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Nvidia RTX 3080-Ti vs 3090: Full Comparison to Help Pick the Right Card for You

Hey there! If you‘re in the market for a new high-end graphics card, you may be trying to decide between Nvidia‘s top two models: the RTX 3080-Ti and RTX 3090. Both offer incredible performance, but which is right for you? This comprehensive comparison will go in-depth on specs, benchmarks, features, price, and more to help you pick the best card for your needs.

Introduction: How the RTX 3080-Ti and 3090 Stack Up

The RTX 3080-Ti and 3090 represent the pinnacle of Nvidia‘s Ampere-powered 30 series GPUs that launched in 2020. Both are built on Nvidia‘s GA102 chip and leverages advanced technologies like ray tracing and DLSS. But how do they compare?

In a nutshell:

  • The RTX 3090 is Nvidia‘s ultra-premium flagship graphics card designed for 8K gaming with no compromises. It‘s around 5-10% faster on average.
  • The RTX 3080-Ti captures about 95-97% of the 3090‘s performance for significantly less cost. It‘s the more affordable high-end choice.

For pure gaming, the RTX 3080-Ti is hard to beat – you get nearly the same experience as the RTX 3090 for over $300 less based on current street pricing. But the 3090 remains enticing for bragging rights as the world‘s fastest gaming GPU. Let‘s dive into the details to help you decide!

Detailed Specification Comparison

The RTX 3080-Ti and 3090 are built on the same Nvidia Ampere architecture, which brings major generational improvements to ray tracing performance, shader execution, and power efficiency. They also leverage the same GA102 GPU, but the 3090 has slightly more hardware enabled:

Spec RTX 3080-Ti RTX 3090
CUDA Cores 10240 10496
Tensor Cores 320 328
RT Cores 80 82
GPU Base Clock 1365 MHz 1395 MHz
GPU Boost Clock 1665 MHz 1695 MHz
Memory Interface 384-bit 384-bit
Memory Bandwidth 912 GB/s 936 GB/s
TDP 350W 350W

As you can see from these specs, the biggest hardware difference is that the RTX 3090 has 256 more CUDA cores and 8GB more VRAM. This gives the 3090 around a 5-10% advantage in raw shader/core performance.

But outside of those differences, these GPUs are surprisingly similar under the hood. They both have cutting-edge GDDR6X memory, the same memory bus widths, and identical power requirements.

What does this mean in practice? Let‘s see how they compare in real-world gaming.

Head-to-Head Gaming Benchmarks

Benchmarks from reviewers at 4K resolution show that both these cards easily deliver smooth, high-fps gameplay. But the RTX 3090 is about 5-10% faster on average:

Game RTX 3080-Ti (4K) RTX 3090 (4K) % Faster (3090)
Red Dead Redemption 2 86 fps 93 fps 8%
Horizon Zero Dawn 122 fps 131 fps 7%
Cyberpunk 2077 58 fps 63 fps 9%
Assassin‘s Creed Valhalla 75 fps 81 fps 8%
Call of Duty Warzone 140 fps 150 fps 7%

However, both cards still achieve exceptionally high frame rates well beyond 60 fps in even the most demanding games. Unless you closely measure results, the difference between ~86 fps and ~93 fps in a title like Red Dead Redemption 2 will be hard to detect.

For gaming at 1440p or 1080p, the gap essentially disappears – both deliver similar performance since the GPU isn‘t the limiting factor at lower resolutions.

But if you want every last fps, the RTX 3090 is about 5-10% quicker on average depending on the title. Let‘s look at some of the features enabling this top-tier performance.

Ray Tracing, DLSS and Other Cutting-Edge Features

Thanks to Nvidia‘s 3rd-gen RT and Tensor cores, both the RTX 3080-Ti and 3090 excel at ray tracing and DLSS:

  • Ray Tracing – With up to 10x more ray tracing performance than the previous Turing generation, you can enjoy photorealistic lighting with minimal impact to frame rates. Even with maxed settings, these cards deliver smooth 60 fps+ ray traced gameplay.
  • DLSS – DLSS leverages AI to boost frame rates with minimal loss in image quality. It‘s a game-changer that lets you crank up resolution and detail settings while maintaining high FPS. AMD has nothing to match it!
  • Nvidia Reflex – This suite of technologies reduces input lag to improve your competitiveness in fast-paced online shooters. Ideal for high refresh rate gaming.
  • AV1 Decode – Hardware acceleration for high-bandwidth, low-latency AV1 video streaming.

Both GPUs also support the PCIe 4.0 interface for maximum bandwidth when paired with a newer PCIe 4.0-ready system.

In summary, the RTX 3080-Ti and 3090 are equally matched when it comes to cutting-edge gaming features and technology support. You‘ll enjoy the same top-tier visuals, frame rates, and low latency on either card.

Power Requirements, Thermals and Size

Due to their extremely powerful GA102 GPUs, both cards demand serious power and cooling:

  • Recommended PSU capacity is 750W minimum based on a 350W board power rating for each card. An 850W or higher quality unit is ideal to account for power spikes.
  • Custom triple-fan coolers are essential to tame the heat from these beasts and enable boost clocks. Expect temps in the 60s or 70s °C range under load even with a robust cooler.
  • With coolers installed, these cards measure around 12 inches in length and occupy 2.5 to 3 expansion slots. Ensure your PC case has room to fit them before buying.

The RTX 3090 is slightly more thermally demanding due to the extra VRAM and cores. But overall power draw, noise levels, and temps are similar between both cards when equipped with high-end coolers.

Pricing and Value Comparison

Here‘s a look at current street pricing as of November 2022 for the RTX 3080 Ti and 3090:

Graphics Card MSRP Current Price
RTX 3080 Ti $1199 $1200 – $1400
RTX 3090 $1499 $1400 – $1700

At MSRP, the RTX 3090 costs about 25% more than the 3080 Ti. But in today‘s market the price premium is 15-20% based on typical retail prices for custom AIB models.

Is the extra cost worth it for the RTX 3090? Consider these points:

  • The RTX 3090 is about 5-10% faster for 4K gaming on average.
  • 24GB VRAM won‘t improve gaming but provides headroom for creative workloads.
  • The RTX 3090 holds the crown for fastest gaming GPU if you care about bragging rights.
  • But the RTX 3080 Ti still captures 95-97% of the speed for significantly less money.

For pure gaming, I think the RTX 3080 Ti is easily the better value right now. It offers virtually the same experience as the much pricier 3090. But if you need that last bit of performance, the 3090 still dominates.

Bottom Line – Which Should You Buy?

For stellar 4K gaming with all the bells and whistles, the RTX 3080 Ti is my top recommendation for most gamers:

  • It delivers nearly equal performance to the RTX 3090 for over $300 less – incredible value!
  • The 12GB VRAM is more than enough for responsive 4K gaming on even the most demanding titles.
  • RTX 3080 Ti is still overkill for high frame rates at 1440p or 1080p.

But for those who want the absolute best, the RTX 3090 makes sense:

  • It‘s about 5-10% faster on average for those who need every last frame.
  • The 24GB VRAM provides plenty of headroom for future games and creative workloads.
  • Owning the world‘s fastest gaming GPU gives you serious bragging rights with your PC friends!

At the end of the day, choosing between these two beasts comes down to your budget, desired resolution, and needs. For most gamers, the RTX 3080 Ti hits the sweet spot. But I‘d never turn down a RTX 3090 if someone handed one to me for free!

Let me know if this overview helped you decide between the Nvidia RTX 3080-Ti and RTX 3090! I‘m happy to answer any other questions you might have. Game on!