This is going to be a “normal” hardware review. I know people like tons of graphs, comparisons, and benchmarks, but I don’t have the extra PCs for this to be time-efficient, and other sites do this better. You will get here a “gamers” review based on the experience of using the card for two weeks.
Installing the GPU was as simple as it gets these days. This card only requires two 8-pin power connectors while some others require three. I did initially install this with a 750W PSU (Thermaltake Toughpower Gold RGB to be exact) and at first, it worked pretty okay for a few days. More on that later. It fits in a mid-size tower just fine. I put this inside of a Corsair 680X and it just barely cleared. There’s maybe 1 or 2mm between it and the front fans. My RTX 2080 was a bit smaller it seems, but this card is quite the beast. It takes up two rear slots (like most cards do these days) and has more Display Port connectors than HDMI which is needed for anything with a super high refresh rate and high resolution. I’m running two monitors. One 1080p 280Hz and one at 3440×1440 120Hz, however, to use G-Sync I have them both capped 3FPS lower than their max refresh rate. I didn’t have any issues upon boot. I did use DDU uninstaller on my 2080 driver and shut the PC down, and I disabled automatic Windows driver updates. So, upon boot, I installed a fresh 3080ti driver and I had zero issues.
This architecture, Ampere, is not very overclocking friendly. This particular third-party card comes overclocked from the factory (1710Mhz compared so stock 1665Mhz) so gains using MSI Afterburner’s OC Scanner yielded negligible results that would warrant more heat from the card. As it is, this GPU is power locked so you can’t increase it past 100% power so that leaves little room for anything else. With my 750W PSU, I was getting shutdowns in almost every game that pushed the card, so while it will use a bit more power than the stock card, my PSU didn’t like this. Even without overclocks, I was still getting shutdowns in certain games so I had to run out and get an 850W PSU. I have an Intel i7-8700 and 9 RGB fans plus a cooling pump, 3 M.2 drives, 2 2.5″ SSDs, and tons of USB devices (which are all RGB) so there’s quite a bit of extra draw outside of the CPU and GPU TDP combo. With a more powerful CPU that has 100+W of TPD, I doubt 750W would work even without lots of RGB, drives, and devices connected. I can’t test this thoroughly, but in my experience this just makes sense. The shutdowns stopped after the extra 100W was added.
Now there could be other reasons for this. The PSU could have been dying (it’s about 5 years old), there could have been some capacitors going out, and the PSU could have been designed to just not like sudden spikes so close to the wattage limit. I’m not sure, and I can’t test this out properly, but for anyone else having this issue or buying this card think about upgrading your PSU as well. Hardware-wise these were the only issues I had. Now for temps, I’m getting around 48c at idle and full blast gaming with ray-tracing on I never pass 65c. I also don’t have my fans at full blast either. The fans on the GPU seem to do a great job and it runs cooler than my RTX 2080 which would get into the low 70s, but it does have a higher idle temp. My ambient temperature is rather mild all year round maybe around 50F or 10C and during testing, I did have outside temp increases due to summer coming along to around 75F or 23C and it still ran in the mid-60s. This might change if temps get blisteringly hot.
As for gaming. Yeah, this is what the 2000 series should have been. The second-generation RT cores make a huge difference. The 2080 couldn’t do ray-tracing for squat outside of 1080p and even then it was iffy. The 3080ti can do 2K ray-tracing maxed out and get above 60FPS with no sweat. Contro, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Quake II RTX, Amid Evil, and a few others went close to 100FPS at 2K. Other games like Dying Light 2, Metro Exodus, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and Cyberpunk 2077 still dipped under 60 or stayed right at 60. Cyberpunk 2077 was probably the worst performing ray-tracing-wise. Non-ray-traced games fly on this thing and only Fallout 76 dipped below 60FPS, but that’s because it’s an unoptimized piece of crap so it doesn’t count (it’s still a fun game these days, but seriously screw the Gambryo AKA The Creation Engine engine to Hell and back). Games like Horizon: Zero Dawn Complete Edition, God of War, Far Cry 6, Days Gone, and Borderlands 3 all ran well above 60 shooting past 100 in some cases at 2K.
I can tell you that many of those games didn’t hit 60FPS maxed out in on the 2080 which is stupid. However, it now comes down to price. I paid below MSRP for my card. I waited until the supply came back up as I refuse to pay scalpers a dime. I got mine for $1,149. That’s the price of two next-gen consoles or a low-end gaming PC alone. These prices are insane, and I only paid them because I can afford to, but 5 years ago it never would have happened. There are many who are priced out of these better cards. Is it worth the difference from the 3080 or even the 3070? It depends on how you game. If ray-tracing is super important to you or gaming above 1080p then yes, this is what you should be getting. If you just have a 1080p monitor then smaller cards would be fine. If you want higher frames then this would be a great buy, but again I don’t have the fancy charts and graphs like other sites do. This is just one PC gamer’s opinion and experience compared to the previous generation. I think it’s worth the purchase, but that doesn’t mean I like the price by the way, but if you paid the $2,000+ for scalping prices shame on you and I don’t have one ounce of pity.
RGB-wise, the card is sad. It just has a small logo in the corner that lights up and can easily be blocked by power cables. Gigabyte has terrible software and hasn’t been updated or revamped in almost 10 years. Their software is basically a terrible clone of what MSI Afterburner can do. There’s a silent mode you can switch to, but I don’t see the point in this. You do need it to change the RGB colors of the card, and it just barely works. So shame on Gigabyte for never updating their terrible software.