Even by the genteel standards of Nvidia’s RTX 4080 Founders Edition (opens in new tab), the PNY RTX 4080 XLR8 is a damn unit. He chonk. It’s also an extraordinarily powerful graphics card, capable of regularly outperforming both Nvidia’s last-generation GPUs, the RTX 3090 Ti, and AMD’s latest RDNA 3 flagship chiplet card, the Radeon RX 7900 XTX.
But seriously guys, $1,200? The current skyrocketing prices of modern graphics cards have become endlessly tiresome. It is no longer just the scalpers, scarcity and cryptominers driving prices up, it is driven directly by the manufacturers themselves.
I’m not putting the blame on PNY for that, but it all stems from the MSRP Nvidia slapped on the RTX 4080 from the start. Lucky this RTX 4080 XLR8 Verto (opens in new tab) card at least hangs for that original retail price and has not increased.
While it’s worth noting that there was serious demand for the RTX 4080 and every card sold the minute it hit the shelves, you can bet retailers would put higher sticker prices on it . Just look at the nominally competitive RX7900XTX (opens in new tab) from AMD. That’s a $999 MSRP card and yet there’s no hope of finding one for that price right now – $1,300 is the cheapest I’ve found for the best Radeon card.
RTX 4080 XLR8 Verto Specifications
GPU: NVIDIA AD103
CUDA cores: 9,728
Lithograph: TSMC 4N
Boost clock: 2,505MHz
Memory: 16GB GDDR6X
Memory Speed: 22.4 Gbps
Price: $1,199 (opens in new tab)
And the actual prices of the latest AMD card are extremely relevant when we’re talking about the RTX 4080 in any guise. The RX 7900 XTX was intended to be AMD’s answer to Nvidia’s second-tier GPU, where Dr. RTX 4090 (opens in new tab) was out of his reach. And yet our testing shows that the RTX 4080 and RX 7900 XTX are trading hits, with the former coming with the power of DLSS 3 and the magical majesty of Frame Generation to amp up its potential performance.
You can forgive the Radeon card in that situation if it stayed $200 cheaper, as the two MSRPs originally laid out. But right now, where it’s at least $100 more than this PNY RTX 4080, why go with the AMD card unless you’re really signing up for all that brand tribalism?
In basic terms, the RTX 4080 XLR8 Verto is a full reference version of the Ada Lovelace GPU, with the AD103 chip running at a standard boost clock of 2,505MHz. Which, compared to the previous generation of Ampere graphics silicon, is a serious increase in GPU operating frequency. It’s practically a whole 1 GHz faster when you consider real-world clock speeds, which are inevitably higher than Nvidia’s nominal figures.
I went deeper into the new Ada Lovelace GPU architecture (opens in new tab) in my RTX 4090 review, but essentially we’re not a million miles away from a die-shrunk Ampere design. The composition of the GPUs is largely the same, but the TSMC 4N lithography makes for an efficient core that can be tuned to impressively high clock speeds. In addition, you have a massively increased L2 cache component that is about ten times that of the previous generation GA102 chips.
It’s really this combination that gives the RTX 4080 its edge over Ampere when it comes to pure gridded gaming performance.
Aside from that, the RTX 4080 also gets 16GB of 22.4Gbps GDDR6X memory and a 320W TGP. That may still sound like a lot (and if you have any pretensions to having green gaming credentials, it absolutely will), but when you talk about performance per watt, the card is actually one of the most efficient GPUs out there. modern times.
4K gaming performance
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1440p gaming performance
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In terms of performance, the RTX 4080 is second only to the RTX 4090. But how does this PNY version compare to the other third-party cards we’ve tested? It’s cheaper, for one, where both the Zotac RTX 4080 Amp Extreme Aero (opens in new tab) and MSI RTX 4080 Suprim-X (opens in new tab) significantly higher than the already unaffordable reference price. But it’s also a bit behind in performance compared to one of those overclocked cards.
The PNY card also lags a bit behind the Founders Edition in some benchmarks, as the GPU doesn’t clock as high as any of the other RTX 4080 cards we’ve tested. But honestly, there’s no way that would tangibly affect the gaming experience by comparison.
That’s the minimal difference factory overclocked cards make that you only see a handful of frames per second between reference and OC GPUs.
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Which means I just can’t get excited about such overpriced options when the starting price is so damn high. Maybe the MSI card looks nicer, with its shiny shroud, but I don’t care that when I go to spend my time looking at the game frames it spits on my screen instead of lovingly staring at it through my transparent side panel of the chassis.
Ideally I would want the Founders Edition card. Despite the super chonk aesthetic, I’m a fan of the brushed metal look, and it’s an MSRP card that punches above its weight against the factory OC crowd.
But that said, if you can’t get your hands on an RTX 4080 FE card (they’re actually still available in both the US and UK) then I’d totally recommend picking a reference price card like this PNY RTX 4080 XLR8 Verto. The benefits of factory overclocked cards are short-lived at best.
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But would I recommend the RTX 4080 at all? Personally, I find it hard to recommend such an expensive card if it a) isn’t the fastest GPU out there, b) isn’t even a trimmed version of the fastest GPU, and c) isn’t even the full version of its own second-rate GPU. Where the new RTX 4070 Ti (opens in new tab) launched with a significant price delta compared to the performance drop versus the RTX 4080 that’s more of a value proposition – as crazy as that sounds for an $800 card – and if I’m determined to spend over a grand on a GPU then I’m waiting for an RTX 4090 with its real performance leap of a generation.
Nvidia will have to cap the RTX 4080 at $999 before I can recommend you buy one.