The unicorn of the tech world at the moment is not a billion dollar company, but rather the Nvidia RTX 30-series GPUs.
The availability of these cards is a meme at this point and we’re very thankful to Gigabyte for lending us one of its latest GPUs for testing.
The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 Vision OC 10G is a hulking beast of a GPU and that OC tag isn’t just a claim, as this card hits 1800MHz out of the box rather than the stocks of 1700MHz odd.
So just how big of an upgrade is this GPU and is it just suited for gaming or could you slap one of these puppies in a workstation? Let’s find out.
Spec Sheet vs Real World
On paper the Vision OC (as we shall refer to it for brevity’s sake) boasts a 1800MHz core clock. In practice we never see this card going that low.
Throughout our benchmarks we noted an average clock speed of 1950MHz with zero overclocking on our side.
Memory clocks in at 1800MHz under load.
As for power draw, you are going to hit the roof of that 350W TDP (thermal design power) often so make sure you’re running at least a 750W power supply.
We know the recommendation is 600W, but if you intend on doing some overclocking and want the peace of mind that that extra lee-way gives you, get a 750W.
As for thermal performance, Giagbyte’s cooling solution here is immense. Using FurMark’s Burn in test at 1080p we saw max temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius after 30 minutes of testing which is fantastic.
However, our PC uses air cooling for the CPU and we have noted a 10 degree celsius average temperature increase in our CPU temperatures since installing the Vision OC.
There is zero GPU sag here thanks to the Vision OC’s thick back plate, but beware, smaller cases may not fit this behemoth. We had to remove our cable management bracket in order to fit this card in our Antec P110 case.
One final thing to note is that while Gigabyte says this is a 2.7 slot GPU, considering that 0.7 covers other PCIe slots, treat this a triple slot card.
As for RGB lighting, only the RGB logo on the outward facing side of the card lights up.
The crux of all of this though is that the Vision OC is insanely fast and manages to keep its cool. So fast one really needs to experience it for themselves.
For our gaming benchmarks we used Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Destiny 2, 3DMark’s TimeSpy and Horizon Zero Dawn.
Unfortunately, not having a 4K monitor on hand made testing at 4K in many games especially tricky. We will include these games (The Division 2, F1 2020, Atomic Heart Tech Demo) in our results, but note that all resolutions there are restricted to 1080p.
Our PC that was used for testing contains an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 @ 3.95GHz and 16GB of DDR4 at 3200MHz on an ASUS TUF B450 Gaming Plus motherboard. Yes, our PC is very mid-range, but we make do with what we have here in sunny South Africa.
The main take-away we have here is that gaming at 4K at the highest settings, with higher refresh rates is as simple as making pancakes for this GPU.
You can see our benchmarks for 4K and 1080p gaming below.
What can’t show you with these graphs however is how smooth the experience is at 4K and that’s the real star here. While we noted a fair amount of lag caused by increased frame times in Horizon Zero Dawn’s benchmark, actually playing the game was a smooth experience with little to no hitches as displayed in the 95th percentile.
But what about work?
Earlier this week we tested Acer’s Concept D which contains an Nvidia Quadro T1000 and it got us thinking, how would a consumer grade card fare in GPU intensive workloads for work?
So we fired up SPECviewperf and, it performs bloody well.
The obvious problem here however is that one can’t really link RTX 3080 GPUs together as there is no SLI support in these cards.
With that having been said, if you need a card for gaming and CAD design, the Vision OC offers up that performance and it’s wonderfully quiet as well.
RTX and DLSS
For our RTX and DLSS testing we used Atomic Heart’s RTX tech demo and Shadow of the Tomb Raider with DLSS enabled.
Our benchmarking follows below.
Honestly RTX will illicit a “Wow” (or several expletives in our case) from your mouth and with the Vision OC it is as smooth as you’d want it to be with little to no frame time drops during testing.
For Shadow of the Tomb Raider, visual fidelity was jaw dropping and we have never seen the game look that detailed or as smooth as we did with Nvidia’s AI tech enabled. What’s more is that the performance hit from both of these technologies is minimal and you will still be able to enjoy your games at 60fps or above depending on your system.
The elephant in the room
As fantastic as this card is there was an ever present cloud lurking above us as we tested the Vision OC – Price.
South Africa’s poor exchange rate and range of import taxes makes these cards rather dear, and the Vision OC is no different.
With an MSRP of R19 999 this GPU is by no means cheap but then again, neither is a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2.
Of course, one can get a Fold2 on contract and pay for the phone over a number of months, whereas a Vision OC requires putting down the full amount all at once.
The question then becomes is this GPU worth that asking price and our answer is yes it absolutely is but will South Africans be able to afford it?
Speaking for ourselves the answer is a flat no. R19 999 is more than our entire PC cost to put together and quite frankly dropping R19 999 on one component is irresponsible.
Should you be buying this GPU? That depends entirely on what you intend to do with this card, but we should point out that if you wanted to do some streaming, you can purchase an entire PC to do that for you, for less than what this GPU costs.
We do get it though, some folks want this card to play at the highest possible resolution with the highest frame rates and for those people yes, your purchase is justified.
Price then, is the only place that this GPU loses points.
For the rest of us though, we’re going to hang around for the RTX 3070 and rumoured RTX 3060.
The lack of free funds on our credit card aside, what Gigabyte has created here is truly a wonderful GPU that performs well above reference speeds and well above its own stated speeds. This is particularly noteworthy for those who don’t want to overclock their GPU but would like a bit more performance.
Not only does it do well with gaming it annihilates workloads for CAD and video rendering as well.
Temperatures remain cool and following a firmware update we have not experienced a single crash while using this GPU.
We’re quite honestly bowled over at how great this GPU is. If you absolutely must have it keep an eye out for sales as we head into the festive season though we suspect those will be few and far between.
Unless AMD shows off something as good, better, or as good and cheaper later this month.