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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 revealed: Everything you need to know

Daniel Ostanek
21 Aug 2018
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Nvidia just unveiled its next generation of GPUs with the RTX 2080. Read on for all the info about the new cards

If you've been waiting for Nvidia's new GPU – the hotly anticipated GeForce GTX 2080 – then yesterday will have come as a big surprise. Nvidia didn't just unveil the monstrous RTX 2080: it announced three new cards based on its new Turing architecture.

Nvidia has released the RTX 2080 alongside the RTX 2070 and a Ti-model card – the RTX 2080 Ti. The latter is a surprise release, available at launch rather than coming as a mid-generation upgrade.

Nvidia's new cards – all six of them when you include the 'Founders Edition' versions – were announced during the company's GeForce Gaming Celebration keynote at Gamescom. You can rewatch the presentation on Nvidia's Twitch channel or on YouTube

We had some idea of what to expect after last week's benchmarking scores leak, as well as Nvidia's Siggraph showcase revealing its Turing GPUs. But perhaps the headline feature of the new range is the real-time ray tracing capability. Ray tracing is a technique which predicts how light travels from a fixed point, and makes it possible to render incredibly lifelike shadows and reflections. As ray tracing is so processing-intensive, though, it's a technique more commonly used in Hollywood animated movies or special effects. Previously only the most expensive professional graphics cards could perform the process in real-time.

The headline here, though, is that we're now looking at consumer cards with those capabilities - a huge step forward for gaming. Read on for all the information about the Nividia GeForce RTX 2080, RTX 2070 and RTX 2080 Ti.

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Nvidia GeForce RTX 2000 series price: How much will it cost?

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revealed the pricing of the cards alongside the specs – they're unsurprisingly more expensive than the GTX 1000 series was on release. 

As with its predecessor, the RTX 2000 series cards are available directly from Nvidia if you want the 'Founders Edition' cards. Otherwise, they're available from Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, PNY and Zotac.

The 'Founders Edition' cards, as priced by Nvidia, will set you back £569 for the entry-level RTX 2070 FE, £749 for the mid-range RTX 2080 FE, and £1,099 for the high-end RTX 2080 Ti FE.

For the standard RTX 2000 series cards, Nvidia has set reference prices for manufacturers to sell against. The RTX 2070 will cost $499, while the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti cost $699 and $999 respectively. We expect the trio to come in at £400-450, £550-600 and £800-850, making the 'Founders Edition' cards around £150 more than the standard cards.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2000 series release date: When is it available?

Preorders for the 'Founders Edition' cards are currently open, with shipments expects to go out from 20 September, although the RTX 2070 is slated to land sometime in October.

We don't know when third-party manufacturers will begin selling their cards, but we imagine that they'll be available from around the same late September date.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2000 series specs: What does it do?

According to Nvidia, the RTX 2000 series offer "up to 6x the performance of previous-generation graphics cards." That's a big claim considering the power of the GTX 1000 series, but the raw specs look impressive indeed.

The entry-level RTX 2070 is said to offer more ray tracing performance than Nvidia's Titan Xp card, which was released last year. The flagship RTX 2080 Ti boasts some big numbers, including a 1,350MHz base clock speed with 4,352 CUDA cores and 11GB of GDDR6 RAM.

Meanwhile, the regular RTX 2080 is clocked to 1,515MHz with 2944 CUDA cores and 8GB of GDDR6 RAM. These are some serious cards, with even the RTX 2070 sounding like a powerhouse. And in addition to those numbers, each card is designed to be overclocked, meaning it's possible to squeeze out even more power. Look below for a full table of the important specs.

SpecRTX 2070RTX 2070 FERTX 2080RTX 2080 FERTX 2080 TiRTX 2080 Ti FE
$ Price (£ estimates)$499 (£400-450)£569$699 (£550-600)£749$999 (£800-850)£1,099
Boost clock (MHz)1,6201,7101,7101,8001,5451,635
Base clock (MHz)1,4101,4101,5151,5151,3501,350
Memory speed14Gbps14Gbps14Gbps14Gbps14Gbps14Gbps
Frame buffer8GB GDDR68GB GDDR68GB GDDR68GB GDDR611GB GDDR611GB GDDR6
Nvidia CUDA cores2,3042,3042,9442,9444,3524,352

Nvidia recommends a 650W power supply, given that a single RTX 2080 will draw 215W of power. Each card comes with DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2 and a USB-C VirtualLink port. That means you can directly connect VR headsets to the card, so both USB and HDMI signals can travel along one wire.

Each card is also capable of running 8K resolution (that's 7,680 x 4,320 pixels), and you'll also find that standard Ansel, G-Sync, HDR and NVLink technologies are supported too.

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2000 series features: So what is ray tracing?

This is the headline features of the RTX 2000 series. Nvidia's Turing architecture is capable of ray tracing in real time - the technique has long been considered a holy grail of video game development as it lets developers map light in more realistic ways.

Due to this, traditional benchmarking tools won't suffice for Nvidia anymore. The argument is that the previous-generation GTX 1000 series not built for ray tracing so a direct comparison is simply unfair. That's one reason why the company haven't listed TFLOPS numbers, instead going for RTX-OPS (the average of card performance across various operations) and giga-rays per second – a measurement of how well the cards ray trace in real time.

The game demos shown were certainly impressive – check out the lighting in the Battlefield V above (or head to the Nvidia YouTube page for demos of Metro Exodus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and more). Nvidia also teased support for at least 21 games, including PUBG, Hitman season 2 and Final Fantasy XV.

It's a sure bet that more and more developers will come aboard with Nvidia leading the graphics market, especially for games. The company is currently working with Microsoft to integrate ray tracing into its next DirectX release – DirectX Raytracing (DXR) for Windows 10. Epic Games is also working on ray tracing integration for its Unreal Engine, which you can check out in the video below.