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

Rasterisation analysis - part two.

Another page, another trio of games benchmarked across the high-end stack of GPUs from Nvidia and AMD, with RTX 4080 joining the fray. Hitman 3 - even without its high-end RT features - can still fully exercise our graphics hardware, while Gears 5 and F1 22 also reach stratospheric frame-rates, albeit with the Core i9 12900K CPU in our test set-up arguably limiting results at the top-end.

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.

F1 22

Codemasters' EGO engine-powered racer returns, this time shorn of its many RT features, and delivers some exceptional performance across the board, even at its ultra high preset and even when benchmarked in stress-test conditions - plenty of cars and extreme weather conditions. The numbers speak for themselves really - the RTX 4090 is faster, but is clearly hitting CPU limits. With a 42 point and 36 percentage point increase in frame-rate over RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti, the new card still looks like it's delivering value under par compared to the standard RTX 3080, vindicated - once again - by the over-priced Ti variant.


Gears 5

The same commentary we have for F1 22 applies to Gears 5 too, really, though by looking at the 1440p results, we can see that 168-170fps is the limit of the Core i9 12900K - as the 4080 and 4090 are effectively delivering the same performance, limited by the surrounding PC. At 4K, there is still room for the higher-end cards to stretch their legs with performance multipliers entirely in line with expectations. You may notice lowest one percent issues on the RTX 4000 cards - likely because some parts of the bench still manage to stress the CPU, resulting in stutter not seen on less capable GPUs.


Hitman 3

The narrative so far suggests that the RTX 4090 offers substantial performance gains in RT workloads that we don't see in rasterisation. However, the trend bucks with IO Interactive's Hitman 3 and the RTX 4090 still manages to deliver a 47 percentage point improvement over the RTX 4080 in the Dubai benchmark. Tellingly though, the performance differentials between RTX 4080 and the 3080/Ti models of the last generation remain in line with trends seen in other tests. AMD does well in this test and based on its marketing claims at least, rasterisation results could be within spitting distance of the RTX 4090 with the RTX 4080 left for dust based on its less impressive 26 percent perf bump over the RX 6900 XT.


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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