Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card review

Popping an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 inside a PC with five-year-old components reaps frame-rate highs and some compatibility lows.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Video RAM
16GB GDDR6X
Nvidia DLSS version
DLSS 3
Ray tracing cores
Third generation
November 16, 2022
9 min read

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Quick verdict: Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card is an absolute beast. Even in an older desktop PC, the RTX 4080 chews up games in 4K resolutions and spits out impressive frame rates. Surprisingly, all of that power draws less power and produces less noise than expected. Still, the RTX 4080 is a chonky GPU that may block motherboard sockets, depending on the board. It’s an expensive investment in future-proofed gaming but worth considering the older or slower your current graphics card.
pro
Pros
pro Future-proofed performance
pro Runs quiet and cool
pro Lower-than-expected power draw
con
Cons
con As big as a 4090 (but not as powerful)
con Must match motherboard and case to GPU
con Performance leap equals RRP leap

Around five years is the sweet spot for when a high-end PC is crying out for a full upgrade. You can extend life by dropping in more RAM, adding additional (ideally faster) storage and, most commonly for easy performance gains, slapping in a new graphics card. That’s what I did when Nvidia sent me a GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card to review. And I used it to answer a straightforward question: can squeezing an RTX 4080 upgrade into a rig with five-year-old components turn an ageing machine into a high-end beast? Let’s find out.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card
Note that I’m on the cusp of upgrading to a new PC and plan on updating this review with the benchmark results from the new desktop computer to see how many more frames you get from a ground-up cutting-edge build.

How much does the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 cost in Australia?

Starting at $2,219, the RTX 4080 is expensive investmenst in future-proofed frames.

Make no mistake: the days of $1,500-ish high-end Nvidia graphics cards are done and dusted.

Admittedly, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 was tricky to buy at launch let alone close to its $1,259 starting price, but the RTX 4080 prices start at $2,219. That’s the price of a decent prebuilt desktop PC.

For context, AMD’s upcoming Radeon RX 7900 XT and RX 7900 XTX are both priced under $1,500 Australian.

There’s no denying the RTX 4080 is a steep investment, but it has performance to spare, so is still worth considering for enthusiast gamers after a high-end graphics card.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 design and setup

Clean but chonky design that may have compatibility issues with older motherboards.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card

Nvidia deserves points for packaging and a premium feel right from unboxing. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition will be tough to buy in Australia, but it sits angled in a rather giant box. That’s because it’s a rather giant GPU. I’m talking the same dimensions and (assumedly) roughly the same heft as a 4090.

This is one of the initial hurdles to overcome. The RTX 4080 is a 304mm long, 137mm wide, three-slot-consuming graphics card. Length was my primary concern but there’s plenty of breathing space inside my full-tower case. But five-year-old motherboard hurdles arise immediately, and why wouldn’t they given the longest GPUs of 2017 are around 40mm shorter.

That extra length meant I had to sacrifice power for USB 2.0 socket on my MSI Z370 Godlike motherboard. There’s no way around it as it completely covers the port; thankfully, PCI-express USB expansion cards are an affordable workaround. What’s more concerning is that the RTX 4080 completely covers one of my M.2 drives (the all-important one with Windows 11 on it) and partially covers another. Heat was an initial concern, and I doubt I could have a thermal guard on my primary M.2 drive and comfortably fit the RTX 4080 on top. Good thing this GPU runs cool—with testing temps averaging at around 53 degrees Celsius and power draw averaging at around 215 watts—but that may change in the future as developers tap into its power.

Speaking of power, you’re going to need at least a 750-watt power supply to get the most out of the RTX 4080. Additionally, this thirsty GPU uses three eight-pin VGA connectors from the power supply which, mercifully, connects to an included 12-pin connect for the RTX 4080. Once I removed the USB 2.0 power connector and made my peace with the possibility of frying my primary hard drive (it didn’t happen during more than a dozen hours of testing), installation was easy.

I was concerned the size of the graphics card might necessitate a support bracket, but it sits comfortably in place in a horizontal configuration with three PCI screws. Removing the graphics card is slightly trickier as the weight tends to press the RTX 4080 back into the PCI-express slot lock.

Info Box
PC specs I tested the RTX 4080 with

Here are the specs of my five-year-old desktop PC that I used to test the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K (overclocked from 3.7GHz to 4.6GHz)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming EATX
  • Memory: Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR-3200 (2x 16GB sticks)
  • Power supply: EVGA Supernova 750W G2 80+ (fully modular)
  • Monitor: Acer Predator XB273K UHD G-Sync (up to 4K @ 120Hz)
  • Case: Be Quiet Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2 (full-sized tower)
  • Windows: Windows 11 Pro Version 21H2 (OS Build 22000.1219)
  • GPU driver: Nvidia GeForce Game Ready Drivers (526.72)

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 vs RTX 3070 Ti vs RTX 2080 Super benchmarks

A powerful lead over previous graphics cards.
Play Video

“Rasterisation” is the term used for games that don’t use funky features like ray tracing. It may sound like a name that’s used to save a gold-spinning imp from stealing a newborn baby, but it’s also a practical way of testing games. Why? Most games don’t have ray tracing or its robo-sibling deep learning super sampling (DLSS) for enhanced prettification and extra frames, respectively.

Thus, rasterisation is a fair starting point for testing graphics cards under typical gaming conditions. Here’s how the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card fares testing 11 games with in-game benchmarks, all on ultra settings with ray tracing and DLSS disabled (where available).

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 benchmarks

Game
Full HD resolution
Quad HD resolution
4K resolution
Cyberpunk 2077135fps128fps70fps
Guardians of the Galaxy115fps113fps108fps
F1 22201fps193fps183fps
Horizon Zero Dawn144fps147fps106fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider167fps160fps129fps
Assassin's Creed Valhalla147fps134fps92fps
Far Cry 6104fps101fps94fps
Rainbow Six Extraction299fps263fps142fps
Rainbow Six Siege339fps332fps320fps
Red Dead Redemption 2136fps133fps99fps
Call of Duty Modern Warfare II178fps157fps101fps

I’ve tested across 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolutions. Note that the following titles were CPU limited—when the CPU is maxed out—which stops the maximum potential for higher frames (typical in lower-spec or older CPUs), particularly at lower resolutions:

  • Cyberpunk 2077 (1080p and 1440p)
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (all resolutions)
  • Horizon Zero Dawn (1080p and 1440p)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (all resolutions)
  • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (1080p and 1440p)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 (all resolutions)

These results, particularly the 4K frame rates, are spectacular. My Acer Predator XB273K monitor maxes out at 120Hz refresh rate, so anything past that is effectively wasted frames. Cyberpunk 2077 has the most modest fps results, albeit at a very playable 70fps (at 4K resolution). Almost every other game is close to or surpasses 100fps. Rainbow Six Siege is there to show ridiculously high frame rates and even the recently released Call of Duty Modern Warfare II boasts over 100fps at 4K.

For comparison, here’s how the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Ti compares with the same settings, resolutions and games tested (except for Modern Warfare 2).

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card

Nvidia RTX 3070 Ti benchmarks

Game
Full HD resolution
Quad HD resolution
4K resolution
Cyberpunk 2077121fps81fps38fps
Guardians of the Galaxy110fps106fps79fps
F1 22199fps172fps109fps
Horizon Zero Dawn129fps114fps62fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider149fps128fps76fps
Assassin's Creed Valhalla116fps93fps58fps
Far Cry 694fps94fps64fps
Rainbow Six Extraction220fps149fps80fps
Rainbow Six Siege327fps325fps211fps
Red Dead Redemption 2108fps88fps56fps

Once again, the CPU proves a bottleneck, albeit for fewer titles: Horizon Zero Dawn (1080p and 1440p), Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1080p and 1440p), plus 1080p resolution for Red Dead Redemption 2. Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t particularly playable at 4K resolution on the RTX 3070 Ti, but other results tend to hang around or above 60fps. While PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X have been frustratingly conditioned to accept 4K 30fps as playable (admittedly, the lack of widespread HDMI 2.1 adoption may have a part to play), 60fps should be considered the foundation for PC gaming. Typically, this means dropping the resolution to achieve that frame-rate minimum.

The RTX 4080 has a noticeable lead over the RTX 3070 Ti, particularly at 4K resolutions. In fairness, that’s to be expected given the RTX 4080 is marketed as a 4K graphics card while the RTX 3070 Ti was built to impress at 1440p resolutions. Still, the RTX 4080 boasts 1440p fps leads that range from a nothing-to-write-home about 7fps to a commanding 100fps+ lead for Rainbow Six Extraction.

Additionally, the newer GPU also boasts beefier specs and doesn’t even come close to using up its 16GB GDDR6X memory in games that highlight memory usage. Expect the games of tomorrow to really start pushing the RTX 4080, which only got to 64 degrees Celsius at its absolute hottest while testing. Meanwhile, the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 2080 Super were pumping out heat up to 80 degrees during testing.

For anyone with an Nvidia 2000 series graphics card curious about upgrading to an RTX 4080, here’s how the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super handled the 10 main test games

Nvidia RTX 2080 Super benchmarks

Game
Full HD resolution
Quad HD resolution
4K resolution
Cyberpunk 207786fps55fps26fps
Guardians of the Galaxy114fps112fps63fps
F1 22170fps138fps81fps
Horizon Zero Dawn114fps96fps53fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider137fps100fps52fps
Assassin's Creed Valhalla99fps75fps44fps
Far Cry 699fps85fps51fps
Rainbow Six Extraction164fps119fps60fps
Rainbow Six Siege305fps219fps117fps
Red Dead Redemption 289fps70fps44fps

CPU limiting was rarer for the pushed-to-the-brink 2080 Super, though it did crop up in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (1080p and 1440p), Horizon Zero Dawn (1080p) and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1080p). Honestly, it’s surprising to see how well the RTX 2080 Super holds up today, particularly at 1440p resolutions. Still, the RTX 4080 is meant for 4K and it, understandably, annihilates the 2080 Super, by 43fps on the lower end of victory and up to 102fps while lapping its older sibling.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 DLSS performance

Incredibly powerful on older DLSS technologies and amazing with DLSS 3.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card

DLSS has been the answer to the frame-rate tanking of ray tracing since Nvidia released the RTX 2000 line of graphics cards. Not every game has DLSS but there are hundreds of options today using DLSS 1, DLSS 2 and there are dozens confirmed to use DLSS 3. Disappointingly, DLSS 3 is exclusive to RTX 4000 graphics cards, reportedly because of hardware limitations on older RTX GPUs.

Before we get to DLSS 3, here’s how the RTX 4080 fared in my tests with DLSS 2 games, all at 4K resolutions with maxed-out settings (note some base 4K frame rates may be different from above as they’re based on new tests).

Game
DLSS off
DLSS on
God of War92fps126fps
Death Stranding Director's Cut106fps118fps
Call of Duty Modern Warfare II99fps169fps
Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection120fps160fps
Sackboy: A Big Adventure96fps139fps
Kena113fps251fps

While results don’t change too much for Death Stranding Director’s Cut (12fps change), Call of Duty Modern Warfare II excels (70fps upgrade) and Kena: Bridge of Spirits more than doubles the frame rate with DLSS enabled (138fps gains).

DLSS 3 is even more impressive from a technical standpoint, given it isn’t just an AI upscaler but also inserts AI-generated frames to increase frame rates. Here’s how the RTX 4080 handled most of the DLSS 3 games that were available for testing.

Game
DLSS 3 off
DLSS 3 on
Cyberpunk 207753fps107fps
Microsoft Flight Simulator54fps107fps
F.I.S.T.76fps115fps
A Plague Tale: Requiem52fps97fps
Loopmancer50fps116fps
Bright Memory63fps115fps
F1 2264fps116fps
3D Mark: Nvidia DLSS feature test38fps116fps
Destroy All Humans! 2 Reprobed78fps159fps
Super People89fps182fps
Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered56fps105fps

Though fledgling, this is incredibly impressive tech whose only disclaimer is the extra system latency added for the spectacular results. Admittedly, system latency only becomes an issue for competitive games, and people looking to eke every edge out of those shouldn’t be using DLSS to keep system latency as low as possible. For those people, the RTX 4080 is still a viable option for maximising frames with DLSS off.

Disclaimers aside, these AI-generated frame gains are fantastic, particularly for Cyberpunk 2077 and Microsoft Flight Simulator. For Cyberpunk 2077, that’s with ray tracing enabled (on the appropriately named ‘Psycho’ setting) and it results in more than double the frames. It’s an almost identical story for Microsoft Flight Simulator, which is the modern equivalent of the machine-melting Crysis back in its heyday.

The lowest gains were still an impressive 40-ish frames, while Super People more than doubled its base frame rate with DLSS 3 enabled. It’s incredibly exciting to think of how DLSS 3 will evolve, hopefully with a lower impact on overall system latency. Overall, it adds an additional layer of futureproofing to an already cutting-edge GPU.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 ray tracing

Converting unplayable ray-traced frame rates into a very playable reality.
Play Video

It used to be that ray tracing was always talked about in terms of 1080p resolutions. Basically, if you wanted lifelike reflections, the compromise was resolution. And using DLSS was a given. Not anymore. Here’s a look at a handful of games with ray tracing enabled and DLSS disabled across 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolutions.

Game
Full HD resolution
Quad HD resolution
4K resolution
Cyberpunk 207784fps82fps53fps
Guardians of the Galaxy99fps96fps68fps
F1 22113fps101fps61fps
Shadow of the Tomb Raider141fps132fps86fps

Note that every game outside of Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition hit a CPU limitation, which means newer processors can feasibly expect even better gains. Cyberpunk 2077 comes close to 60fps with the Ultra ray tracing preset (just below Psycho) but the other three are comfortably hitting 60fps at 4K without any AI assistance. That’s bonkers compared to the resolution-sacrifice norm up until recently. Understandably, 1440p and 1080p scores are even better, even though their true values are held back by my CPU.

Given that 4K 60fps is now seemingly viable, I did some ray tracing tests with DLSS at 4K resolutions for a handful of games that usually bring GPUs to their knees. All of these games have ultra settings and maxed-out ray tracing.

Game
DLSS off
DLSS on
Dying Light 235fps89fps
Fortnite35fps107fps
Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition75fps92fps
Control45fps106fps

Wow. Dying Light 2, a title whose gameplay benefits from a fluid frame rate, goes from unplayable to impressive with more than double the frames. It’s a similar story for Fortnite, which transforms from unplayable as a competitive online shooter to respectable at more than three times the frames. Metro Exodus had marginal gains but Control absolutely benefits from DLSS with more than 60fps gains once the AI feature is enabled.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 gameplay

Set-and-forget max settings at 4K for pretty much everything.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card

The raw benchmark numbers paint an impressive picture. But what about all-important gameplay? Borderlands 3, Hell Let Loose and Days Gone are DLSS-less games known to push PCs to their limits maxed out at 4K resolutions. Borderlands 3 was very playable at around 85fps average and Days Gone’s frantic gameplay benefits from fluid 94fps gameplay. Even the notoriously poorly optimised Hell Let Loose manages a 78fps average—which, believe me, is impressive—with most of the test matches consistently scoring over 100fps.

Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection was unplayable with sub-30fps gameplay using the RTX 3070 Ti and maxed-out settings, but it was pushing the 120fps borderless-fullscreen limit without enabling DLSS (and looking absolutely stunning). I’m so used to compromising fidelity settings or tweaking DLSS sliders to get the most out of my 4K, 120Hz screen but the 4080 simplifies everything. Set everything to ultra, including ray tracing, and you’re generally comfortably playing at 60fps. Enable DLSS to get frame rates closer to 120fps.

Is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 worth buying?

An investment in high-resolution, high-fidelity gaming.
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card

The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 makes maxed-out 4K gaming easy. It’s like performance mode on consoles, except instead of automatically lowering the resolution to guarantee 60fps, you just enable DLSS to preserve the 4K resolution and soak in the frame gains (sometimes with results above 100fps). Admittedly, DLSS 3 isn’t widespread enough right now for RTX 3080-or-better GPU owners to rush out and buy an RTX 4080. But if you’re coming from a lower-spec graphics card or older series, the RTX 4080 can help convert even a five-year-old desktop into a killer PC again.

How we review graphics cards

Our review starts with unboxing and installation. A good graphics card must come with any relevant adaptors to get it working out of the box. Similarly, we make note of any installation issues that arise in terms of weight, length, overall fit and concerns about blocked ports or potential airflow issues.

We use a core set of games with in-game benchmarks to determine base results for a graphics card, spread across 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolutions. Nvidia’s FrameView tool is enabled during capture to record key metrics, including average frame rates, GPU max temperatures and power draw.

Where possible, we contextualise these benchmarks by performing the same tests on older-model or competitor graphics cards. Next is to test AI upscaling and note performance gains, as well as testing the impact of fidelity features like ray tracing. Finally, we put the graphics card through the paces of typical use, including a mix of everyday computing and gaming stress tests.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about Nvidia's latest graphics cards.
Is the RTX 4080 coming out?
Yes, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 was released worldwide on 16 November. Initially, the plan was for 12GB and 16GB models but Nvidia changed this to just a 16GB version.
How much power will the RTX 4080 use?
Nvidia recommends that the GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card is best paired with at least a 750-watt power supply. The RTX 4080 can draw up to 320 watts. In our tests, the max power draw was 302 watts but typical power draw averaged out closer to 215 watts.
Will the RTX 4080 outperform the RTX 3090?
Yes, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 is more powerful than an RTX 3090. The RTX 4080 should comfortably outperform any RTX 3000 series graphics cards.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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