Why Nvidia’s 30-Series GPUs Are Better Than AMD | MakeUseOf


Nvidia is one of two trusted names in graphics card development. You either have an Nvidia GPU, or you opt for an AMD GPU. Depending on who you ask, Nvidia is always slightly ahead of AMD when it comes to GPUs. Faster, bigger, stronger, more innovative.

Now, Nvidia is hammering home that advantage with the release of the frankly bonkers GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs. The latest generation of Nvidia video cards is set to be almost twice as fast as the previous generation—but also much cheaper.

So, here’s what you need to know.

What Is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-Series?

Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30-Series GPUs are the latest graphics card generation from Nvidia. The new Nvidia graphics cards are the first since 2018’s GeForce RTX 20-Series and represent a significant step forward in GPU technology.

The new GPUs have been rumored for a long time and are now set for release from mid-September 2020. Included in the Nvidia GeForce 30-Series roster are:

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070

Let’s take a closer look at the new Nvidia GPUs and why they’re attracting so much attention.

As mentioned above, the GeForce RTX 30-Series is arriving on the scene with twice the power for half the cost. It isn’t an exact science, but the numbers are there or thereabouts. Here’s a brief spec list for each 30-Series GPU, plus how that stacks up against the previous generation.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 vs. Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 & 2080 Ti

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 will take place (almost) at the top of the GPU ladder. While the Nvidia RTX 3080 is a direct upgrade for the RTX 2080 and the 2080 Ti, the RTX 3090 is a new premium model with some truly incredible specs—but more on this below. First, a look at the RTX 3080.

nvidia rtx 30 series 20 series table

There are a few standout spec increases here. First up, the RTX 3080 receives a decent memory upgrade to 10GB GDDR6X RAM, but with a huge increase in memory speed, up to 19Gbps. Next up, the number of CUDA cores more than doubles, from 4,300 to 8,700, which essentially delivers twice the processing power for the GPU.

Another important feature that has also doubled is the number of transistors for RTX 30-Series GPUs. Where the RTX 2080 has 13.6 billion transistors, the RTX 3080 more than doubles that, with 28 billion transistors. Like the CUDA cores, more transistors mean faster and vastly more powerful processing.

Nvidia’s RTX 3080 includes 238 Tensor Cores, which are responsible for the complex mathematics required for deep learning and AI features. Although the number of Tensor Cores in the 3080 actually falls in comparison to the 2080 and 2080 Ti, the new generation cores are four times more powerful with a massive net performance increase.

The RTX 30-Series GPUs make a considerable leap in power usage to accommodate the massive jumps in performance. The RTX 3080 carries a TDP (Thermal Design Power) rating of 320W, up from the RTX 2080 Ti’s 250W. As such, Nvidia recommends at least a 750W power supply unit (PSU). Once you pair the RTX 3080 with a modern CPU, you’ll need at least an 850W PSU, if not more, to account for fluctuations and a little breathing room for upgrades.

RTX 3080 Benchmarks

The RTX 30-Series launch video details a huge amount of specs for the new GPUs. Facts and figures on memory size and core counts are one thing but seeing how that translates into actual performance is another.

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The video delivers heaps of interesting specs on the RTX 30-Series. But another video, uploaded by Chinese tech site TecLab Bilibili, contains some interesting gaming benchmarks towards the end, including:

  • Borderlands 3: 4K in DirectX 12, 7.4GB video memory used, 61FPS average
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: 4K, 9.9GB video memory used, 76FPS average
  • Assassins Creed Odyssey: 4K, 7GB video memory used, 67FPS average
  • Forza Horizon 4: 4K, 143FPS average
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The video leak confirms the speculation around the Nvidia 30-Series, as well as showcasing performance over 50 percent higher than the RTX 20-Series GPUs.

How Much Is the Nvidia RTX 3080?

At launch, the Nvidia RTX 3080 will set you back $699—the same as the RTX 2080 at the time of its launch back in 2018. So, almost two years to the day, a new Nvidia GPU will launch with twice the specs, but at the same price as the predecessor.

You might also find some launch day deals, too. If that pricing sounds too high, check out the best graphics cards for any budget.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 vs. Nvidia GeForce 2070

It is a similar story when you compare the RTX 3070 with the RTX 2070 from the previous generation. The RTX 3070 has the same amount of GDDR6 RAM, though it comes with a slightly higher base and boost clock. The biggest gains for the 3070 over the previous generation are with the CUDA cores, which more than double from 2,300 to a massive 5,850.

rtx 3070 vs 2070 gpu

Similarly, the number of transistors on the RTX 3070 jumps to 17 billion, up from 10.8 billion on the RTX 2070.

Now, here’s the thing. The RTX 3070 is not only better than the RTX 2070, as you might expect. It is also a better GPU than the RTX 2080 Ti. This means the latest generation of Nvidia GPUs third-tier is better the best GPU from the previous generation. That is, frankly, bonkers.

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 will cost $500 at launch, which is a mighty deal.

If you’re using Linux, you should find out whether to use AMD or Nvidia GPUs and what works best for your system.

What Is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090?

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 is the behemoth, monstrous card taking the top spot in the GPU pile. The RTX 3090 is large, in all areas. Standing 12.3-inches high, the RTX 3090 is taller than the upcoming Xbox Series X.

Under the hood, Nvidia packs 24GB GDDR6X RAM into the RTX 3090, as well as 10,500 CUDA cores and 28 billion transistors. It comes with a TDP of 350W, again requiring a powerful PSU.

Nvidia is launching the RTX 3090 as the first 8K HDR gaming GPU. You can use the 3090’s substantial resources to play games back in 8K, as well as capture gameplay in 8K through the GeForce Experience ShadowPlay feature.

The RTX 3090 packs in 328 Tensor Cores, too, which will allow greater AI optimization in game. All Nvidia’s 30-Series GPUs use DLSS 2.0 (deep learning super sampling), an AI-based rendering technique that allows far greater frame rates and visual experiences than your regular gaming setup. In the video below, you see the effect DLSS 2.0 has on Death Stranding, dramatically increasing the frame rate.

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The RTX 3090 will also feature a unique fan design, too, with a fan either side of the GPU.

There’s only one thing about the RTX 3090 that will put you off, and that’s the price. If you want one of these monster GPUs, you’ll be parting with $1,500. Of course, the RTX 3090 isn’t targeting gamers solely. It will feature in all manner of high-end workstations.

No doubt once you’ve bought an RTX 3090, you’ll want to push it to the limits. Here are the best free benchmark programs for Windows to help you out.

Is Nvidia Better Than AMD?

So, you’ve read through these incredible GPU specs. You’ve seen how Nvidia is cranking up the heat in the GPU marketplace. And now you’re wondering, “How can AMD compete with this?”

You won’t have to wait long to see AMD’s response. The new AMD Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs are set for release sometime in October 2020, and I would expect specs to leak between now and then. AMD’s 5000 series GPUs were an excellent step forward, so expect more of the same.

Until then, Nvidia is better than AMD.

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