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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 vs. RTX 3080 vs. RTX 3070: Which GPU should you buy?

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 review (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Windows Central)

NVIDIA has unveiled the RTX 30 series, and the new cards deliver incredible gains in performance across the board. The RTX 3090 in particular is the most powerful GPU NVIDIA has launched to date, with the card featuring 24GB of GDDR6X video memory and a staggering 10496 CUDA cores, making it an easy recommendation on our best graphics card list.

The RTX 3090 is 50% more powerful than the Titan RTX, and the card is able to deliver 60fps at 8K. Then there's the RTX 3080, which offers double the level of performance of the RTX 2080 for the same price. The RTX 3070, meanwhile, is 60% more powerful than the RTX 2070. NVIDIA is also rolling out HDMI 2.1, a new thermal solution that's quieter and cools more effectively, and it is introducing a suite of tools designed to optimize FPS gaming.

Here's a breakdown of the hardware on offer with the RTX 3090, RTX 3080, and RTX 3070:

GeForce RTX 3090 vs. RTX 3080 vs. RTX 3070: Full specs

CategoryGeForce RTX 3090GeForce RTX 3080GeForce RTX 3070
CUDA Cores1049687045888
Boost Clock1.70GHz1.71GHz1.73GHz
Memory24GB GDDR6X10GB GDDR6X8GB GDDR6
Memory Bus384-bit320-bit256-bit
TFLOPS36 (Shader)
69 (RT)
285 (Tensor)
30 (Shader)
58 (RT)
238 (Tensor)
20 (Shader)
40 (RT)
163 (Tensor)
PCIe Interface4.0 x164.0 x164.0 x16
Display OutputHDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4
HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4
HDMI 2.1
3 x DisplayPort 1.4
TDP350W320W220W
Power Connector12-pin
Needs two 8-pin connectors
12-pin
Needs two 8-pin connectors
12-pin
Needs two 8-pin connectors
Node8nm8nm8nm
Dimensions313 x 138mm
3-Slot design
285 x 112mm
2-Slot design
242 x 112mm
2-Slot design
Retail Price$1,499$699$499

GeForce RTX 3090 vs. RTX 3080 vs. RTX 3070: Which should you buy?

Looking at what each card has to offer, it's obvious that the RTX 3070 hits the sweet spot if you're in the market for value. The card is ideal for 4K and 1440p gaming, and with the same level of performance as the RTX 2080 Ti, you're getting an incredible bargain for $499. If you're gaming on a GTX 10 series or older card, now is the time to make the switch.

The RTX 3070 hits the sweet spot for gaming.

If you want the best possible card for 4K gaming, the RTX 3080 is the ideal choice. The card slots in at the same $699 price point as the RTX 2080, and you get double the performance. If you're thinking of making the switch to a 4K HDR monitor and want a card that will hold its own for the next three to four years, the RTX 3080 is the one to get.

The RTX 3090 is a beastly card that's not really designed for most consumers. The RTX 3080 is more than adequate for 4K gaming, but if you want the absolute best that NVIDIA has to offer, then the RTX 3090 is the card to get. You are paying a lot here, but you're also getting a level of performance that's unheard of in this segment.

All three cards are on sale now, but NVIDIA has had issues with inventory due to high demand. We've rounded up all the RTX 30 series cards available right now, so be sure to take a look if you're interested in upgrading to the RTX 30 series.

10 Comments
  • RTX 3080 looks to be the one for me, but I wouldn't turn down a 3090 if I was offered one!
  • You should buy the best one you can afford.
  • I was expecting 3060 but they replied... 'Enjoy !'.
  • Well, it's not just the GPU you may need to upgrade.
    Note the Power requirements. You MAY need a new Power Supply to meet those (especially in Vendor-built PCs like Dell, Acer, etc. where they use proprietary Power Suppies.)
    AND the fact that you really need a PCIe 4.0 x16 slot (NOT to be confused with NVMe 4.0, that's storage!) on your motherboard to put this fancy new GPU INTO to take advantage of some of this Ampere power.
    Now, if you have one of the newer AMD motherboards out there (x570, B550, B450) you have that already.
    If you have a Z490 Intel chipset, you probably have PCIe 4.0 x16 slot on it.
    Older chipsets use the PCIe 3.0 x16 (or even x8) in their primary expansion slots.
    The new Ampere cards will still work in these slots as they are backwards compatible, just not at full speed for SOME functions (you may not notice really, except for the Direct Storage function whenever that becomes available from Microsoft and is supported in games. By that time, you will probably have a new Motherboard anyway.)
    Looking forward to playing with one of these. The OEMs have a big challenge ahead to design compliant PCB and cooling designs, but they are up to it.
  • Ich habe ein Z390F geht das damit auch? Oder brauche ich ein neues Mainboard?
  • Umm, you may need to correct some of those percentages. I thought the 3080 is twice as powerful as the 2080, meaning it's 100% more powerful, not 50%.
  • None of these. I'll be buying the used cards as the bottom falls out of their value.
  • I'll be waiting for reviews. If NVIDIA is right and the 3080 is 4K@60 with RTX on, then I have to wait yet another year to upgrade as I want at least 4K@120 with any current game at max settings - including RTX on.
  • AMD 6900XT looking very strong
  • Yes!, That (Big Navi) is the one for me
    I plan to couple it with 5900 Ryzen (Good times are here)