MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X Review 11

MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • MSI hasn't provided us with pricing yet, but we estimate it'll end up $100 higher than the MSRP.
  • Faster than RTX 3090
  • Excellent 4K gaming performance
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Very quiet (default BIOS)
  • Low temperatures (gaming BIOS)
  • Adjustable RGB lighting
  • Second-generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Large power limit increase
  • Idle fan stop
  • 12 GB VRAM
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • Dual BIOS
  • DLSS improved
  • NVIDIA Reflex low-latency technology
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • 8 nanometer production process
  • Actual market pricing and supply levels unknown
  • Power efficiency lost due to factory OC
  • Single and multi-monitor idle power considerably higher than RTX 3080
Right in time for Computex, NVIDIA had great news to share: the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is launching—reviews today, in stores tomorrow. We have a total of six GeForce RTX 3080 Ti reviews today: ASUS RTX 3080 Ti STRIX LC, EVGA RTX 3080 Ti FTW3 Ultra, MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X, Palit RTX 3080 Ti Gaming Pro, NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition, and Zotac RTX 3080 Ti AMP HoloBlack.

The GeForce RTX 3080 has been a huge success NVIDIA sought to +1—partly because AMD has launched extremely competitive cards in the meantime, partly to introduce their hash-rate limiter designed to make new GeForce cards unattractive to miners. The Radeon RX 6800 XT matched the 3080, which the RX 6900 XT beat. That's why NVIDIA has increased the number of cores by a 17%, from 8,704 to 10,240. At the same time, the memory bus width got bumped to 384-bit, matching the RTX 3090. VRAM has also been increased from 10 GB to 12 GB, a good PR move, though of little effect on real-life gaming. MSI has given a large factory overclock to the Suprim X—their top of the line RTX 3080 Ti variant. Rated boost is 165 MHz higher than the NVIDIA Founders Edition, making this one of the largest overclocks today.

Averaged over our 22-game-strong test suite at 4K resolution, the MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X ends up 5% faster than the RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition—more than most other cards tested today. This lets the Suprim X beat the RTX 3090 by 3%. The RTX 3080 is 14% slower. AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT is beat by 16%, and even the RX 6900 XT can't keep up since it's 10% slower. Against last generation's RTX 2080 Ti, the performance uplift is 53%.

With those performance numbers, RTX 3080 Ti is the perfect choice for 4K gaming at 60 FPS and above. It's probably the only resolution you should consider for this beast because we've seen some CPU-limited titles at even 1440p—for 1080p, it's definitely overkill. On the other hand, if you have a strong CPU and 1440p high-refresh-rate monitor, the 3080 Ti could be an option. The added performance of the RTX 3080 Ti will also give you more headroom in case future game titles significantly increase their hardware requirements, which seems unlikely considering the new consoles are out and their hardware specifications will define what's possible for the next few years.

There's no big surprises with raytracing performance; the RTX 3080 Ti is basically 10% faster than RTX 3080 and nearly as fast as RTX 3090. The underlying reason is that there has been no change in the GPU chip or GPU architecture. Still, compared to AMD Radeon RDNA2, NVIDIA's raytracing performance is better. The new game consoles use AMD graphics tech, though, so we'll see how much of that can be helped with optimization, or simply choosing less demanding RT implementations. For example, Resident Evil Village has support for raytracing, but uses only very limited RT effects, which cushions the performance penalty incurred by Radeon cards. I'm sure we'll learn more about it in the coming months if this trend persists, or whether the only option for serious raytracing will continue to be NVIDIA GeForce.

We've reviewed MSI's Suprim X card design before and were impressed. The card is massive, which of course adds tons of cooling performance. By default, MSI has the "Silent" BIOS activated, which achieves very good noise levels. With 33 dBA in that state it is the quietest RTX 3080 Ti we've tested today, even quieter than the water-cooled ASUS STRIX LC, even when that is in quiet mode. While 33 dBA is definitely "quiet", it's not nearly as quiet as some Radeon RX 6800 XT / 6900 XT cards we've tested. Temperatures are alright with 79°C, should you want lower, you can switch to the "Gaming" BIOS, which brings temps down to only 72°C, the best air-cooled result today. Noise levels increase to 39 dBA though, which matches the NVIDIA Founders Edition—louder than what I'd be willing to trade for a 7°C temperature reduction, but it's great to have the choice. With Ampere, NVIDIA introduced idle fan stop on their Founders Edition, which makes fan stop a mandatory capability for custom designs, too. In idle, during desktop work, internet browsing, and light gaming, the MSI RTX 3080 Ti will turn off its fans completely for the perfect noise-free experience.

MSI has increased their card's power limit to 400 W, which is the highest setting seen today; EVGA and ASUS use 400 W, too. When it comes to the manual adjustment power limit, MSI ends up 10 W short of the top dogs. The 10 W won't make any significant difference anyway. What I do wonder is why not more is given to us. The card has three 8-pins, so it should be able to pull up to 525 W in theory. Overclocking potential was good, too, and maximum OC performance ended up just 1% behind the water-cooled ASUS STRIX.

NVIDIA has announced a $1200 price point for RTX 3080 Ti, which matches the RTX 2080 Ti MSRP. In reality, I doubt we'll see cards retail for anything close to that. To put things into perspective: The RTX 3090 goes for $2900 right now, RTX 3080 for $1500, RX 6800 XT for $1700, and RX 6900 XT for $2100. NVIDIA confirmed to us that the RTX 3080 Ti comes with the LHR (low-hash-rate) mining performance limiter, which hopefully won't be circumvented this time, so that at least gamers can get those cards. It won't make much of a difference for pricing, though. The general market demand is simply too high and supply is too low. MSI hasn't provided any pricing to us yet. I'm fairly certain there will be a serious price increase over the NVIDIA baseline price. It is justified to some extent, no doubt. You're getting a large factory OC, a much better cooler, dual BIOS, etc. I still feel like I wouldn't spend more than $100 extra for these features, which is why I'm estimating $2100 as a realistic market price. You really have to look at current pricing, though. If you can find RTX 3080 Ti at similar price levels as the RX 6900 XT, definitely go for the 3080 Ti. It has higher overall performance,and better RT performance, albeit with higher power draw. The RTX 3080 could be an interesting option if the price gap is bigger than the 10% performance gap between the RTX 3080 Ti and RTX 3080. Last but not least, possibly the strongest competition for GeForce and for the PC gaming market overall comes from game consoles, which can be found for well under $1000 and will play all the new games, too; perhaps with slightly worse graphics, but the money saved can buy you a 4K TV and a lot of games.
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