It’s a big year for PC upgrades, and Nvidia’s next-gen GPUs are finally here to play. After months of leaks, perhaps more than any Nvidia launch in history, the company finally showed off what its second crack at ray-tracing is properly capable of.
The show was mostly a performance briefing, designed to highlight the performance benefits of the RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070 over the original RTX 2000-series cards that launched in 2018.
Update: Our review of the Founders Edition RTX 3080 is now live: you can check it out, including all the benchmarks, here.
There was plenty of info in the leadup to the event. Nvidia officially confirmed the existence of a new 12-pin power connector for their flagship GPUs, even after months of speculation and third-party vendors had confirmed that they would be using two or three standard 8-pin PCIe connectors.
The Australia Nvidia website has been updated with local pricing for Nvidia’s RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070 models. The 3090 will be available for $2429, the 3080 for $1139, and the 3070 from $809:
Third-party vendors also started revealing their upcoming spins on the RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070. Gainward was the first to do so officially, and others followed suit only hours before Nvidia’s launch officially began.
But before the RTX cards were officially launched, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced that Fortnite would be getting ray-tracing. It’d also be getting DLSS support “soon”, but Nvidia didn’t outline when that would be during the livestream.
Immediately after, Nvidia Reflex was announced. It’s coming as part of the September Game Ready driver, and is designed to reduce system latency across a variety of games.
Nvidia RTX Voice is also being incorporated into a new piece of software, Nvidia Broadcast. The Broadcast is designed to leverage the GPU for streamers, enabling effects like automatically blurring the background, or creating a green screen effect without actually having a green screen effect.
The next piece of software was Nvidia Omniverse Machinima, a tool designed to facilitate fan-made videos. Nvidia played an example video using Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord, showing a short siege on a city.
Nvidia then went into a quick breakdown of ray-tracing and the early implementations on the Nvidia RTX line, and the first version of deep-learning super sampling (DLSS). Death Stranding was brought up to highlight the benefits of DLSS, particularly given how effective it was at 4K.
We then got a look at the difference in shaders, RT cores and Tensor cores between the RTX 30-series and RTX 20-series GPUs. Nvidia then showed off a performance slide comparing the raytracing performance between the Turing GPUs and Ampere, showing mostly a 1.5 times or greater performance lift in games like Quake 2 RTX, Metro Exodus, Battlefield V and Control.
The slide didn’t mention frame rates or specifics, but it did note that all tests were done at 4K on an “i9 CPU”. A night-time version of Nvidia’s Marbles ray-tracing demo then played, offering a comparison to the ray-traced Marbles demo running on Turing hardware shown at the GTC conference.
Jensen Huang then began talking about Nvidia RTX IO, a new caching technology designed to streamline the transfer of storage to memory. It was paired with a new ray-tracing trailer for Cyberpunk 2077, and was followed by the reveal of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090.
The card has a fan on the front and rear to improve airflow, a V-shaped PCB, and a two-slot design.
The two fans are independently controlled, and is designed to direct hot air to the top of the PC case where the system exhaust fan then extracts it out of the case.
A pricing chart then revealed that the RTX 3080 would be priced internationally at the same price as the RTX 2080 Super:
The RTX 3080 will sell for $US699 internationally. Australian pricing is still being confirmed. The RTX 3070 will be sold for $US499.
A new trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War — which will support ray-tracing, but also Nvidia’s new Reflex functionality for lower input lag — then played. Like most ray-tracing trailers, there wasn’t a huge amount of gameplay shown but more of a focus on environments and lighting.
Nvidia then began talking about making a “giant GPU that is available all over the world”.
The RTX 3090 has support for 8K/60fps gaming, with clips then playing of Control and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. Little details were provided on the settings and actual performance — or the amount of ray-tracing applied — but a slide noted “RTX On with DLSS 8K”. The price: $US1499, which works out to about $2033 in current pricing. Add shipping and the Australia Tax on top, and you’ve got yourselves the most expensive gamer GPU on the market.
What’s interesting is that there were no comparisons drawn between the RTX 3090 and the RTX 2080 Ti, particularly given the deliberate branding.
Nvidia confirmed that the RTX 3080 will launch worldwide on September 17, while the RTX 3090 would be available internationally on September 24. The RTX 3070, meanwhile, will launch in October.
Here’s the full details announced in a release after the launch:
- GeForce RTX 3090 — At the top of the stack is the RTX 3090, priced at US$1,499 and referred to as the “BFGPU” — Big Ferocious GPU. It even comes with a silencer — a three-slot, dual-axial, flow-through design that is up to 10x quieter than the TITAN RTX and keeps the GPU up to 30 degrees C cooler. Its 24GB of GDDR6X memory can tackle the toughest AI algorithms and feed massive, content creation workloads. The RTX 3090 is up to 50 percent faster than the current ultimate PC graphics card, TITAN RTX, enabling gamers to experience 60 fps in 8K resolution across many top games.
- GeForce RTX 3080 — Starting at US$699, the RTX 3080 is the ultimate gaming GPU — up to 2x faster than the RTX 2080. Featuring 10GB of the new high-speed GDDR6X memory running at 19Gbps, the RTX 3080 can consistently deliver 60 frames per second for 4K resolution gaming.
- GeForce RTX 3070 — Starting at US$499, the RTX 3070 is faster than the RTX 2080 Ti at less than half the price, and on average is 60 percent faster than the original RTX 2070. It is equipped with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, hitting the sweet spot of performance for games running at 4K and
The 30-series GPUs would also be the first to support the AV1 codec, and single-cable connections to 8K HDR TVs through the HDMI 2.1 ports.
Here’s all the ray-traced demos that were shown off during the event.
As well as explainers on the Nvidia Reflex and Nvidia Broadcast tools:
This post is being updated live.