Palit GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming Pro OC 8 GB Review 4

Palit GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming Pro OC 8 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Palit RTX 2080 Gaming Pro OC is available for $829.
  • Faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • RTX Technology not gimmicky, brings tangible IQ improvements
  • Deep-learning feature set
  • Very quiet in idle
  • DLSS an effective new AA method
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Quiet in gaming
  • Backplate included
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4, 8K support
  • High price
  • No Windows 7 support for RTX, requires Windows 10 Fall 2018 Update
  • Bogged down by power limits
  • No idle fan-off
  • High non-gaming power consumption (fixable, says NVIDIA)
Our exhaustive coverage of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20-series "Turing" debut also includes the following reviews:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition 11 GB | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition 8 GB | ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti STRIX OC 11 GB | ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 STRIX OC 8 GB | MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio 8 GB | MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio 11 GB | MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Duke 11 GB | NVIDIA RTX and Turing Architecture Deep-dive

Palit's GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming Pro uses the NVIDIA reference PCB paired with a custom Palit cooler, which looks significantly cheaper to make than the NVIDIA Founders Edition heatsink. The card comes with a small overclock of 15 MHz Boost out of the box, which translates into a 23 MHz measured difference in our benchmarks, resulting in a 1% performance increase, which is negligible for all intents and purposes.

In terms of performance, RTX 2080 exceeds the performance of the GTX 1080 Ti by 9% both at 1440p and 4K, making it the perfect choice for 1440p gaming, or 4K when you are willing to sacrifice some details settings to achieve 60 FPS. Compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, the 2080 is around 30% behind. Compared to the Radeon RX Vega 64, which is the fastest graphics card AMD has on offer, the performance uplift is 44%.

NVIDIA only made small changes in their Boost 4.0 algorithm compared to what we saw with Pascal. For example, instead of dropping all the way to base clock when the card reaches its temperature target, there is now a grace zone in which temperatures drop slowly towards the base clock, which is reached when a second temperature cut-off point is hit. Temperatures of the Palit RTX 2080 are pretty much the same as for the Founders Edition; very decent and not even close to thermal throttling.

However, every single Turing card we tested today will sit in its power limit all the time during gaming. This means the highest boost clocks are never reached during regular gameplay, which is in stark contrast to Pascal, where custom-designs were almost always running at peak boost clocks. It simply looks like with Turing, the bottleneck is no longer temperature, but power consumption, or, rather, the BIOS-defined limit for it. Manually adjusting the power limit didn't solve the power-throttling problem, but of course, it provided additional performance, making this the easiest way to increase FPS, besides manual overclocking.

NVIDIA has once more made significant improvements in power efficiency with their Turing architecture, which has roughly 10%–15% better performance per watt compared to Pascal. Compared to AMD, NVIDIA is now almost twice as power efficient and twice as fast at the same time! The red team has some catching up to do, as power, which generates heat, which requires fan noise to get rid of, is now the number one limiting factor in graphics card design.

Palit's thermal solution seems to be targeted at matching the Founders Edition cooler, though without the high cost, and the card succeeds at that. Temperatures are very similar, and so are noise levels. Actually, idle noise is much improved, making the card super quiet in idle even though a fan-stop in idle feature would be better. Gaming noise is 1 dBA higher than on the Founders Edition, which is nothing you'd ever notice, even if you had both cards running side by side.

Overclocking, while just as complicated as on other Turing cards, is similar to the Founders Edition, too. It may be a little bit better on the memory, but I'm sure the silicon lottery plays the major role here.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX doesn't just give you more performance in existing games. It introduces RTX cores, which accelerate ray tracing—a rendering technique that can give you realism that's impossible with today's rasterization rendering. Unlike in the past, NVIDIA's new technology is designed to work with various APIs, from multiple vendors (Microsoft DXR, NVIDIA OptiX, Vulkan Vulkan RT), which will make it much easier for developers to get behind ray tracing. At this time, not a single game has RTX support, but the number of titles that will support it is growing by the day. We had the chance to check out a few demos and were impressed by the promise of ray tracing in games. I mentioned it before, but just to make sure: RTX will not turn games into fully ray-traced experiences. Rather, the existing rendering technologies will be used to generate most of the frame, with ray tracing adding specific effects, like lighting, reflections, or shadows for specific game objects that are tagged as "RTX" by the developer. It is up to the game developers what effect to choose and implement; they may go with one or several, as long as they stay within the available performance budget of the RTX engine. NVIDIA clarified to us that games will not just have RTX "on"/"off", but rather, you'll be able to choose between several presets; for example, RTX "low", "medium", and "high". Also, unlike Gameworks, developers have full control over what and how they implement. RTX "only" accelerates ray generation, traversal, and hit calculation, which are the fundamentals, and the most complicated operations to develop; everything else is up to the developer, so I wouldn't be surprised if we see a large number of new rendering techniques developed over time as studios get more familiar with the technology.

The second big novelty of Turing is acceleration for artificial intelligence. While it was at first thought that it won't do much for gamers, the company devised a clever new anti-aliasing algorithm called DLSS (Deep Learning Super-Sampling), which utilizes Turing's artificial intelligence engine. DLSS is designed to achieve quality similar to temporal anti-aliasing and to solve some of its shortcomings, while coming with a much smaller performance hit at the same time. We tested several tech demos for this feature and had difficulty telling the difference between TAA and DLSS in most scenes. The difference only became obvious in cases where TAA fails; for example, when it estimates motion vectors incorrectly. Under the hood, DLSS renders the scene at lower resolution (typically 50%, so for 4K, 2880x1620), and feeds the frame to the tensor cores, which use a predefined deep neural network to enhance that image. For each DLSS game, NVIDIA receives early builds from game developers and trains that neural network to recognize common forms and shapes of the models, textures, and terrain, to build a "ground truth" database that is distributed through Game Ready driver updates. On the other hand, this means that gamers and developers are dependent on NVIDIA to train that network and provide the data with the driver for new games. Apparently, an auto-update mechanism exists that downloads new neural networks from NVIDIA without the need for a reboot or update to the graphics card driver itself.

With a price of $830, the Palit RTX 2080 Gaming Pro is $30 more expensive than the NVIDIA Founders Edition, and I can't see the reason why. Yes, it has a tiny overclock and slightly better idle fan noise, but everything else is close enough to call both cards equal—which is not a bad thing. The NVIDIA Founders Edition is a flashy and costly design, especially the thermal solution drives up the price quite a bit. Palit is using their own cooler, which performs just as well as the NVIDIA version and is no doubt much cheaper to fabricate. That's why I think the Palit RTX 2080 Gaming Pro is overpriced at $830. A more realistic price point would be slightly below the Founders Edition, maybe at around $770.
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