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Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 review: a powerful GPU with a big pricing problem

Rasterisation analysis - part one.

So far, it's not been the best start for the RTX 4080 - we've seen appreciable gains against RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti - but the gains against the non-Ti Ampere card are not in line with the price increase, and that's problematic. Meanwhile, key titles have revealed that the RTX 4090 actually offers better value, despite its monstrous cost. That changes now as we move into rasterisation benchmarks, where the 4080 is much, much closer to its bigger brother. However, there may well be an argument here that the Ada Lovelace flagship is actually being held back by the CPU in a way that the RTX 4080 is not.

Owing to the way users may be jumping around our benchmarking pages, you may be missing out on an explainer of how our benchmarking system presents. Our system offers a number of ways to get to the data you want, the presentation varying according to the device you're using. You'll get a basic overview of our findings on mobile, with metadata from the video capture of each GPU being translated into simple bar charts with average frame-rate and lowest one per cent measurements for easy comparisons.

On a desktop-class browser, you'll get the full-fat DF experience with embedded YouTube videos of each test scene and live performance metrics. Play the video, and you'll see exactly how each card handled the scene as it progresses. Below the real-time metrics is an interactive bar chart, which you can mouse over to see different measurements and click to switch between actual frame-rates and percentage differences. All the data here is derived from video captured directly from each GPU, ensuring an accurate replay of real performance.


You may recall that in the heavy RT mode, RTX 4080 performed poorly up against RTX 4090, skewing more towards older generation cards than the Ada Lovelace flagship. In rasterisation though, we choose a different area for testing the game and the situation changes. The RTX 4090's massive lead is cut down to less than 30 percent overall - suddenly the price/performance ratio between the two cards shifts more in favour of the RTX 4080. However, at the same time, the RTX 4080 is still not living up to its price when compared with results from the $699 RTX 3080.


Cyberpunk 2077

4K rasterisation tests in Cyberpunk 2077 reveal performance that isn't a world away from the ultra high RT preset - the RTX 4080 scores 41.7fps here up against vs 32.9fps with all the RT bells and whistles enabled, so I'd venture to suggest that optimised settings would be preferable here. Regardless, once again, the RTX 4090 doesn't scale that well against the new 4080, while the performance gains offered by the new Ada card up against RTX 3080 and 3080 Ti are around 10 percent off the pace.


Doom Eternal

Doom Eternal is an interesting example of scalability when the top-tier GPU on the list is actually too powerful for the CPU it is paired with - and we're using one of the fastest on the market, paired with similarly fast DDR5 memory. With a 53.5 percentage point boost up against RTX 3080, and a 41 point uplift vs RTX 3080 Ti, the new card returns to its more familiar performance profile. However, RTX 4090 is a 21 percent faster than the RTX 4080 - and when you're talking about a circa 296fps average, we can be reasonably sure that the CPU is influencing and degrading the RTX 4090 result.


Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 analysis

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About the Author
Richard Leadbetter avatar

Richard Leadbetter

Technology Editor, Digital Foundry

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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