NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Review 65

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition Review

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NVIDIA made its third and final entry to the GeForce RTX 20-series Super family of graphics cards with the GeForce RTX 2080 Super. The company debuted the series with the new RTX 2060 Super and RTX 2070 Super launched earlier this month to preempt AMD's Radeon RX 5700-series "Navi," which beat the original RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 at their price points. NVIDIA also augmented the series with the GeForce RTX 2080 Super despite no apparent competition from AMD. The Radeon VII is a limited-edition product that's reportedly being retired with the advent of Navi. So why did NVIDIA feel the need to launch the RTX 2080 Super?

The answer to the question lies in the inadvertent mess NVIDIA created in its product stack with the RTX 2070 Super. The company had maxed out the "TU106" to build the original RTX 2070, and had to tap into the larger "TU104" silicon to carve out the RTX 2070 Super by disabling one of its six GPCs (graphics processing clusters) and end up with 2,560 out of 3,072 CUDA cores physically present. Our reviews of the RTX 2070 Super show it to have a lot of performance over the RTX 2070 non-Super, ending up just 6-8 percent behind the original RTX 2080 in performance. This presents a problem for NVIDIA as it can no longer sell the RTX 2080 at $700 when a $500 card is that close and can be overclocked to close the gap. It now had to find a way to continue selling a $700 graphics card without having to tap into the much larger "TU102" silicon. We hence have the RTX 2080 Super, which continues to be based on the "TU104".

NVIDIA created the original RTX 2080 out of the "TU104" by enabling just 2,944 out of 3,072 CUDA cores. The new RTX 2080 Super is configured with all 3,072 CUDA cores and proportionate increases in other components, such as 192 TMUs, 384 Tensor cores, and 48 RT cores. The second enhancement NVIDIA gave the RTX 2080 Super is higher GPU clock speeds. The GPU Boost frequency of the card is set at 1815 MHz, a 6 percent gain from the 1710 MHz of the original RTX 2080. Lastly, NVIDIA made the memory faster by running it at 15.5 Gbps and using 16 Gbps-rated GDDR6 memory chips compared to the 14 Gbps memory clock of the original RTX 2080. This yields a memory bandwidth of 496 GB/s, which is roughly 11 percent gained. The card still draws power from a combination of 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors, although the TDP is increased to 250 W from the 225 W of the original.

With these changes, NVIDIA is looking to increase the performance gap within its product stack, between the RTX 2070 Super and RTX 2080 Super, back to levels that exist between the original RTX 2070 and RTX 2080, just so there isn't a vast gorge between the $500 RTX 2070 Super and the $1000 RTX 2080 Ti.

In this review, we have with us the GeForce RTX 2080 Super Founders Edition, the de facto reference-design card based on this GPU. It features NVIDIA's lavish dual-fan cooling solution with an added chrome embellishment and clock speeds of 1815 MHz GPU Boost with 15.5 Gbps memory. NVIDIA is pricing this card at US$700 and enabled its add-in card partners to price their cards around this mark, too.

GeForce RTX 2080 Super Market Segment Analysis
RX Vega 64$400 4096641247 MHz1546 MHz953 MHzVega 1012500M8 GB, HBM2, 2048-bit
GTX 1080 Ti$7003584881481 MHz1582 MHz1376 MHzGP10212000M11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit
RX 5700 XT$4002560641605 MHz1755 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070$4402304641410 MHz1620 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070 Super$5002560641605 MHz1770 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
Radeon VII$6803840641802 MHzN/A1000 MHzVega 2013230M16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit
RTX 2080$6302944641515 MHz1710 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Super$7003072641650 MHz1815 MHz1940 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Ti$11004352641350 MHz1545 MHz1750 MHzTU10218600M11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit
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