If you’re in the market for a graphics card, you’ve probably heard of Nvidia’s new RTX series. The latest cards promise real-time ray tracing capabilities, which could be revolutionary if they are as good as they sound.
But are they? Do you need to buy them? Are they worth the price tag, which hovers around $700 per card? We decided to answer these questions once and for all by running some tests to see how the two compare head-to-head—the new RTX 3090 and the older but still excellent GTX 1080 Ti.
How We Compared The Cards
We benchmarked each card in a few tests, including Cinebench R15, SPECviewperf 12, and 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme. The RTX 3090 consistently outpaced every other card—as it should since it’s Nvidia’s flagship GPU on the market. The newer, $1,199 RTX 3090 is comparable to cards such as MSI’s GeForce GTX 1180 Gaming X Trio at $979 and Nvidia’s own Founder’s Edition of its 2060 Super at $599 so far, beating both of them across a range of games (depending on settings). Check out our full roundup for a detailed performance breakdown.
4K Gaming Benchmarks
When it comes to 4K gaming, there are no two GPUs that are more similar than the GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080 – both of which are great performers in 1440p and 144Hz gaming scenarios but lack a little bit when it comes to running games at a steady 60FPS with all settings maxed out at 4K resolution. Eventually, both will get you there – with proper settings tweaks, but what about their performance out-of-the-box? How well do they stack up against each other on paper?
- RTX 2070 – 90 / GTX 1080Ti – 81,5 / RTX 2080 – 82,5 / GTX 1080 – 78,6 (0-1 FPS Differenz) 1440p Benchmarks: RTX 2080Ti – 98 / GTX 1080Ti – 88 (7-9 FPS Differenz) 4K Benchmarks: RTX 2070 – 48,4 / GTX1080Ti – 42 (4-6 FPS Differenz) 4K Benchmarks: RTX 2080ti – 65,3 / GTX1080ti 62 (3-4 FPS Differenz)
- Rtx 3090 is ~12% Faster than Gtx 1080 ti in 4k.
- Rtx 3090 is ~18% faster than gtx 1080 ti in 1440p.
- In 2k RTX 2070 beats gtx 1080 and RTX 2080 beats gtx 1080 ti.
- If you want to play at 4k with 144hz, get an RTX 2080ti or wait for volta with raytracing and higher fps if it gets released on consumer-level cards.
- If you are looking for a good card for 2160p gaming, get an RTX 2070 or wait for next-generation GPUs like AMD vega 64/56 or Nvidia Turing series with real-time raytracing support coming soon!
- If you have a 1080p monitor, go for an RTX 2060 or wait for new mid-range GPUs from AMD and Nvidia!
- The first-gen of raytracing will be available only on high-end GPUs from both companies, so don’t expect low-end cards to support that feature!
Turing GPUs are considered an excellent match for VR, especially if you’re looking for high-end performance on a laptop GPU or running a multi-GPU desktop setup with one of Turing’s Quadro cards. The 2880 CUDA cores offer solid performance in general and should be able to handle most virtual reality workloads without a hitch.
Tensor cores are specifically designed for complex calculations, and they can help deliver realistic VR environments while keeping heat levels down and saving power. Early reviews have shown that we could see as much as 20% better performance in VR using these new Turing cards than Pascal products like last year’s GTX 1070/1080 series cards, which is certainly quite significant.
Who Should Get The RTX 3090 And Who Should Get The GTX 1080 Ti
The RTX cards are supposed to be for real-time ray tracing (the next frontier in graphics), but we don’t know what that will look like yet. In most games and day-to-day tasks, there won’t be much difference between having an RTX or GTX card — and both cards will likely struggle with 4K gaming at high-quality settings until new monitors come out with higher refresh rates and more developers adopt ray tracing.
If you’re willing to pay extra for technology that might never become mainstream (and could even make your games look worse), you can buy an RTX card from Nvidia directly; third parties are expected to release some soon as well. If you want something cheaper and better supported, get a GTX card instead.