Almost a year after NVIDIA released the RTX 3080, they quickly followed up with the RTX 3090. The price gap of the two was ridiculous, but also made sense: the 3080 released at around $699, while the 3090 released at a more-than-double $1,499.
This left NVIDIA with a weird, $1,300 gap that they wanted to fill. Enter the RTX 3080 Ti, NVIDIA’s answer to “do we really need a $1,299 graphics card?”. But is it a good enough answer? Before we come to our conclusion, we have a bunch of thoughts.
The RTX 3080: Is the Ti Version Worth It?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: the RTX 3080 is, by far, the best graphics card you can get. It delivers the most power for its price tag, and it’s definitely one of those premium buys that will up your gaming experience.
That being said, it sometimes feels like the RTX 3080 Ti was made specifically to fill a $1,199-niche that we didn’t think existed. Sure, it’s a great upgrade for RTX 2080 Ti users, but is it really worth the extra 500 bucks? Is the Ti version really that much better than the vanilla RTX 3080? Of course, the precise answer to those questions will rely on a whole bunch of factors, but it can be boiled down to two, very important issues: your budget and the RTX 3080 Ti’s availability.
It’s also worth noting that the RTX 3080 Ti is being released a year after the RTX 3080 and a few months after the release of the RTX 3090, so it’s not really the best purchase to make if you’re one of those people who want to stay ahead of the GPU tech curve.
Demand for the RTX 3080 Ti is also ridiculously high, but with NVIDIA’s decision to put hash limits on their GPU, crypto miners aren’t part of this gold rush, which means you’re competing solely with gamers, visual artists, engineers (check out our top picks for budget laptops for engineering students if you want to make your life a bit simpler), and other professions that require graphics-intensive processes.
Comparing the RTX 3080 Variants
So, is the RTX 3080 Ti worth it? Let’s get the specs of the vanilla RTX 3080, the Ti version, and the more powerful RTX 3090 side-by-side:
|Card||RTX 3080||RTX 3080 Ti||RTX 3090|
|Memory||10GB GDDR6X||12GB GDDR6X||24GB GDDR6X|
|Memory bandwidth||760 GB/s||912 GB/s||936 GB/s|
So as you can see, the Pros and Cons of the RTX 3080 Ti can be summed up as follows:
We won’t argue the Ti’s superior performance: with the extra 500 bucks, it’s supposed to be more powerful than the RTX 3080. That much should be a given. Let’s look at the cons and see if they outweigh the pros:
First, the price. Yes, it is nominally more expensive than the RTX 3080, but you do get a lot of bang for your buck with the Ti: the power output is expected, but it is appreciated. The differences, while not as staggering as the 3080 and the 3090, are still highly noticeable.
But here’s something to chew on: yes, everyone is raving and ranting about the RTX 3080 Ti’s ray tracing performance, but do you truly, honestly, need it? Set aside Red Dead Redemption 2, Cyberpunk, and Escape from Tarkov, not a lot of games support ray tracing anyway.
You’ll also have to spend for a really good monitor (we have a list of some of the best curved LED monitors under $500 here) if you want it to reflect IRL. And, sure, if you’re a visual artist or an animator, you might need ray tracing, but if you’re in either of those industries, you should probably be getting something more powerful anyway.
At the end of the day, however, we feel like the price does justify the performance, just don’t base your entire decision-making process on ray tracing.
Secondly, the fans. Many users have argued that the Ti’s fans run louder and more often than both the vanilla RTX 3080 and the RTX 3090, and sure, if you have a budget setup, this could be a hindrance; that being said, any budget setup that includes an RTX 3080 Ti should include the appropriate cooling elements. Check out our list of the best gaming laptops under $1,500 if you’re looking for something a little easier to use.
Finally, we need to talk about how much of a unicorn this darn thing is. Since 2019, major manufacturers like AMD and NVIDIA have been coming up short in terms of supply, with GPU’s from both sides selling out of stores fast. We’re not going to get into why this is (it’s a combination of the 2020 pandemic, a shortage of rare earth materials, geopolitical machinations, economic upturns and downturns, etc.), but rest assured that your local Target isn’t trying to cheat you out of a GPU.
This means that, while the suggested retail price is at around $1,199, the reality of things means that you should probably expect this number to double, or more.
So, is the RTX 3080 Ti worth it? We say: if you can find it and if they sell it at retail price, then it’s a big 10-4. But those are two very big “ifs”.