NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 "Ampere" heralds the next generation of graphics cards today—learn everything you need to know about it in our main review of the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition graphics card by NVIDIA. We asked ourselves some interesting, almost nagging questions as we were testing the RTX 3080 on our main VGA test bench based on the Core i9-10900K. Here's a PCIe Gen 4 graphics card which we're testing on our PCIe Gen 3 test bench, while a PCIe Gen 4 platform by AMD is already available and Intel's desktop platform leadership over AMD is still disputed, regardless of its gaming performance claims. In a separate article, we tested the RTX 3080 entirely on an AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen platform, across various PCIe configurations, to investigate the performance impact of Gen 4 and other PCIe configurations.
In this article, we bring you a comprehensive comparison between the Intel Core i9-10900K and AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT, two similarly priced processors, coupled with the GeForce RTX 3080. The two test beds are being subjected to a far wider selection of games than in our processor reviews, so our data should provide a broader perspective of gaming performance for each of the two platforms. We already have a general idea of how the Ryzen 9 3900XT compares to the i9-10900K when tested with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in its dedicated review of the processor. However, one of the questions we're trying to answer is whether PCIe Gen 4 helps the 3900XT gain on the i9-10900K. Our testing data should also give you insights into whether the Ryzen 9 3900XT suits your needs as a gaming and productivity machine combined, in which your line of work can benefit from the extra two cores.
As we explained in our 10th Gen Core processor family reviews, to get a better picture, each "Comet Lake" processor needs to be looked at from two angles, based on their power and TDP settings; the processor out of the box and untouched, and the same processor with its power limits relaxed. In many cases, such as the i9-10900, relaxing the power limits has had a transformational effect on the processor's performance. Intel made it extremely easy to do, often by simply clicking an easily found toggle in the motherboard BIOS. We hence present our i9-10900K data in stock and with the max power limit settings. Likewise, we have the Ryzen 9 3900XT both with PCIe Gen 4 x16 and PCIe Gen 3 x16. We also include the performance numbers from our VGA review rig, with the Core i9-9900K at 5 GHz as an additional data point (all non-RTX 3080 comparison GPUs and the green bar "Core i9-9900K OC").