Palit GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Pro OC Review 17

Palit GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Pro OC Review


Value and Conclusion

  • The Palit GeForce RTX 3080 will retail close to reference, $700 or $710.
  • Huge performance increase over RTX 2080/2080 Ti
  • 60 FPS 4K gaming a reality now
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Fantastic memory overclocking potential
  • Idle fan stop
  • Adjustable RGB lighting
  • 2nd generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • DLSS improved
  • PCI-Express 4.0
  • New GeForce Features: Reflex, Broadcast, G-SYNC 360, and RTX-IO
  • 8 nanometer production process
  • Makes little sense for gamers without a 4K or 1440p high refresh-rate monitor
  • Runs into power limit all the time
  • Only small factory overclock
  • Memory not overclocked
  • Overclocking more complicated due to power limit
  • Manual power limit adjustment range smaller than Founders Edition
Yesterday was an exciting day for gamers—NVIDIA lifted the embargo on GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition reviews. General sentiment so far is that this has been an excellent launch, albeit some discussions in our forums are still ongoing. Today is the NDA lift for custom-design cards from NVIDIA's board partners. We have the following reviews for you: ASUS RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC, MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio, Palit RTX 3080 Gaming Pro OC, and ZOTAC RTX 3080 Trinity. If you haven't, check out yesterday's RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review for some background on what we'll be talking about.

The Palit GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Pro OC is a pleasant-looking and sounding, close-to-reference graphics card the US market will likely miss out on due to its limited availability. It retains the classic triple-slot, triple-fan setup of most high-end graphics cards. The GeForce RTX 3080 Ampere meets all the expectations built up by NVIDIA and then some. The goal behind Ampere was pretty simple—with RTX on, an RTX 20-series "Turing" graphics card wasn't noticeably faster than the previous-generation "Pascal." The new "Ampere" architecture is designed to reduce the performance cost of raytracing by dialing up performance to where overall performance with RTX-on is as much of a generational performance leap as the visuals.

The Palit GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Pro OC is a highly cost-efficient design that still comes with a large triple-slot, triple-fan cooler. Palit has given their card a small overclock to a rated boost of 1740 MHz out of the box, which is a 30 MHz increase over the Founders Edition's 1710 MHz, or 1.7%. As you know, NVIDIA's Boost rating is just a theoretical value that gives a rough indication of what to expect in real life. We measured actual GPU clocks using our whole benchmarking suite and got 1944 MHz, which is 0.6% higher than the 1931 MHz on the Founders Edition. So essentially, the RTX 3080 Gaming Pro OC matches Founders Edition performance.

Averaged over our whole benchmarking suite at 4K resolution, the Palit RTX 3080 Founders Edition is 66% faster than the RTX 2080 it replaces, and the previous-generation flagship RTX 2080 Ti is beat by a whopping 31%! AMD's Radeon RX 5700 XT is half as fast as the RTX 3080. Yup, the RTX 3080 ups the 5700 XT by +100% in performance. If you've held out on a GTX 1080 Ti until now, congrats, now is the right time to upgrade. The RTX 3080 will double your FPS and gives you all the latest technologies and features, like raytracing and DLSS. 4K is where the RTX 3080 enjoys the highest performance lead over Turing. These leads slim down at lower resolutions, with +51% over the RTX 2080 at 1440p and +35% at 1080p.

The GeForce RTX 3080 is perfect for 4K gaming. It's able to exceed 60 FPS in nearly all titles. The only exception in our test suite is Control, which runs at 48 FPS. NVIDIA does have an ace up their sleeve: DLSS, which renders the game at a lower resolution and upscales the frame to your native monitor resolution. While traditional upscaling comes with blurriness and artifacts, NVIDIA DLSS uses AI to improve the scaling. The algorithm has improved over the years, but the basic concept remains. Machine learning is used to train a model to excel at upscaling of game content. While only few games support DLSS at this time, the numbers are growing quickly. The same goes for raytracing, which was pioneered by NVIDIA, adopted by Microsoft, and is now seeing its introduction on the next-gen consoles this holiday season. Raytracing support on consoles is a confirmation that game developers will release titles with the new technology—NVIDIA is now on generation two of their RTX technology, and you can bet they learned a lot from Turing. The number of RTX cores has been increased significantly in Ampere, and several optimizations have been added, probably more than NVIDIA is telling us about.

The cooling performance of the Palit Gaming Pro cooling solution is roughly on-par with the NVIDIA Founders Edition. It also has the same exact dimensions, but is triple-slot. This is possibly because the PCB underneath is close to the design by NVIDIA, with Palit's own choice of components. We see 36 dBA gaming noise, which is acceptable and identical to the FE. The idle fan-stop feature ensures there's no noise outside of gaming. Temperatures are slightly improved over the Founders Edition, 72°C vs. 78°C, which is not a night-and-day difference, but still shows that you don't need fancy cooling designs to cool this kind of a heat load.

Even though it's an affordable card, overclocking the Palit Gaming Pro worked just as well as on other Ampere cards, reaching almost the same OC numbers. Especially memory overclocked well—it is very impressive for such a new technology to have that much headroom. The power limiter complicates overclocking though, just like on Turing. Since you can no longer dial in an exact frequency, you'll spend a bit more time working on getting your OC stable.

Palit is matching the 320 W power limit of the Founders Edition, which is part of the reason why there's no performance increase from overclocking. What's surprising is that Palit actually reduced the manual power adjustment limit to 350 W—the Founders Edition offers 370 W.

The final retail price for the Palit GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Pro OC isn't decided yet, but it will definitely be very close to MSRP, or even match it. Traditionally, Palit Gaming Pro cards are sold at MSRP, so I don't expect this generation to be any different. At that price point, the card is too similar to the Founders Edition to conclusively beat it. On the other hand, it will be a worthy alternative in regions that have no or ultra-limited Founders Edition availability, *waves to our friends in Australia*. Also, this card could become an option in case NVIDIA runs out of Founders Edition cards to sell.
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