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

Rasterisation analysis - part three.

Rasterisation tests - and include the bulk of our entire benchmarking - comes to a conclusion on this final page of tests. In terms of the titles we've got lined up for you, we have three very different games and engines on display. Forza Horizon 5 screams on higher-end GPUs like these to the point where even at 4K, the RTX 4090 is GPU-limited. Red Dead Redemption 2? It's not often that we get a new Rockstar game and the tech on display in this one is still exceptional. Finally, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the benchmarker's friend. Just so we're clear, the RTX 4080 is best used for 4K gaming, so that is the focus of our commentary - but 1440p results are also provided.

Once again, if you're jumping straight to this page without looking at prior results, we should stress that our benchmarking 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.

Forza Horizon 5

Playground Games' brilliant racer may not be the most exceptional PC port, but the recent arrival of RT features along with DLSS and DLAA certainly adds to its allure - DLAA is the best way to play. However, we're sticking with the standard extreme preset here, where the results with RTX 4080 looking down towards older generation parts reveal the same kind of performance differentials we've come to expect. It's a nigh-on 48 percentage point boost to performance over the RTX 3080, dropping to 36 percent vs RTX 3080 Ti. The RTX 4090 only gets a 24 percent 'upgrade' over the 4080, but we can be reasonably sure here that's limited by our CPU, not the graphics hardware.

FORZA HORIZON 5, EXTREME, DX12, 2X MSAA

Red Dead Redemption 2

The RTX 4080 falls into line with expectations when it comes to comparisons up against the RTX 4090 - essentially, with the flagship an extra 33.3 percent of cash money translates into circa 30 percent of performance. However, the already problematic pricing for the RTX 4080 comes into an even sharper focus when stacked up against prior offerings such as the RTX 3080 and RTX 3080 Ti, where users get just a 36 percent and 24 percent uptick in performance. It's an outlier more generally, but still strongly indicative of a product that isn't sitting at its natural price-point. The lower than expected increases does seemingly make this another title where Nvidia will be vulnerable to AMD's new offerings, assuming their own performance numbers check out.

RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2, MAX, VULKAN, TAA

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

We end with Shadow of the Tomb Raider from arch-developer Nixxes, and a return to the kind of performance differentials we've come to expect in this review - though with a slight uptick to expectations from RTX 4090. The flagship trends above average with a 39 percent uptick over the RTX 4080, but elsewhere, there are few surprises: a 51 percent boost over the RTX 3080, dropping to around 34 percent up against the RTX 3080 Ti. It's interesting to note here that at 1440p, the percentage differentials do shift and group closer - but not to anywhere near the extent of other games tested in rasterisation. Even so, the RTX 4080 is still best deployed on 4K, high refresh rate screens.

SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER, HIGHEST, DX12, TAA

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 analysis

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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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