Final Words

Bringing this review to a close, we've seen it all and yet we have more to see. Here's what we know right now. NVIDIA has once again aimed for the top and reached it, securing the performance crown for another presumably long stint. Or arguably extending the current reign, but either way, on terms of traditional performance the new GeForce RTX 20 series further extends NVIDIA's performance lead.

By the numbers, then, in out-of-the-box game performance the reference RTX 2080 Ti is around 32% faster than the GTX 1080 Ti at 4K gaming. With Founders Edition specifications (a 10W higher TDP and 90MHz boost clock increase) the lead grows to 37%, which doesn't fundamentally change the matchup but isn't a meaningless increase.

Moving on to the RTX 2080, what we see in our numbers is a 35% performance improvement over the GTX 1080 at 4K, moving up to 40% with Founders Edition specifications. In absolute terms, this actually puts it on very similar footing to the GTX 1080 Ti, with the RTX 2080 pulling ahead, but only by 8% or so. So the two cards aren't equals in performance, but by video card standrads they're incredibly close, especially as that level of difference is where factory overclocked cards can equal their silicon superiors. It's also around the level where we expect that cards might 'trade blows', and in fact this does happen in Ashes of the Singularity and GTA V. As a point of comparison, we saw the GTX 1080 Ti at launch come in around 32% faster than the GTX 1080 at 4K.

Meaning that, in other words, the RTX 2080 has GTX 1080 Ti tier conventional performance, mildly faster by single % in our games at 4K. Naturally, under workloads that take advantage of RT Cores or Tensor Cores, the lead would increase, though right now there’s no way of translating that into a robust real world measurement.

So generationally-speaking, the GeForce RTX 2080 represents a much smaller performance gain than the GTX 1080's 71% performance uplift over the GTX 980. In fact, it's in area of about half that, with the RTX 2080 Founders Edition bringing 40% more performance and reference with 35% more performance over the GTX 1080. Looking further back, the GTX 980's uplift over previous generations can be divvied up in a few ways, but compared to the GTX 680 it brought a similar 75% gain.

But the performance hasn't come for free in terms of energy efficiency, which was one of Maxwell's hallmark strengths. TDPs have been increased across the x80 Ti/x80/x70 board, and the consequence is greater power consumption. The RTX 2080 features power draw at the wall slightly more than the GTX 1080 Ti's draw, while the RTX 2080 Ti's system consumption leaps by more than 60W to reach near-Vega 64 power draw at the wall.

Putting aside those who will always purchase the most performant card on the market, regardless of value proposition, most gamers will want to know: "Is it worth the price?" Unfortunately, we don't have enough information to really say - and neither does anyone else, except NVIDIA and their partner developers. This is because the RT Cores, tensor cores, Turing shader features, and the supporting software are all built into the price. But NVIDIA's key features - such as real time ray tracing and DLSS - aren't being utilized by any games right at launch. In fact, it's not very clear at all when those games might arrive, because NVIDIA ultimately is reliant on developers here.

Even when they do arrive, we can at least assume that enabling real time ray tracing will incur a performance hit. Based on the hands-on and comparing performance in the demos, which we were not able to analyze and investigate in time for publication, it seems that DLSS plays a huge part in halving the input costs. In the Star Wars Reflections demo, we measured the RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition managing around a 14.7fps average at 4K and 31.4fps average at 1440p when rendering the real time ray traced scene. With DLSS enabled, it jumps to 33.8 and 57.2fps.

So where does that leave things? For traditional performance, both RTX cards line up with current NVIDIA offerings, giving a straightforward point-of-reference for gamers. The observed performance delta between the RTX 2080 Founders Edition and GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition is at a level achievable by the Titan Xp or overclocked custom GTX 1080 Ti’s. Meanwhile, NVIDIA mentioned that the RTX 2080 Ti should be equal to or faster than the Titan V, and while we currently do not have the card on hand to confirm this, the performance difference from when we did review that card is in-line with NVIDIA's statements.

The easier takeaway is that these cards would not be a good buy for GTX 1080 Ti owners, as the RTX 2080 would be a sidegrade and the RTX 2080 Ti would be offering 37% more performance for $1200, a performance difference akin upgrading to a GTX 1080 Ti from a GTX 1080. For prospective buyers in general, it largely depends on how long the GTX 1080 Ti will be on shelves, because as it stands, the RTX 2080 is around $90 more expensive and less likely to be in stock. Looking to the RTX 2080 Ti, diminishing returns start to kick in, where paying 43% or 50% more gets you 27-28% more performance.

The benefits of the new hardware cannot be captured in our standard benchmarks alone. The DXR ecosystem is in its adolescence, if not infancy. Of course, NVIDIA is hardly a passive player in this. The GeForce RTX initiative is a key inflection point in NVIDIA's new push to change and mold computer graphics and gaming, and it's highly unlikely that anything about this launch wasn't completely deliberate. There was a conscious decision to launch the cards now, basically as soon as was practically possible. Even waiting a month might align with a few DXR and DLSS supporting games out at launch, though at the cost of missing the prime holiday window.

Taking a step back, we should highlight NVIDIA's technological achievement here: real time ray tracing in games. Even with all the caveats and potentially significant performance costs, not only was the feat achieved but implemented, and not with proofs-of-concept but with full-fledged AA and AAA games. Today is a milestone from a purely academic view of computer graphics.

But as we alluded to in the Turing architecture deep dive, graphics engineers and developers, and the consumers that purchase the fruits of their labor, are all playing different roles in pursuing the real time ray tracing dream. So NVIDIA needs a strong buy-in from the consumers, while the developers might need much less convincing. Ultimately, gamers can't be blamed for wanting to game with their cards, and on that level they will have to think long and hard about paying extra to buy graphics hardware that is priced extra with features that aren't yet applicable to real-world gaming, and yet only provides performance comparable to previous generation video cards.

 

 

Power, Temperature, and Noise
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  • Dribble - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    The DLSS basically gives you a resolution jump for free (e.g. 4k for 1440p performance) and is really easy to implement. That's going to take off fast and probably means even the 2070 will be faster then the 1080Ti in games that support it. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Saturday, September 22, 2018 - link

    No not free, everyone can see the blurry mess the renamed blur effect is. Reply
  • Inteli - Saturday, September 22, 2018 - link

    TIL that when you stop isolating variables in a benchmark, a lower-end card can be faster than a higher-end card. Reply
  • tamalero - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - link

    Die size is irrelevant to consumers. They see price vs performance. not how big the silicon is.

    AMD was toasted for having hot slow chips. many times.. so did nvidia.. big and hot means nothing if it doesn't perform as expected for the insane prices they 're asking for.
    Reply
  • Yojimbo - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - link

    Die size is not irrelevant to consumers because increased die size means increased cost to manufacture. Increased cost to manufacture means a pressure for higher prices. The question is what you get in return for those higher prices.

    People like what they know... what they are used to. If some new AA technique comes along and increases performance significantly but introduces visual artifacts it will be rejected as a step backwards. But if a new technology comes along that has a significant performance cost yet increases visual quality much more significantly than the aforementioned artifacts decrease it, people will also have a tendency to reject it. That is, until they become familiar with the technology... That's where we are with RTX. No one can become familiar with the technology when there are no games that make use of it. So trying to judge the value of the larger die sizes is an abstract thing. In a few months the situation will be different.

    Personally, I think the architecture will be remembered as one of the biggest and most important in the entire history of gaming. There is so much new technology in it that some of it barely anyone is saying much about (where have you heard about texture space shading, for example?). Several of these technologies will have their greatest benefits with VR, and if VR had taken off people would be marveling about this architecture immediately. But I think that VR will eventually take off, and I think several of these technologies will become the standard way of doing things for the next several years. They are new and complicated for developers, though. Only a few developers are prepared to take advantage of the stuff today. It's going to be some time before we really can put the architecture into its proper historical perspective.

    From the point of view of a purchase today, though, it's a bit of an unknown. If you buy a card now and plan to keep it for 4 years, I think you'd be better off getting a 20 series than a 10 series. If you buy it and keep it for 2 years, then it's a bit less clear, but we'll have a better idea of the answer to that question in 6 months, I think.

    I do think, though, that if an architecture with this much new stuff were introduced 20 years ago everybody, including games enthusiast sites like Anandtech, would be going gaga over it. The industry was moving faster then and people were more optimistic. Also the sites didn't try to be so demure. Hmm, gaga as the opposite of demure. Maybe that's why she's called Lady Gaga.
    Reply
  • Santoval - Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - link

    I agree that this might be the most game-changing graphics tech of the last couple of decades, and that the future belongs to ray-tracing, but I also think that precisely due to the general uncertainty and the very high prices Nvidia might suffer one of their biggest sales slumps this generation, if not *the* biggest. They did not handle the launch well : it is absurd to release a new series with zero ray-traced, DLSS supporting or mesh shaded games at launch.

    Their extensive NDAs, lack of information and ban on benchmarks between the Gamescom pre-launch and the actual launch, despite going live with (blind faith based) preorders during that window, was also controversial and highly suspicious. It appears that Nvidia gave graphics cards to game developers very late to avoid leaks, but that resulted in having no RTX supporting games at launch. They thought they could not have it both ways apparently, but choosing that over having RTX supporting games at launch was a very risky gamble.

    Since their sales will almost certainly slump, they should release 7nm based graphics cards (either a true 30xx series or Turing at 7nm, I guess the latter) much sooner, probably in around 6 months. They might have expected a sales slump, which is why they released 2080Ti now. I suppose they will try to avoid it with aggressive marketing and somewhat lower prices lately, but it is not certain they'll succeed.
    Reply
  • eddman - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    Would you've still defended this if it was priced at $1500? How about $2000? Do you always ignore price when new tech is involved?

    The cards, themselves, aren't bad. They are actually very good. It's their pricing.

    These cards, specifically 2080 Ti, are overpriced compared to their direct predecessors. Ray tracing, DLSS, etc. etc. they still do not justify such prices for such FPS gains in regular rasterized games.

    A 2080 Ti might be an ok purchase for $850-900, but certainly not $1200+. Even 8800 GTX with its new cuda cores and new generation of lighting tech launched at the same MSRP as 7800 GTX.

    These cards are surely more expensive to make, but there is no doubt that the biggest factor for these price jumps is that nvidia is basically competing with themselves. Why price them lower when they can easily sell truckloads of pascal cards at their usual prices until the inventory is gone.
    Reply
  • Andrew LB - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    You, like so many others don't get it. nVidia has re-worked their product lines. Didn't you notice how the Ti came out at the same time as the 2080? You might also notice that Titan is now called Titan V (volta) and not GTX Titan. Titan is now in its own family of non-gaming cards and that is reflected in the driver section on their site. They now have titan specific drivers.

    Here, watch this. Jay explains it fairly well.

    https://youtu.be/5XRWATUDS7o?t=6m2s
    Reply
  • eddman - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    You took an opinion and decided it's a fact. It's not. That guy is not the authority on graphics cards.

    There is no official word that titan is now 2080 Ti. Nvidia named that card 2080 Ti, it has a 102 named chip. Nvidia themselves constantly compare it to 1080 Ti, which also has a 102 named chip, therefore it's the successor to 1080 Ti and it's very normal to expect similar pricing.

    Don't worry, there will be a Titan turing, considering that 2080 Ti does not even use the fully enabled chip.

    It's really baffling to see people, paying customers, defending a $1200 price tag. It is as if you like to be charged more.
    Reply
  • eddman - Thursday, September 20, 2018 - link

    $1000, but it's still too high, and you cannot find any card at that price anyway. Reply

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