Is it worth paying $200 more to get Nvidia’s new RTX 3080 graphics card, or are you going to be just fine with the 3070? I’ve compared both in games at 4K, 1440p, and 1080p as well as content creator workloads to help you decide which to pick.
Let’s start with the spec differences, as you can probably guess based purely on the names, the 3080 is better for the most part. The 3080 has more and faster memory, more CUDA cores, uses more power, and costs $200 more, so let’s find out if it’s worth it.
Test PC Setup
This is the system that I’m using to test out both graphics cards, so an overclocked i9-10900K at 5.2GHz with 32gb of DDR4-3200 CL14 memory in dual channel. We’ll first dig into the gaming results, then check out cost per frame, power draw, and content creator workloads afterwards.
Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested in the Sydney landing challenge. The difference at 1080p was the smallest out of all 11 titles tested with the 3080 just 5% ahead of the 3070, but at 1440p the 3080 was 26% faster in average frame rate, then 34% faster at 4K, so the difference expands as we increase the resolution and become more GPU bound. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the games benchmark tool. Again there wasn’t that big of a difference at 1080p, the 3080 was just 10% faster in average frame rate, but at 1440p this increases to a 20% lead, then 23% at 4K, which just for reference is below average out of the titles tested. Battlefield 5 was tested in campaign mode by running through the same mission on both graphics cards. At 1080p, the 3080 was able to hit the 200 FPS frame cap, and I think the cap is why its 1% low shows as being worse off than the 3070. This wasn’t the case at the higher resolutions though, and at 1440p the 3080 was reaching 29% higher average FPS, and 33% higher at 4K. Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games built in benchmark. The 3070 was still able to pass 60 FPS with the highest setting preset at 4K, however the 3080 was doing 36% better here, the second best result at 4K out of all 11 titles tested. For Control I’ll start with RTX off results. I’ve found this game to be quite heavy on the GPU even at 1080p, which is why the 3080 was 30% faster at 1080p, the biggest difference at this resolution out of the games covered.
At 1440p and 4K, even the 1% lows from the 3080 were ahead of the average from the 3070, putting the 3080 up to 33% faster in average frame rate. With RTX on and DLSS enabled the frame rates increase on both a little at 1440p and 4K, but decrease slightly at 1080p. In any case, the margins don’t change too much with ray tracing enabled, so let’s move on. I’ve tested Metro Exodus with the game's benchmark tool, and the 1% low differences were fairly minor when compared to most other games covered, though the difference to averages was bigger with the 3080 performing 26% higher at 4K or 22% more at 1440p. The results in death stranding were very close to the 11 game average at all 3 resolutions, so I suppose just looking at this graph for the most part gives you a rough idea of the actual differences between the 3070 and 3080. At 1080p, the 3080 was 19% faster than the 3070, 25% faster at 1440p, and 31% faster at 4K. The Witcher 3 was consistently the third best performing game out of the 11 I’ve tested here at all three resolutions, so above average results for the 3080 in this one, which was 36% faster than the 3070 at the highest 4K resolution. Even the 1% low from the 3080 was above the average from the 3070. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was tested with the built in benchmark and was on the other side of the spectrum. At both 1440p and 4K the difference between the 3070 and 3080 was the smallest out of all 11 games tested, with the 3080 just 22% and 12% ahead respectively. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested in campaign mode. The 3070 was still offering above 60 FPS at 4K in this one, though the 3080 was delivering 26% higher average FPS both at 4K and 1440p. The difference was lower at 1080p, with the 3080 21% faster. Rainbow Six Siege was tested using the games benchmark tool with Vulkan. Given the 3070 is well above 100 FPS at 4K with max settings, you could probably debate how useful the 3080 would be, but nevertheless it was able to offer 30% higher frame rates at this resolution.
At 1080p on average over all 11 games tested the 3080 was 18% faster than the 3070 in terms of average FPS. The biggest difference was seen in control, which is quite GPU heavy even at this resolution, though the difference with RTX off was larger than with it enabled.
Stepping up to 1440p and the 3080 was now 26% ahead of the 3070, and control with RTX enabled was now the best result. This trend is expected as we move up to higher resolutions, as the GPU can get to work and system performance limitations depend less on the other components.
Finally at 4K the 3080 is now 31% faster on average than the 3070 in the 11 games tested here. Again Control with RTX enabled saw the largest difference between the two, so it seems that the better hardware for ray tracing with the 3080 is helping it out, granted there are many other non ray traced games that saw similar performance differences.
Cost Per Frame
The 3070 is the winner in terms of value when we look at cost per frame. The performance on offer is still quite good compared to the 3080, but it’s also $200 cheaper too. $500 is already a fair amount of money to spend on a GPU, and I think most people will be satisfied with the levels of performance on offer from the 3070.
When we look at total system power draw from the wall, the system with the 3080 installed was using around 27% more power, which isn’t too bad given in this same game the 3080 was also offering 33% higher average frame rate.
Performance Per Watt
This results in fairly similar performance per watt. The 3070 has a slight edge at 1080p, then at higher resolutions where the performance difference increases more, the 3080 is slightly better at 4K, but it’s really quite negligible.
It’s not all just about gaming though, let’s check out some compute and content creator workloads. I’ve tested DaVinci Resolve with the Puget Systems benchmark, and the RTX 3080 was scoring around 10% higher than the 3070, so a much smaller difference when compared to the games. It was a different story in the V-Ray benchmark though, the 3080 was scoring 38% higher than the 3070. I’ve shown in other reviews that Ampere GPUs are offering huge gains over Turing based options from last generation in this test, the 3000 series really seem to shine in compute heavy workloads. Blender was tested with the Open Data Benchmark with the BMW and Classroom tests, and again there were nice improvements with the 3080 here too, which was 25% faster in the classroom test and 30% faster in the BMW test.
The extra memory from the 3080 could be especially useful in these types of workloads, especially if say you have a 3D rendering project that just needs more memory capacity, granted an extra 2gb of VRAM isn’t that much, but it is faster too.
Given Nvidia’s next higher VRAM option is the 3090 with 24gb at $1500 USD, it could be worth waiting for Radeon’s 6000 series. Those have 16gb of VRAM which just might make more sense than this.