MSI GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING X TRIO review

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Final words and conclusion

.final words

The boost clock frequency these days matters LESS, and that's because of the many limiters the card has built-in. If the GPU could manage 2100 MHz, you'd still have an energy budget in the 340 Watt range, and this the card will throttle down. That's the big denominator and limiting factor for premium graphics cards these days, and as a side effect of it, board partners have a harder time differentiating themselves. And also, I mentioned this before, NVIDIA is now really competing with their own found design cards, which is a problem for the AIB partners as well. In the end, that will drive the commitment from board partners upward to deliver an even better product. So the question needs to be, would you prefer this card over a founder edition? Well, in the case of the TRIO that might be the case. This product performed 5% faster than a founders card while being 100% silent at it. Amazing to observe with such Wattages really.

.performance

Our performance paragraph 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. But even there 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 to be a compromise that will work exceptionally well in most use cases, but likely 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 true 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 raytrace 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.


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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 though, the GeForce RTX 3080 starts to make sense beginning at a Quad HD resolution (2560x1440), but again I deem this to be an Ultra HD targeted product. In contrast, for 2560x1440 I'd see the GeForce RTX 3070 see playing a more important roll 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 disadvantaged 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. We think 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. Signals are however, 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 so sure if that's still enough two years from now.

.cooling & noise levels

Depending on the level of airflow inside your chassis, expect the card to sit in the 70 Degrees C range temperature-wise under hefty load conditions, which is just terrific for a card of this caliber. In extremely stressed conditions, we'd hit 33 DBA marker, which is a totally silent performing acoustic level once seated inside a chassis. The card it beautiful, the fastest AIB card, yet that impressed me the most, it so silent! 

.energy

The power draw under intensive gaming for GeForce RTX 3080 remains to be significant. We measured it to be close to the 360 Watt range. This is the tradeoff for a bit more bite in performance for this graphics cared model in particular. 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.

.coil whine

This GeForce RTX 3080 did hardly exhibit coil squeak, much much less than the founder card we tested. Is it disturbing? Well no, it's at a level you can hear it softly if you put your ear next to the card. In a closed chassis, however, that noise would fade away in the background. However, with an open chassis, you can hear a bit of coil whine/squeak.

.pricing

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 currently rated at 839 EUR incl vat (in the Netherlands). This will vary per country.

.tweaking

We fired of several tweaking scenarios at the card; the Ampere GPU is difficult to tweak. Even an automated curve based overclock would not be stable. The thing with the TRI is, MSI pushed the card as far as it could, literally we had 2% left on the power limiter. Then the increased Turbo simply made this product perform 4 to 5% faster than a founder card. There is not much left, however, the memory subsystem will allow for a higher memory frequency. We added 25 Mhz on the core and left it at that. Much like we have seen with other cards, the tweaks on the clock frequency and memory run fine, but the performance just was lower.

There is new protection introduced at the memory subsystem, overclocking can result in lower performance. the mechanism detects errors and adapts to that. The positive side effect is that this mechanism prevents crashing. It however makes tweaking memory far more challenging. So a +1000 Mhz would stick, but result in poor performance but reveal no stability issues. Ergo +500 as max currently 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 even card (ASIC quality). So in the end I expect 20~21 Gbps on the memory subsystem (effective), and with a +50 max Core frequency for this card and added power, you should see your card hovering at a 2 GHz range on the GPU Boost clock (which is pretty awesome for something with this many transistors). 


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.conclusion

MSI, as a brand, gets preferenced by many people. And that's for a valid reason, as when you look at the design, you'll see a PCB that is beautiful architecture with the finest components. As such the quality overall in the past few years has risen significantly. Next to that, you of course, want good looks, a product that runs it's operation temperatures at proper levels, and a price tag to go along with that. For most, if not all, these features MSI checks all the right boxes with the TRIO model. It does run silent and cools properly, and the sheer looks are terrific (but the taste is of course, subjective). Performance-wise really, all cards released will be within a 5% margin towards each other, so that can no longer be a decisive factor in the year 2020, however, this card is immediately at that threshold, all tweaked for you.The looks are dazzling, the silence will impress you. 

If we filter out the challenges (power consumption and pricing), then we can only acknowledge that the sheer performance this card series brings to the table is anything short from being impressive. You receive a product that will be dominant in that Ultra HD space. Your games average out anywhere from 60 to 100+ FPS, well aside from Flight Simulator 2020. Dropping down in resolutions does create other challenges; you'll be far less GPU bound, but then again, we do not expect you to purchase a GeForce RTX 3080 and play games in 1920x1080. 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 Utra 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, OMG. This card, in its default configuration, sits roughly 5% above founder edition performance. Of course, pricing will be everything as the AIB/AIC partners now really need to complete with aa very good founder edition product. We feel MSI did a marvelous job here, but in the end, that choice rests at the end-user level. If pricing remains under control at etailers, this card is going to be a hit. pricing aside, what an amazing product, we hand out are very exceptional best hardware award as this is impressive at all fronts.

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- Hilbert, LOAD"*",8,1.

 

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