The RTX series didn’t just change the game, it changed every game. Even though only a handful of titles initially supported their jaw-dropping ray-tracing capabilities, they set a precedent that led to the development of over 37 compatible desktop games, and this is only the beginning.
With the inevitable droves of games on the way that let those special RT cores shine, there’s never been a better time to compare two of the very best the RTX series has to offer: the 2080 and the 2080 Ti.
These Nvidia GPUs share the same general Turing microarchitecture, but the 2080 features the TU104-400A-A1 Turing variant, while the 2080 Ti features the TU102-300A-K1-A1 variant. Turing architecture utilizes concurrent datapath instruction execution to maximize core efficiency.
Turing microarchitecture also facilitates something known as adaptive shading. Simply put, this technology reallocates definition to the most important parts of the screen for a gamer, and as a bonus, it’s said to boost fps by 15%, hurray! But enough about commonalities. Let’s quickly run over what makes these variants, well…variants.
The 2080 Ti, only bested in series by the RTX Titan, is packing some serious heat. With 4352 CUDA cores, there’s no doubt it’s one of the most impressive GPUs you can currently buy. Its little sibling, the 2080, only has 2944 cores.
It’s not only CUDA cores that the Ti has a monopoly on. It has more texture units, render units, and SMs too. It can’t quite keep up when it comes to clock speed though, which is interesting. The 2080 has a base clock speed of 1515Mhz which boosts to 1890Mhz, and the Ti can only muster a base of 1350 and boosted rate of 1650.
Both of these cards are open-air GPUs, so you’ll need to make sure your case flow can handle the excess heat. Under 90-100% load, you can expect the 215-watt 2080 card to stabilize in the mid-80s (°C). It can be a little scary considering the 88°C thermal capacity, but it’s designed to start throttling if it reaches even 1° beyond that threshold. Your fps will drop, but at least you know your expensive GPU is safe.
Pulling 250 watts, the Ti is bound to give off a bit of heat, especially considering how stacked with components it is, but it actually doesn’t run that much hotter than the 2080, and it has a 1°C larger thermal capacity too. For gaming, you can expect anywhere between 78-89°C, but by altering your fan curve and tweaking some settings on Afterburner, you should be able to keep it around the 70°C zone. Much like the 2080, it will start to throttle when it senses the temperature rise to a dangerous level.
Both of these 20-Series GPUs have pretty large chips, but due to all the extras the Ti is loaded with, it was bound to have the bigger die size of the two, but no matter. All factors considered, both of these GPUs have the exact same dimensions. There isn’t a millimeter’s difference between them.
With a shared height of 4.556”, length of 10.5”, and 2-slot widths, they’re not the smallest cards in the world and are in fact, roughly twice as long as any 16-Series card, but they should fit nicely into most case sizes and types.
There are no surprises at this resolution. The Ti outshines the standard 2080 no matter what game you play, but the gap perhaps isn’t as significant as you’d think during many titles. The Ti does claim a few watershed victories. In Overwatch, for example, it breaks 220fps and offers a 30% better average performance than the 2080, but some of the minor wins really are minor, between 4-6%. Measured across a plethora of titles, the Ti is around 15% better than the 2080, not great for a card that costs nearly twice as much.
In 1440p, the Ti manages to stay in front for most titles by 10 to 20 frames per second and consistently averages out beyond 120fps. The 2080 also breaks the 100fps average but only by around 4fps, and because of this, the Ti widens the performative gap by 1%, claiming the 1440p arena by 16%.
People have been waiting for a GPU with the power to stabilize around the 60 frames per second mark in 4K resolutions for years, and they might have finally gotten what they wished for. Across a range of titles, the 2080 pumps out a respectable 62.8fps average, but the Ti dominates with an average of 76.1fps, upping the gap between these GPUs to 17%.
Of course, carrying that prestigious RTX title, no matter which one of these awesome GPUs you decide to go for – if any – you’ve got those shiny ray-tracing cores locked down, ready to give you a graphical experience like you’ve never seen before.
Those RT cores are only going to kick into action for games that support ray tracing, but there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s the future of desktop gaming. We’re sure it won’t be long until providing ray tracing support is common practice amongst game developers.
All this power comes with a price, though, a price paid in fps. If you’ve been dreaming of the possibilities of ray tracing in 1440p or 4K, it may have to remain a dream, as even the Ti starts to flicker and fade under the pixel-heavy workload. 1080p, on the other hand, is prime for some ray tracing goodness!
These RTX champions may have the same 14GBps overall memory speed, but as you’ve probably already guessed, the Ti has the 2080 completely outclassed in every other respect.
It has a massive 11GB GDDR6 buffer memory to the 2080’s 8GB memory. There are some fantastic cards out there with only 6GB of memory, so this should act as a pretty clear indication of the quality of both of these memory configurations.
In terms of bandwidth, the Ti has 168GBps on the 2080, as well as an improved 352-bit bus interface, so, yeah…the Ti is better as far as memory is concerned. We have to stress, though, that the 2080 still boasts some pretty serious specs here. 448GBps bandwidth is nothing to snort at, and neither is the 256-bit bus interface.
We knew going into this that the 2080 Ti is the better graphics card. That wasn’t ever really up for debate. The question was really by how much is the Ti better than the standard 2080? If you ask us, not enough to warrant the gargantuan price tag. Yes, it beats the 2080 no matter the task, but it’ll cost you almost double the money, yet it’s unable to win any titles or resolution by anything close to 50%.
If you want the best of the best and you don’t mind forking out the extra doubloons, by all means, get the 2080 Ti. It’s an astounding card. You will absolutely enjoy it, but the 2080 is also an awesome GPU, capable of fulfilling most gamer’s needs. It gives you beyond 60fps averages in 4K, over 100fps averages in 1440p, and it kills in 1080p. What more could you ask for?