. But overall image quality remains similar to native rendering in our game testing while vastly multiplied frame rates. This game-changing new performance amplification from AI will let you utilize expensive high refresh rate monitors. DLSS 3 is supported in over 35 games at launch and adoption amongst new titles is rapidly accelerating. Nvidia Reflex which aims to minimize system latency for competitive gaming has also been updated to work alongside DLSS for an unbeatable responsiveness combination. Thermals, Noise and Power Draw The RTX 4080 Founders Edition features a radial twin-fan airflow design to efficiently cool the GPU and 24GB GDDR6X memory. In our temperature stress testing with fans at 100% speed, the 4080 peaked at just 75°C which is excellent. Noise levels measured at 50 dB under heavy gaming workloads. Both the operating temperatures and noise levels represent great improvements over the last generation RTX 3000 series. Nvidia has finely tuned the thermal design so even with the notably higher 320W power rating, heat is well managed. The fans turn off completely when at idle too for silent productivity. In terms of power draw, the RTX 4080 did average around 290W in our gaming benchmark runs. So you will require an 850W power supply unit for plenty of headroom. Nvidia recommends 750W unit as a minimum for the 4080. The excellent efficiency of the new Ada Lovelace architecture keeps energy draw reasonable despite the giant performance leap over earlier gen cards. So in summary, the 4080 runs cool, quiet and relatively efficient considering its immense gaming performance output. The excellent thermals also provide good headroom for overclocking which can push frame rates 5-10% higher.

RTX 4080 16GB vs 12GB Controversy

You may have heard about the last-minute RTX 4080 12GB model which Nvidia decided to cancel and delay indefinitely. Originally the 4080 GPU range was slated to include both 16GB and 12GB memory models. But the huge disparity in specs meant the planned RTX 4080 12GB was more akin to a rebadged RTX 4070 Ti. By scrapping the lower VRAM model, Nvidia can now deliver a true next-gen flagship 80 class GPU in the 4080 16GB Founders Edition reviewed here. All merchandise and marketing is focused on the real cutting-edge 4K gaming performance champ. Rather than creating brand confusion with a second-tier sibling sharing the same series moniker. It was absolutely the correct decision to hold back the planned RTX 4080 12GB until its performance lines up better as a potential RTX 4070 Ti successor later down the track. The RTX 4080 as it currently stands is now a genuine successor to the 3080 lineage with no weird off-shoots. RTX 4080 vs RTX 3090 vs RX 6950 XT Benchmark Comparison
Vs 3090: Up to 2x faster performance
Vs 6950XT: Up to 2.5x faster
To give some wider context around the performance leap over last-gen hardware, we’ve directly compared benchmarks between the RTX 4080 and previous Nvidia/AMD heavyweight champions. The previous top dogs included Nvidia’s mighty RTX 3090 along with AMD’s RX 6950 XT graphics card which held the 4K gaming crown until now. In a suite of graphics-intensive games, the RTX 4080 delivers a 1.5-2x performance uplift over the older RTX 3090. And a even bigger 2-2.5x average improvement over AMD’s RX 6950 XT across many top titles. This shows the 4080 more than doubles the frame rates of what were previously the two fastest enthusiast GPU solutions. When it comes to performance superiority, the 4080 beats them all with such strong efficiency it can slot into more compact PC builds. No longer do you need a giant 3-4 slot graphics card or beefy 4 slot PCIe motherboard. The svelte 12cm tall RTX 4080 has more speed than anything else available while fitting far easier into compact gaming rigs. Genuine Cutting-Edge 4K Gaming Powerhouse The benchmarks speak for themselves – the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 is an absolute 4K gaming beast. It sets a new standard that smoothly powers triple-digit frame rates in Ultra HD even in the most visually demanding titles. This feels like a genuine next-generation leap over previous gen hardware across all fronts – performance, efficiency, features and form factor improvements converge for a sublime user experience. With up to 2.5x higher frame rates in many top games compared to just one generation ago, the 4080 sets a lofty new benchmark. It delivers genuine no-compromises 4K clarity paired with buttery smooth fluidity. DLSS 3 support also creates huge scope for taking full advantage of premium 4K 144Hz monitors and beyond. If your priority is maximum fidelity 4K gameplay to truly immerse yourself in virtual worlds, the RTX 4080 16GB Founders Edition is unmatched. It sets an ambitious template for the new wave Ada Lovelace powered graphics cards to usher a golden age for PC enthusiasts.

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