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Nvidia RTX 4080 Super Founders Edition Review

Joseph Bradford Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

The third of Nvidia’s Super GPUs to launch this month, the RTX 4080 Super is effectively a replacement for the existing RTX 4080 the company launched in 2022. The RTX 4080 Super brings 4K gaming to the market, with a drop in price to boot.

While the original RTX 4080 was released at an eye-watering $1199 back in November 2022, the RTX 4080 Super launches today with a $200 drop in its price, coming in at $999. This is still a lot of money for a GPU, though if you’re in the high-end market, this puts it more evenly with the RTX 4080 Super’s direct competitor, the AMD RX 7900 XTX, which launched in 2022 for $999.

Specifications

  • Graphics Processing Clusters: 7
  • Texture Processing Clusters: 40
  • Streaming Multiprocessors: 80
  • CUDA Cores: 10240
  • Shader FLOPS: 52
  • Tensor Cores: 320 (4th Generation)
  • AI TOPS: 836
  • RT Cores: 80 (3rd Generation)
  • RT FLOPS: 121
  • Texture Units: 320
  • ROP Units: 112
  • Base Clock: 2295 MHz
  • Boost Clock: 2550 MHz
  • Memory Clock: 11500 MHz
  • Memory Data Rate: 23 Gbps
  • L1 Data Cache/Shared Memory: 10240 K
  • L2 Cache Size: 65536 K
  • Total Video Memory: 16 GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Interface: 256-bit
  • Total Memory Bandwidth: 816 GigaTexels/second
  • Fabrication Process: 4NM Nvidia Custom Process
  • Transistor Count: 45.9 Billion
  • Required PSU: 750 Watts
  • Total Graphics Power: 320 W
  • Price: $999 MSRP

RTX 4080 Super First Thoughts

Out of the three RTX 40-series Super cards to release this month, the RTX 4080 Super might have the smallest performance bump over its predecessor, with Nvidia claiming only up to 3% difference. There isn’t a ton of room for improvement here at this price range unless Nvidia wants to eat into the performance of its flagship, the mighty RTX 4090. 

Yet despite this, the RTX 4080 Super is compelling because of that price drop. Even if it pans out at a 3% improvement, the RTX 4080 Super also comes in for less money, making it more price competitive with the rest of the GPUs in the performance range.

RTX 4080 Super

So what does that $999 get you? The RTX 4080 Super takes the same all-black look as the rest of the Founders Edition Super cards, completely with the black-anodized aluminum Mobius strip that wraps elegantly around the fans and heatsink fins. This is still a behemoth of a card, coming in as a 4-slot GPU that makes using the rest of your PCIe slots basically a pipedream (at least on our rig). 

The RTX 4080 Super comes with 10240 CUDA cores, a 5% bump over the RTX 4080’s 9728 CUDA cores (and 37% fewer than the RTX 4090’s 16384 cores), while it has a slightly faster base and boost clock, 2295 MHz and 2550 MHz, respectively, over the RTX 4080. Both GPU’s come with the same 16GB GDDR6X RAM, though the RTX 4080 Super has a slightly faster bandwidth, clocking in a 736 GB/s over the 717 GB/s on the RTX 4080. 

All of those slight upgrades still use the same 320W TGP as the RTX 4080, and you’ll still need to use the Octopus adapter for your 8-pin PSU connectors, unless you have a PCIe Gen 5 power supply.

The RTX 4080 Super is part of Nvidia’s Ada Lovelace architecture, so it takes advantage of the latest architectural improvements the 40-series has become known for, namely its Deep Learning Super Sampling with Frame Generation, also known as DLSS 3. The RTX 4080 Super leverages its 4th Generation Tensor Cores, its 3rd Generation RT Cores to power ray tracing applications, including using DLSS 3.5’s Ray Reconstruction on supported games. Additionally, the RTX 4080 Super can leverage Nvidia’s Shader Execution Reordering to make those ray tracing workloads more efficiently compared to previous GPU generations.

RTX 4080 Super Synthetic And Gaming Benchmarks

So how does this all translate into real-world performance? We put the RTX 4080 Super through its paces in a series of synthetic and gaming benchmarks, leveraging myriad game engines with ray tracing to give the best possible indication of how this card works across the board. Since the RTX 4080 Super is, simply put, a 4K card, we opted to not test 1080p on this card across the board as 1080p is going to introduce CPU bottlenecks.

And honestly, if you’re spending a thousand dollars on a GPU, you’re likely not going to be gaming at 1080p.

As always, we chose ray tracing heavy games, utlilizing both DLSS and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution, or FSR, to gauge real-world performance. The vast majority of people using these cards are going to opt for some sort of reconstruction, especially for playable framerates with ray tracing, so we want to show the cards as they will actually be used. Definitely make sure to read other reviews and watch your favorite creators to get a more rounded view of the card with different testing methodologies to get the most advice you can to inform your purchasing decision here.

RTX 4080 Super

We do this purely because we think this provides the best consumer advice we can, to portray the card as it performs as it would in your rig, or as close to as we can. No one is playing path traced Alan Wake 2 at 4K without some sort of DLSS or frame generation enabled, so we test games this way to give you an accurate picture of what you’ll experience yourself.

Like our RTX 4070 Ti and RTX 4070 Super review before this, we added in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora to provide a top-flight game using both DLSS for Nvidia, but also leverages AMD’s frame generation solution, FSR 3. Since this technology is platform agnostic, we wanted to show how it performs across the board.

You can check out our full post about our test bench and the various parts we’ve chosen to put GPUs and other PC hardware through their paces. Here it is broken down for quick reference:

Test Bench:

  • CPU: Intel i9-13900K
  • Motherboard: MSI MPG Carbon Wifi Z790
  • RAM: XPG DDR5 32GB RAM @ 5200Mhz
  • Cooling: Corsair H150i Elite LCD 360mm Liquid Cooler
  • Storage: Intel 760p 2TB M.2 NVMe SSD; Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD
  • PSU: Gigabyte P1200 80+ 1200W Platinum
  • Case: ASUS ROG Strix Helios

Nvidia Cards Included: 

AMD Cards Included:

Like with our ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia RTX 4070 Ti Super review last week, we opted to test only games that had built-in benchmark suites this time around to get the most consistent result possible, removing the human element of not accurately repeating a circuit to benchmark. We tested both gaming applications and 3DMark’s suite of synthetic tests to push each GPU in DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and ray tracing processes.

Nvidia RTX 4080 Super Synthetic Benchmarks

Looking at 3DMark’s suite of benchmarks, we can see hat the RTX 4080 Super sits close to the top of the pack, sometimes taking the top spot, and sometimes losing out to AMD’s flagship, the RX 7900 XTX. 

With Firestrike, the RX 7900 XTX takes a small lead, while the RTX 4080 Super edges out the RTX 4080 non-Super ever so slightly. This is a trend that will be borne out in the game testing, as we’ll see. Timespy, the DirectX 12 test at 1440p sees the RTX 4080 beat the RTX 4080 Super, while both are handled by the RX 7900 XTX. However, things take a turn in the new DirectX 12 test, Speedway. Here we see the RX 4080 Super beat all comers, though only besting the RTX 4080 by 2.6%. 

Port Royal sees the biggest wins for Nvidia’s cards, with those third-generation RT cores performing better than AMD's second-generation offering. Here, too, we see the RTX 4080 Super lead the pac with the RTX 4080 close behind. The RX 7900 XTX takes third, narrowly beating the ASUS TUF Gaming RTX 4070 Ti Super, a $799 card compared to AMD’s asking price of $999 on the XTX. 

Nvidia RTX 4080 Super Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming-wise, we see what the synthetics showed bear out, with the RTX 4080 Super sometimes winning, the AMD RX 7900 XTX winning, and even the RTX 4080 non-Super pulling ahead. At 1440p, in games like Cyberpunk 2077 at its Ultra preset the RX 7900 XTX takes an 11% lead over the RTX 4080 Super. In our original RTX 4080 review, we did see many instances in raster where AMD took the lead over the more expensive RTX 4080, and this still bears true here. Overall, at 1440p, our RTX 4080 Super was 5% slower than the RX 7900 XTX on average. 

Compared to the RTX 4080 its replacing, the RTX 4080 Super and non-Super are statistically identical, with the RTX 4080 non-Super with a less than 1% lead overall on average at 1440p. Games like Final Fantasy XIV see the RTX 4080 lead the RTX 4080 Super by 2.73%, while in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora the Super is only 1% ahead. 

Compared to the RX 7900 XT, the $899 card by AMD that can which released at the same time as the RX 7900 XTX, the RTX 4080 Super holds a 6% lead on average at 1440p. When we look at the ASUS TUF RTX 4070 Ti Super, the RTX 4080 Super is on average 10.48% faster at 1440p, though it costs 25% more money.

That lead is widened to 15% percent at 4K, where we see the RTX 4080 Super start to pull away from everyone except the RTX 4080 non-Super. In games like Forza Horizon 5 at 4K, the RTX 4080 Super is beaten by one frame, so well within the margin of error, though in Cyberpunk it’s 3.85% better. Avatar also sees the RTX 4080 Super pull ahead by 2.73%, though Returnal has the two cards dead even on average.

When looking at the RX 7900 XTX, the RTX 4080 Super, overall, has a 3.85% lead, though that’s helped by the massive gulf between the two cards in Avatar at 4K. While using the Ultra preset with TAA, the Rx 7900 XTX only achieves a framerate average of 74 frames per second, while the RTX 4080 Super clocks in at 113 on average, a 52% difference.

This is a result I tested a few times since I couldn’t believe how big the gulf was, but when you consider that ray tracing settings are baked into the normal lighting, this could simply be down to the gulf in the two company’s approach to hardware accelerated ray tracing. 

Speaking of ray tracing…

Nvidia RTX 4080 Super Ray Tracing Benchmarks

This is where the RTX 4080 Super starts to show its quality, especially against the RX 7900 XTX. While the difference between the two RTX cards is right within that margin of error, with the RTX 4080 Super leading the RTX 4080 by just 1.58% on average at 4K, while at 1440p it’s even lower at just 1.18%, we see the lead widen against the AMD offerings.

At 1440p, the RTX 4080 Super is 21% faster than the RX 7900 XT on average, while it’s 8.46% percent faster than the RX 7900 XTX. 4K numbers show this as well, with the RTX 4080 Super faster than the RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX by 17.80% and 10.29%, respectively. In games like Cyberpunk 2077, at 4K using the ultra RT preset and DLSS/FSR Performance, the RTX 4080 Super is 50% faster than the RX 7900 XTX - and this is before frame generation is even brought into the picture (that would be a 101% increase for the RTX 4080 Super over the RX 7900 XTX).

Forza Horizon 5 is a pretty consistent winner for the AMD cards - this game loves AMD given its console heritage - and it’s the only game at 4K with ray tracing that the RX 7900 XTX comes out on top over the RTX 4080 Super - a 5.59% win for AMD.

What’s interesting is something I noticed in our RTX 4070 Ti Super review is that Avatar, a game that requires FSR 3 to use frame generation, seems to favor the RTX cards over AMD. At 1440p, using FSR 3, the RTX 4080 Super is slightly beaten compared to the RX 7900 XTX (180fps to 182fps, respectively). But at 4K, when using FSR 3 Performance, the RTX 4080 Super is 30% faster than the RX 7900 XTX (though it’s dead even with the RTX 4080). 

Nvidia RTX 4080 Super Temps And Noise

Given the fact that this is using just an absolutely massive cooler on the GPU, the RTX 4080 Super just doesn’t get that warm. The Ada Lovelace GPU stack is incredibly efficient, pumping out high framerates at 4K while staying cool under pressure. The highest our GPU rose in temp was 61 degrees celsius while running Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, though more often than not the GPU hung out in the mid-50s Celsius.

Given that the GPU is gotta be spinning its fans fast in order to keep the card cool under pressure, the GPU doesn’t get that loud. I barely noticed an uptick in fan noise, despite the fact that our bench is right next to me during the testing process. The dual fans on the Founders Edition really do keep the card cool and quiet despite what I threw at it during our tests.

From a power management standpoint, the RTX 4080 Super is rated for a total graphics power of 320W, though in our tests using PCAT and Frameview to track the numbers, we never saw power draw eclipse the 300W mark. The highest we got was during our Path Tracing runs in Cyperpunk 2077, which saw his hit a peak of 291W.

Nvidia RTX 4080 Super Conclusion

So what do we make of all this? Given the fact that the RTX 4080 Super, at least in our testing, was functionally identical to the RTX 4080 we received when it launched back in 2022, it’s nice that that same level of performance will now be available at a much more affordable price. 

Is $999 a lot of money? Yes. But is it better than $1199? Absolutely. Part of me wonders if AMD’s pricing strategy forced Nvidia’s hand here. There was no way consumers would put up with an RTX 4080 Super coming in at even more money, or even at the same $1199 retail price the original did. Nvidia made the smart move here by dropping the price on the card, even if there is, functionally, not much difference between them.

RTX 4080 Super

I do wonder what effect this will have on the existing stock of the RTX 4080 on shelves, though. Will we see retailers drop prices to now compete with the new card on the market, effectively taking a loss just to move the product? Or will these cards stay above a thousand dollars, keeping them out of reach for many consumers? Time will tell.

One of the weird effects of the pricing of the RTX 4080 when it first released was actually making the RTX 4090 look like a steal for $1599. This isn’t the case here with the RTX 4080 Super. There is enough of a price gap for the incredibly performant RTX 4090 to be in a category of its own now truly. 

I mean, if you were going to spend $1200 on a GPU, what’s another $400 for one that did it even better?

Compared to AMD’s flagship, the RTX 4080 Super and the RX 7900 XTX are more compelling competitors now. AMD’s RDNA 3 architecture continues to impress with regular rasterized titles, outperforming the RTX 4080 Super in many instances in our testing. But Nvidia’s lead with ray tracing makes it the more compelling option if that future-facing tech is important to you. 

Couple the better ray tracing performance with even more advanced features such as ray reconstruction and even more robust frame generation support across games; it’s hard not to recommend the RTX 4080 Super if you’re looking for a high-end GPU. Games like Alan Wake II and Cyberpunk 2077 look absolutely breathtaking when running full tilt, 4K with path tracing enabled - and then the black magic that is DLSS 3 makes that playable at more than 60fps in some cases. It’s insane to think about, let alone experience for the first time.

When the price drop was first announced by Nvidia back at CES 2024, I was most intrigued by the RTX 4080 Super over its brother 40-series Super cards. I really wondered if we were going to see overall better performance for less money. And while we did see it in some edge cases - the RTX 4080 Super is, in spots, faster than the RTX 4080, it’s not a massive uplift. The story here is that price.

Will we see the RTX 4080’s $1199 MSRP tumble as the RTX 4080 Super replaces it on the GPU stack? That’ll be for the market to decide. $999 isn’t cheap, and this needs to be a card that performs as well, if not better, than those in the same price range. And by and large, especially at 4K, the RTX 4080 Super outperforms the competition.

Does this mean that if you bought an RX 7900 XT or RX 7900 XTX when they launched in 2022 simply because they were cheaper than the RTX 4080 at the time you need to run out and buy the new card? Not necessarily. For those who already own a high-end 4K card, this isn’t a compelling upgrade. If you bought the RTX 4080 already, keep it -that is a fantastic card that is aging well, if our tests are any indication.

But if you held onto an old RTX 3080, RX 6800 XT, and more because the RTX 4080 price was just too high, the RTX 4080 Super might be what you were looking for.

Full Disclosure: The product described was provided by the manufacturer for the purposes of this review.

8.0 Great
Pros
  • Powerful 4K Performer
  • Price cut makes it compelling alongside competition
  • DLSS 3 and Ray Reconstruction are such great value-adds to the card
  • Runs quiet and cool under load
  • Ray tracing benefits on RTX 4080 Super lead AMD competition
Cons
  • Not a meaningful upgrade if you already own an RTX 4080
  • Lags behind in some rasterized titles compared to competition


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