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MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X Review

Joseph Bradford Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

MSI is back bringing an overclocked RTX 4080 to the fray, its RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X. This top-tier card from MSI aims to take the great performance of the RTX 4080 Founder’s Edition even further with a factory overclock, pumping more power into the Ada Lovelace card. But do the extra bells and whistles make for a better card over the Founder’s Edition?

Specifications:

  • RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X
  • CUDA Cores: 9728
  • Memory Speed: 22.4 Gbps
  • Memory: 16GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Bus: 256-bit
  • Recommended PSU: 850 Watts (Min. 750 W)
  • Card Dimensions: 336x142x78 mm
  • Weight: 2364g
  • I/O: 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a; 1 x HDMI 2.1a
  • Max Resolution: 7680 x 4320
  • Price: TBA (listed at $1399.99 on Microcenter)

Design

Unlike the RTX 4080 Founder’s Edition which takes a more elegant, minimalistic approach, the MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X is all about the geometry. Inspired by diamond crystals and the geometry of the world around us, the RTX 4080 Suprim X sports a look that I absolutely adore. Like I’ve said in previous reviews, I love the gamer aesthetic, and the Suprim X takes that feeling and refines it, adding a touch of high-class elegance thanks to its high-quality materials, clean brushed metal finish and RGB accents across the whole of the card.

Gracing the front of the 4080 Suprim X are three FROZR 3S fans housed in octagonal cutouts in the metal, each with angular chevrons around the fans. The fans themselves are the latest in MSI’s line of cooling fan tech, designed to keep the GPU as cool as possible under the heaviest loads.

The MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X also has a heatsink with various features to help optimize airflow and keep heat out of the card instead of trapped within. New fin pathing allows for more heatsink fins to be added to the design, while the improved wave edges help efficiency in spots with less airflow. Some of the heatsink fins are equipped with a V-shaped cutout with the effect of passing more air through to increase flow efficiency in the cooler, keeping the GPU humming along at its most efficient.

The MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X also has an all-metal backplate with thermal pads underneath to allow for more airflow throughout the GPU. The backplate is sturdy, with the Suprim logo and diamond cut-out clearly adorning the back, the latter of which glows with the integrated RGB on the card.

The RTX 4080 Suprim X also comes with a Dual BIOS on the card, allowing you to swap between a silent gaming mode, or a full-performance gaming mode, whichever your use case might be. The MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X also takes advantage of MSI’s own software, MSI Center, which allows you to control many aspects of the GPU, such as Mystic Light to sync the RGB, Game Boost and more.

The Suprim X is a big card. It’s a full three slot card, but it’s longer than the RTX 4080 Founder’s Edition, to the point where it was suffering from some sag in my case. To solve this, MSI includes a brace in the box to help keep your GPU from drooping while in use. It’s a nice brace and fits the aesthetic of the GPU itself, though I would love for non-sagging GPUs altogether personally. But alas.

Since this is an Ada Lovelace GPU, MSI’s Suprim X will also take advantage of all the various advantages of the 40-series GPUs, including Nvidia’s third generation Deep Learning Super Sampling, dual AV1 encoders for content creators, and more. For more on the architecture of Ada Lovelace, check out our RTX 4090 Founder’s Edition review.

MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X Synthetics, Gaming Benchmarks And Thermal Performance

The MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X is put through its paces in our test bench in a series of gaming and synthetic tests. We compare the GPU with an array of 30-series cards, as well as the RTX 4090 and 4080 Founder’s Editions, and the 6000 series cards from competitor AMD.

Test Bench:

  • CPU: Intel i7-10700K @ 3.8GHz (Boost Clock up to 4.8 GHz)
  • Cooling: Corsair 100i 240mm Liquid Cooler
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte Aorus Z490 Ultra
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB @ 3200MHz
  • Storage: Intel 760p 2TB M.2 NVMe, ADATA Falcon 1TB M.2 NVMe
  • PSU: Gigabyte 1200 W Platinum PSU
  • Case: Lian Li 011 Dynamic

Like the RTX 4090 and 4080s before it, the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X is a 4K card, full stop. We do include 1440p numbers in our testing as we know many players are still using that resolution as their main go-to, but the real power of this card is shown at 4K.

In our test bench, we compared the Suprim X against the following GPUs:

AMD cards included: 

Where we could as well, we used in-game benchmark tools to ensure that each pass was as identical as the last. Where we couldn't, such as Control, A Plague Tale: Requiem, and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, we used a predefined path and replicated this each time. Additionally, it should be noted that each test that used AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) was done at the Performance preset.

We also ensured our 10700K was running with ReSizeable BAR enabled to get the most out of the performance when we could.

Finally, a quick note on DLSS 2. With the introduction of DLSS 3 comes the “rebranding” of DLSS 2 as Super Resolution. In short, DLSS 2 will simply be a subset of DLSS 3 and will be called Super Resolution. All DLSS 3 games will support DLSS 2 (Super Resolution) if you don’t have a 40-series card.

MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X Synthetic Benchmarks

The MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X GPU sits nicely alongside its Founder’s Edition cousin in both Time Spy and Firestrike, easily beating out the RTX 30-series suite of GPUs, as well as AMD’s RDNA 3 cards. In Time Spy the differences are more striking, with the RTX 4080 Suprim X seeing a 28% increase over the RTX 3080 Ti Founder’s Edition, and the overclocked RTX 3090 EVGA FTW3 by 24%. Compared to the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC card, the RTX 4080 Suprim X has a 38% increase in score. When compared to the RTX 4080 Founder’s Edition, the Suprim X hangs in there, with the results in our results being almost identical.

MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X Gaming Benchmarks

As I stated before, the RTX 4080 Suprim X is a 4K card. The numbers here pretty well bear that out, with every title, for the most part, seeing an overage of over 60fps at 4K in normal rasterization applications. Titles like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla sees an average FPS at 4K of 99 FPS, a 50% increase over the 3080’s 66fps or a 37% increase over the 3080 Ti’s 72fps. Other titles like Remedy’s Control show the RTX 4080 Suprim X with a 42% edge over the 3080, while the lead on the 3080 Ti is more modest 26%.

However, when compared to the RTX 4080 Founder’s Edition, the gains aren’t too terribly outrageous. In almost every application, the RTX 4080 Suprim X outperforms the Founder’s Edition, but by a small margin. While there is a factory overclock at play here, and you do see some noticeable increases (such as Watch Dogs Legion’s 5% increase), they are more muted than I expected at first.

That said, there are differences, with the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X ekeing out a 2% average framerate uplift over the RTX 4080 FE at 4K.

MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X Ray Tracing Benchmarks

When looking at ray tracing, we see much the same as we did with regular raster: the RTX 4080 Suprim X pushing out ahead of its Ampere cousins. Compared to the RTX 3080, the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X sees a 50% uplift in score, while the 3080 Ti inches closer at only a 38% increase. When compared directly with the RDNA 2 cards by AMD, the gains with Ada Lovelace’s 3rd Generation of RT Cores are plain as day.

This bears out in the actual game testing with AMD being left behind pretty much all the cards in native rendering, and even when we activate Nvidia’s DLSS 3 technology. CPU-limited titles like Watch Dogs Legion seem to be hitting a bottleneck when using DLSS, with the 4080, 3080 Ti and the 3080 all coming in at an average of a nice 69fps.

Control’s Corridor of Doom sees some real gains here, with the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X seeing a 41% increase without DLSS at 4K, while the 3080 Ti comes closer at only a 24% increase for the Suprim X. When you turn DLSS on, these results pan out as well, with the MSI 4080 Suprim X enjoying a 15-fps advantage over the RTX 3080 Ti.

Cyberpunk 2077, the most visually demanding title on our bench, also sees the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X come out on top over both the Ampere and the 4080 Founder’s Edition. When using DLSS at 4K, the RTX 4080 Suprim X doubles the performance of the RTX 3080 Ti when using DLSS 3’s frame generation. However, even with frame generation disabled, it still comes out with an impressive 65% increase compared to 3080 Ti.

MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X DLSS 2 vs DLSS 3 Tests

Keeing on the theme of DLSS uplifts, the Suprim X takes full advantage of DLSS 3 when able, making good on the Nvidia claim of a 2x performance gain over the 3080 Ti. We see this pan out in the Founder’s Edition, with the Suprim X taking it a bit farther thanks to its factory overclock doing some heavy lifting here.

As we mentioned, we see a doubling of the RTX 3080 Ti’s DLSS 2 number, while comparing with the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Gaming OC we see an even larger gulf (48fps compared to 107fps with DLSS 3). F1 2022 brings things down to earth, with its still impressive 49% increase between DLSS 2 and DLSS 3 on the RTX 3080 Ti to 4080 Suprim X.

A Plague Tale: Requiem takes the RTX 3080 Ti’s pretty great 76fps using DLSS 2, and with the RTX 4080 Suprim X turns that up to a 78% increase with DLSS 3 enabled (76fps to 136fps respectively). Justice, the beautiful Chinese MMO I’d love to just play in general, throws its demanding path tracing ray traced demo at the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X, seeing it give an eye popping 63fps with frame generation on, compared to the 3080 Ti’s 12fps using DLSS 2.

DLSS 3 is transformative, and I can’t wait to see it in other titles moving forward.

MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X Thermal And Power Performance

The MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X stays cool under pressure thanks in large part to the three FROZR fans spinning up whenever the GPU starts to get hot. While it runs hotter than its Founder’s Edition brother (it also has a higher peak clock speed we recorded at 2829MHz), it’s not by much. The GPU, while under heavy load, still sits under 70 degrees Celsius, well below its peak temp of 90 degrees.

Power isn’t much of a concern as well, as the card itself doesn’t seem to draw much more power than the Founder’s Edition, maxing out in our testing at 312 watts.

MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X Final Thoughts

The Suprim X is, full stop, one of the most beautiful cards I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. I love the angular geometric accents, the brushed metal finish, and the fact that every aspect of the card screams premium. It’s elegant in its own way, I really enjoy just looking at the GPU in the case at times, especially when the RGB that lines the side of the card and the backplate diamond logo is in full swing.

The real question for me is whether or not there is enough performance here to justify it over the Founder’s Edition GPU. And I think for me, there might be, especially considering the full package. If you’re someone looking to build not only a powerful rig, but a beautiful one to put on display, the Suprim X provides a great card to do so both. At 4K it’s a powerhouse, consistently topping its 3080 Ti and 3080 cousins in both ray tracing and raster performance. It looks great out of the box, and MSI’s ability to enable the RGB on the card to work not just with their own software, but supported 3rd party apps makes it a great way to highlight your own creativity.

There is also a little overclocking headroom on the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X, though I wouldn’t necessarily recommend doing so thanks to factors like Game Boost. I was able to push the core clocks above 3Ghz, though it was far from stable. Instead, I opted to just overclock the memory with a slight boost using MSI Afterburner and it stabilized there. However, the silicon lottery might do you better.

That said, I do wish the factory overclock was more impactful here. Yes, the RTX 4080 Suprim X outperforms the RTX 4080 Founder’s Edition, but not by much. The more compelling comparison is compared to the 30 series GPUs – does it provide enough uplift to recommend gen-on-gen?

If we are talking strictly about the RTX 3080 Ti, which has an MSRP the same as the Founder’s Edition 4080, then for sure there is a really compelling argument to be made. But when you look at the MSRP of the RTX 3080 at $699, the new 40 series being a much larger jump in price gen-on-gen starts to look a little less clear.

It’s muddled more with the recent announcement of AMD’s 7900 series, the flagship of which will retail at just $999. While we don’t know independent numbers or can make accurate comparisons, if the RDNA 3 GPUs perform as well as the RTX 4080 series, it makes that $699 to over $1200 jump even more problematic for 3080 owners looking to upgrade. Crossing that $1000 threshold just puts the RTX 4080 out of range for many consumers.

That said, the fact that the RTX 4080 Suprim X can leverage forward-facing techniques like DLSS 3 with frame generation, massively boosting framerates in high-intensity applications like Cyberpunk 2077 to the degree that they can, and that technology is out now rather than months from now, is a compelling value addition to the 40-series cards. And when compared to the RTX 3080 Ti, and even the RTX 3090, and even RTX 3080, those forward-facing technologies do a lot of heavy lifting. And it's only going to increase as DLSS 3's frame generation both improves and sees wider adoption.

All of that is to say that while the MSI RTX 4080 Suprim X is a fast, high-performing card, but does it do enough to make it compelling compared to the Founder's Edition? MSI typically prices the Suprim X line $150-$200 more than the Founder's MSRP, and while just looking at the two cards by themselves I think the extra cost is justified. If you were looking at the RTX 4080 Suprim X already, the initial sticker shock of the RTX 4080's MSRP likely didn't bother you. 

All in all, the MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X is a stellar card. It performs admirably at 4K, which is what this card is built for, and looks absolutely stunning while doing so. It keeps relatively cool under pressure, and even when at full tilt it's pretty silent thanks to the advancements MSI has made to its FROZR fans and overall cooler design. The Dual BIOS gives some choice whether you want to make the already pretty quiet performance even more so, and the level of customization you can do with MSI Center lets you make the Suprim X more personalized, especially if you're already embedded in an RGB ecosystem like Razer's Chroma. 

If you're looking for a high-performing card that looks great while doing so, the MSI RTX 4080 16GB Suprim X fits the bill.

Full Disclosure: The product discussed was provided by PR for the purposes of this review.

8.5Great
Pros
  • Absolutely stunning to look at
  • Runs cool and quiet, even under heavy loads
  • Incredibly good 4K gaming performance
  • DLSS 3 features continue to impress
  • MSI Software Adds Value, Not Bloat
Cons
  • Cost might be too high for many consumers
  • Factory overclock isn't as impactful as I was hoping


lotrlore

Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore