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Poor memory OC scaling on the GeForce RTX 3080 might be a blessing in disguise, with closer than expected performance to the GeForce RTX 3090

Poor memory OC scaling could be a boon in disguise for the GeForce RTX 3080 (Image source: NVIDIA)
Poor memory OC scaling could be a boon in disguise for the GeForce RTX 3080 (Image source: NVIDIA)
Leaked overclock benchmarks for the upcoming NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ampere graphics card were recently published. The tests showed memory clocks pushed 9 percent for a mere 2-3 percent performance gain. This raises questions about the RTX 3080’s performance gap with the RTX 3090, which delivers 936 GB/s of memory bandwidth.

Leaked overclock benchmarks for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 paint a surprising picture about the impact of the Ampere card’s immense 760 GB/s memory bandwidth. When the 19 Gbps memory modules were bumped up to 20.7 Gbps — along with a mild core OC — performance in key benchmarks like Fire Strike only increased by 2-3 percent. Effectively, this means that memory bandwidth scaling on Ampere could be as low as 1:10 in some cases. 

This makes more sense when looking at the numbers. Thanks to Micron’s GDDR6X, the GeForce RTX 3080 delivers 760 GB/s of memory bandwidth, while the GeForce RTX 3090 delivers 936 GB/s. These are truly immense figures, to the point that memory bandwidth might no longer be a bottleneck in many games. 

The 20 percent shader core differential between the GeForce RTX 3080 and GeForce RTX 3090 is magnified by the 20 percent difference in memory bandwidth, putting RTX 3090 performance out of reach on overclocked RTX 3080s, at least at first glance. 

If these memory scaling figures apply across the board, shader count could be the only performance differentiator. However, based on NVIDIA’s claim that the GeForce RTX 3070 hands in GeForce RTX 2080 Ti performance,  shader count scaling on Ampere could also be less than linear, with a 36 percent cut to shader count incurring just a 25 percent hit to performance, going by leaked RTX 3080 benchmarks.

In practice, this means that the performance delta between the GeForce RTX 3080 And GeForce RTX 3090 could be much narrower than the spec sheets indicate: in the 10-15 percent range, and not 20 percent. A combination of core and memory OC could possibly help GeForce RTX 3080 owners bridge that gap. We’ll see once official RTX 3080 performance reviews arrive next week. 

Surprisingly tame memory OC gains on the GeForce RTX 3080 (Image source: Videocardz)
Surprisingly tame memory OC gains on the GeForce RTX 3080 (Image source: Videocardz)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > Poor memory OC scaling on the GeForce RTX 3080 might be a blessing in disguise, with closer than expected performance to the GeForce RTX 3090
Arjun Krishna Lal, 2020-09-13 (Update: 2020-09-13)
Arjun Krishna Lal
Arjun Krishna Lal - News Editor
I've had a passion for PC gaming since 1996, when I watched my dad score frags in Quake as a 1 year-old. I've gone on to become a Penguin-published author and tech journalist. When I'm not traveling the world, gathering stories for my next book, you can find me tinkering with my PC.