THE GEFORCE RTX 3080 finally kicks off the new season of GPUs, sporting Nvidia’s new Ampere architecture (see: Ampere deep-dive, page 38). Forget the star players of the past couple of years; the hot young talent is ready to kick some serious ass. Even better: Nvidia isn’t asking for a massive signing bonus this round. The RTX 3080 takes over the outgoing RTX 2080 Super’s $699 price point, which means gaming enthusiasts can actually afford one (almost).
Just about everything has changed with the 3080 Founders Edition. It looks nothing like previous Nvidia GPUs, and frankly looks nothing like any other GPU we’ve seen. It has dual fans, but in a novel approach to cooling, the axial fan that’s closer to the video ports serves as something of a blower, while the back fan sits on the opposite side of the card and pulls air through the radiator fins. Nvidia claims it provides better cooling and lower noise levels than the previous generation, and our testing backs that up.
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