NVIDIA has reasonably quietly launched the refreshed version of RTX 3080 (12GB) and we were lucky enough to get our hands on one of them. On the surface it looks like there are just two extra gigabytes of video memory but we wanted to check if they have changed anything else. As you may have guessed from the thumbnail and intro, we took this card completely apart so stick around to see what’s inside.
Before we open it up, let's check the card in its full glory. This is the ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC edition. In the 3080 line-up this is essentially the highest end card you can pick up, especially if you intend to do some crazy overclocking. Also because ASUS has not spared any expense to make it good. Needless to say, in the current market these are being sold for crazy money and, as far as I know, there is actually no MSRP, so we can’t even collectively scream at NVIDIA for the prices we are being charged.
Regardless of this, let’s press on - this card has all your standard bells and whistles - with 5 ports at the back, three display ports and 2 HDMI 2.1 ports. On the side there is a switch between Performance and Quiet mode, RGB, as well as three 8 pin power connections.
We actually dug a little bit deeper and found some differences between this and the original 3080. Apart from costing considerably more, the new card features extra 256 Cuda cores and 2 extra RT cores which equates to just shy of 3% improvement. With added memory this card now has 20% increased bandwidth and also just over 9% higher TGP.
Let's dig deeper to see if there is anything else that has changed. For this we will use our trusty iFixit screwdriver set as there are a few different types of screws used on this card. First part is to remove screws holding down the main cooling assembly, this is using the four screws with the GPU retention bracket as well as two screws to the side.
At this point the card is being held by thermal pads and paste so you have to carefully pry it open. It does take some pressure so do it slowly. Next, there are two cables to remove, both of them have clips so you have to get in there to unclip.
After you have completed this, you may actually be finished as now you have access to the whole board. For those who plan to water cool this card, you will need to check with your block manufacturer as some of them use existing backplate.
In our case we will go further but first let's check out the components - there is a nice amount of thermal paste on the die and well applied thermal pads all over. Once all of them have been removed, we see a fully populated board with memory. If we look at the original RTX 3080 from teardown by der8auer you can see that memory slots 5 and 6 are blank. This is where we get the extra two gigabytes of memory and while looking across the whole board I could not find anything else that is different.
Since we will be using this card in an upcoming custom water cooling build in a very cool case we will carry on with disassembling it even further.
To remove the backplate and this metal frame, we need to remove five screws next to video-out ports, as well as remaining screws on the back. It is a little bit annoying to have two different types of screws here so make sure you have the right tools. Once all screws have been removed, the frame comes off, now you have to pull on the board again as there are more thermal pads holding the two pieces together. I was actually rather surprised how thick the back plate is.
I can’t quite explain it, but I find this board to be really good looking. What do you think?
For those who are interested in this card's performance in its original state - we put it through its paces on our AMD bench which features Ryzen 9 5950X. All games were run on maximum possible settings and Riftbreaker as well as Godfall have ray tracing enabled.
At 1440p this card just shreds through the games without really any problem.
Going up to 4K you can still max the settings on most games with some spare framerate, the only exception being Total War Three Kingdoms.
For those who may be interested in getting this 3080 OC, here is a quick test on thermals and acoustics. During the test our room temperature was 26 degrees Celsius and the noise floor was at 30.5 dBa. The measuring distance from the testbench is around 50 cm.
We turned on Furmark stress test to warm it up and left it to soak until it stabilised. In this graph we also have some extra cards as general comparison but they are not even in the same league. RTX 3080 is hovering in mid to high 60s which is a clear indication that there is plenty of room for overclocking.
At the same time this card only hit 43.5 dBa during this test. It is certainly not silent, however for the performance it is very reasonable.
For those of you who are planning to overclock it - I recommend getting a pretty beefy power supply. While running Furmark, it was pulling just shy of 400 watts so with a moderate overclock it could pull 450 or more.
To quickly wrap this up - this is evidently a high end card and it should be treated as such. While street pricing is insane if compared to previous generations, it is about right if we compare to the market price over the last year or so. No one is thrilled about it but also can’t really do much either. If you can afford a card like this, then get it - it is a really good GPU!
Affiliate disclosure: as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from Amazon.