Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card makes smooth 60fps performance at 4K resolution possible.
GeForce RTX 2080 at a glanceHow powerful is the RTX 2080? The RTX 2080 is a top-of-the-line graphics card powerful enough to run AAA games at 4K and 60fps.
When does the RTX 2080 come out? The RTX 2080 will launch on 20 September 2018.
How much does the RTX 2080 cost? A Founders Edition RTX 2080 will set you back $1,199.
What is the RTX 2080?
The GeForce RTX 2080 is positioned to be one of Nvidia's most powerful consumer graphics cards when it launches later this year. Nestled between the cheaper RTX 2070 and the enthusiast-only RTX 2080 Ti, the RTX 2080 is aimed at PC gamers who are happy to pay a premium for top-of-the-line performance, but can't justify spending nearly $2,000 on the RTX 2080 Ti.
As the naming convention implies, the RTX 2080 is intended to fill a role similar to that of the previous generation GTX 1080 when it launched back in 2017. The key difference between GeForce 10 series cards such as the GTX 1080 and the RTX 2080 is the underlying architecture that powers them. Whereas GeForce 10 cards were built on Nvidia's Pascal architecture, the RTX 20 series takes advantage of the new Turing architecture, which is designed to deliver drastically improved performance and visual fidelity in a number of specific areas.
Foremost among these is lighting and shadows. Thanks to the introduction of real-time ray tracing, Turing enables more accurate rendering of how light hits objects in a scene, producing more realistic visuals that update dynamically as the player moves around and interacts with the environment.
Another key component of Turing is the inclusion of Tensor Cores in RTX GPUs. Designed specifically for performing machine-learning tasks, Tensor Cores deliver significantly faster performance in operations relating to artificial intelligence, paving the way for smarter enemy routines and behaviours as well as more complex graphical effects and animations.
What features does the RTX 2080 support?
The architectural shift from Pascal to Turing brings a number of new features to RTX graphics cards like the RTX 2080. Some of the most prominent of these are:
- Real-time ray tracing
- VirtualLink for single-USB VR connections
- Tensor Cores for enhanced AI
- Nvidia NVLink for faster multi-GPU configurations
- Nvidia Ansel
- HDCP 2.2
- OpenGL 4.5
- Display Port 1.4a with support for 8K resolution
- HMDI 2.0b
- Variable Rate Shading
- Multi-view rendering
- VRWorks Audio
- Nvidia ShadowPlay
- DirectX 12
How powerful is the RTX 2080?
To properly assess the performance of a graphics card, hands-on testing is a must. Since the RTX 2080 isn't available yet, we can only speculate on its capabilities based on its specifications and the claims put forward by Nvidia.
According to Nvidia, the RTX 2080 is beefy enough to power the latest AAA games at 4K resolution while maintaining a solid 60fps. This is essentially the Holy Grail of performance that PC gamers have been striving for. The highest-end GTX 10 series cards struggle to achieve this metric even in individual titles, much less the entire AAA catalogue.
However, during the RTX reveal event, Nvidia demoed a number of highly demanding games running at a stable 60fps in 4K. Videos of Battlefield V, Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider highlighted the potential of the RTX 20 series by pairing impeccable graphical detail with rock-solid performance. If the RTX 2080 can live up to this claim, it will represent a significant step forward in graphical performance.
Look to the raw specs, though, and there is cause to be sceptical. While Nvidia is touting up to six times the performance in the RTX line over GTX 10 cards, the gap between the two doesn't seem so striking on paper. Take a look at how the RTX 2080 stacks up against the GTX 1080, for instance:
|Product Name||Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition||MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition|
|Model||RTX 2080||GTX 1080|
|Base clock speed||1515MHz||1607MHz|
|Boost clock speed||1800MHz||1733MHz|
Improvements to clock speed are minimal, and RAM remains fixed at 8GB. Memory speed does increase from 10Gbps to 14Gbps, but whether that translates to noticeable performance differences remains to be seen.
Ultimately, the strength of the RTX 2080 hinges upon Turing and the features the architecture provides. How consistently games utilise real-time ray tracing and Tensor Cores will likely determine how big of a leap forward the RTX 20 series really is.
RTX 2080 availability and price
The RTX 2080 launched alongside the RTX 2080 Ti on 20 September 2018. The Founders edition model will set you back $1,199. However, cheaper options are also available from third-party manufacturers such as Gigabyte and ASUS.
You can compare those options in our roundup of the latest deals on the RTX 2080.
RTX 2080 specs
- Base clock speed
- Boost clock speed
- 8GB GDDR6
- Memory speed
- Memory bus
- Card length
- Card width
- Dual slot
- Card height
- Power draw
- Recommended system power
- Power connectors
- 6-pin + 8-pin
- No. HDMI ports
- No. Display ports
- No. DVI ports
- DirectX support