Final words and conclusion
Colorful offers an excellent product with the RTX 3080 VULCAN OC. It is a salubrious-looking product with some serious cooling applied. The three fan cooler manages to keep temps below the reference design at roughly 65 Degrees C under load and keeping acoustics at a normal level (but not silent). Combined with a nice tweak on the Turbo bin, you retrieve some additional perf as well. A quick side note, to those who wonder where the teardown is, we had an incredibly hard time removing the cooler, it was very stuck to the PCB, so much so that the POCB started bending and I did not want to risk damaging the card. Better luck next time.
Speaking of the founder edition card, these are a problem for the AIB partners as NVIDIA has released something good and nice-looking with the founder edition. In the end, that will drive the commitment from board partners upward to deliver an even better product. At the same time, we're still not sure what availability on the market will be. Palit's GamingPro will need to be sitting at or around that founder edition MSRP to make real sense. It's a nice product that will appeal to many just based on aesthetic design.
We need to start with performance; it is a generic paragraph used on all RTX 3080 reviews as the performance is more or less the same for all cards and brands. Gaming it can do well, with exceptional values. Yes, at Full HD, you'll be quite often bottlenecked and CLU limited. Even in some games with proper programming and that right API (DX12/ASYNC), the sheer increase in performance is staggering. The good old rasterizer engine first, as hey it is still the leading factor. Pure speaking from a shading/rasterizing point of view, you're looking at 125% to 160% performance increases seen (relative) from the similar priced GeForce RTX 2080 (SUPER), so that is a tremendous step. The unimaginable number of shader processors is staggering. The new FP32/INT32 combo clusters remain a compromise that will work exceptionally well in most use cases, but not all of them. But even then, there are so many shader cores that not once the tested graphics card was slower than an RTX 2080 Ti; in fact (and I do mean in GPU bound situations), the RTX 2080 stays ahead by at least a margin of a relative 125%, bot more often 150% and even 160%. Performance-wise we can finally say hey, this is a proper Ultra HD capable graphics card (aside from Flight Simulator 2020 haha, that title needs D3D12/AYSNC en some DLSS!). The good news is that with any game that uses traditional rendering will run excellent at 3840x2160. Games that can ray trace and manage DLSS also become playable in UHD.
A good example was battlefield V with Raytracing, and DLSS enabled, in Ultra HD now running in that 75 FPS bracket. Well, you've seen the numbers in the review, I'll mute now. DXR Raytracing and tensor performance, the RTX 30 series have been received new tensor and RT cores. So don't let the RT and Tensor core count confuse you. They're located close inside that rendering engine, became more efficient, and that shows.
If we look at an RTX 2080 with port Royale, we will hit almost 30 FPS. The RTX 3080 nearly doubles that at 53 FPS. Tensor cores are harder to measure, but overall from what we have seen, it's all in good balance. Overall, the GeForce RTX 3080 starts to make sense at a Quad HD resolution (2560x1440). Still, again I deem this to be an Ultra HD targeted product, whereas, for 2560x1440, I'd see the GeForce RTX 3070 see playing a more important role in terms of sense and value for money. At Full HD, then the inevitable GeForce RTX 3060, whenever that may be released. Games like Red Dead Redemption will make you aim, shoot, and smile at 70 FPS in UHD resolutions with the very best graphics settings. As always comparing apples and oranges, the performance results vary here and there as each architecture offers advantages and disadvantages in certain game render workloads. So, for the content creators among us, have you seen the Blender and V_Ray NEXT results? No, go towards page 30 of this review, and your eyes will pop out. The sheer compute performance has early exponentially doubled one step in the right direction. We need to stop for a second and talk VRAM, aka framebuffer memory. The GeForce RTX was fitted with new GDDR6X memory, it clocks in at 19 Gbps, and that is a freakfest of memory bandwidth, which the graphics card really likes. You'll get 10GB of it. I can also tell you that there are plans for a 20GB version. Initially, the 20GB was to be released as the default, but for reasons none other than the bill of materials used, it became 10GB. In the year 2020, that is a very decent amount of graphics memory. However, signals are that the 20GB version may become available in a later stage, for those that want to run Flight Simulator 2020; haha, that was a pun, sorry. We feel 10GB right now is fine, but with DirectX Ultimate and added scene complexity and raytracing becoming the new norm, I do not know if that's still enough two years from now.
.cooling & noise levels
Depending on the airflow level inside your chassis, expect the card to sit in the 65 Degrees C range temperature-wise under hefty load conditions, which is just terrific for a card of this caliber. We did hit 41 DBA markers in extremely stressed conditions, which is considered a normal performing acoustic level. It might seem high bit it's a bit of airflow that you hear, nothing obtrusive of weird.
The power draw under intensive gaming for GeForce RTX 3080 remains to be significant. We measured it to be close to a ~345 Watt range. Now that is a peak value under stressed conditions. Gaming wise, that number will fluctuate a bit. Are we happy with that amount of energy consumption in the year 2020? No, not at all. Will you, as an end consumer, care about it? We dispute that as well.
The VULCAN GeForce RTX 3080 hardly exhibits coil squeak, far less than the founder card we tested. So that is not disturbing at all. In fact, this probably was among the most hushed cards on that front we've tested to date.
NVIDIA is pricing the GeForce RTX 3080 $699. The AIB product is deemed and damned to be called the more premium products. And I already told you, that's no longer the case anymore as NVIDA's founder cards are directly competing with the AIB product. In a perfect scenario, I would like to see the AIB product cheaper than the founder edition. That's not the case. This card will be a few tenners more expensive seen over that founder edition card. The price is expected to be a substantial 800~850 EUR/USD incl vat. However, we're not quite sure how that pans out at the moment of writing this conclusion.
We fired off several tweaking scenarios at the card; it's difficult to tweak, and with the recent CTD issues in mind, we need to wonder, would you like to be in that 2.0+ GHz range? Even an automated curve based overclock would not be stable. Much like we have seen with other cards, the tweaks on the memory frequency will run fine, but the performance was lower. New safety protection is active in memory. A +1000 MHz would result in poor performance but no stability issues. Currently, ergo +500 max is what I'd recommend on the RTX 3080 cards (but this will also differ per caird and brand). Of course, increase the power limiter to the max, so your GPU gets more energy budget, and then the GPU clock can be increased anywhere from +40 to +100 MHz, but here again, that will vary per board, brand and card. So, in the end, I expect 20~21 Gbps on the memory subsystem (effective), and with a +75 Core frequency and added power, you should see your card hovering at a 2 GHz range (which is pretty awesome).
We live in a day and age where AIB cards perform really close to each other. So differentiation is high on the bucket list of the AIBs as they want to present something different to attract .. you to purchase their products. And yeah, mission accomplished, the iGAME VULCAN OV edition is a truly unique product. The looks are just stunning, and all that due to a cleverly integrated and actually usable LCD screen. So yeah, a 480 mm x 120 mm LCD screen, dual-BIOS, proper looks, and excellent performance. There's little we can complain here really. I need to make two sidenotes to get that information stream active; you need the iGame software to start at launch. That software on our side was a bit buggy; we got some errors, but assume that these will be fixed in future updates. After it's activated, you can close it again, and the graphics card will keep fetching and displaying data on the LCD. Secondly, Asia aimed products often sit a bit higher at the acoustic level, here on the western side of the world, we focus more on acoustics. Colorful manages to keep the noise levels at or about 41 DBa; that's actually a normal non-disturbing noise level. However, it is higher than what the competition often offers, who sometimes even can manage near-silent performance.
I need to mention them quickly, but the CTD issues seem to have been resolved, as I do not hear any complaints anymore. So who's this card intended for? Arbitrarily speaking, starting at a monitor 2560x1440 resolution, that's the domain where the GeForce RTX 3080 will start to shine. The raw shading/rasterizer (read a standard rendered game) performance is staggering as this many shader cores make a difference. The new generational architecture tweaks for Raytracing and Tensor also is significant. Coming from the RTX 2080, the RTX 3080 exhibited a roughly 85% performance increase, and that is going to bring hybrid raytracing towards higher resolutions. DXR will remain to be massively demanding, of course, but when you can plat Battlefield V iN ultra HD with Raytracing and DLSS enabled at over 70 FPS, hey, I'm cool with that. Also, CUDA compute performance in Blender and V-Ray, nice. This iGAME VULCAN OC card in its default configuration performs 2 maybe 3% above founder edition performance. Still, the reality is that all brands probably will different merely a few percent in performance at best anyway. We cannot find this product in terms of availability, so I cannot comment on pricing. Logic, however, dictates that this is an 800 USD/EUR card quite easily. So yeah, aside from few nags, we've really been impressed here. It's a proper RTX 3080, and that LCD screen is just brilliant icing on top of the cyber-cake. Definitely recommended. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is of course to find one.
- Hilbert, LOAD"*",8,1.