Tech Corner – Powerful, But Not Yet Practical : The RTX 2080

Chris Scott, Staff Writer

Fresh out of the machinery is the brand new RTX 2080 from NVidia. Released just at the end of September is the most powerful graphics card currently on the market, for the price of $800. In this segment we will look into performance, new features, and the new Turing family as a whole.

Performance – The new RTX 2080 is a certainly a strong card. When compared to the other cards on the market, the 2080 claims to be the number one car. On certain games, like Rise of the Tomb Raider or Shadow of War, the 2080 boasts a strong lead with twenty and thirty percent increases in frames per second. However in other games, such as Far Cry 5 or the Warhammer 2 Skaven Benchmark, the 2080 barely above the rest.

New Features – A lot of anticipation has been built up around Ray Tracing, with a lot of promotional material talking about the new technology. To sum up, Ray Tracing is light rendering technique that produces extremely realistic images. Some of the test images are so realistic that when shown to strangers on the street in comparison with real photos, they could not tell the difference. Why does this matter though? Well for one, this hyper realism that Ray Tracing provides is in real time, meaning someone doesn’t have to spend an hour making a realistic image manually. In theory, this will make higher end visual production easier. Unfortunately it seems to me that it just isn’t worth it yet. The rendering images are impressive, yes, but very few programs can actually make use of the technology yet, and those that do are limited in features.

Turing Family – The new Turing Family graphics cards have been vastly improved over previous Pascal architecture. Your graphics card spends a lot of time performing floating point calculations, but NVidia has estimated that for every one calculation completed, there are three more behind it. Moreover, many parts of the card will remain inactive while it waits for certain calculations to be completed. This is vast untapped performance not previously accessible with Pascal architecture. The new Truing cards are able to utilize it though, and so have a vast 50% performance increase. In future cards this is only going to increase exponentially as cores are added to cores.

Final Verdict – Despite its being the most powerful card currently available, I don’t think it stacks up. The new Ray tracing feature isn’t being used by any major design programs, and due to its relatively new creation probably won’t be for a few years. Also,  the new Turing architecture won’t be fully optimized for Windows 10 for a while. As a result, much of the efficiency gained in utilizing inactive cores is bottle necked in the pins connected to the computer. All in all, the $800 cost is just too much to justify purchasing this piece of hardware.