Quick test: Geforce RTX 3080 with 12 GB graphics memory – faster and more expensive

Nvidia’s rather overpopulated Geforce RTX 3000 series of graphics cards received another addition yesterday. New in the layout is a 12 GB variant of the Geforce RTX 3080, ie 2 GB more graphics memory than the original model that was launched in the autumn of 2020. However, it is not only the graphics memory that distinguishes the models, but there are also differences in the graphics circuit’s built-in in terms of the number of CUDA cores and the width of the memory bus.

Specifications: Nvidia Geforce RTX 3080 12 GB

RTX 3090 Ti

RTX 3090

RTX 3080 Ti

RTX 3080 12 GB

RTX 3080

RTX 3070 Ti

Technical

8 nm Samsung

8 nm Samsung

8 nm Samsung

8 nm Samsung

8 nm Samsung

8 nm Samsung

Circuit

GA102

GA102

GA102

GA102

GA102

GA104

Circuit surface

628 mm²

628 mm²

628 mm²

628 mm²

628 mm²

392 mm²

Transistors

28.3 billion

28.3 billion

28.3 billion

28.3 billion

28.3 billion

17.4 billion

Architecture

Ampere

Ampere

Ampere

Ampere

Ampere

Ampere

CUDA cores

10 752 st.

10 496 st.

10 240 st.

8 960 st.

8 704 st.

6 144 st.

RT cores

84 st.

82 st.

80 st.

70 st.

68 st.

48 st.

Tensor cores

336 st.

328 st.

320 st.

280 st.

272 st.

192 st.

Texture units

336 st.

328 st.

320 st.

280 st.

272 st.

192 st.

Raster units

112 st.

112 st.

112 st.

112 st.

96 st.

96 st.

Clock frequency

1 395 MHz

1 365 MHz

1 260 MHz

1 440 MHz

1 575 MHz

GPU Boost

~1 860 MHz

1 695 MHz

1 665 MHz

1 710 MHz

1 710 MHz

1 770 MHz

Computational power

~40 000 GFLOPS

35 581 GFLOPS

34 099 GFLOPS

30 643 GFLOPS

29 768 GFLOPS

21 750 GFLOPS

Memory amount

24 GB GDDR6X

24 GB GDDR6X

12 GB GDDR6X

12 GB GDDR6X

10 GB GDDR6X

8 GB GDDR6X

Memory frequency

21 000 MHz

19 500 MHz

19 000 MHz

19 000 MHz

19 000 MHz

19 000 MHz

Memory bus

384-bit

384-bit

384-bit

384-bit

320-bit

256-bit

Memory bandwidth

1 008 GB/s

936 GB/s

912 GB/s

912 GB/s

760 GB/s

608 GB/s

Power supply

12-pin

12-pin

12-pin

12-pin

12-pin

12-pin

SLI connection

NVLink 3.0 x4

NVLink 3.0 x4

TBP

450 W

350 W

350 W

350 W

320 W

290 W

Launch price

1 499 USD

1 199 USD

699 USD

599 USD

Geforce RTX 3080 with 12 GB graphics memory is based like its sibling with 10 GB around the graphics circuit GA102, but in a less cut-down design. The newcomer has two more SM clusters activated in the circuit, which gives 8,960 functioning CUDA cores – an increase of quite a marginal 3 percent over the 10 GB model. However, something that is not quite as marginal is the extended memory bus, which is now 384 bits wide for a theoretical memory bandwidth of 912 GB / s.

However, the original variant of the Geforce RTX 3080 with 10 GB will not be removed from the range, but instead the newcomer will be wedged into the lineup between the former model and the Geforce RTX 3080 Ti. In terms of price, Nvidia does not communicate any recommended levels for the 12 GB version of the Geforce RTX 3080, and with that in mind, such a recommended price would not have had any reality anchoring in the prevailing graphics card market either.

From our perspective as a hardware reviewer, this was perceived as a rather strange launch, as Nvidia was very secretive that this card would even be released. It was only when we heard that some partner manufacturers had sent out the 12 GB variant to selected international media that we received confirmation from Nvidia that the card was in progress, but that the driver would not be released until after the model was officially launched. In other words, no media was given the opportunity to test the card just in time for launch.

Now, the Geforce RTX 3080 with 12 GB of graphics memory is not the world’s most interesting card, so the question is whether we had even made an effort to do a full-scale review of the card – probably not. However, there is a curiosity about what the expanded CUDA core number and the wider memory bus do for the performance over the 10 GB version, so we thought a quick test would be in order!

asus_rtx_3080_12gb-1.jpg

Asus RTX 3080 Strix OC 12 GB

Asus RTX 3080 Strix OC 10 GB

Circuit

GA102

GA102

CUDA cores

8 960 st.

8 704 st.

Bass frequency

1 260 MHz

1 440 MHz

Turbo frequency (max frequency)

1 860 MHz

1 905 MHz

Memory bus

384-bit

320-bit

Memory amount

12 GB GDDR6X

10 GB GDDR6X

Memory frequency

19 000 MHz

19 000 MHz

Memory bandwidth

912 GB/s

760 GB/s

Power supply

8+8+8-pin

8+8+8-pin

TBP

390 W

370 W

Dimensions (L × H)

319 × 140 mm

319 × 140 mm

Expansionsplatser

3 pieces (58 mm)

3 pieces (58 mm)

Outputs

2 st. HDMI 2.1
3 st. DP 1.4a

2 st. HDMI 2.1
3 st. DP 1.4a

Since Nvidia will apparently not produce a Founder Edition version of the 12 GB version, let alone send it out to us, we needed to get a card from one of the partner manufacturers. Here, Asus was very helpful and announced at short notice over both the 12 GB and 10 GB versions of its Geforce RTX 3080 ROG Strix OC, something that makes it much easier to make a comparison between the cards than if we had put a factory overclocked card against Nvidia’s unclocked reference ditto.

In terms of specifications, the 12 GB version of the Asus Geforce RTX 3080 ROG Strix OC has a power budget of 390 W, ie 20 W more than the 370 W that the 10 GB variant can handle. In terms of clock frequency, however, the 10 GB version has a slightly higher turbo frequency at 1,905 MHz compared to 1,860 MHz for the 12 GB ditto. Power is supplied via three 8-pin PCI Express connectors for both cards, while the porky cooling solution that takes up three card slots is identical between the models.

testrigg-1.jpg

Components of the test systems

Component

model

Thanks to

Processor

Intel Core i9-10900K @ 5,0 GHz

Inet

Motherboard

Asus ROG Maximus XII Hero Wi-Fi

Asus

Memory

2× 16 GB G Skill Trident Z Royal
3 600 MHz, 16-16-16-36

G.Skill

Cooling

Noctua NH-D15

Noctua

Storage

Samsung 970 Evo M.2, 1 TB
Samsung 860 Evo, 1 TB

Samsung

Power supply

Seasonic Prime Ultra Titanium, 1 000 W

Seasonic

Chassis

Streacom BC1 Open Benchtable

Streacom

Screen

Dell P2415Q

Operating system

Windows 10 Professional 64-bit (2004)

For this article, we use SweClocker’s standard graphics card testing system, but scale down the test suite significantly. In practice, we limit ourselves to all twelve game tests in the resolution of 3,840 × 2,160 pixels, which also allows us to build a performance index for this number of pixels at the end. The driver used is yesterday’s launched Geforce Driver 511.17.

With the performance figures in hand from the twelve game tests, it is clear that the performance advantage for the 12 GB variant varies depending on the title and that there are generally no huge differences. There are some titles that seem to gain some ground on the increased memory bandwidth, including Ghost Recon: Breakpoint which swings up by 8 percent compared to the 10 GB version of the Asus ROG Strix. In other games, however, it is more about a performance gain that is in the regions between 3 and 5 percent.

When we gather all the games in one index, we can take a closer look at the average performance advantage that the 12 GB version has over the 10 GB variant in the Asus ROG Strix suite. Just as the individual game tests gossiped about, there are no huge differences in performance, where the average lands on an advantage of 4 percent to the advantage of the 12 GB card. Compared to Nvidia’s Geforce RTX 3080 Founders Edition in 10 GB version, ROG Strix 12 GB is just over 7 percent faster.

Summary thoughts on the Geforce RTX 3080 with 12 GB of graphics memory

There are few surprises when the 12 GB version of the Geforce RTX 3080 passes the test lab, where the specifications speak for a fairly marginal increase in performance and this is also reflected in our tests. In the end, in our opinion, it’s more about an opportunity for Nvidia to use its stock of “less defective” GA102 circuits in a new model, and at the same time open up for the use of 12 GB of graphics memory thanks to the wider memory bus.

That there is no officially communicated target price from Nvidia for this new addition is a bit worrying, but also not very surprising – who really thinks that such a price tag would hold in reality when little brother with 10 GB still carries 699 USD as the recommended level? In Sweden, you can expect to pay at least around SEK 17,000 for the 12 GB model, while more exotic variants such as the ROG Strix variant we looked at are a few thousand bucks more expensive.

Seventeen thousand kronor, it is not forty thousand billion, but it is still a lot of money for a graphics card. Far too much in our opinion, and especially when it comes to a finely tuned variant of a card that once upon a time (albeit for a very short time) could be bought for under 8,000 kronor.

Last but not least, we would like to thank Asus who at short notice was able to arrange the test copies to make this quick test possible!


Source: SweClockers by www.sweclockers.com.

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