The last generation of GeForce cards with the RTX 2080 Ti as the flagship was received with mixed feelings. Mainly because the performance jump compared to the GTX-1000 series was rather small and especially ray tracing and DLSS were in the foreground.
It looks very different now. The two technologies are now established and now it depends on whether the new cards finally usher in the 4K generation without being brutally expensive. Mission accomplished, we’d say.
For a long time, it was only speculated about the power the new amp generation from NVIDIA would really bring to the table. When the first performance information, benchmarks and above all the price appeared, the amazement was great. After all, the previous gaming flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti, was not available for less than 1,000 dollars. When it became known that the RTX 3080 would be well under 1,000 dollars, one could no longer resist a “Huch”.
It was less nice that some problems arose shortly after the RTX 3080 was released. Crashes and black screens were reported quite often, which could ultimately be attributed to certain capacitors. At least from our point of view, we can give the all-clear. With the current driver from NVIDIA
Let’s get down to business. For the test we had a ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity, a partner model with its own PCB and its own cooling, but still in the reference clock without factory overclocking. If you’re lucky, the card is available for a price starting at 829 dollars, which is currently difficult, because the availability of the RTX 3080 cards is still pretty poor at the moment. For the release, the enthusiasts threw themselves on the new car with a lot of vehemence. The price of the partner card is not unexpected and, as usual, is higher than that of the Founder’s Edition, which is quoted at 699 dollars.
The ZOTAC model is equipped with its own cooling system, the IceStorm 2.0, which consists of three fans, three heat sinks and seven heat pipes with a different layout compared to previous versions. There is also a metal front plate and an RGB LED backplate for ZOTAC’s Spectra 2.0 RGB lighting system, and of course its own PCB. That’s basically it, with the big differences to NVIDIA’s Founder’s Edition.
If you buy such a card, you should first take a look at the power supply and the case of your computer. The RTX 3080 is not exactly frugal and uses its 320W TDP under full load and also asks for a supplement. Our measurements showed a peak consumption of up to 329.5W. A power supply beyond the 700W limit is therefore recommended so that your computer does not have to pull the emergency brake. Two 8-pin connectors are provided for the power connection, two 6-pin to 8-pin adapters are included.
Space must also be considered. The ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity is built in a 2.5-slot design and is quite long with 317.8 x 120.7 x 58mm. Older cases in particular do not offer that much space. So, put the ruler out and measure to be on the safe side before you have to worry. Oh, a little hint: if you survive installing two RTX 3080 Trinity in the SLI, then forget about it very quickly. The model is not SLI-compatible.
The card is also PCI-e 4.0 compatible, which owners of newer mainboards can look forward to. In terms of connections, the last generation Type-C port has apparently been heaped up again, instead there are 3x DisplayPort 1.4a and 1x HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 – the latest standard.
Let’s get to the inside. The ampere generation GA102 chip works on the circuit board, manufactured using the 8nm process. As with the reference model, the GPU clock is 1,440 / 1,710 MHz, with the entry-level model ZOTAC has spared itself overclocking at the factory. GPU-Z recorded a maximum clock of 2055 MHz at its peak.
A whopping 8,704 CUDA cores ensure performance, which is twice as many as the RTX 2080 Ti. As with the 2080 Ti, 96 ROPs and 272 TMU work in the card, and the number of ray tracing cores has remained the same at 68. The number of tensor cores has even been halved to 272. However, the whole battalion works much faster and more effectively thanks to the new architecture.
When it comes to VRAM, it is surprising that compared to the 11GB of the RTX 2080 Ti, only 10GB are used. With a 320-bit interface and 760 GB / s bandwidth, more power comes out of the oven here too. It is currently rumored that a variant with more VRAM will come anyway. It cannot be ruled out that another RTX 3080 Ti awaits us, currently 20GB VRAM is being warmed up in the rumor mill for this. Would almost fit, the RTX 3090 as the flagship works with a full 24GB.
By the way, ZOTAC’s cooling leaves a very good impression. IceStorm 2.0 keeps the GPU at a moderate maximum of 74-75 degrees even under full load, which is quite remarkable for a card of this performance. The noise development is kept within limits. Anyone who is worried about having a real buzzer in the case can breathe a sigh of relief. It then remains rather quiet.