NVIDIA’s new GeForce RTX 30 series – everything you need to know!
We go through the RTX 3080, RTX 3090, and RTX 3070 in in-depth detail!
With next-gen consoles on the horizon, the PC space is set to get its own dose of next-gen tech with NVIDIA lifting the lid (or, opening the RGB-lit case) on the latest generation of GeForce graphics cards -- the RTX 30 series. Encompassing the impressive RTX 3070, the flagship RTX 3080, and the “BFGPU” (and borderline absurd) RTX 3090, these models replace the current RTX 20 series by offering up-to double the performance in like-for-like comparisons.
NVIDIA’s own RTX 30 series Founder Edition models look stunning. As far as ‘got to have’ technology goes, they trump just about anything we’ve seen this year...
Plus, NVIDIA’s own RTX 30 series Founder Edition models look stunning. As far as ‘got to have’ technology goes, they trump just about anything we’ve seen this year.
The RTX 30 Series Offers Impressive Performance Gains
In the PC gaming space, a market that now accounts for hundreds of millions of players across PCs and laptops, NVIDIA owns about 80% of the discrete graphics market. That is, the graphics cards and dedicated chips that make everything from Rainbow Six Siege to DOOM Eternal to Minecraft run without a hitch.
More than a simple refresh, NVIDIA is touting the RTX 30 line-up as the greatest generational leap in GeForce history. A bold statement to be sure, but also one worth breaking down. To both justify adding one of these to any planned Cyberpunk 2077 PC build you might have cooking up and to help you get ready for the impending ray-traced and AI-driven future.
The new flagship RTX 3080, right off the bat, offers up-to double the performance of the already powerful RTX 2080 when it comes to ray-tracing. The RTX 3070 is reportedly faster than the current flagship RTX 2080 Ti, with the RTX 3090, well, trumping the TITAN RTX – a card created for the CGI-obsessed George Lucas’ of the world.
Second Generation Ray-Tracing and Third-Generation DLSS Rendering
With both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X supporting ray-tracing across reflections, lighting, shadows, and other effects it’s a technology that will become a mainstay in the coming years...
Thanks to dedicated hardware the RTX 20 series broke new ground in terms of graphics technology. A set of powerful GPUs that ushered in the era of ray-tracing and AI-powered rendering. But as with anything new it took a while to catch on. Since the RTX 2080’s debut in 2018, titles like Control from Remedy, Metro Exodus from 4A Games, and even Minecraft with RTX from Mojang, the ‘RTX On’ label has become synonymous with next-gen visuals.
With both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X supporting ray-tracing across reflections, lighting, shadows, and other effects it’s a technology that will become a mainstay in the coming years. With the RTX 30 series, NVIDIA has the advantage of not only offering dedicated hardware to handle complex ray-tracing calculations, but improvements to that hardware. Wizardry that means the RTX 3070 will offer better ray-tracing performance than a RTX 2080 Ti.
And thanks to a secret weapon called DLSS, games will look better. DLSS or Deep Learning Super Sampling is fancy initialism talk for AI that can take a lower-resolution image and present it at a higher resolution with no loss in detail. Not to be confused with simple upscaling DLSS 2.0 as seen in Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding on PC sees that game run 40% faster in 4K with the AI-powered DLSS somehow providing better image quality.
Paired with ray-tracing and DLSS will become a major proponent in PC games and the RTX 30 series. Case in point, Cyberpunk 2077. Not only will CD Projekt Red’s highly anticipated RPG support a full suite of ray-tracing effects but DLSS support too. The RTX 3070 should have no trouble maintaining a solid 60-frames-per-second as you’re exploring a highly reflective Night City.
Cost-Effective 4K 60
Now, all of these model numbers may not mean much to a lot of people, but the result is simple – all three RTX 30 series cards announced so far are designed for 4K gaming at 60 frames-per-second with detail settings cranked.
Case in point, here’s the RTX 3080 averaging well over 140 frames-per-second on DOOM Eternal running at max settings.
Where the story just about enters the realm of unprecedented though, comes with the price-tags. With the RTX 3070 being priced at $499 USD ($809 AUD) the comparison to the RTX 2080 Ti can be a little hard to comprehend – more powerful and less than half of the cost of that beast. With the RTX 3080 set to arrive at $699 USD ($1,139 AUD) its price is higher and worthy of the flagship label, and it too is set to offer considerable 4K improvements over both the RTX 2080 and the RTX 2080 Ti.
The RTX 3090 is Capable of High-End 8K Gaming
The RTX 3090 might just be the only thing we’ll see for a while then can offer-up true high-end 8K gaming with ray-tracing and detail settings cranked.
The RTX 3090, which is a large, hulking, and stylish graphics behemoth, is set to release at $1499 USD ($2,429 AUD). A price that’s safe to look at and say ‘yeah, that’s for the ILM-inati’. In terms of what it can do, even its sizable jump in wallet-carnage is relative to just that. According to reports and early demos, the RTX 3090 can run Remedy’s Control at 8K with all ray-tracing effects turned on. At 60-fps to boot. Same goes for Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs: Legion, which is set to debut in October.
8K, as display technology, renders so many pixels that it even dwarfs 4K in raw resolution-ness. At the end of the day, 8K TVs are still relatively new and expensive, so comparing a 4K TV to an 8K TV is kind of like comparing the price points of the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090. And in that sense feels like a power move on the behalf of NVIDIA – flexing its GPU-might.
RTX IO Will Bring Faster Loading to PCs
With the PS5 and Series X both set to feature fast NVMe SSD storage, the long-standing PC tradition of having faster loading times is set to come to an end. Or, is it? Cue NVIDIA with a surprise ‘hold my beer’ moment during its RTX 30 series reveal – the addition of RTX IO technology.
We won’t attempt to explain how the lossless decompression and low-level API with work to drastically improve loading times for PC games, but it leverages the same technology that we’ll see in the Xbox Series X but offload the handling of the data and what not to the RTX 30 series graphics card. With no perceived impact to performance, and less strain on the CPU and overall bandwidth this new technology will allow games to load in a near-instant. And with game install sizes starting to hit triple-digit GBs, RTX IO is the sort of forward-thinking tech that goes beyond cramming more silicon onto a board.
With companies like MSI, ASUS, GIGABYTE, ZOTAC, and others all bringing their own versions of the RTX 30 series to market – in form factors that will look and feel like current PC graphics cards – NVIDIA’s own reference models, referred to as Founders Editions, feature a somewhat radical redesign of the PC graphics card.
NVIDIA’s design is said to run noticeably quieter and cooler than anything it has given the Founders Edition label to in the past...
With fans located on both sides and a more compact board, plus a new power-interface, NVIDIA’s design is said to run noticeably quieter and cooler than anything it has given the Founders Edition label to in the past.
But even the more traditional looking MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming Trio is built on the same underlying technology -- NVIDIA Ampere, the successor to the RTX 20 series’ Turing. All RTX 3080 cards will feature new and impressive GDDR6X memory designed in collaboration with Micron, and when it comes to CUDA Cores, RT Cores, and Tensor Cores, new advancements and the use of Samsung 8nm technology means the whole double the performance talk can be seen when glancing at the spec sheet.
The RTX 30 Series Will Support Content Creation, Broadcasting, and Competitive Gaming
Alongside the suite of RTX 30 series cards NVIDIA is also ready to release a suite of broadcast, streaming, and competitive gaming tech with the arrival of RTX Broadcast and NVIDIA Reflex. The latter is aimed at esports and competitive gaming which will pair NVIDA GeForce RTX hardware and G-Sync displays with software that will drastically reduce latency. For those that play something like League of Legends or Apex Legends with the sort of intensity that could just as easily draw a crowd, reducing the time between when you click and the corresponding action happening on screen will no doubt feel like a game changer.
With RTX Broadcast, NVIDIA is using the same sort of AI-sorcery that powers DLSS rendering to create green-screen-like effects for streamers without the need for a green-screen in addition to audio that removes all background noise. That tech, which was released in Beta form as RTX Voice earlier this year can even remove the sound of a hair dryer next to a microphone and keep your voice sounding, as Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men would say, "crystal".
The Nvidia RTX 3080 is out now, with the RTX 3090 set to arrive on September 24. The RTX 3070 is slated for launch in October.