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Nvidia RTX: What you need to know about the new 2080, 2080 Ti and 2070 GPUs

The new 20 Series graphics cards are finally upon us. But are the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, 2080 and 2070 GPUs worthy of your rig?

We’ve detailed every spec, feature and price here for the three new GPUs to help you make the right call – whether that’s the top tier super-powered RTX 2080 Ti, the powerful mid-range RTX 2080, or the more wallet-friendly RTX 2070.

Not even sure whether you’ll make the jump up to the new Nvidia RTX series? We’ve also listed all the features of the new range so you’ve all the information at your disposal to make the right call.

Nvidia RTX: What’s new?

Although these cards will be faster than their Pascal predecessors, Nvidia has placed much emphasis on their real-time ray tracing capabilities. This refers to a GPU’s ability to render light far more realistically than was previously possible.

Unfortunately, real-time ray tracing won’t be supported at launch, so owners will have to wait a few months to enjoy the revolutionary new tech. However, Nvidia has shown a few trailers for games including Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, Assetto Corsa, and Battlefield V that show off the new real-time ray tracing tech – which certainly looks promising.

Until then, the Nvidia RTX performance boost looks to potentially offer 4K gaming at 60fps, which will no doubt please gamers with an appetite for Ultra HD. Of course, you’ll have to wait until our full review before we confirm this for sure though.

DLSS (Deep Learning Super-Sampling) will also be available from the get go, albeit with very limited game support at launch. DLSS sees the Tensor Cores (the processors dedicated to handling AI) of the new Series 20 cards to accelerate anti-aliasing, meaning sprites and game environments should look smoother and everything should run more quickly to boot.

Jump to the bottom of the article if you want an even more detailed look into each of these two new features.

Read on for everything you need to know about the new Nvidia RTX graphics cards in lieu of our full reviews.

Related: Best graphics cards

Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti: Specs, price and release date

The most powerful of the Nvidia RTX trio, the 2080 Ti boasts 18.9 billion transistors, 4352 CUDA Cores, 68 RT Cores and 544 Tensor Cores. That’s a lot of juicy numbers, but what do they actually mean?

Essentially, if you want the best possible 4K HDR performance for your video games, then the RTX 2080 Ti is the GPU to plump for. The 2080 Ti – along with the other two RTX GPUs – actually support a maximum 8K resolution (7680 x 4320) at 12 bits of HDR colour at 60Hz over a DisplayPort 1.4 connection, but gamers are far more likely to be dialling down to 4K which sees all the 20-Series Nvidia GPUs supporting 12-bit HDR at 144Hz.

Our benchmark tests showed that the 2080 Ti can handle the majority of Ultra HD games at 60 frames per second, which previous generations of graphics cards have struggled to do.

RTX 2080 Ti GTX 1080 Ti
Generation Turing Pascal
Price £1099 £669
Announcement August 2018 March 2017
Cuda cores 4352 3584
RT cores 68 0
Tensor cores 544 0
Base speed 1350 1493
Boost speed 1545 1582
Memory speed 14Gbps 10Gbps
Memory bandwidth 616 GB/sec 484GB/sec
Power draw 250W 250W
Rec. system power 650W 600W

Of course, all of this power does not come cheap, with Nvidia shipping the card at an eye watering £1099. That’s £250 more than the RTX 2080.

So is it worth all the money? If you’re intending on playing games in 4K, then absolutely. Our benchmark results show that there’s a substantial increase in frame rate performance for Ultra HD content with the RTX 2080 Ti compared to the GTX 2080 Ti.

While the GTX 1080 Ti misses out on the coveted 60fps for new 4K releases like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the 2080 Ti hits that 60fps mark for almost every Ultra HD game chucked its way.

But if you intend on using the RTX 2080 Ti for HD or SD gaming, you won’t see a huge difference from what you got with the Pascal generation and so you’re likely better off buying a cheaper graphics card.

Of course, once ray tracing arrives that’s likely to change dramatically, but we won’t know to what extent until support for the technology arrives later this year.

Related: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti review

Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti vs GTX 1080 Ti – benchmarks

GTX 1080 Ti (4K) RTX 2080 Ti (4K) RTX 2080 Ti vs GTX 1080 Ti (4K)
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 44 57 +29.6%
Ghost Recon
37.1 45.9 +23.7%
Dirt Rally 93.9 117.4 +25%
Ashes of the Singularity 53.3 65 +22%

The 2080 Ti also has 11GB of 14Gbps GDDR6, memory, which further explains how it’s been able to provide such an outstanding performance.

Like all the RTX 20 Series graphics cards, the 2080 Ti also includes support for USB Type-C and VirtualLink. The latter promises a more streamlined and easier format for setting up virtual reality in the future, which is great to see as the 2080 Ti looks to be a fantastic GPU for VR.

The Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti is available to buy right now for £1099.

Nvidia RTX 2080

Related: Best Gaming PCs

Nvidia RTX 2080: Specs, price and release date

The Nvidia RTX 2080 is the mid-range option of the new generation graphics cards. It’s also likely going to be the most popular of the three, with a seemingly superb balancing act between performance and price.

Showcasing 13.6 billion transistors, it’s quite a distance behind the 2080 Ti’s specs. However, that doesn’t stop the RTX 2080 from being another great graphics card for 4K gaming, especially since it’s capable of handling Ultra HD HDR at 60Hz.

RTX 2080 GTX 1080
Generation Turing Pascal
Price £749 £469
Announcement August 2018 May 2016
Cuda cores 2944 2560
RT cores 46 0
Tensor cores 384 0
Base speed 1515 1607
Boost speed 1710 (1800 Founders) 1733
Memory speed 14Gbps 10Gbps
Memory bandwidth 448 GB/sec 320 GB/sec
Power draw 215W 180W
Rec. system power 650W 500W

Only those that use £20 notes to light the finest Cuban cigars will call the RTX 2080 ‘cheap’ at £749, but it is more affordable that the 2080 Ti. And while the latter does boast better benchmarks, both are still fully capable of producing gorgeous 4K renders.

Again, we’ve provided Nvidia’s benchmark results below to show that the RTX 2080 looks to be a great option for Ultra HD gaming. Still, if you’re not ready to make the jump to 4K just yet, then the difference in HD performance between this GPU and those from last generation probably isn’t worth the outlay.

Nvidia RTX 2080 vs GTX 1080 – official benchmarks

GTX 1080 RTX 2080 RTX 2080 vs GTX 1080
Battlefield 1 (SDR) 52.5 72.3 +37.7%
Battlefield 1 (HDR RGB444) 48.9 72.2 +47.8%
Battlefield 1 (HDR YUV422) 44.2 73.0 +65.4%
Call of Duty: WWII (SDR) 66.0 104.2 +57.8%
Call of Duty: WWII (HDR RGB444) 66.4 100.5 +51.3%
Call of Duty: WWII (HDR YUV422) 59.7 95.7 +60.3%
F1 2018 (SDR) 51.8 72.0 +39.1%
F1 2018 (HDR RGB444) 51.1 72.8 +42.4%
F1 2018 (HDR YUV 442) 46.5 72.8 +56.5%
PlayerUnknown’s Battleground 46.3 61.6 +33.0%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 31.7 47.1 +48.6%
Witcher 3 43.3 61.5 +42.0%

It is possible, however, that real-time ray tracing could make bring about enough improvements to justify the upgrade even if you’re still stuck with a HD monitor. But with software support for the new technology yet to launch, we’re unable to say for sure.

Support should arrive later this year though, so keep your eyes on Trusted Reviews to find our verdict on it. For now though, you can read our in-depth look at real-time ray tracing below.

The Nvidia RTX 2080 is available to buy right now.

Nvidia RTX 2070 Specs, price and release date

The RTX 2070 is the sprog of the RTX litter, offering the least amount of power but at the most affordable price at £569.

However there isn’t as much information floating about for the RTX 2070 as its sibling graphics cards, aside from its October 17 release date. No official information about the RTX 2070 performance and benchmarks has been released by Nvidia, and, at the time of writing, nothing’s been leaked.

RTX 2070 GTX 1070
Generation Turing Pascal
Price £569 £419
Announcement August 2018 May 2016
Cuda cores 2304 1920
RT cores ? 0
Tensor cores ? 0
Base speed 1410 1506
Boost speed 1710 1683
Memory speed 14 Gbps 8 Gbps
Memory bandwidth 448 GB/s 256 GB/s
Power draw 175W 150W
Rec. system power 550W 500W

Nvidia claims the RTX 2070 will – just like the 2080 and 2080 Ti – be able to render 4K images at 60 frames per second, but with testing units still to be distributed this is yet to confirmed.

The RTX 2070 will also support real-time ray tracing, offering 5 Giga Rays/sec.

A Giga Ray is an Nvidia term for a simulated ray of light. 5 Giga Rays/sec is the minimum amount of virtual light required to fully illuminate a typical room in a video game environment, according to Nvidia.

So, the RTX 2070 offers the standard 5 Giga Rays/sec. For comparison, the 2080 offers 8 Giga Rays/sec and the 2080 Ti a whopping 10 Giga Rays/sec.

Nvidia RTX 2070 Nvidia RTX 2080 Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
8GB frame buffer 8GB frame buffer 11GB frame buffer
6 GigaRays/second 8 GigaRays/second 10 Giga Rays/second

It’s impossible to say to what extent these specs have on the visuals right now, as real-time ray tracing software support has yet to launch, but getting such exciting features at the RTX 2070’s reasonable price is a huge incentive. That said, the option to upgrade to the RTX 2080 for £180 more is surely going to be tempting.

As soon as we find more information regarding the RTX 2070’s performance, we’ll be sure to update this section.

Nvidia RTX 2080, 2080 Ti and 2070 GPUs features – Ray tracing explained

The big development with Nvidia’s Turing graphics cards is real-time ray tracing, which will massively increase the realism of how games handle lighting.

While real-time ray-tracing isn’t yet available to the public, we already have a decent idea of how games benefiting from the tech will look, thanks to a number of demos released by Nvidia over the past year. Some have shown ray-tracing in real-time on consumer GPUs.

Nvidia has already worked with Microsoft and Epic to get ray tracing integrated into DirectX and the Unreal Engine to produce a real-time demo that was shown off at GDC earlier this year.

However, powerful hardware is required to render these types of scenes, which has led Nvidia to develop its new Turing chip with a ray-tracing core, called the RT Core. This makes the chip specialised for running RTX content such as Nvidia’s short ‘Sol’, which the company claimed was running on just a single Turing GPU.

The chip will also be capable of running deep learning algorithms according to Nvidia, and will include AI image processing capabilities, too. The latter should be helpful when running high levels of anti-aliasing in games.

Of course, of utmost importance are the games, and Nvidia has already shown off the technology powering advanced lighting in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, Assetto Corsa, and Battlefield V’s RTX integration in new demos and trailers.

In total, Nvidia has announced 11 games on its website that will offer real-time ray tracing:

  • Assetto Corsa Competizione
  • Atomic Heart
  • Battlefield V
  • Control
  • Enlisted
  • Justice
  • JX3
  • MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
  • Metro Exodus
  • ProjectDH
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider

In addition to ray tracing, the Founders Editions of the Nvidia RTX 2080, 2080 Ti and 2070 cards will feature a redesigned cooling system that Nvidia claims is much quieter than previous iterations.

Related: Shadow of the Tomb Raider review

Nvidia RTX 2080, 2080 Ti and 2070 GPUs features – DLSS

Another new feature for the RTX 20 Series includes Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS), which ostensibly improves on super sampling and multisample anti-aliasing (MSAA).

As the name suggests, DLSS leverages artificial intelligence, enabled by the 114 TFLOP Tensor Cores, to handle some of the anti-aliasing processes. Nvidia claims that this technique ensures picture quality that’s of the same standard of traditionally rendered images, but with even better performance.

Anti-aliasing essentially involves a GPU recognising colour values and applying them to pixels. In theory, AI processes trained on colour recognition should give you a performance boost by way of speeding that up. Everything should look much smoother and because the GPU is freer to do other things, everything should also run more quickly.

Unlike ray tracing, Nvidia suggests that DLSS is easy to integrate into video games, which could see the list of compatible games increase quickly. As of now, 25 games offer support. They include:

  • Ark: Survival Evolved  
  • Darksiders 3
  • Final Fantasy XV
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Hitman 2
  • Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries
  • Islands of Nyne: Battle Royale
  • Overkill’s The Walking Dead
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  • SCUM
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Stormdivers
  • We Happy Few

Once we’ve finished our testing, we’ll be able to confirm whether or not DLSS makes a noticeable improvement.

Related: What is HDR gaming?

Nvidia RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti – Performance

While we’ve only been able to test the RTX 2080 Ti card out of the three new Turing GPUs, Nvidia has shared some 4K (3840 x 2160) frame rate benchmarking results of how both the GTX 1080 and GTX 1080 Ti compare to the new RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti GPUs.

Note that the testing rig for both graphics cards was the same – Nvidia’s provided a short breakdown:

  • Processor: Intel Core i9-7900X 3.3GHz CPU
  • RAM: 16GB Corsair DDR4
  • Motherboard: Asus X299 Rampage VI Apex
  • OS: Windows 10 (v1803) 64-bit
  • Nvidia drivers: 411.38
GTX 1080 RTX 2080 RTX 2080 vs GTX 1080 GTX 1080 Ti RTX 2080 Ti RTX 2080 Ti vs GTX 1080 Ti
Battlefield 1 (SDR) 52.5 72.3 +37.7% 60.3 88.7 +47.1%
Battlefield 1 (HDR RGB444) 48.9 72.2 +47.8% 62.2 86.5 +39.1%
Battlefield 1 (HDR YUV422) 44.2 73.0 +65.4% 56.5 88.2 +56.2%
Call of Duty: WWII (SDR) 66.0 104.2 +57.8% 90.6 138.8 +53.2%
Call of Duty: WWII (HDR RGB444) 66.4 100.5 +51.3% 89.1 129.6 +45.4%
Call of Duty: WWII (HDR YUV422) 59.7 95.7 +60.3% 80.0 129.7 +62.0%
F1 2018 (SDR) 51.8 72.0 +39.1% 62.5 90.5 +44.7%
F1 2018 (HDR RGB444) 51.1 72.8 +42.4% 64.8 91.9 +41.7%
F1 2018 (HDR YUV 442) 46.5 72.8 +56.5% 59.7 91.2 +52.7%
PlayerUnknown’s Battleground 46.3 61.6 +33.0% 57.7 79.3 +37.4%
Shadow of the Tomb Raider 31.7 47.1 +48.6% 43.2 59.2 +36.9%
Witcher 3 43.3 61.5 +42.0% 57.0 78.1 +36.8%

We’ve no information on the PSU used, or the GPU cooler (of even if there was one).

The fps (frames per second) scores here were achieved using Nvidia’s own internal testing processes on a range of DirectX 11 (Call of Duty: WWII, F1 2018, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground, Witcher 3) and DirectX 12 games (Battlefield 1, Shadow of the Time), which we’ve partially reproduced above.

The benchmarking process is one devised by Nvidia itself, and it involves testing games at both standard dynamic range and HDR where possible. They use the Nvidia Control Panel to set monitor refresh rates to 98Hz (10-bits of colour) and 120Hz (8-bits of colour) on SDR and HDR tests using the RGB 4:4:4 colour format and 120Hz (10-bits of colour) and 144Hz (8/10-bits of colour).

If you’re looking to replicate these results, Nvidia recommends using an Acer Predator X27 and Asus ROG Swift PG27UQ gaming monitors, suggesting (but not confirming) that these were the monitors used in the testing process.

Regardless how accurate these findings are, we’re expecting a monster performance from the RTX 20-Series graphics cards. Nvidia boldly suggests that the GeForce RTX 2080 is so powerful that the CPU can act as the bottleneck.

Fortunately, we’ll soon see the release of Intel’s 9th Gen CPUs as well as a slew of compatible motherboards arriving, which should both help to prevent future bottlenecks with the RTX 2080.

Related: Intel 9th Gen CPU

Nvidia RTX 2080, 2080 Ti and 2070 GPUs – Specs

Since the launch event, Nvidia has updated us with a fuller set of specs for both the reference and Founders Edition models:

Nvidia RTX 2070 (Ref spec) Nvidia RTX 2070 (Founders Ed) Nvidia RTX 2080 (Ref spec) Nvidia RTX 2080 (Founders Ed) Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (Ref spec) Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (Founders Ed)
Base Clock 1410 MHz 1410 MHz 1515 MHz 1515 MHz 1350 MHz 1350 MHz
Boost Clock 1620 MHz 1710 MHz (OC) 1710 MHz 1800 MHz (OC) 1545 MHz 1635 MHz (OC)
CUDA cores 2304 2304 2944 2944 4352 4352
Memory Speed 14Gbps 14Gbps 14Gbps 14Gbps 14Gbps 14Gbps
Standard Memory Config 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 8GB GDDR6 11GB GDDR6 11GB GDDR6
Memory Interface Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 352-bit 352-bit
Memory Bandwidth 448 GB/sec 448 GB/sec 448 GB/sec 448 GB/sec 616 GB/sec 616 GB/sec

All support a maximum 8K resolution (7680 x 4320) at 12 bits of HDR colour at 60Hz over a DisplayPort 1.4 connection. Dialling down to 4K – which, let’s be honest, most gamers will want to – sees all the 20-Series Nvidia GPUs supporting 12-bit HDR at 144Hz.

Seeing as more 4K gaming monitors are now supporting 144Hz rates, and UHD monitors are approaching sensible prices, we think that most gamers will be more than happy with this.

DisplayPort, HDMI and USB Type-C connections are supported across the range.

Related: Best Gaming Monitors

Here’s a brief overview of each card’s physical characteristics and power requirements:

Nvidia RTX 2070

(Ref spec)

Nvidia RTX 2070 (Founders Ed) Nvidia RTX 2080

(Ref spec)

Nvidia RTX 2080 (Founders Ed) Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (Ref spec) Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti (Founders Ed)
Height 112.6mm (4.435-inches) 112.6mm (4.435-inches) 115.7mm (4.556-inches) 115.7mm (4.556-inches) 115.7mm (4.556-inches) 115.7mm (4.556-inches)
Length 228.60mm (9-inches) 228.60mm (9-inches) 266.74mm (10.5-inches) 266.74mm (10.5-inches) 266.74mm (10.5-inches) 266.74mm (10.5-inches)
Width 2-slot 2-slot 2-slot 2-slot 2-slot 2-slot
Graphics Card Power 185W 175W 185W 225W 250W 260W
Recommended System Power 550W 550W 650W 650W 650W 650W
Maximum GPU Temperature 89ºC (192.2ºF) 89ºC (192.2ºF) 88ºC (190.4ºF) 88ºC (190.4ºF) 89ºC (192.2ºF) 89ºC (192.2ºF)

Support for Microsoft Direct X 12, Vulkan, OpenGL 4/5 are confirmed across the board. As are Nvidia proprietary standards such as G-Sync, GeForce Experience, GPU Boost and Ansel.

Here’s how the three GPU types compare:

Nvidia RTX 2070 Nvidia RTX 2080 Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
8GB frame buffer 8GB frame buffer 11GB frame buffer
6 GigaRays/second 8 GigaRays/second 10 Giga Rays/second

Frame buffers are portions of a GPU’s RAM that are generally reserved for storing information for a game’s colour palette. As you can see from the limited spec sheet above, the frame buffers of the Nvidia RTX 2080 and 2070 are of the same size.

Presumably, the 2080 with its higher Giga Rays per second count will be able to render an increased palette at any one time, which may be the reason Nvidia has bumped up the buffer on the 2080 Ti. The higher the resolution of a display, the more strain will be placed on the frame buffer. All of these cards support 4k at 60fps.

We’re not certain of what we can discern from the RTX-OPS spec, other than – obviously – the larger the number, the more operations the system can run at any one time.  Or, more simply, the prettier the lighting effect.

Portions of Nvidia’s demo focused on the graphical polish the RTX system can give to a game. Many ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ on seeing the shadows in Shadow of the Tomb Raider soften and lights throw layers of umbra and penumbra behind sprites instead of harsher, crisper shadows when the same game was played with RTX turned off.

Similarly, RTX meant that reflective surfaces such as glass and puddles in Battlefield V also looked more realistic, instead of a muddy pixellated mush.

But, what’s the difference between 45T RTX-OPS and 78T RTX-OPS? Nvidia itself admits that the term is rather vague. The RTX-OPS scores listed here are aggregates of the numbers of operations run by each GPU’s ray tracing (RT) cores, Tensor cores, shaders and CUDA cores. These are all components of the graphics card that will have to work together and individually to power the lustrous and dynamic lighting features promised.

Since they’re aggregates, and we don’t know how Nvidia has arrived at those figures, it’s currently impossible to determine which parts are doing the most heavy-lifting – and whether a more expensive 2080 Ti is demonstrably better than a 2080.

Nvidia also says that the RTX-OPS figures it has posted refer only to the Founders Editions versions of the 20-Series cards. ‘Founders Edition’ is basically Nvidia marketing spiel for ‘reference design’. It means that if you were to pick up an Asus ROG Strix version of the 2080 Ti, things might be a little different.

In addition, we’re yet to see the sort of impact this actually has on gaming, in terms of that last spec being a useful signpost for how a card will perform against others in its range. Given the proprietary nature of the RTX standard, it will be hard to compare side-by-side, and near-impossible to do so at a glance.

Nvidia RTX 20 Series: Which is the best graphics card for me?

It’s hard to be sure given that the RTX 2070 is yet to be benchmarked, but so far the RTX 2080 looks to have the best balance between performance and power.

Of course, if money is no object and you want the very best performance possible, then it’s a no-brainer – the RTX 2080 Ti is the card to go for.

With all that said, the average gamer probably has little need for any of Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards right now. Unless you’ve got a 4K PC setup and are craving buttery smooth 60fps, then these new cards probably aren’t worth the cost.

This could all change once real-time ray tracing support rolls out, but for now, HD gamers are best off sticking with a GTX 1070 or 1080.

Are you tempted to buy the new Nvidia RTX Series 20 graphics cards? Let us know @TrustedReviews.

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