Microsoft and Sony were looking to close the gap between consoles and PCs with the Xbox Series X and the PlayStation 5. However, in what was the epitome of a “hold my beer” moment, Nvidia unveiled its GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards in September. Based on the new Ampere architecture, Nvidia promises the “greatest generational leap ever” with the RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090. What does Nvidia’s latest have to offer and more importantly, when can you get your hands on them? Let’s take a look!
See also: Best gaming laptops you can get
Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 series specs
|GeForce RTX 3070||GeForce RTX 3080||GeForce RTX 3090|
|Nvidia CUDA cores|
GeForce RTX 3070:5888
GeForce RTX 3080:8704
GeForce RTX 3090:10496
GeForce RTX 3070:Samsung 8nm
GeForce RTX 3080:Samsung 8nm
GeForce RTX 3090:Samsung 8nm
GeForce RTX 3070:1.73GHz
GeForce RTX 3080:1.71GHz
GeForce RTX 3090:1.70GHz
GeForce RTX 3070:1.50GHz
GeForce RTX 3080:1.44GHz
GeForce RTX 3090:1.40GHz
|Standard memory config|
GeForce RTX 3070:8GB GDDR6
GeForce RTX 3080:10GB GDDR6X
GeForce RTX 3090:24GB GDDR6X
GeForce RTX 3070:20 (Shader)
GeForce RTX 3080:30 (Shader)
GeForce RTX 3090:36 (Shader)
|Graphics card power|
GeForce RTX 3070:220W
GeForce RTX 3080:320W
GeForce RTX 3090:350W
|Recommended system power|
GeForce RTX 3070:650W
GeForce RTX 3080:750W
GeForce RTX 3090:750W
|Supplementary power connectors|
GeForce RTX 3070:1 x PCIe 8-pin
GeForce RTX 3080:2 x PCIe 8-pin
GeForce RTX 3090:2 x PCIe 8-pin
|Standard display connectors|
GeForce RTX 3070:HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
GeForce RTX 3080:HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
GeForce RTX 3090:HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4a
GeForce RTX 3070:7680 x 4320
GeForce RTX 3080:7680 x 4320
GeForce RTX 3090:7680 x 4320
GeForce RTX 3070:4
GeForce RTX 3080:4
GeForce RTX 3090:4
GeForce RTX 3070:242 x 112mm
GeForce RTX 3080:288 x 112mm
GeForce RTX 3090:313 x 138mm
GeForce RTX 3070:$499
GeForce RTX 3080:$699
GeForce RTX 3090:$1,499
There are have been rumors surrounding the GeForce RTX 30 series for a while now. But going against the norm, there’s a lot that these leaks got wrong. Not many expected the massive jump in the number of CUDA cores you get with the three, and the associated improvement in performance is a sight to behold.
The RTX 3090 comes with a whopping 10,496 cores. The RTX 3080 isn’t too far behind with 8,704 cores, while the 3070 has “only” 5,888 cores. To put that in context, what was considered the best graphics card you could get, the RTX 2080i Ti, features 4,352 CUDA cores. These graphics cards will add even more realistic looking ray-traced graphics to today and tomorrow’s PC games, along with faster frame rates and even better AI acceleration and features.
Helping with the latter is the new GDDR6X memory standard that you’ll get with the higher tier models, allowing for much faster data transfer rates and higher bandwidth. The RTX 3090 and 3080 have 24GB and 10GB GDDR6X respectively. On the other hand, the RTX 3070 sticks with 8GB GDDR6.
With a recommended system power up to 750W and the graphics card power requirement potentially up to 350W, the Nvidia RTX 30 series graphics cards are power-hungry and will likely run really hot. Any PC gamer worth their salt will be extremely familiar with cooling setups. Nvidia is looking to help out a little bit too with an updated design for the RTX 3080 and 3090.
There are still two fans, but they are now on opposite sides and face different directions. Nvidia says that the dual-axial airflow solution will make the graphics card ten times quieter and up to 30 degrees cooler. The RTX 3070 gets left out in the heat again though, with the new design available with both the RTX 3080 and 3090.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 vs RTX 2080 Ti: Performance
That’s enough technical jargon and numbers. The real question is, what can we expect in terms of performance, and Nvidia’s not shying away from lofty claims. However, it definitely seems like these claims are likely true, which is absolutely fantastic.
Nvidia claims that the RTX 3070 is 60% faster than the RTX 2070, and has an edge over the far more expensive RTX 2080 Ti as well. The GeForce RTX 3080 takes things to a completely different level. It’s twice as fast as the RTX 2080. Want to check out the difference? Check out Nvidia’s DOOM Eternal demo!
We haven’t mentioned the RTX 3090, because it’s on another playing field. Nvidia says the 3090 is 50% faster than the Titan RTX, and can deliver 60fps at 8K. It’s undoubtedly going to be a performance beast, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. “Big ferocious,” as Nvidia calls it, might be the king of the performance hill. But it’s RTX 3070 and 3080 that will garner the attention of every gamer.
Price and availability
The GeForce RTX 3080 was first out the gate on September 17, and is priced at $699. The RTX 3090 is Nvidia’s most expensive GeForce card to date at $1,499. If you must have it regardless, you can now pick one up. The RTX 3070 released on October 29, with an incredible price tag of $499. Considering the fact that it’s expected to offer better performance than the $1200 RTX 2080 Ti, this is an absolute steal.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 vs 3080 vs 3090: Which should you buy?
If you want to take your gaming to the next level, the RTX 3080 is the way to go. After all, there’s a reason Nvidia calls it the “ultimate gaming GPU.” It offers an incredible performance boost over the previous generation and isn’t too pricey either.
The RTX 3090 is the best of the best, but it’s probably overkill for most. Then again, it’s difficult to gauge what kind of experience you’ll have here because there’s nothing to compare it to. It’s super expensive though, so it’s certainly not going to be an impulse.
The RTX 3070 gives you a lot of bang for your buck. At a price point that is less than half of the RTX 2080 Ti, you get a performance that is similar, if not better. It’s a no brainer if you were planning to buy the latter. The 3070 is the better way to go. That said, if you can spare the extra $200, the RTX 3080 brings a whole lot more to the table.
Consumers have certainly made their choice known. While the RTX 3070 is yet to launch, the RTX 3080 is also unavailable more often than not. It sells out incredibly fast whenever it’s back in stock, so you’ll have to set up alerts and be really quick if you plan to buy it. Even the products from Nvidia’s AIB partners are sold out everywhere.
Nvidia AIB partners
A lot of people are chomping at the bit to get their hands on one of the new RTX 30 series GPUs. Of course, these releases from Nvidia, aptly dubbed the Founder’s Edition, won’t be your only option.
Quite a few of Nvidia’s AIB (all-in board) partners have released their GPUs with the RTX 30 as the backbone. As always, we can expect a slew of custom features, like improved cooling, different designs, performance enhancements, and more, built into them. Here’s a quick look at what Asus, Zotac, Gigabyte, and MSI are releasing.
Asus was first out of the gate with the ROG Strix, TUF Gaming, and Dual series graphics cards. More variants are likely to follow soon after. While the Founder’s Edition comes with the new opposite fan system, Asus and the other companies on this list stick with a more traditional look.
Zotac announced the Gaming GeForce RTX 30 series as well. This includes the RTX 3090 Trinity and the RTX 3080 Trinity, while the RTX 3070 comes with the Twin Edge moniker. As the names suggest, the 3090 and 3080 models feature triple-fan coolers, while the 3070 sticks with two. The overclocked Amp Extreme models and great-looking HoloBlack editions will also be available down the road.
MSI is adding 14 models in total to their GPU lineup. You’ll get three models for each variant of the RTX 30 series joining the Gaming X Trio, Gaming Trio, Ventus 3X, and Ventus 3X OC lines. The RTX 3070 will also feature in the smaller Ventus 3X and Ventus 2X OC series.
Gigabyte also launched various RTX 3080 and 3090 models under its Aorus Xtreme, Aorus Master, Gaming OC, and Eagle OC series. These variants will feature a cooling solution in the form of three stacked fans to eliminate dead zones. One of the Gigabyte 3090 models come with an OLED display to show the GPU temperature and looks really great.
Even more options
Powercolor, EVGA, Colorful, Palit, Gainward, XLR8, Inno3D, PNY, and others have also announced their lineups. A standout is the swivel display you get with the Colorful iGame Vulcan series, that will show you custom graphics and hardware diagnostics. We will continue to update this post as pricing and availability information become available.