written by Dumbtube
When the RTX series of GPUs were officially announced by Nvidia, PC gamers were initially excited for a new, powerful generation of video cards. That is until they were greeted with steep prices, mediocre performance improvements, and a focus on RayTracing, a feature that was not even usable in games at the time. Nvidia was treated with disdain by the PC gaming community, the RTX brand was almost instantly turned into a meme, and demand diminished. But a couple of months down the line, the hype and controversy have died down and I decided to purchase and review the flagship model of the RTX series, the 2080ti. More specifically, the EVGA 2080TI XC Black Edition. So, is the 2080ti worth its 1,300$ price tag, and what kind of features and performance does this card offer?
The packaging that EVGA provided with the 2080ti was the first thing that caught my eye. Instead of the standard, rectangular packaging that they used for most of their GPUs, it looks like the RTX series has encouraged EVGA to revamp their package design. The box is tall, sleek, and most of all, beautiful. Compared to the older packaging, EVGA have really stepped up a notch in quality and design. Looking inside, the GPU sits snugly in some standard packaging styrofoam alongside the normal pamphlets and guides. I was surprised by the lack of stickers or accessories however, as previous EVGA products usually come with posters, shiny metal stickers, and add-on cables. It isn’t a deal breaker by any means but I guess I expected a little more considering the price I paid.
RayTracing is a big focus of the new RTX series of cards, and in particular real-time RayTracing for video games. Many people have a confused perspective on RayTracing, but it’s actually a monumental step for rendering and an incredible feat of engineering. Put simply, RayTracing is simulating the effect of a beam of light on objects it encounters, like sunlight reflecting off a puddle, or the glossy reflection of a cars paint. In the early 2000’s, this rendering technique was extremely taxing on hardware, and it would take many hours to render even a single images with RayTracing. But with the new series of RTX cards, real-time RayTracing has become a reality, taking a process that would take many hours and simulating light in real-time. This can lead to almost photo realistic environments like in the new Battlefield V or Tomb Raider. The feature when turned on still takes up a pretty large chunk of FPS and I imagine most competitive gamers will leave it off, but if you want your games to look basically like real-life then this is your best chance.
Installation was just like any other GPU, I simply un-slotted my 1080ti, gently pushed in the 2080ti, and started my PC up again. The 2080ti has some nice LED’s lighting up the nameplate, that are controllable with EVGA’s Precision X program. The fans do not spin during general computer use, and even during long gaming sessions, the fans are barely noticeable. Before I start with the performance tests, I want to clarify that I am using an
Intel i7 8700k, 16Gb 3000mhz Ram, and a 1440p, 144hz Gsync display.
Starting with 3Dmark, the 2080ti scored a total of 14,281 on Fire Strike Extreme at 1440p, with a physics score of 17,929. The 1080ti scored a total of 12,824 with a physics score of 13,533. Overall, the 2080ti scored around 2,000 points more than the 1080ti.
For testing games, I tried to pick ones that are popular in the Reforged community. Black Desert Online runs at a crisp 130+ FPS in Remastered mode, with no noticeable stutters or lags except when going into the more populated cities like Velia and Heidel. “Ultra” settings effectively halved the performance, bringing the FPS down to 70, but Reforged member Dionysis V confirmed that Ultra mode is mostly used for screenshots and cinematics. My 1080ti got around 90+ FPS in most places in remastered mode, meaning that the 2080ti got around 30-40 fps more in Black Desert Online than the 1080ti.
Star Citizen, while being a bit hard to accurately test due to its Alpha state, ran at around 90+ FPS in Port Olisar, and up to 140 FPS while flying around in space. Walking around on planets yielded a surprising 120FPS. The 1080ti fared much worse with around 40 FPS in Port Olisar, and 80+ FPS in space flight.
Overwatch is a little less demanding than most games, but at higher settings and resolutions, it can still be hard on a system. At Ultra settings, the 2080ti got around 160 Fps with some dips to 120 Fps. When putting all the settings to low and 75% resolution settings, (My personal default settings), Overwatch maxed out at 300 Fps. My 1080ti got about 100 Fps average on Ultra, and 300 Fps on all low settings.
Ark Survival Evolved is a game that even after release, is barely optimized and runs poorly on even high end systems. On Epic settings, I got anywhere from 50-100 Fps while just exploring and playing the game. On mega-bases and areas with lots of dinosaurs, the game suffered the worst, sometimes dipping below 40 frames. After I spent around 20 minutes tweaking settings, I got a lot more stable 130+ FPS, which became 80 Fps around large bases. The 1080ti didn’t fare too well either on default Epic settings, getting 40-80 FPS in regular gameplay and 20 FPS around big bases. Real-time RayTracing is supposed to be supported for this game later in 2019, but I don’t know if anybody will be able to use it considering the already horrible optimization this game has.
Rainbow Six Siege has a lot of options to increase graphics, but most competitive players will continue to use lower settings to enhance their precision and reaction times. However, the game has some really interesting options for graphics, including an optional “Ultra HD Texture Pack” that further improves the games look for 1440p and 4k users. On Ultra settings you can expect to get 135-200 FPS with the RTX 2080ti at 1440p. The 1080ti went from 60-90 FPS while I played. I was expecting more out of the 1080ti but I was surprised by how much it struggled in comparison to the 2080ti.
Destiny 2’s PC port is a solidly optimized console port, that offers lots of PC friendly features. The 2080ti got around 150 FPS with all the settings turned to max, and never really dipped or went above that. With a few of the more flashy post processing effects turned off, I got a perfect 170 FPS, except in the Last Wish raid. The 1080ti was a good contender at a 100 FPS average, though I did see some pretty noticeable dips to 70 FPS during intense sequences.
The RTX 2080ti is a truly end-game card, but is it worth the grand you pay for it? The GPU offers a 25-30% FPS improvement over the GTX 1080ti, which means you are paying around 600$ for 40 more frames in most games. I would recommend the 2080ti only to people with 1440p or 4k monitors, as the GPU is just so powerful that you would be wasting the cards potential and your own money with a 1080p display. If you have a 1080p display, or even a 1440p one and don’t mind 60 FPS, stick with the 1080ti. It’s just not worth the money. Other than that, its a perfect card for future proofing your PC, or testing out the new Realtime RayTracing features that will be rolled out more and more for upcoming games like Metro Exodus and Atomic Heart.