It’s been two years since NVIDIA re-branded its high-end graphics card series, shifting from GeForce GTX to RTX with the 2000 family of cards. Today we get the next generation of desktop GPUs, RTX 3000, starting with the popular lines: RTX 3070 and 3080. There’s also the RTX 3090, for those whose PC cases and budgets know no limits.
All three cards share the NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture, which the company claims can deliver “up to” double the performance and 1.9 times the power efficiency of the 2000 series at the same levels.
The RTX 3070 features 5888 CUDA cores with a base clock of 1.5 GHz, boosting up to 1.73GHz. It’s packed with 8GB of GDDR6 memory, requires 220 watts of power from an 8-pin rail, and its 2-slot body is 242mm long. NVIDIA says that it’s 60% faster than the previous-gen RTX 2070 at the same $500 price point. It will be available in October.
Stepping up to the flagship RTX 3080, you get 8704 CUDA cores, and 10GB of GDDR6 memory with a faster 320-bit memory interface width. The card is longer at 285mm, and requires 320 watts delivered via two 8-pin rails. NVIDIA says that this one is fully twice as powerful as the RTX 2080, priced at $700. It releases on September 17th.
If money is no object, then the RTX 3090 is the absolutely bonkers mega-card of your dreams. It uses 10,496 CUDA cores, 24GB of video memory at a 384-bit width, delivering 8K resolution to those whose monitor or TV can handle it. You’ll need 350 watts of power for across double 8-pin rails for the GPU alone, three PCI slots in your case, and $1500 burning a hole in your bank account. NVIDIA says the RTX 3090 is 50% faster than the Titan RTX, and it’s coming out September 24th.
On top of raw number-crunching power, NVIDIA highlights new design features that enable better performance for ray tracing graphics, streaming to services like Twitch, better compatibility with NVIDIA’s DLSS graphics-boosting tech, and more effective, efficient cooling hardware. Purchasing a new 3000-series cards will land you a free copy of the upcoming Watch Dogs: Legion, plus a year of GeForce NOW premium service.
If those prices make you cringe, wait around a while. NVIDIA’s no doubt itching to release an RTX 3060 at a more affordable price point, to say nothing of competition from graphics card hardware licensees like ASUS, EVGA, and Gigabyte. We should see more variety in designs and price points late this year or early next.