Price: RTX 3080 vs RX 6800 XT
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Nvidia kicked off this GPU generation with the RTX 3080 hitting the market in September 2020 for a suggested price of $699. AMD came in a bit later with a November 2020 release for the RX 6800 XT, landing with a lower MSRP of $649. Sadly, neither of those prices reflect the current state of the market — not even close. With extremely limited availability, we’re seeing massively inflated prices from scalpers and effectively nothing available at MSRP.
The GPUs at this tier have never been what you would call affordable options. The GeForce RTX 3080 is what Nvidia considers its flagship graphics card (the 3090 is apparently chopped liver to Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang), with a price to match the previous generation RTX 2080 Super and GTX 1080 Ti. AMD hasn’t had a competitive offering in this price bracket for a while (no, the Radeon VII and R9 Fury X weren’t really competitive), so this is the first time ever that AMD has had a single-GPU solution worth paying $650 or more in our opinion. It’s too bad that neither company is currently able to keep up with demand, as those prices sound downright inviting these days.
A quick look at our GPU Pricing Index shows that RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT cards are selling for extreme premiums on eBay, which is currently the easiest place to pick up a graphics card if you’re willing to pay double or triple the official price. And good luck finding one in a store at MSRP. Since their launch in late 2020, the RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080 have been nearly impossible to find, and the madness isn’t expected to slow down any time soon. Demand for GPUs is at an all-time-high right now and production is constrained by multiple factors.
On eBay, then, it’s $2,200 (give or take) for the RTX 3080 versus $1,525 for the RX 6800 XT. Interestingly, however, the regular Newegg Shuffle frequently puts up cards using both GPUs. There, the RTX 3080 bundles typically cost in the neighborhood of $1,300 while the RX 6800 XT bundles have a similar price (assuming the bundled components are similar prices, anyway). There have also been far more RTX 3080 bundles listed over the past month than RX 6800 XT, so theoretically it’s ‘easier’ to score the 3080. Realistically, though? We haven’t been selected for a single 3080 or RX 6000-series bundle, and we’ve tried on nearly every one. Back to scalpers, then, or wait until 2022…
Our most recent numbers indicate that a Radeon RX 6800 XT is a much better deal than a GeForce RTX 3080 on eBay, probably because the 3080 is 50% faster for Ethereum mining. The average eBay price for a Radeon RX 6800 XT was around $1,500 at the time of writing. That’s almost a 2.5X premium over the MSRP. However, if you prefer team green, expect to pay significantly more than that. eBay pricing on the RTX 3080 is hovering around $2,250, 3.2x the MSRP of a Founders Edition card.Winner: AMD, but actually, no one
With the average eBay price for a Radeon RX 6800 XT currently sitting at $750 less than the typical GeForce RTX 3080 card, the Radeon appears to be the better value. The reality is, at these prices, the only winner is the scalper taking profits. If you get lucky with a Shuffle, pricing looks roughly tied — but then you’re down to pathetic odds. If you need a new GPU, try to find one for as low a price as possible and you can use our RTX 3080 stock tracker to help. We can’t support paying two to three times the MSRP for either of these cards.
Ray tracing and other features
AMD was quick to highlight hardware support for DirectX 12 during its RX 6000 reveal event, and follow-up reports have given us some idea about its potential performance. AMD includes a single Ray Accelerator on each compute unit, meaning the RX 6800 XT has 72 of them in total. Some third-party testing and AMD’s own numbers give us a rough comparison of RX 6800 XT and RTX 3080 Ray Tracing performance, and the RTX 3080 wins handily. The confirmation comes in synthetic tests such as 3DMark – Port Royal where the RX 6800 XT is beaten by Nvidia’s RTX 3080 and also by the RTX 2080 Ti.
We are still in the early days of benchmarks that test Ray Tracing, so the impact of this technology is hard to assess, but it became apparent with Nvidia’s RTX 20-series GPUs that Ray Tracing takes a huge toll on performance. This means that Nvidia’s DLSS is an important feature as it allows Nvidia to boost image quality with Ray Tracing and then offset the hit first with DLSS and now with DLSS 2.0. It can make a massive difference too, with intense ray tracing games like Minecraft being entirely playable at 4K with all the lighting effects turned up, when DLSS is enabled, but barely creeping above 30 fps on AMD hardware.
AMD guarantees many performance-optimizing perks on its products, such as adaptive sharpening and varying-rate shading, but we have yet to find another similar option to DLSS. AMD announced that they have a new Super Resolution feature in the making, but we still don’t know when it’s due to debut. Without testing it ourselves, we can’t say if it will be an adequate alternative to DLSS.
The $70 difference
Based on everything we’ve been able to test, we’ve found that AMD and Nvidia offer pretty similar features and performance. The RTX 3080 appears to be slightly quicker and has a card with more features; however, it’s harder to find, is expensive, and lacks functionality when it comes to memory. If differences are negligible, we’d recommend saving the extra $70 by opting for the RTX 3080.
The RTX card is an excellent option if you typically play games that utilize DLSS and ray tracing. However, if you need to play standard rendered 4K resolution games, either card is a fantastic candidate. You can’t go wrong with either one of these cards as they are practically interchangeable, so you can either go for the card that’s cheaper at your local retailer or the one that they have on hand.
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The picture isn’t a particularly clear one with the RX 6800 XT as there are several factors muddying the water. Firstly, it’s $50 cheaper, at least considering launch prices compared to the Founders Edition RTX 3080. This is good news for some game titles as the card matched or bettered the RTX 3080 in plenty of areas and where it fell short — well, it costs less so they can to some extent be forgiven and ultimately AMD still has a great product in these situations.
AMD’s RX 6800 XT and Nvidia’s RTX 3080
Where it seems to fall short of expectations occasionally is at 4K, where it was regularly slower than the RTX 3080, even outside of ray traced scenarios. It doesn’t happen everywhere but the majority of titles I benchmarked showed the same trend. Again, it does cost less and Smart Access Memory and PCIe 4.0 may well help it here and I’ll be looking at this in a future article.
Ray tracing, as always, is quite game dependant, but assuming you use DLSS, then Nvidia is always much faster. To quote PC Gamer’s view on DLSS 2.0 «DLSS 2.0 is an effective and immediate gateway to a gratuitous performance bump with little to no visual impact», so I think this assessment and using it in these benchmarks is fair.
Ultimately then, AMD has an attractive offering with the RX 6800 XT, especially if you game at 2560 x 1440. That probably comes with the proviso that you aren’t too fussed about ray tracing. Wider support for the latter will come, as will AMD’s own version of DLSS, which is apparently in the works, but it’s great to see some much-needed competition for Nvidia at the high-end at last.
The new cards, which also include the RX 6900 XT to be released soon, sport the 7nm RDNA 2 architecture that introduces ray tracing for the first time on an AMD desktop graphics card, using Ray Accelerators. Each Ray Accelerator is able to calculate up to four ray/box intersections or one ray/triangle intersection every clock. As we saw with Nvidia’s RTX cards, though, game support will vary depending on the implementation, with AMD supporting those based on Microsoft DXR and Vulkan APIs. However, extensions outside of this, such as Nvidia’s extensions for games such as Wolfenstein: Youngblood, are not currently supported.
Gaming Performance: RTX 3080 vs RX 6800 XT
GPUs are used for many purposes these days, but gaming is still the number one reason consumers spend big bucks on these devices, and people buying high-end cards expect top-notch performance. We put the RTX 3080 and the RX 6800 XT to the test with a 13-game gauntlet in three resolutions to see which GPU deserves the crown. The results weren’t as definitive as we would like, but we’ve got additional benchmarks that will help sway our final verdict.
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If you’re gaming at 1080p, both cards are more than fast enough—perhaps even overkill. Overall, the RX 6800 XT has a slight edge on the RTX 3080, with an average 169.4 FPS across all 13 games compared to the 158.3 FPS. AMD comes out slightly ahead in many games, with significant leads in several AMD promoted games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Borderlands 3, and Dirt 5.
Increasing the resolution to 1440p shrank the delta between the two cards several percent, though the 6800 XT held onto the overall lead. Take that with a grain of salt, though, as the both cards still cranked out over 100 fps in nearly every game (Watch Dogs Legion, Metro Exodus on the 6800 XT, and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on the 3080 being the exceptions).
Gaming at 4K, even with today’s best GPUs, remains a challenging feat, but both cards are capable of driving high-end games at this resolution with acceptable frame rates — mostly, as long as you’re okay with closer to 60 fps in many games. The 13-game average now puts the RTX 3080 slightly ahead of the RX 6800 XT, flipping the 1440p results, and in most cases the performance delta between the two cards remained negligible.
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The RX 6800 XT looks like it wins by a hair overall, especially if your favorite game happens to be AC Valhalla for Borderlands 3. But what if we go beyond rasterization and run games with ray tracing and/or DLSS technologies? We’ve omitted the 4K testing this time — it’s really only viable with DLSS anyway — and switched to testing ten games with DirectX Raytracing (DXR) and six games with DLSS 2.0. We’re not going to break down every chart, but the overall standings change dramatically once DXR and DLSS come into play — and a game doesn’t need to use DXR to benefit from DLSS.
Running native 1080p or 1440p, Nvidia’s lead in DXR games averaged 30% to 35%, and it was over 50% in three of the games we tested. AMD still came out with small leads in Dirt 5 and Godfall, both AMD promoted games, but we want to go on record (again) by noting that the DXR shadows in those games really don’t strike us as particularly important (and the same goes for Shadow of the Tomb Raider).
Enable DLSS Quality mode, which is difficult to tell apart from native rendering in our experience, and it’s not even remotely close. Yes, Nvidia’s GPUs render fewer actual pixels and rely on machine learning to scale the result, but if you can’t readily see the difference — and that’s looking at still frames — does it matter? In the six DLSS + DXR games we tested, the smallest lead for the RTX 3080 was 72% (Watch Dogs Legion at 1080p), but in most games the 3080 was more than double the performance of the RX 6800 XT.Winner: Nvidia
You can’t really go wrong with either of these cards. They both deliver ample performance for gaming at any resolution. If we have to pick a winner, we’ll take Nvidia’s DLSS tech (more than the DXR superiority) as a smart way of providing often significant improvements to performance. AMD needs a viable alternative to DLSS 2.0, hopefully something that clearly matches it in quality (FidelityFX CAS doesn’t, once you apply upscaling). Given Unreal Engine’s and Unity Engine’s support for DLSS, we expect plenty of upcoming games will benefit.
Specs and performance
It’s hard to directly compare AMD and Nvidia GPUs purely based on specs, and that’s not changing with AMD’s new RX 6000 cards. That said, there are some aspects that are more comparable. We can see some stark differences between the 6800 XT and RTX 3080 in terms of memory. The 6800 XT has 16GB to the 3080’s 10GB, though Nvidia’s card uses newer, faster GDDR6X memory and has a wider memory bus, which gives the RTX 3080 a greater standard memory bandwidth.
AMD has a trick up its sleeve, though. Its new Infinity Cache accelerates memory bandwidth by a huge margin, delivering a potential memory bandwidth over twice that of the RTX 3080 in some scenarios.
|RX 6800 XT||RTX 3080|
|Interface||PCI Express 4.0||PCI Express 4.0|
|GPU Cores||4,608 Stream processors||8,704 CUDA cores|
|Ray tracing cores||72 Ray Accelerators||68 Gen 2 RT cores|
|Memory||16GB GDDR6 + 128MB Infinity Cache||10GB GDDR6X|
|Bandwidth||512GBps (1,664GBps effective)||760GBps|
AMD promised us their RX 6800 XT would match the RTX 3080 at 4K in a number of games and now the reviews are in we can see that AMD’s latest card is within a few frames per second of the RTX 3080. If you look at benchmarks in a game such as The Division 2 you will see at 1080p Nvidia has an advantage of 5 fps that stretches to 10 fps at 1440p and 4K. In Borderlands 3 the tables are turned with AMD beating Nvidia by the same margins.
It is fair to say that Nvidia has retained the performance crown but very few of us will be able to detect those differences in frame rates by eye, so the fairest summary is that AMD RX 6800 XT and Nvidia RTX 3080 are competing on level terms.
Based on our testing of the RTX 3080, we know AMD’s competing numbers are at least close. In Battlefield V, the card reached 97 fps at 4K with Ultra settings and 147 fps at 1440p. The 1440p numbers are a little high in AMD’s charts, though 4K performance is around what we’d expect. Now we know the RX 6800 XT can match the performance of the RTX 3080, we expect to see AMD reclaiming market share from Nvidia, especially if AMD has better stock availability.
AMD is introducing two new features with the launch of RX 6000 GPUs that could further boost performance. Rage Mode is a new one-click overclocking tool built into the Radeon software, allowing you to get the most out of your graphics card with minimal tweaking. The exciting new addition, however, is Smart Access Memory. AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 5000 processors can take full control of RX 6000-series GPUs. According to AMD’s benchmarks, using both can offer up to a 13% performance improvement at 4K.
This is highly dependent on the game, it seems. Although AMD showed off a 13% improvement in Forza Horizon 4, Doom Eternal only saw a 2% improvement.
Pricing and availability
AMD’s new RX 6800 and 6800 XT launched on November 18 for $579 and $649, respectively. At only $70 less than the RTX 3080, the 6800 XT probably won’t win over many users purely based on price, though it’s at least staying competitive, especially compared to 3080 board partner cards.
At the end of October 2020, however, the RTX 3080 isn’t in stock anywhere. Nvidia has struggled to get a handle on its 30-series launch, following reports of poor yields of the Samsung 8nm node powering Nvidia’s new cards. The RTX 3080 is sold out everywhere right now, and it’ll likely stay that way well into 2021. AMD’s RX 6800 XT has only just gone on sale and as we would expect it has immediately sold out, however we have heard reports that AMD has increased production of its Big Navi graphics chips at TSMC. We feel optimistic AMD will overcome its supply problems in a reasonable timeframe and predict you are more likely to find stocks of AMD RX 6800 XT than Nvidia RTX 3080 by early 2021.
Historically, TSMC — the foundry behind the 7nm node in the RX 6800 XT — has been able to meet demand with high-volume manufacturing. Especially moving into the holiday season, AMD could steal back some significant market share from Nvidia if it can keep cards on shelves. The RX 6800 XT is already cheaper than RTX 3080 but the big news is that AMD’s performance claims have been verified and the RX 6800 XT matches the performance of the RTX 3080 in most games.
Features and Technology: RTX 3080 vs RX 6800 XT
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With every generation of graphics card comes new technologies meant to improve your gaming experience. In most cases, AMD and Nvidia have direct counterparts for each other’s technology, but there are a handful of exceptions that really set these cards apart in various ways.
Nvidia’s RTX GeForce cards support Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), a technique to increase the image resolution with minimal impact on image quality. DLSS leverages Nvidia’s AI technology to take low resolution rendered images and infer the placement of pixels to increase the output resolution. Currently, AMD doesn’t offer a direct counterpart to DLSS technology, although FidelityFX Super Resolution technology could even the playing field when it lands later this year. Until then, Nvidia has a clear performance advantage with DLSS games.
AMD and Nvidia both support ray tracing, which offers image quality improvements that are sometimes quite pretty, but they don’t offer much in the way of gameplay improvements. Ray tracing does impact the framerate that your GPU can deliver, and as noted above, Nvidia’s GPUs tend to easily beat AMD in ray tracing games. That’s likely thanks to the fact that Nvidia is on round two of RT hardware, while AMD is still on round one.
Both AMD and Nvidia offer refresh rate synchronization technology, which dynamically syncs your monitor’s refresh rate with your GPU’s frame rate output. Nvidia’s G-Sync requires an Nvidia GeForce GPU paired with a G-Sync certified (or G-Sync Compatible) display. FeeSync is AMD’s answer to G-Sync. Both technologies match your display’s speed with output from your GPU, but AMD’s solution is usually more affordable. Nvidia requires certification and licensing from display manufacturers, whereas AMD’s solution is royalty-free and free to use, giving display makers a broader opportunity to support Freesync. On the other hand, G-Sync typically works better, likely due to Nvidia’s strict requirements. Furthermore, Nvidia cards can run with G-Sync on most of the top FreeSync displays, whereas AMD GPUs are not compatible with G-Sync technology. For a more detailed analysis see our FreeSync versus G-Sync face-off.
Another display technology Nvidia offers is Reflex — both as a software and hardware solution. In games that fully implement Reflex (Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, CRSED: F.O.A.D., Destiny 2, Enlisted, Fortnite, Mordhau, Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant, and Warface), it offers a significant latency reduction that can help competitive gamers. That’s why that list is full of multiplayer games. Again, AMD doesn’t have a direct counterpart. Elsewhere, Nvidia’s Ultra-Low Latency tech and AMD’s Anti-Lag go for a similar end goal (lower latency), but neither is as good as Reflex.
AMD may be lacking in some software features, but it has the clear win in memory capacity. Whereas Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 comes equipped with a not too shabby 10GB of GDDR6X memory, the Radeon RX 6800 XT packs a whopping 16GB of GDDR6 memory. So far, however, there are almost no games where VRAM capacity makes a clear difference.Winner: Nvidia
While both companies offer similar feature sets, Nvidia does a better job implementing their versions. G-Sync is generally superior to FreeSync; DLSS doesn’t have a counterpart, yet; and Reflex performs better than Anti-Lag in our experience. The extra memory on the Radeon is not a reason to give up Nvidia’s impressive features.
GPU 1: AMD Radeon RX 6800 XTGPU 2: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
|PassMark — G3D Mark||
|PassMark — G2D Mark||
|Geekbench — OpenCL||
|GFXBench 4.0 — Car Chase Offscreen (Frames)||
|GFXBench 4.0 — Manhattan (Frames)||
|GFXBench 4.0 — T-Rex (Frames)||
|GFXBench 4.0 — Car Chase Offscreen (Fps)||
|GFXBench 4.0 — Manhattan (Fps)||
|GFXBench 4.0 — T-Rex (Fps)||
|3DMark Fire Strike — Graphics Score||
|Название||AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080|
|PassMark — G3D Mark||23425||24430|
|PassMark — G2D Mark||1094||1002|
|Geekbench — OpenCL||156957||181072|
|GFXBench 4.0 — Car Chase Offscreen (Frames)||15033||34537|
|GFXBench 4.0 — Manhattan (Frames)||3720||3716|
|GFXBench 4.0 — T-Rex (Frames)||3375||3356|
|GFXBench 4.0 — Car Chase Offscreen (Fps)||15033||34537|
|GFXBench 4.0 — Manhattan (Fps)||3720||3716|
|GFXBench 4.0 — T-Rex (Fps)||3375||3356|
|3DMark Fire Strike — Graphics Score||18217||17699|
|CompuBench 1.5 Desktop — Face Detection (mPixels/s)||610.23|
|CompuBench 1.5 Desktop — Ocean Surface Simulation (Frames/s)||6745.122|
|CompuBench 1.5 Desktop — T-Rex (Frames/s)||55.839|
|CompuBench 1.5 Desktop — Video Composition (Frames/s)||217.054|
|CompuBench 1.5 Desktop — Bitcoin Mining (mHash/s)||2179.577|
Bottom Line: RX 6800 XT vs RTX 3080
|Round||AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080|
|Features and Technology||✗|
|Drivers and Software||✗||✗|
|Power and Efficiency||✗|
The Radeon RX 6800 XT and the GeForce RTX 3080 are relatively well matched cards, but at this tier, it’s almost too close to call. For a lot of people, performance will be the number one consideration, but the winner and margin of victory can vary greatly depending on the game and settings being used. DLSS makes the RTX 3080 a formidable competitor as well, and anyone that cares about ray tracing will be better served by the RTX 3080 — right now it’s the card we’d most like to recommend based on official prices.
That’s the problem, though. Street prices are generally terrible, as is availability. The RTX 3080 appears to be in wider circulation, but for normal gamers, paying $1,000 or more just for a graphics card is asking far too much. Anyone willing to pay scalper prices, however, will find the Radeon RX 6800 XT costs about $700 less than the RTX 3080, and it produces higher frame rates in many games. Unless you’re mining on the side, in which case the hashing performance of the 3080 might make it worth the added cost.
When these cards sell for MSRP — if they ever do before being replaced by future cards — the tables could turn. Don’t expect that to happen in 2021, though. The GPU shortage will likely drag on until next year, and scalpers will continue to manipulate the market prices.
And there’s the rub. Our rankings and overall preferences mean nothing if you can’t get your hands on either of the cards at acceptable prices. If you manage to acquire either a Radeon RX 6800 XT or a GeForce GTX 3080, count your lucky stars and be happy with your purchase. That’s especially true if you managed to pick it up at anywhere close to MSRP (i.e., under $1,000).Overall Winner: Tie, until (unless) availability improves a lot
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