Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti FE Review
If there is a downside to the world in 2020 it is that the time seemed to absolutely drag. The launch of the Nvidia Ampere cards and the excitement that surrounded them feels like a lifetime ago. It was September. 8 months. In that 8 months the shelves have been emptier than the pasta and toilet roll aisle of your local supermarket and prices have soared with those people lucky enough to have got their hands on one gouging those who wanted to get hold of one. Even storefronts aren't averse to slightly bumping the price when they have some in stock.
It might have been eight months then, but most of us still haven't actually got an Ampere card, yet here is the Ti version to render the previous model that nobody could find, obsolete. Or does it? Certainly it makes business sense to gear up for a new product, and in a normal universe we'd have had eight months to enjoy the Ampere card. So we'd be annoyed that it was replaced so quickly, but perhaps begrudgingly accepting that this is the way of the world. Early adopters always have to endure such things. However, nobody is an early adopter because there hasn't been any stock. At least Nvidia won't follow the pattern of the retailers/lucky few and bend the potential buyers over a ... £1049!!! Pardon??
Oh well, let's make the best of it. What does this SIXTY-TWO PERCENT price increase over the regular RTX 3080 buy you? As you saw from the previous two pages you get 18% more hardware under the hood, which we'll get to in a minute, and around 12% extra performance at 4K resolutions. 62% more money for 18% more hardware for 12% more performance is a perfect encapsulation of the theory of diminishing returns.
Why we aren't as cross about the Nvidia Founders Edition as we are about the partner cards is simply a matter of pricing. This card is very nearly a RTX 3090, but significantly more affordable than that card was at launch. We were expecting this to be around £749 given that the RTX 3080 launched at £649, so to have a number closer to the RTX 2080 Ti launch price is eye-widening to say the least.
If you're a 4K gamer and didn't manage to get on board the RTX 3090 train during the 4 minutes they were available for purchase, then perhaps the RTX 3080 Ti is going to be just the ticket. If you're not gaming at 4K then there is zero reason to buy this unless you absolutely can't find a regular RTX 3080 anywhere. Or 3070. But if that is the category under which you fall, then basically Nvidia are price gouging you like an eBay scalper.
All that being said it's approximately RTX 3090 performance for a price somewhere between that and the RTX 3080 Ti. If there is stock around and you've been saving frantically then you won't be disappointed with the end result of your spending, and thus it wins our OC3D Performance Award.