Are Founders Edition GPUs Any Good. What is founders edition

For fun, we launched Quake II with Nvidia’s RTX renderer. This ancient title shouldn’t really look that good, but it’s capable of using ray tracing for lighting effects which makes it feel a bit fresh. We raised the resolution to 4K and got an average of 42 fps.

Are Founders Edition GPUs Any Good?

Are the Founders Edition GPUs good?

Are Founders Edition GPUs good? If so, is it worth choosing other GPU options?

Today I’ll teach you everything you need to know about Founders Edition graphics cards, and when I’m finished you’ll know for sure whether you should pick one or not.

What is a Founders Edition GPU?

Before I properly explain what GPU Founders Edition is, it’s important to understand how graphics cards are distributed.

While all current PC graphics cards are manufactured by Nvidia or AMD (possibly Intel), you will most likely buy your graphics card from one of their hardware partners, and not from AMD or Nvidia themselves.

For graphics cards other than the Founders Edition, the process is something like this:

  1. Nvidia is the manufacturer of the GPU. Not a full graphics card, but rather an essential GPU for the graphics card to function.
  2. After the GPU is manufactured, it is sent to something called an AIB (Add-In Board) Partner. These are your GPU brands like EVGA and Gigabyte.
  3. Once an AIB Partner has a chip, he can do whatever he wants with it before showing the card (within limits). This means adding your own cooling to it, combining chips for higher-end overclocked versions of the graphics card, and so on.

For a Founders Edition graphics card, the process is as follows:

  1. Nvidia produces GPUs and “churns” some high-quality chips. Those they don’t keep to themselves go to AIB partners through the process described above.
  2. Once Nvidia has its perfect chips, it can insert them into its own Founders Edition cards with a custom cooling setup.
    Additionally, these Founders Edition cards often run at higher clock speeds than the “reference” specification that is sent to AIB partners, but AIB partners tend to overclock and upgrade their cards anyway.
  3. With no middleman left, Nvidia is now able to sell its Founders Edition graphics cards and generate more profits than if an AIB partner had sold them.

Basically, a Founders Edition GPU is a GPU that you buy directly from Nvidia, not from a partner. This is similar in concept to buying a reference design or “standard” GPU, but in reality they are meant to be as cheap as possible.

In contrast, since Nvidia introduced the Founders Edition line in 2016, Founders Edition cards are seen as premium products with the MSRP of the underlying GPU.

This was how Nvidia did things before the 2016 GTX 10 series was launched, but since then only AMD has carried the torch of selling cheap reference cards directly to consumers.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Specs

Graphics processor Nvidia Amper GA102
GPU Base Clock 1365 MHz
GPU boost clock 1665 MHz
Graphics memory type GDDR6X
The amount of graphics memory 12 GB
HDMI outputs 1
DisplayPort outputs 3
VirtualLink outputs No
Number of fans 2
Card width double
Card length 11.2 inches
Plate power or TDP 350 watts
Power connector (s 1 12-pin

It’s been one hell of a year in the desktop graphics card world. From the silicon shortage to the cryptocurrency craze, the average graphics card price in 2021 has exceeded all expectations, with both used and new models selling by multiples of the original MSRP, even years after their initial release. But putting aside the realities of the current market, today we’re here to talk about the objective performance of the latest GPU buyers’ object of desire (and arguably the newest target for scalpers), the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, and how it compares its own (hopefully someday !) target MSRP 400 199.

Let’s start this graphics card review the same way we started many in the last 12 months: we know you probably won’t find the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti at MSRP in the foreseeable future, and those who do do a card at a fair price she probably did it either by a quick trigger finger, luck in the GPU lottery, or by fighting fire with fire and hiring her own bot to buy cards.

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For those determined, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is a gaming powerhouse worth fighting for against the hordes. However, its high price tag is the only thing keeping it from true greatness. It is supposed to be a slightly weaker, slightly cheaper GeForce RTX 3090 for gamers and creators. But it also means the same caveat as the original: even with a lower MSRP compared to the RTX 3090, the original Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition sets the RTX 3080 Ti to a truly amazing price-performance ratio.

If price is not an issue (and better if you can’t get your first wave at MSRP), the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is worth buying as one of the fastest GPUs in today’s game. For the rest of us, the RTX 3080 is almost as good at multiple 1440p and 4K runs, while also costing – at least at the suggested retail price – around 40% less. This is a discount that we may be late in 2021. Of course, you have to find one of the cards first!

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RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition Specs: Playing in Elite Company

As soon as you leave, let’s talk about the gorilla weighing £ 400,199 in the room: The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Founders Edition is, MSRP over MSRP, more than 70% more expensive than the original GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition at £ 400 199 to 699 USD. However, take a double look at the specs and you may start to look at it differently. Despite having the same GA102 die and many of the same specs (omitting some slower clocks and less VRAM), the GTX 3080 Ti is almost 15% cheaper than the RTX 3090 Founders Edition.

With those numbers in mind, let’s see where Nvidia could have gotten its pricing inspiration from.

For starters, as we mentioned, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti specs have less to do with the original RTX 3080 than with Nvidia’s top RTX 3090 Founders Edition. When the RTX 3090 Founders Edition first came out, the card seemed to be stuck between two worlds. On the one hand, content creators at this price point have used Nvidia Titan cards for many years, usually packed with premium specs and as much VRAM as technology allowed at the time, exceeding a certain budget. (Then you would start getting into Nvidia’s Quadro workstation tabs area, but today is not the time.)

So the crowd of gamers looked at the rest of the RTX and GTX lines for cards that satisfied them; think of items like the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, GTX 1660 or RTX 3080. Until today’s RTX 3080 Ti was released, every Nvidia Founders Edition graphics card that was called “for gamers” was priced below $ 999 at launch, which is a cap established by RTX 2080 Ti in September 2018.

When the RTX 3090 debuted with the rest of the RTX 30 series late last year, it adopted the de facto cloak of “content creator cards” inherited from the earlier Titan line, but not the name. Both in terms of power and price, the Titan-esque RTX 3090 lived above the clouds with the other Olympus card gods for the 400-399 MSR where it still stands today.

Of course, it’s all in the current fairy-tale land of MSRP. Translated to Today’s Prices Using Ebay’s Quick Scan? This “400,399 Suggested Price” represents an average retail price of approximately $ 3,200, or approximately 130% increase. Bring that math to the RTX 3080 Ti, and we’re talking about the RTX 3080 variant, which, if trends continue, could soon hover near 3,500,700 streets (depending on whether or not the scalper stiffens you for shipping, of course).

Point? It’s a bad time for Nvidia to raise the bar, suggesting that players will be spending on cards that have essentially been renamed “gaming graphics cards that also work in content creation” and are shedding Titan and its value. How bad can it be? Well, we’re scared of checking out eBay in the days after launch, because who knows what the price of the RTX 3080 Ti (or “Junior Titan”) will be when the first wave sells out. (And will it be in minutes or seconds?)

No. While some partners are still releasing reference GPUs for Nvidia, the Founders Edition cards are quite different from the reference cards Nvidia sold on its own.

Need help?

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No. While some partners are still releasing reference GPUs for Nvidia, the Founders Edition cards are quite different from the reference cards Nvidia sold on its own.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 30 Founders Edition GPUs get price hikes, still cheaper than most

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Founders Edition card installed on a PC.

As VideoCardz has noted, Nvidia is pushing up the prices of its latest reference cards: the GeForce RTX 30 Founders Edition. In the UK, only the RTX 3070 Ti Founders Edition saw an increase from £ 529 to £ 549, but in the euro countries these graphics cards will earn buyers up to € 100 more than before. This is true for the RTX 3090 FE, which currently costs the widow € 1,649, while the rest of the range has gained a wallet weight of between € 20 and € 60.

I am a little concerned that we will see more of these price changes in the UK. While stocks are negligible, even by modern GPU standards, the Founders Edition models offer some of the best opportunities to actually buy a new graphics card at a retail price, either directly from Nvidia or from retail partners such as Scan. Knowing this, as well as being some of the best graphics cards on the market, will keep the barriers to entry disappointing.

That said, when it comes to gouging prices, the green team apparently has a lot to learn – what’s another £ 20 when other RTX 3070 Ti models are available on Amazon for £ 1,200 or more? Come on, Nvidia, you don’t even artificially double these prices. Honestly, an amateur hour. I think there is also a possibility that these Founders Edition increases will be used to justify that the other RTX 30 series models are getting even more expensive, but no one should lower the RRP on the graphics card at first. Even if it’s really tasty.

Indeed, even if a whole bunch of Founders Edition cards received the same UK raises as they did in the EU, they are likely to still remain among the best GPU options available. Sometimes available, anyway.

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James has retired from Dota writing for RPS to write about RPS hardware. His favorite water cooler size is 280mm and he always uses RGB lighting, setting everything to a uniform light blue.

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If you’re lucky enough to try a Founders Edition graphics card when it’s available direct on Nvidia’s website, you’ll get it at MSRP, instead of the dramatically inflated prices of other outlets .

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080: Ampere architecture overview

Last year’s GeForce RTX 20 series, codenamed Turing, introduced hardware ray tracing and DLSS (Deep Learning Supersampling) with AI acceleration. For a while after launch, these features weren’t widely used in games and seemed to offer few significant improvements, but both have been widely supported since then over the past two years. Nvidia claims that Ampere can process some operations, such as shader algorithms, more than twice as fast.

We now have second-generation RTX ray tracing cores and third-generation Tensor cores for AI processing, as well as faster cache and GDDR6X RAM. The performance enhancements are said to be from 1.7X to 2.7X, plus new features have been added to take advantage of AI, such as live video and audio enhancements for streamers.

AI still comes into play primarily with DLSS, which is said to intelligently scale frames, allowing the GPU to target lower rendering resolutions and run faster, but quality is not ultimately compromised. Nvidia even claims that DLSS can now help ensure smooth and sharp 8K gameplay, and even get sharper visuals than native resolution rendering.

When it comes to power efficiency, Nvidia claims that the same load consumes just over half the power of an equivalent Turing GPU. This means less cooling is required and less noise is generated.

Nvidia introduces several other new and updated standards. Ampere GPUs support PCIe 4.0, providing extra bandwidth with compatible processors now and in the future. The AMD Ryzen 3000 series supports PCIe 4.0 and is expected to be adopted by Intel in the next generation. HDMI 2.1 allows 8K 60Hz video to be transmitted over a single cable, and the hardware AVI decoding allows streams of this bandwidth in real time.

RTX IO will use the upcoming Microsoft DirectStorage API for Windows 10 to allow massive gaming resources to be transferred directly from a high-speed PCIe SSD to GPU VRAM without going through the CPU or system memory. This is potentially a very important thing, changing the way the games themselves are designed and allowing large environments to be streamed from storage rather than loading and caching. This is similar to the things we’ve heard about how next-gen consoles will handle mass storage, which makes it even more interesting.

The GeForce RTX 3080 GPU was specially configured with 8,704 execution units called CUDA cores, organized into 68 “multiprocessor streaming” clusters, compared to 3,072 and 48 respectively of its direct predecessor, the GeForce RTX 2080 Super. You also get 272 3rd Gen Tensor Cores and 68 2nd Gen RTX Cores. Interestingly, this GPU is likely to rekindle interest in the cryptocurrency that was once responsible for locking down the entire global stock of graphics cards but has recently declined due to declining profits from previous-gen hardware.

There are also new opportunities on the software side. Nvidia Reflex that can work with compatible monitors and mice to optimize frame delivery and reduce input lag. The capabilities of artificial intelligence are also used by Nvidia Broadcast to replace the virtual background, automatically crop streamers and eliminate background noise in real time. Finally, Omniverse Machinima is aimed at content creators, allowing the use of game engines and resources to easily create high-quality animations if the developers support it.

In the box you get a 12 pin to 2 x 8 pin PCIe power supply for use with a small new connector

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition design

For several years, Nvidia has been competing with its partners and selling its own graphics cards, called “Founders Editions”. These are usually incredibly polished and stylish, but don’t bother with factory tweaking or fancy RGB LED effects. With this generation, Nvidia has really improved its game when it comes to design. Previous efforts have been really good at a sea of ​​plastic coolers and covers, but the RTX 30 series takes that to a whole new level.

The GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition is absolutely beautiful. It feels heavy and expensive, like a piece of precision crafted machine, with exposed heatsink fins and metal frame. There’s no RGB lighting here, but you have an illuminated GeForce RTX logo on top and white accents in the center of the bezel. It’s all industrial and sophisticated at the same time. The design really stands out, and that’s before we move on to a whole new fan layout.

This is a large, chunky card. It is longer than usual, but is not actually taller or wider, taking up a relatively modest two places. The main frame is a dark metal strip with rounded corners. It forms a kind of a figure eight with an elongated middle part, with almost the entire surface it covers covered with exposed radiator ribs. It is also a very heavy card and you can really feel the weight of the cooling system when you lift it.

Port selection is pretty standard, leaving room on the backplate for a large air vent

You might be surprised to see only one fan in the front, and that’s because there’s a second fan in the back. Nvidia has developed a completely unique two-chamber design where the top fan acts more like a traditional blower and blows air through the back of the case, while the bottom one has its own airflow path that blows hot air upwards to be sucked in by the case fan or radiator.

If you look closely, you can see that the actual RTX 3080 Founders Edition PCB ends in front of the second fan and you can look through the ribs and the other side of the metal chassis. Nvidia says a tremendous amount of engineering went into reducing the size of the board to allow this kind of airflow, and it was all necessary to achieve the kind of performance and acoustics it was striving for. The only downside we can see is the potential build-up of dust on the huge spaces of exposed fins.

Everything has been packed denser and redesigned to reduce electronic interference. One of the changes required is a new 12-pin power connector that is mounted perpendicular to the board and tilted forward. Nvidia includes a short adapter from the RTX 3080 Founders Edition. You’ll need two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, and unfortunately cable routing can be a challenge, which is somewhat different from the striking appearance of the card itself. Not many Nvidia partners seem to adopt the same connector, so it may be a while for power supplies to adopt it natively. Some brands of power supplies already have their own power supplies for sale or will send them to verified owners for free.

The back of the Nvidia Founders Edition card has one HDMI 2.1 connector and three DisplayPort 1.4a connectors. The VirtualLink Type-C port for VR headsets seen on previous generation cards has been dropped as the standard has not been adopted. For this and untapped third-party offering, the reference GPU base clock is 1440MHz and the boost speed is 1710MHz. All cards will be equipped with 10 GB of GDDR6X memory operating at 9500 MHz on a 320-bit bus, which will provide a total memory bandwidth of 760 GB / s. PCIe 4.0 is supported. The total power of the board is rated at 320W, which is quite high – the previous generation cards were rated at 225-250W.

We covered this in detail in the article above, but the short version says the Founders Edition graphics card is meant to compete directly with partner custom designs rather than providing a cheaper entry point.

PCI Express 4.0 Testing

Short version? Gen3 vs. Gen4 gets a lot of noise about nothing after running benchmarks. During my tests, I didn’t notice any difference other than the normal discrepancy between gears and yes, I checked that the card was in Gen3 mode after manually tweaking the settings in the motherboard configuration.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review - 52 Graphics Cards

GPUZ screenshots showing the PCIe Gen4 (left) and Gen3 (right) interface

Sure, there can be a measurable difference (I’ve seen about 2 FPS higher using Gen4 with Metro Exodus at 1440 / Ultra), but it’s very small. That is, until you run the PCI Express function test in 3DMark!

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review - 53 Graphics Cards

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review - 54 Graphics Cards

RTX 3080 FE PCIe Gen4 result on the left, Gen3 result on the right

PCI Express feature test results are 26.24 GB / s using PCI Express 4.0, down to just 13.05 GB / s using PCI Express 3.0. I’m sure there will be applications that can use more bandwidth than the gaming and synthesizer tests I’ve run, but for gamers on current Intel Gen3 platforms this shouldn’t be noticeable.

Power Consumption and Thermals

Following today’s reviews, a lot has been done on the power consumption of the RTX 30 series, and there is no doubt that NVIDIA has chosen to pursue higher performance rather than reduced power consumption on Samsung’s custom 8nm process.

But one thing is for sure after spending the last week testing the RTX 3080 Founders Edition: it’s not a particularly hot or loud card. It’s actually pretty cool and quiet. True, this was on an open test platform and case-based testing is planned.

As an example of both power consumption and thermals, here are the test results of 10 consecutive Metro Exodus benchmarks at 4K / High settings using DX12:

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review - 55 Graphics Cards

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review - 56 Graphics Cards

The total power of the GPU board (according to GPUZ data) reached 331.3W, with a max temperature of 77C in a 22C room. This board power measurement cannot be verified immediately with hardware (because I’m waiting for GPU testing hardware) so I will add some reliable wall power measurements to complete the software reporting here:

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition Review - 57 Graphics Cards

Two things stand out here. First, the RTX 3080 Founders Edition uses a bit more power than even the factory overclocked RTX 2080 Ti. Second, the total system power consumption against the wall at full load in 4K games is still only 462 watts, and considering the graphics power you get, I personally don’t find that a problem.

AMD fans will be quick to judge NVIDIA’s power consumption for the RTX 30 series, and I dare say the RTX 3080 won’t be the darling of the small-case community. Even so, I expected a greater power draw than 462W, which is largely testimony to AMD’s efficient Ryzen 3000 series processors. Still, the 750W PSU recommendation seems very safe, even if you have a CPU that consumes 200W on its own.

This thing is faster than, faster than. FASTER THAN MY INTERNET CONNECTION! Finally, doesn’t it all matter? Fast shoes, packed with features, more than anyone ever needed. Get the one with I7 and don’t look back!

What Do We Think?

It looks like graphics cards are getting better and better, and at least we can be thankful for that. The bottom line, though, is that while a 5-6% increase in price doesn’t sound like a particularly large number, it basically comes down to whichever end of the 30XX scale you are looking at. For example, the price increase for a 3060 Ti will only be around £ 20, while the 3090 is much closer to £ 100 higher.

Still, if stocks are actually available, although some people may quietly whine under their breaths, actually being able to get a long overdue GPU update is likely enough to quell most of the discontent.

What do you think? – Let me know in the comments!


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