At last, the hugely anticipated RTX 30-series touches down on retailer’s shelves, bringing with them a huge wave of excitement and performance potential. Well, when I say excitement, I actually mean aggravation. Aggravation brought around by the inability to even purchase an RTX 3080… I digress.
Luckily, we were fortunate enough to get our hands on a couple of the latest RTX 3080 AIBs, and we’ll be reviewing them to see how they compare in performance and cooling from last year’s flagship.
That being said, and without giving too much away, let me just say, we were extremely happy with the performance this new graphics card brought to the table. So, let’s waste no further time and jump straight into it!
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING OC 10G
1800MHz Boost Clock (OC)
WINDFORCE 3X Cooling System
Despite many of the specifications being standard across all RTX 3080 AIBs – including the Founder’s Edition – we’ve still listed a complete specs list for the GIGABYTE RTX 3080 Gaming OC:
|Graphics Processing||GeForce RTX™ 3080|
|Core Clock||1800 MHz (Reference Card: 1710 MHz)|
|Memory Clock||19000 MHz|
|Memory Size||10 GB|
|Memory Bus||320 bit|
|Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec)||760 GB/s|
|Card Bus||PCI-E 4.0 x 16|
|Digital max resolution||7680×4320 @60Hz|
|Card size||320 x 129 x 55mm|
|Power Connectors||2 x 8 pin|
|Output||3 x DisplayPort 1.4a|
2 x HDMI 2.1
Improved build quality
Efficient cooling solution
High out-the-box clock boost
Greater expected lifespan
Very large design
Keeping things short, the Gaming OC offers a healthy boost in core clock speed over the Founders’ Edition, with the latter boasting only 1710MHz. As you can see, the Gaming OC comes in at 1800MHz, one of the higher clocked AIBs we’ve seen. That said, it’s worth mentioning that when gaming and under intense load, the game boost overclock will kick in, boosting the clock speed to over 2000MHz.
The Gaming OC is also much bigger in terms of physical specifications, claiming around 35mm in length, and 28mm in depth over the FE.
From an aesthetic standpoint, whilst the GIGABYTE doesn’t hit all the right notes – for me anyway – it is still considered an extremely nice looking GPU in the greater scheme of things. It comes equipped with their high-end Windforce cooling solution (something we’ll touch upon shortly) and a completely new two-tone shroud. The fan shroud is plastic in design but feels extremely sturdy, offering flashes of gun-metal on top of an all-black aesthetic. Gigabyte’s branding can be seen on the center of each fan with a chrome finish which works nicely to elevate the rest of the Gaming OC’s design.
A thin RGB light zone can be seen on the top side of the Gaming OC, displaying the brand in a fairly tasteful fashion. RGB for this card has been kept to a minimum, however, the lack of RGB doesn’t harm this card’s aesthetics too much.
Looking at the card front on – or fan side on – you’ll see a large notch on the top side of the GPU near the mounting bracket. This offers no real benefit to the Gaming OC 10G and is only there for the NVlink found on the RTX 3090 – which utilizes the same cooling solution.
The metal backplate has been finished with a gunmetal color and looks extremely fitting with the rest of the card’s design. There are several cutouts on the rear of the card which allow air to flow through the GPU more efficiently. Whilst cooling was the main focus for the cutouts, they still add a nice aesthetic to the rear of the card.
On the downside, I feel this card looks fairly bulky – especially when comparing it to the Founders’ Edition and other AIBs now available. The notch looks a little awkward and offers no benefit to the card whatsoever. However, if you can overlook those minor flaws, I feel you be more than pleased with the overall design of this Gaming OC 10G RTX 3080.
Cooling is one of the most important features of any AIB, even more so on a GPU that houses this amount of power. If history is anything to go by, the Windforce cooling solution used on this particular GPU should be fairly well equipped for the job.
Seemingly standard for this size of GPU, Gigabyte has utilized a triple-fan cooling solution for the Gaming OC 10G. It features 2 x 90mm and 1 x 80mm uniquely bladed fans, purpose-designed for a more accurate flow of air over the heatsink and PCB. Each blade has raised grooves for greater air direction and control. Furthermore, a nicely designed triangular shaping has been given to the blades to promote greater airflow as well.
Like most RTX 3080 GPUs, Gigabyte has made use of ‘stop-start’ technology, allowing the fans to completely stop when under no load or below 55 degrees in temperature. This not only increases the efficiency of this card, but it also decreases the noise levels produced over its lifetime.
Speaking of lifetime, graphene nano lubricant has been used inside the Gaming OC’s fan mechanisms. This theoretically extends the lifespan of sleeve bearings by 2.1 times, putting it right up there with double ball bearings yet much quieter.
As we’ve already mentioned, the backplate sees several cutouts that allow the air to pass through the card more freely, ultimately providing better heat dissipation and efficiency. A large copper plate & several copper heat pipes can be found weaving their way through the aluminum heatsink fins. The copper plate comes into direct contact with the GPU and VRAM, redirecting heat via the copper pipes in a very efficient manner.
The fans can be tweaked using the Gigabyte software package or MSI Afterburner, allowing you to set a fan curve that better suits your agenda.
I have to say, when we were benchmarking this particular card, I did notice how well the cooling performed in various scenarios. It stayed under 70 degrees for the entirety of the benchmarking process, something the 2080Ti could not replicate.
We benchmarked the RTX 3080 over eight games, trying to use as many Nvidia features as possible – ray tracing and DLSS being most popular. The games we tested were all played on the highest possible settings – apart from Red Dead Redemption 2 which was played on a custom profile of high settings. Two benchmarks were run for 1440p then 4K to see the difference in performance.
We started off by testing our most optimized game on the list, DOOM Eternal. Using the Vulkan API and Ultra Nightmare settings, we ran the same benchmark run across all three cards. The RTX 3080 performed extremely well, providing over 230 FPS at 1440p and 170 FPS at 4K. That’s an impressive 27% and 34% improvements respectively, versus the RTX 2080 Ti. The jump increases if we compare it to the 2080 Super. 47% faster at 1440p and over double the performance at 4K!
With spirits high then, we next loaded up Remedy’s Control. High settings were used (the maximum possible) with the DirectX 12 API and RTX features such as Ray Tracing and DLSS were enabled. We used the maximum internal render resolution with DLSS so that’s 1707×960 for 1440p and 2560×1440 for 4K. Very confusing. Anyway, the figures speak for themselves and we can see Control is a far more demanding game. A 62% and 70% performance jump at 1440p and 4K respectively with the new 3080 versus the old 2080 SUPER. This drops to just 30% when we compare it to the Ti at either resolution. Whilst the gains are great, Control is the only game we tested that was just shy of the 60FPS target at 4K so you may want to reduce the settings a touch with this game.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Our recent PC port analysis and optimization guide for Horizon Zero Dawn found it to be a demanding game so we’ve included it in our GPU benchmarks going forward. We used the Ultimate Quality preset and a route through an early area heavy in foliage, reflections, view distance and Striders. At 4K the RTX 3080 had a measured 59% gain in the average framerate compared to the 2080 SUPER and this dropped to 27% with the 2080 Ti. Gains were slightly less impressive at 1440p, just 41% and 22% faster respectively. Horizon Zero Dawn now exceeds our 60FPS threshold with the RTX 3080 and makes for a smooth gaming experience at 4K vs Nvidia’s previous generation of graphics cards.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
Kingdom Come: Deliverance is one of our remaining DirectX 11 titles, and deservedly so. It’s built on CRYENGINE, a refined and more modern game engine that was famously used for Crysis and it proves to be exacting to this day. The performance differential is in line with what we’ve seen in our previous two titles and with a 63 FPS average at 4K using the Ultra High preset it now makes this game “playable” as it edges over that 60 FPS requirement of ours.
Turning to another RTX-rich game and this time it’s Metro Exodus, an FPS with a beautiful post-apocalyptic setting and involved story. DLSS and all Ray Tracing elements were enabled alongside the Ultra preset. 4K percentage gains vs the 2080 SUPER and 2080 Ti were 46% and 20% respectively, a tad higher than the gains at 1440p. With an average framerate of 67 FPS this again meant that Metro Exodus now passed the 60 FPS “playable” threshold we set – a feat the previous generation of cards couldn’t quite manage.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 is another title that utilizes the efficient VULKAN API though performance is not even remotely close to DOOM Eternal’s. As there are no presets we use our custom settings which sees most options set to High and sliders about three-quarters of the way. Even though this title doesn’t feature Ray Tracing and/or DLSS, performance was quite similar to that of Metro Exodus. Another 67 FPS average at 4K meant it was 46% and 22% faster when compared to the 2080 SUPER and Ti. Following the trend, 1440p saw smaller gains of 32% and 18%, resulting in a 94 FPS average.
Shadow Of The Tomb
DirectX 12 features here again in the form of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The ‘Highest’ preset was used and then all settings were pushed to the max so we have a ‘Modified Highest’ to test with. This is our third and final entry with RTX features so we made sure to enable Ray Tracing and DLSS. As can be seen from the graph, it proved to be one of the most demanding games tested; 91 FPS at 1440p and 64 FPS at 4K. That’s a 19% boost versus the RTX 2080 Ti and 49% versus the 2080 SUPER. As is tradition now, 1440p saw smaller gains of just 17% and 38% respectively.
A Total War Saga
Our final game saw a change from Total War: Warhammer II to A Total War Saga: Troy. That’s because Warhammer II had a strange lack of GPU utilization so all cards saw similar performance. Anyway, with our new Total War game benchmarked we saw full GPU utilization and were confident with the results. We modify the Ultra preset slightly by turning on all settings such as Screen Space Reflections and we set Anti-aliasing to 2x at 1440p and None at 4K. Performance was strong with a 77 FPS average at 4K and 89 FPS at 1440p. As the RTX 2080 Ti teetered on the 60 FPS edge, we can now confidently say the game is “playable” with Nviida’s new RTX 3080. Overall, that’s a 54% jump versus the RTX 2080 SUPER and 28% versus the Ti.
Across our 8-game benchmark suite the RTX 3080 saw a 21% average improvement at 1440p versus the RTX 2080 Ti, and 26% at 4K. Versus the weaker RTX 2080 SUPER and the numbers were more impressive; 42% at 1440p and 62% at 4K. Nvidia then, have clearly made architectural improvements with Ampere that benefit 4K gaming more than they do 1440p. That said, whilst Control has essentially been the poster child for RTX (Ray Tracing and DLSS), it was the only game in our testing that didn’t meet the 60 FPS target. So I guess you still have to dial the settings back every now and then.
Despite the performance gains being less impressive at 1440p, it nearly pushed most of our games into triple digits for average framerates. DOOM Eternal with its 239 FPS average shows the prowess of the developers of both the game and the id Tech 7 engine and explains why Nvidia chose this game to market the RTX 3080.
As we’ve seen, the RTX 2080 Ti saw many games fall shy of 60 FPS (at max settings). Whilst it’s been the best card for 4K gaming, there’s always been the caveat of having to dial some settings back. Nvidia’s RTX 3080 changes this paradigm and truly makes 4K 60 FPS gaming a reality.
So, there you have it guys, our full rundown of the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC 10G. Overall, I was very happy with the way this card performed, offering an increase of around 30-50% in performance when compared to last year’s flagship – the RTX 2080Ti.
Cooling was also much more efficient, providing a much cooler (10% on average) and quieter experience when compared against the RTX 3080 and 2080 Ti.
All that’s left to answer is whether or not I feel this GPU is worth the fairly high-end price tag. Well, let’s take the obvious out of the way, this card – regardless of the other RTX 3080 AIBs – showcases extremely good value for money. It’s much more efficient than the 2080Ti and hits shelves at around $400 cheaper – albeit sold out at every single retailer. That said, is it worth the additional $100 when compared to the Founders Edition? That’s a tough one.
On one hand, you have a much better cooling system attached to the Gigabyte Gaming OC 10g. It not only offers greater cooling over longer periods of time but also operates much quieter – two factors most gamers prioritize highly.
That being said, it doesn’t look half as good and has very similar performance levels as the FE. I suppose it all comes down to what you prioritize at the end of the day. If you prioritize cooling and noise levels over aesthetics, you might be happy to spend the additional on the Gigabyte. I also feel it’ll be extremely difficult to get your hands on a Founders Edition RTX 3080 – so choosing the Gigabyte could be the only way to snag one in the coming months.
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING OC 10G
1800MHz Boost Clock (OC)
WINDFORCE 3X Cooling System
The Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC 10G is a stylish, high-performance GPU that brings a 20% increase in framerates when compared to the 2080 Ti. Its efficient cooling solution keeps the Gaming OC to under 70 degrees at most times, something the 2080 Ti simply can’t lay claim to. Overall, a competitively priced, attractive, high-end gaming graphics card.