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RTX 4080 vs RTX 3080: Do you really NEED an upgrade?

nvidia rtx 4080
(Image credit: Nvidia)

The day we have been waiting for all year is finally here, and the GeForce RTX 40 series graphics cards have been officially announced. The RTX 4090 hits the shelves on October 12, while the RTX 4080 comes soon after - it's due some time in November.

But how do these new graphics cards actually stack up against the current best graphics cards for gaming on the market right now? The higher-end Nvidia RTX 4090 comes in at $1,599 / £1,679, and the Nvidia RTX 4080, with two dedicated memory options, comes in at $899 / £949 (12GB) or $1269 / £1269 (16GB). With price points above the previous top-range cards, you'd expect a lot more power.

We've summarised the specs of the new RTX 4080 below to see how it compares with the RTX 3080. This allows you to be sure that investing in this new card is the right thing for you before making the massive monetary commitment. 

RTX 3080 vs RTX 4080

Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 (16GB)Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 (12GB)
NVIDIA CUDA Cores97288960
Boost Clock2.51 GHz1.71 GHz
Memory Size16 GB12 GB
Memory TypeGDDR6XGDDR6X
Ray Tracing Cores3rd Gen2nd Gen
MRSP / RRP $1269 / £1269$699 / £649

Nvidia rtx 4080

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Performance

Nvidia has claimed that the RTX 4080 will boast over three times relative performance when compared to the RTX 3080 Ti, meaning it's even stronger when compared to the standard RTX 3080 card. 

The 40 series cards also come with a new third generation of ray tracing cores, whereas the 30 series cards feature second generation cards, meaning you can experience virtual worlds like never before. 

Both cards feature Nvidia DLSS, which is AI-enhanced video performance. This allows for your machine to provide you with higher frame rates as AI fills in the gaps. Nvidia claims that this can take frames from 22 up to 85 in Cyberpunk. You'll find that the 40 series card has DLSS 3 as opposed to standard DLSS on the 30 series. This is down to the Fourth-Gen Tensor Cores which you can find in the 40 series cards, whereas the 30 series cards only feature first gen. 

The new card also has New Streaming Multiprocessors which Nvidia states will lead to up to two times more performance and power efficiency when gaming or streaming.

You can see information from Nvidia about the relative performance of the RTX 4080 compared to the RTX 3080 Ti right here. 

RTX 4080 VS 3080

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Value for money

You'll find that the 4080 comes in at almost double the price of the 3080, meaning you've got to consider whether or not the new card brings its value to your setup. The cost of the new cards rings in at about the same cost of an entire prebuilt machine featuring a 3080. 

So realistically, you'll have to decide whether or not the performance outlined above is worth the associated price tag. If you're planning on playing and streaming the newest releases and high end games, getting your hands on this new card will certainly enhance your experience. 

If you stick to the classics and don't really stream, its likely you wont see much change in your performance compared to a 30 series graphics card, as they are already able to pump out maximum performance on less intensive games. 

Whether or not this card is considered good value for money is down to how far you intend to push its limit. If you know you can still get optimum performance from the 3080, then that is obviously the better option.  

Overall - should you upgrade?

If you're considering upgrading from a 30 series graphics card then this upgrade is something you will have to weigh up the value of. There are some major increases in performance, but these come at a pretty major price point. 

However, if you're looking to upgrade from an older series card then getting your hands on a 4080 could be the much needed next step for your setup. 


If you don't want to wait for a new GPU then you can check out our best graphics cards or best gaming PCs. If you're after something more portable then you can also check out our best gaming laptops.

Jasmine Mannan
Hardware Editor

Currently a Hardware Editor at GamesRadar+ and in charge of all things PC after graduating from University with a degree in Politics and International Relations in 2022. During my time at University I managed to obtain a platform on social media - specifically TikTok - where I reviewed tech and gaming hardware and produced creative and innovative gaming content. My platform allowed me to be an advocate for females in gaming and within the tech industry as a whole. I'm primarily a PC gamer and have been for over 8 years now and with no specific genre I enjoy, I have been able to play and love many titles from the past decade. I would label myself as a Nintendo Fanatic and also am extremely interested in VR and hoping to follow it closely in upcoming years.