Today we're taking an updated and in-depth look at the battle between the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and the Radeon RX 6800 XT. Granted, the prices for both are disgustingly high, but that was the topic for 2021 with no end in sight to this situation. It's also out of our control and while we don't recommend buying a gaming graphics card right now, many of you are and many more are fed up with waiting.
If you're wavering between an overpriced 3080 Ti and 6800 XT, this benchmark test should help. This also gives us the opportunity to look at another Boardpartner version of the 3080 Ti, and this comes from a company that we have had many good experiences with in the past but haven't tried anything new in a while, this company is Gainward.
We have their brand new RTX 3080 Ti Phantom GS on hand, a beast-looking model with triple 8-pin PCIe power inputs, a huge triple-slot / triple-fan air cooler and all the essentials like dual BIOS support.
For all these tests we use our AMD Ryzen 9 5950X test system with 32 GB DDR4-3200 CL14 dual-rank, dual-channel memory. Both GPUs were tested at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.
We tested a total of 30 games, so, as usual, we'll discuss the more interesting results for about a dozen of them, and then take a quick look at how these two GPUs compare across all of the games we tested on a single graph.
First up we have Borderlands 3 and here we are looking at some very competitive performance between the 3080 Ti and the 6800 XT. It's basically the same performance at 1440p and 4K …
Total War Warhammer II's results are a bit of a mess, the 6800 XT does well at 1080p and offers a slight 5% increase in performance with a margin of 9%. Then the 6800 XT falls significantly behind the GeForce GPU at 4K and is now behind with a remarkable 26%.
Moving on to Death Stranding, the 6800 XT does well at 1080p and even delivers a slightly better 1% low performance at 1440p, although the average frame rate was pretty much the same in the end. Then the 3080 Ti took the lead at 4K, if only by an 8% lead, so overall performance was pretty similar.
Forza Horizon 4 is still a strong title for AMD and here the 6800 XT leads at 1080p and 1440p while the 3080 Ti nudges forward by a 5% margin at 4K, so the overall performance between these two GPUs was a lot.
Moving on to the Days Gone tests, we see that this is a very strong title for Nvidia as the 3080 Ti had a performance advantage of 25% here at 1440p and an even bigger advantage of 33% at 4K. It's worth noting that the 1% low data was much closer, but this could very well be CPU-related and not necessarily an issue with the GeForce GPU.
We tested F1 2021 with ray tracing as it is enabled by default on supported hardware. This improves the performance advantage of the 3080 Ti and while the 6800 XT was still very good at 1440p, the GeForce GPU was much faster, offering 25% more performance and then 30% more frames at 4K.
Metro Exodus Enhanced is another ray tracing title and in this case the feature is required to run the game so you cannot turn off ray tracing here and so we went with the "normal" setting to test it. This gave the 3080 Ti its biggest win to date, delivering 58% more frames at 1440p and an incredible 82% more at 4K.
Worse for AMD, while the 6800 XT delivered a comfortable experience at 1440p averaging 74 fps, which is enough to enjoy Metro Exodus, the 35 fps at 4K were terrible and you had to play with ray tracing effects completely disabled for an acceptable gaming experience and that means playing the original version of the game.
We move on to Red Dead Redemption 2 and look again at the competitive results between these two GPUs. The 3080 Ti was only 8% faster at 1440p, although the margin dropped to 17% at 4K, and that's something we're expecting. Basically, Nvidia's Ampere architecture is best used with high resolutions.
As we said in the comparison between the 6600 XT and the RTX 3060, we included Counter-Strike Global Offensive simply because there is always high demand for it, even though it runs on a potato and is essentially a CPU benchmark at this point. But since we have 29 other titles to balance out the results, I'm lucky enough to include some very popular tiles like Global Potato even if you don't need that GPU power to run them.
Apex Legends is another popular shooter, and it requires decent GPU performance for high frame rate games at 1440p and higher. The RTX 3080 Ti offered 20% more frames at 1440p, which is a serious performance boost, and the 25% gain at 4K will be huge for those who play on premium 4K panels at 144 Hz.
The penultimate game we'll be looking at is Outriders, and here Nvidia has a reasonable performance advantage, delivering 15% more fps at 1440p and 23% more at 4K, while crucially managing to keep the frame rate above 60 fps.
Finally, we have Cyberpunk 2077 and here the 3080 Ti was 14% faster at 1440p and 24% faster at 4K. Of course, the 4K margin is significant, but we expected the 3080 Ti to do a little better at 1440p.
As expected, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is the faster of the two GPUs and can be significantly faster with activated ray tracing. For those who play at 4K, the GeForce GPU seemed like the more obvious choice, but before we draw any harsh conclusions, let's take a look at the results of all 30 games tested.
For those of you who play at 1440p, the Radeon RX 6800 XT may offer more value depending on how much you can get that in your area. The point, however, is that the 3080 Ti wasn't much faster at 1440p for the most part, thereby delivering 11% more power on average. For those of you wondering if we removed the blowout ray tracing results in Metro Exodus Enhanced, the 3080 Ti would be 9% faster on average.
The only games that favor the 6800 XT include Assassin's Creed Valhalla and then Forza Horizon 4 and Borderlands 3, albeit with a very close margin. We saw single-digit performance margins in around half of the games we tested.
However, if you want to play at 4K, the results change a lot and from a performance standpoint, the RTX 3080 Ti becomes the more obvious choice. On average, the GeForce GPU was 20% faster and that's a significant difference.
Overclocking with the Gainward RTX Phantom GS
Let's take a quick look at the Gainward RTX 3080 Ti Phantom GS's performance. All previous data was based on the Nvidia reference specification, the same applies to the AMD results. The Phantom GS is overclocked ex works and clocks at an average of 1845 MHz, which corresponds to a small increase of 4% compared to the FE model, which is clocked at 1770 MHz on average.
This is a pretty typical factory OC, the Asus TUF Gaming clocked at 1830 MHz under the same test conditions, the MSI 3080 Ti Suprim X ran at an average of 1875 MHz and the Asus ROG Strix LC OC ran at an average of 1920 MHz.
In terms of performance, you're looking at Founders Edition FPS-like FPS, so it doesn't make sense to go through more benchmarks.
However, if we take a closer look at the temperature results, the Phantom GS reached 74 ° C in our closed test system consisting of the Corsair Obsidian 5000D in a 21 ° C room with a fan speed of 2100 rpm, and that's only a few degrees better than that Nvidia FE model.
This is decent, but not a great result considering the Asus TUF Gaming only reached 64 ° C and was a bit quieter. Still, it's not bad, and if the Phantom GS is all you have available, it's worth considering.
What we learned
For MSRP, you might not expect a direct comparison between the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti ($ 1,200) and the Radeon RX 6800 XT ($ 650), but depending on the region, how insane the prices are (e.g. timing) and just lucky some of them Keeping stock may mean that the price difference is relatively or even absolutely not that great.
However, if all the GPUs were available at MSRP, the RTX 3080 Ti would be about the dumbest purchase you can make, dumber than even the RTX 3090 or 6900 XT. On top of that, the non-Ti-RTX 3080 would be the most affordable high-end GPU: It roughly matches the performance of the 6800 XT and offers all these additional features like better ray tracing support and of course DLSS. In a normal market, we therefore recommend buying only the RTX 3080.
But it's been months since we've seen MSRP prices so let's let that go for now and focus on the reality ahead of us.
In many of the markets we reviewed (Australia, USA, parts of Europe) the RTX 3080 Ti is only slightly more expensive than the Vanilla RTX 3080 and on average 7 to 9% faster depending on the resolution and of course you get a 20% increase in the VRAM. In such a scenario, the 3080 Ti makes more sense than both the RTX 3080 and 6800 XT, which is bizarre, but it is.
In the meantime, you'll have to pay ~ 50% more for the RTX 3090, so at least some things have stayed the same, and this is still a no-go GPU for gamers.
As good as AMD's RDNA2 generation is, parts like the Radeon RX 6800 XT need to be reasonably discounted compared to their closest competitor because they lack the same ray tracing performance, and FSR has yet to become widespread. Additionally, FSR isn't as good as DLSS in its current form, although that is likely more true of budget products that target 1080p resolution.
So there you have it. In a normal market we would buy the GeForce GTX 3080 and in the current market we would add the RTX 3080 Ti to our shopping cart at the right price.