Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity Review 24

Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity will retail at the NVIDIA MSRP of $699.
  • Huge performance increase over RTX 2080/2080 Ti
  • 60 FPS 4K gaming a reality now
  • Excellent price performance ratio, no cost increase over MSRP
  • Very quiet cooler
  • Fantastic memory overclocking potential
  • Idle fan stop
  • Adjustable RGB lighting
  • 2nd generation hardware-accelerated raytracing
  • Support for HDMI 2.1, AV1 decode
  • DLSS improved
  • 3-year warranty, extendable to 5 years (EMEAI only)
  • 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
  • Our sample ran slightly slower than the Founders Edition, with higher power draw
  • No factory overclock
  • 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, alebit 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.

Zotac's GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity is a premium-looking custom-design variant of the RTX 3080 that comes at the MSRP of $700. Even at that price point, Zotac is giving you a huge triple-slot, triple-fan cooler that significantly improves on the thermals and noise of the Founders Edition. A factory overclock isn't included, but these overclocks are quite small on Ampere anyway, we've been seeing actual performance gains between 2% to 4%, which is not worth it if you care about nothing but price/performance.

While the Trinity is specified to the same settings as the Founders Edition: same base clock, same boost clock, same memory frequency, and identical power limit, it is around 1% slower than the FE. After some digging, I found out that the voltage-frequency table of the Trinity is set to slightly lower clocks than the FE. It seems that the silicon lottery wasn't so kind to us. At the factory, every single graphics chip is tested for its clocking abilities and how much power it consumes at certain settings, aka "leakage". These and various other properties are taken into account to generate a custom voltage-frequency curve for each of those chips. This means that some chips are faster than others, an effect we've been observing for a couple of years, roughly since the time hardware manufacturers invented "boost" to maximize the performance of their silicon. It's also possible that NVIDIA made sure the best GPUs go on their Founders Edition cards, possibly with additional sorting for press review boards. The performance difference is just 1% to 2%, really not worth worrying about. On the other hand, some factory overclocked cards are selling you such performance deltas as a "factory overclock". Let's hope the tight supply situation doesn't get even more complicated by people ordering half a dozen cards, testing them all, and returning all but the best one.

Still, the Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity achieves very impressive performance results as it's 63% faster than the GeForce RTX 2080 it replaces, almost 30% faster than last generation's GeForce RTX 2080 Ti flagship. Nearly all games in our test suite run at well over 60 FPS in 4K—the only exception is Control, which is kinda close at 47.3 FPS, and DLSS will easily lift you over the 60 FPS mark. AMD's fastest, the Radeon RX 5700 XT, will give you less than half (!) the FPS.

Zotac's new Trinity thermal solution comes with an understated design that's dominated by black with silver highlights. A metal backplate and adjustable RGB lighting is included, too. Temperatures are good: 73°C, or 5°C cooler than the Founders Edition. Noise levels are even better with just 32 dBA, which makes the Trinity one of the quietest RTX 3080 cards we've reviewed today. Just like all other RTX 3080 cards, the Trinity comes with the idle-fan-stop feature, which completely turns off the fans in idle, productivity, browsing, and video playback—the perfect noise-free experience.

Overclocking on the Zotac Trinity was slightly lower in absolute terms, but better in relative gains. It seems all Ampere cards top out at very similar maximums, which means the Zotac Trinity at default clocks can achieve higher percentage gains than a factory overclocked card. We saw 4.5% real-life performance gained in our testing. Zotac uses the same 320 W power limit default as the Founders Edition, but their manual adjustment limit is quite a lot lower for some reason. The FE lets you go up to 370 W, while the Trinity tops out at 336 W, which can be a drawback for overclockers who want to dial up the power limit. I think the cooler could easily take the extra heat, so Zotac can perhaps be convinced to release a BIOS update with higher limits.

Zotac prices their new RTX 3080 Trinity very competitively. It comes in at $699, which means there's no price increase for the bigger cooler. You also get adjustable RGB lighting, if that's what you fancy—the Founders Edition only has a muted white glow. On the other hand, NVIDIA's FE is one of the sexiest graphics card designs out there, but supply seems to be limited. Zotac's Trinity is a good alternative, especially if you want to reduce noise levels. Last but not least, Zotac just announced that they are including up to five years of warranty with the Trinity, three years by default and an additional two years after registration.
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