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RTX 4080 vs RTX 3080 – is the RTX 4080 worth the upgrade?

Amaar Chowdhury Updated on by

We’re going to dive right in with RTX 4080 vs RTX 3080 now that Nvidia’s latest graphics card has been released and available to buy.

Understandably, we’re all asking the same question: is the RTX 4080 is worth the upgrade for gaming? We need to consider the price of the RTX 4080 compared to Nvidia’s 3000 series amongst a whole host of factors including specs and performance.

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It’s a tricky question, especially when we’re seeing the prices of the RTX 3080 finally reaching a stable and, dare I say, affordable level. The release of a new graphics card inevitably drives down the price of older generations, though be aware this might make them harder to come by (again).

The RTX 4080 has had no easy ride compared to the 3080. The 12GB 4080 suffered an ‘unlaunch’ ahead of its release and has generally been met with complaints about its price and value for money. In our opinion, these complaints are well-founded. AMD released their 7000 series in December for a fraction of the price of the 4080. To help convince you, we’ve put the 4080 up against the RX 7900 XT for a better understanding in how they differ.

That being said, AMD’s 7000 line-up has resulted in a well-received price-cut on the RTX 4080 – maybe making the graphics card a worthy choice instead of the 3080 after all.

RTX 4080 vs RTX 3080 – specs

If it’s between the RTX 4080 and 3080, you’re likely to assume that the newer GPU will be the best performing between the two, which is likely true.

The RTX 4080 champions 9728 CUDA cores against the 8704 – 8960 of the RTX 3080. The 2.21 – 2.51 GHz clock speed of the Lovelace GPU also trumps the 1.26 – 1.71 GHz of the Ampere graphics card, which only emphasises the disparities between the two.

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The final obvious specification to bring up is the 16GB GDDR6X memory that towers over the 12GB inside the RTX 3080.

Aside from those notable specs, below is a list highlighting the most relevant specifications of both GeForce cards.

SpecsRTX 4080RTX 3080 (12GB)RTX 3080 (10GB)
CUDA Cores972889608704
Clock speed (base – boost)2.21 – 2.511.26 – 1.711.44 – 1.71
VRAM (GB, GDDR6X)16GB12GB10GB
ArchitectureLovelaceAmpereAmpere
Memory Interface256-bit384-bit320-bit
Ray Tracing cores3rd Gen2nd Gen2nd Gen
Tensor cores4th Gen3rd Gen3rd Gen
Maximum resolution7260 x 43207260 x 43207260 x 4320
ConnectivityHDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPortHDMI, 3 x DisplayPortHDMI 2,1, 3 x DisplayPort
Required system power (W)320350320
Graphics card power (W)750750750

Between the 4080 and the two variations of the 3080, it’s clear that the RTX 4080 has the upper hand. If you’d like a detailed review of performance, our friends over at WePC have tested how well the 4080 can run 4K.

Aside from specs, the RTX 4080 is more likely to need additional hardware to support its performance. You can check out our guide to the best PC cases for your 4080 since it’s a chunky bit of gear.

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Buy now – RTX 3080:

Hold onto your horses though, you should be aware of recent reports of melting pin connectors before committing to anything. The 4080 is shipping with the same pin connector as the 4090 which has so far caused a fair bit of disruption. Nvidia has since said its up to the users to ensure they are using their graphics card properly, though The Verge rightfully points out Nvidia should have accounted for this safety problem.

If you’d prefer the guaranteed drama free graphics card, Radeon’s RDNA 3 GPUs will circumvent this problem entirely, so you might want to consider them as an option.

Read Now: Best CPU for RTX 4080

Is the RTX 4080 worth it?

We think that for the odd $700 you’ll be paying for an RTX 3080 vs the $1,199 minimum for the RTX 4080, you will have a huge decision to make.

If you’re looking to upgrade yourself to some of the best possible hardware, we think that the RTX 4080 is your best shot for the price you’re willing to spend.

You’ll also need to check whether your PSU is up to meeting the demands of the RTX 4080, or risk damaging the performance capability of your GPU.

However, if you’re hoping to put yourself onto elite hardware at a slightly more affordable price (feels strange referring to a 3080 as affordable, right?), go for the 3080.

Ultimately, if you’re wondering is the RTX 4080 worth it, we think that it is.

RTX 4080 vs RTX 3080 price FAQs

Will there be an RTX 4080 Ti?

There is an expected RTX 4080 Ti in the works – with an expected 20GB GDDR6X VRAM.

Is the RTX 4090 worth it?

We expect the RTX 4090 to be well worth the money, in fact it might be the best cost for value card we’ve seen, despite the high price.

Is the 4080 dropping in price?

December has seen slightly lower costs for the RTX 4080 if you’re buying your graphics card in the UK.