The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti & RTX 2080 Founders Edition Review: Foundations For A Ray Traced Futureby Nate Oh on September 19, 2018 5:15 PM EST
The 2018 GPU Benchmark Suite & the Test
Another year marks another update to our GPU benchmark suite. This time, however, is more in line with a maintenance update than it is a complete overhaul. Although we've done some extended compute and deep learning benchmarking in the past year, and even some HDR gaming impressions, our compute and synthetic lineup remains largely the same. But before getting into the details, let's start with the bulk of benchmarking, and the biggest reason for these cards anyhow: games.
Joining the 2018 game list is Far Cry 5, Wolfenstein II, Final Fantasy XV and Middle-earth: Shadow of War. We are also bringing in F1 2018 and Total War: Warhammer II. Returning from last year is Battlefield 1, Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, and Grand Theft Auto V. All-in-all, these games span multiple genres, differing graphics workloads, and contemporary APIs, with a nod towards modern and relatively intensive games.
|AnandTech GPU Bench 2018 Game List|
|Battlefield 1||FPS||Oct. 2016||DX11
|Far Cry 5||FPS||Mar. 2018||DX11|
|Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation||RTS||Mar. 2016||DX12
|Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus||FPS||Oct. 2017||Vulkan|
|Final Fantasy XV: Windows Edition||JRPG||Mar. 2018||DX11|
|Grand Theft Auto V||Action/Open world||Apr. 2015||DX11|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of War||Action/RPG||Sep. 2017||DX11|
|F1 2018||Racing||Aug. 2018||DX11|
|Total War: Warhammer II||RTS||Sep. 2017||DX11
That said, Ashes as a DX12 trailblazer may not be as hot and fresh as it once was, especially considering that the pace of DX12 and Vulkan adoption in new games has waned. The circumstances are worth an investigation on their own, but the learning curve required in modern low-level API and the subsequent return may not be convincing right now. As a more general remark, most developers and publishers tend not to advertise or document DX12 support as much as they used to, nor is it clearly labelled in game specifications as many times DX11 is the unmentioned default.
Particularly for NVIDIA and GeForce RTX, pushing DXR and raytracing means pushing DX12, of which DXR is a component. The API has a backstop in the form of Xbox consoles and Windows 10, and if multi-GPU is to make a comeback, whether that's via compatible workloads (VR), flexible usage (ray tracing workload topologies), or just the plain old inevitability of Moore's Law. So this is less likely to be the slow end of DX12.
In terms of data collection, measurements were gathered either using built-in benchmark tools or with AMD's open-source Open Capture and Analytics Tool (OCAT), which is itself powered by Intel's PresentMon. 99th percentiles were obtained or calculated in a similar fashion, as OCAT natively obtains 99th percentiles. In general, we prefer 99th percentiles over minimums, as they more accurately represent the gaming experience and filter out any artificial outliers.
We've also swapped out Blenchmark, which seems to have been abandoned in terms of updates, in favor of a BMW render from the Blender Institute Cycles Benchmark, and a more recent one from a Cycles benchmark developer on Blenderartists.org. There were concerns with Blenchmark's small tile size, which is not very applicable to GPUs, and in terms of usability we also ran into some GPU detection errors which were linked to inaccurate Blenchmark Python code.
Otherwise, we are also keeping an eye on a few trends and upcoming developments:
- MLPerf machine learning benchmark suite
- Blender Benchmark
- Futuremark's 3DMark DirectX Raytracing benchmark
- DXR and Vulkan raytracing extension support in games
Another point is that we do not have a permanent HDR monitor for our testbed, which would be necessary to incorporate HDR game testing in the near future; 5 games in our list actually support HDR. And as we look at technologies that enhance or alter image quality (e.g. HDR, Turing's DLSS), we will want to find a better way of comparing differences. This is particularly tricky with HDR as screenshots are inapplicable and even taking accurate photographs will most likely be viewed on an SDR screen. With DLSS, there is a built-in reference quality based on 64x supersampling, which in deep learning terms is the 'ground truth'; an intuitive solution would be to use a neural network based method of analyzing quality differences, but that is likely beyond our scope.
The following tech demos and test applications were provided via NVIDIA:
- Star Wars 'Reflections' Demo (includes real time ray tracing and DLSS support)
- Final Fantasy XV Official Benchmark (includes DLSS support)
- Asteroids Demo (features mesh shading and variable LOD)
- Epic Infiltrator Demo (features DLSS)
Because NVIDIA is not productizing any other reference-quality GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 card besides the Founders Editions, which are non-reference by specifications, we've gone ahead and emulated the true reference specifications with a 90MHz downclock and lowering the TDP by roughly 10W. This is to keep comparisons standardized and apples-to-apples, as we always look at reference-to-reference results.
In a classic case of Murphy's Law, our usual PSU started malfunctioning around the time of the review, but given the time constraints we couldn't do a 1:1 replacement in time. As it is a digital PSU, we were beginning to use it for PCIe power readings to augment system measurements, but for now we will have to stick power draw at the wall. For the time being, we've swapped it out with another high-quality and high-wattage PSU.
|CPU:||Intel Core i7-7820X @ 4.3GHz|
|Motherboard:||Gigabyte X299 AORUS Gaming 7 (F9g)|
EVGA 1000 G3
|Hard Disk:||OCZ Toshiba RD400 (1TB)|
|Memory:||G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200 4 x 8GB (16-18-18-38)|
|Case:||NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition|
|Video Cards:||AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Air Cooled)
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
|Video Drivers:||NVIDIA Release 411.51 Press
AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.9.1
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro (April 2018 Update)|
|Spectre/Meltdown Mitigations||Yes, both|