By Ben Price
Building a new PC can often be a rather
daunting task. Many different factors need to be considered while buying PC
parts: budget, power, compatibility between components, and more all need to be
considered. The most critical decision made in the PC building process is
selecting a graphics card, which is necessary for gamers hoping to build a PC
capable of playing all of the newest video game releases. Graphics cards can
vary wildly in price, from lower-end models at around $200 to higher-end ones
that can cost upwards of $1,000.
Both Nvidia and AMD's newest line of graphics
cards have finally launched and are now available for purchase at all major
retailers. And while Nvidia's cards in the past have been considered to be the
best around, AMD's most recent offerings are said to have comparable specs and
pricing. Today we'll look at the newly released graphics cards from both
companies and see which might be the best GPU for your
next PC build.
On September 1, 2020, Nvidia unveiled the
long-awaited RTX 30 Series graphics cards: the GeForce RTX 3090, GeForce RTX
3080, and GeForce RTX 3070. Each model launched excels within their tier and
has incredible specs. Nvidia advertised the RTX 30 Series as the most
significant generational leap for its history, being anywhere from 70-100%
faster than the RTX 20 Series, depending on the task.
Comparatively, AMD decided to announce its
respective line of graphics cards a bit later in the year, with a formal
announcement taking place on November 1, and staggered the release of the cards
over a month (RX 6800 Series on November 18, and RX 6900 XT on December 8). The
graphics cards have been described as being able to compete with Nvidia's
offerings directly, but we'll take a look at specs next to see for ourselves.
Starting with Nvidia's lower-end offering, the
GeForce RTX 3070 is the cheapest graphics card out of the six cards discussed
today at only $499. And though it's the most affordable, the card certainly
doesn't lack in terms of power. Equipped with a GA104 graphics processor, this
card is more than capable of running all modern games, with guaranteed support
for advanced features like ray-tracing. Compared to 2018's model, the GeForce
RTX 2070, the 3070 offers a higher performance of up to 45 percent. The RTX
3070 is a dual-slot card and draws up to 220 W of power.
It's worth noting that this graphics card does
not have RGB lighting of any sort, so fans of that sort of thing might a tad be
disappointed. This card's overall presentation could have been a lot better, as
the GeForce RTX logo is smaller and more out of the way than this year's other
models and even the 20-Series of cards. With all of that out of the way, let's
move on to the card's performance.
3070 handles most games great, with titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn, Doom Eternal, and Red Dead Redemption 2, each running exceptionally well at 1080p
resolution at maximum settings, with average frame rates of 115, 287, and 95,
respectively. At 1440p resolution at maxed-out settings, Horizon Zero Dawn still hits a high frame rate of 91 fps, while Doom Eternal hits an average of 204 fps,
and Red Dead 2 averaging 77 fps.
And finally, while running games at 4K
resolution with maxed out graphical settings, the RTX 3070 still holds its own,
though many new games are unable to stay at 60 frames per second or above. Horizon Zero Dawn only hits an average
of 55 fps, and at its worst, dipping down to 51 fps. Doom Eternal fares much better, with it still reaching an average
of 115 fps, but similarly to Horizon,
the very demanding Red Dead Redemption 2 only
manages to hit an average of 50 fps, with it dipping as low as 43 fps. Pretty
much all modern games are playable with the RTX 3070; however, it won't hit 60
fps or higher when in 4K.
Very fairly priced
Lacking a bit in presentation, no
Struggles with handling 4K for
GeForce RTX 3080
The GeForce RTX 3080 is even more potent than
the already impressive RTX 3070, with it based on the GA102 graphics processor.
Like the RTX 3070, this card supports many advanced graphical features such as
ray-tracing. The GPU operates at a frequency of 1440 MHz and can be boosted up
to 1710 MHz. Power consumption-wise, this card has a power draw rated at 320 W
maximum, which is a full 100 watts more than the RTX 3070. While not quite as
power-demanding as its big brother, the RTX 3090, this GPU still consumes quite
a lot of power compared to other graphics cards on the market.
The card easily handles games running at 1080p
resolution with maxed out settings, with recent titles like Watch Dogs Legion, Call of Duty Black Ops:
Cold War, and Doom Eternal, each
hitting an average of 90 fps, 149 fps, and 331 fps, respectively. When gaming
in 1440p resolution, the RTX
3080 continues to kick butt with Watch
Dogs Legion hitting an average of 74 frames-per-second, Call of Duty Black Ops: Cold War achieving 138 fps on average, and
Doom Eternal averaging 254 fps.
Finally, when playing games in a native 4K resolution, we start to see the RTX
3080 struggle a bit more in some of the more demanding titles. While Doom Eternal and Black Ops: Cold War can both comfortably hit above the 60 fps mark,
with each averaging 148 fps and 110 fps, other games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Watch
Dogs Legion don't fare quite as well; the former barely reaches 60 fps
average, while the latter only hits an average of 48 fps. With all of this
said, the card still managed to keep relatively cool temperatures thanks to its
high-quality fans. Overall, the RTX 3080 runs nearly everything you might throw
at it incredibly well, despite a few games that fell short of the ideal 60 fps
Excellent 4K performance, with a
couple of exceptions
No price increase over RTX 2080
High power consumption
A bit expensive
Nvidia's RTX 3090 is a truly impressive piece
of hardware, packing in some immense graphical power made only for the most
hardcore of PC gamers. This graphics card is enormous, with its dimensions of
336 mm x 140 mm x 61 mm. Comparing it to the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti, which
launched in 2018, it becomes immediately apparent just how large this card
truly is. This card won't fit in most slim PC cases without additional
modifications, as its size is larger than most graphics cards on the market.
The GPU operates at a frequency of 1395 MHz,
which can be boosted up to 1695 MHz and supports variable-rate shading,
ray-tracing, and more for all current and future games.
Beware that this GPU is incredibly
power-hungry; it is a triple-slot card, meaning that the RTX 3090 draws power
from 1 x 12-pin power connector and has a power drawing rate of up to 350 W
maximum, which is 30 W more than the RTX 3080 and 130 W more than the RTX 3070.
This card is also incredibly expensive, costing more than twice the amount of
the RTX 3080.
3090 performs incredibly well, as one might expect, given its high-end
nature. This card runs any games in 1080p with max settings without even
breaking a sweat, with recent titles like Assassin's
Creed Valhalla and Call of Duty Black
Ops: Cold War averaging 90 fps and 260 fps, respectively. The card handles
1440p gaming similarly, with Valhalla averaging
around 80 fps and Black Ops Cold War
averaging 206 fps. Finally, when taking a look at the RTX 3090's performance
while running games in native 4K resolution, it still does incredibly well: Black Ops Cold War hits an average of
128 fps, while another popular shooter from 2020, Doom Eternal, manages to hit 171 fps average. The more demanding Assassin's Creed Valhalla still hits an
average of 60 fps, with it just barely dipping under 60 occasionally.
Fastest gaming chip available
Massive size, won't fit in slim PC
RX 6800 is the first of three graphics cards to come from AMD this year, as
part of their "Big Navi" trio of cards. This card comes in at $579,
which isn't too high of a price considering the power that it packs. The RX
6800 is based on the Navi 21 graphics processor, which supports DirectX 12
Ultimate just like the Nvidia cards, and as a result, it too supports hardware
ray-tracing, which is a first for AMD's cards. The card has 60 ray-tracing
acceleration cores and 16 GB GDDR6 memory connected using a 256-bit memory
interface. The RX 6800 is a dual-slot card and has a power draw rated at 250 W
maximum, slightly more than the RTX 3700. This card also cools very well,
hitting just 71 degrees C during the most intense times, which is cooler than
any other GPUs released this year by either company.
The RX 6800 performs excellent, with no issues
with running any titles in 1080p; this similarly is the case when running games
in 1440p, with recent titles like The
Division 2 and Dirt 5 hitting average
framerates of 86 fps and 66 fps, respectively. The card does falter a bit when
attempting to play some more demanding titles, however. 2019's Control could only manage to reach an
average of 40 fps in 1440p and an embarrassingly low average of 20 fps in 4K
resolution. A handful of other titles performed similarly, illustrating that
the RX 6800 isn't quite as powerful as some may hope. Still, for under $600,
this GPU is by no means terrible.
First AMD card to have ray-tracing
Low power consumption
More expensive than RTX 3070
Performance is behind the competition
in some areas
RX 6800 XT
AMD's middle child--the Radeon RX 6800 XT--is
an impressive piece of hardware comparable to Nvidia's RTX 3800 and costs $60
less. This card is based on the Navi 21 graphics processor and 16 GB GDDR6
memory and operates at 1825 MHz, boosted up to 2250 MHz. Like the RX 3800, this
GPU features ray-tracing among a host of other new features. This feature alone
gives owners of last-gen AMD cards a reason to upgrade to this model. This card
draws up to 300 W of power, making it a tad bit more power-hungry than its
little brother, the RX 6800 but still more power-efficient than Nvidia's RTX
3800. Visually, the card also has an excellent presentation, with a striking
looking logo on the front of the card along with some very nice looking RGB
Looking at performance, the RX
6800 XT fares very well versus Nvidia GPUs. Running Red Dead Redemption 2 in 1440p resolution, for example, the 6800
XT hits an average of 116 fps with a more consistent frame rate overall and
never dipping lower than 90 fps. The same title manages to hit an average of 71
fps when bumped up to 4k resolution, which unfortunately is lower than both the
RTX 3090 and 3080. This is somewhat of a theme for the RX 6800 XT; whereas it
exceeds its competition when running games in 1440p, it doesn't quite stack up
to others when playing many titles in native 4K. For those looking for a great
graphics card with a competitive price and outstanding 1440p performance, this
might be the best GPU of choice. But for 4K gaming, it isn't quite as good as
Very consistent frame rates for
Inconsistent performance across
RX 6900 XT
Last but not least, the Radeon RX 6900 XT is
the beefiest of AMD's 2020 line of graphics cards. Launching at a price tag of
$999, the 6900 XT is the most expensive from AMD, yet it still comes in at $500
cheaper than the RTX 3900. Like the 6800 and 6800 XT, this card also supports
ray-tracing with 80 ray-tracing acceleration cores but additionally features
5120 shading units, 320 texture mapping units, and 128 ROPs. Like the 6800 XT,
this card operates at 1825 MHz, which can be boosted to 2250 MHz.
Taking a look at its performance, the Radeon
RX 6900 XT is very impressive on several fronts, rivaling and even beating
competing cards in some respects, but still falls short when it comes to other
features like ray-tracing. The Big Navi is the first set of cards by AMD that
have supported ray-tracing, and as a result, they feel a bit behind Nvidia GPUs
in that regard. Looking at highly demanding games like Watch Dogs Legion and Control,
it's clear that the GPU struggles with keeping up with competing cards, with
frame rates for both titles sitting at only around 40 fps while running at a
1440p resolution. On the other hand, the card handles many other games like Death Stranding better than any other
card market, though the difference is only marginal.
While the RX 6900 XT is a great card that runs
most games brilliantly, it isn't far ahead of AMD's 6800 and 6800 XT and is ideal
for PC gamers that want better performance without entirely breaking the bank
on the RTX 3090.
Best in class performance for a
handful of games
Only marginally superior to the
Ray-tracing doesn't stack up to
RX 6900 XT
RX 6800 XT
Navi 21 XTX
Navi 21 XT
Navi 21 XL
Die size (mm^2)
Infinity Cache (MB)/ Tensor
Ray Accelerators/RT Cores
Base Clock (MHz)
Boost Clock (MHz)
VRAM Speed (Gbps)
VRAM Bus Width
TFLOPs FP32 (Boost)
So at the end of the day, which GPU should you
purchase? Well, that entirely depends on what you're looking for in a graphics
card. If you're hoping to play all the latest games at the highest graphical
settings and have a large budget, then you might want to check out either AMD's
Radeon RX 6900 XT or Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090. But keep in mind that these cards
are only for those looking for the absolute best performance out there, as they
aren't the most cost-effective.
If power isn't everything and you would instead
prefer saving a bit of money, then the GeForce RTX 3080 or the Radeon RX 6800
XT may be better options. The GeForce RTX 3070 and Radeon RX 6800 are even less
powerful and the least expensive out of Nvidia and AMD's newest GPUs and are
still compelling pieces of hardware that are the most cost-efficient.
Overall, Nvidia and
AMD's newest graphics cards each have their merits, and the best card for
you depends on your budget and personal computing needs.
Thank you for posting on the Micro Center Community! I see you are trying to get a Gigabyte 3080. Our Micro Center's do get shipments frequently, however we do not know what is on those shipments and a 3080 may or may not be on those shipments. The main thing however, is if that shipment does have Gigabyte 3080s, it is likely to be sold out instantly to the customers waiting at the store during the day or when we open in the morning.
You're best bet is being at the store, towards the front of the line. We are using a Voucher System that allows customers at the front of the line to get a card once we know what our stock is looking like. More information can be found here; Limited Availability Products FAQ.
This is some incredibly biased propaganda. I mean, it says this about the RX 6800 XT:
This does not portray the truth that AMD and NVIDIA are generally very competitive with one another (it only points out that AMD loses at times, not that NVIDIA also has its fair share of losses) or that the RX 6800 generally outperforms the RTX 3070 by a considerable margin.
I don't disagree with you @Rhamnetin I think that Ben's perspective here is quite subjective.
I'd agree that both brands offer a very competitive performance across a wide range of performance categories. I think the pros and cons above could be applied to almost any GPU upon initial release.
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