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Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti review: ray-tracing performance

Control, Metro Exodus, Battlefield 5.

Ray tracing remains a strong point for Nvidia hardware, likely thanks to Team Green's head start on hardware acceleration, and we expect the RTX 3080 Ti to exhibit that plainly in competition against the similarly-priced RX 6900 XT. The RTX 3090 showed its best results against the 3080 (and its AMD counterparts) in RT titles, and we expect to see a unique dynamic for the 3080 Ti and 3090 here as well.

Note that, like our previous reviews, we're standardising at 1440p resolution in these tests. Even hybrid rendering, where RT is combined with traditional raster graphics, provides a robust challenge to all extant graphics hardware and aiming for native 4K often isn't viable. Only the best GPUs have a chance of holding a playable frame-rate without something like Nvidia's DLSS or AMD's upcoming FidelityFX Super Resolution to drop the effective resolution to a more manageable level. As AMD's upscaling technique isn't ready just yet, all of these tests are with DLSS disabled - so this is native 1440p.

Control

Control is simultaneously one of the best showcases for RTX technology and one of the hardest titles for AMD graphics hardware. That means we expect a blowout in the RX 6900 XT vs RTX 3080 Ti stakes, and that's just what we get. The 3080 Ti is more than 60 percent faster here, and even enabling Smart Access Memory on the RX 6900 XT to give the AMD card a leg up only shifts the differential to 57 percent.

The RTX 3090 is around seven percent faster than the 3080 Ti, one of the biggest advantages we've seen, with the 3080 Ti only leading the bog-standard 3080 by the same margin. That means the 3080 Ti is neatly bisecting the two original RTX 30-series cards, rather than being way closer to the 3090 side of the performance scale.

Control: DX12, High, High RT, TAA

  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3080 Ti
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • RX 6900 XT

Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus comes next, and its integrated benchmark sees the same scenario play out: the 3080 Ti is around seven percent faster than the OG 3080, while the 3090 is about seven percent faster than the Ti. Enabling SAM does nothing for the RX 6900 XT here, but even so the RX 6900 XT is much more competitive in this RT game: the 3080 Ti is just 37 per cent ahead this time instead of 60. That's still a massive difference, mind, a shift from 60 to 80fps, but it makes the point that it's not just one-off games like Control where AMD have some catching up to do.

Metro Exodus: DX12, Ultra, Ultra RT, TAA

  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3080 Ti
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • RX 6900 XT

Battlefield 5

We conclude our RT testing with Battlefield 5, the game that first showed off ray-traced reflections when Nvidia announced the RTX 2080 back in 2018. As it's only using one part of the RT palette, we tend to see the gaps between teams Red and Green tighten here. The RTX 3080 Ti remains ahead of the 6900 XT by a good 45 percent with ReBAR disabled on both GPUs; enabling the feature on just the AMD card drops the gap to a still-significant 30 percent. Over in Nvidia land, the 3080 Ti is within two percent of the 3090 and seven percent faster than the standard 3080 - a more familiar landscape than we saw in Control and Metro Exodus.

Battlefield 5: DX12, Ultra, Ultra RT, TAA

  • RTX 2080
  • RTX 2080 Super
  • RTX 2080 Ti
  • RTX 3070
  • RTX 3080
  • RTX 3080 Ti
  • RTX 3090
  • RX 6800
  • RX 6800 XT
  • RX 6900 XT

All of the numbers are in, so now it's time to summon the Digital Foundry verdict.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti analysis

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About the author

Richard Leadbetter

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry  |  digitalfoundry

Rich has been a games journalist since the days of 16-bit and specialises in technical analysis. He's commonly known around Eurogamer as the Blacksmith of the Future.

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