Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Super review: evolution, not revolution

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After two Super launches in early July, today Nvidia completes the trio with the release of the RTX 2080 Super. The 2060 Super and 2070 Super have more-or-less replaced the original RTX 2070 and 2080 respectively, so does the 2080 Super challenge the next card in Nvidia’s stack, the almighty 2080 Ti? In a word, no – but the new card does maintain a conservative performance advantage over the original 2080 while costing $100 less than the RTX 2080 Founders Edition that debuted in 2018. That should make the 2080 Super the obvious number two graphics card on the market, ahead of the original RTX 2080 and AMD’s Radeon 7, but how close is the race?

As with the earlier Super cards, the 2080 Super’s improved horsepower is provided by upgrades to a few key specifications. For starters, the 2080 Super is the first fully-enabled TU104 GPU with all 3072 CUDA cores to be launched into the consumer space, an increase of 128 CUDA cores over the standard RTX 2080 – which provides a small improvement to compute, aided by a small increase to boost clock. Its memory data rate has been raised from 14Gbps to 15.5Gbps too, providing a corresponding boost in memory bandwidth from 448GB/s to 496GB/s – and in our testing, that’s only the beginning of the memory bandwidth increase that’s possible with this card. All of these changes are reflected in a moderately higher TDP for the 2080 Super, which is rated at 250W compared to the 215W of the original 2080.

Despite the higher power usage, there are only cosmetic design changes between the RTX 2080 FE and the RTX 2080 Super FE cards. The new model has a reflective finish between its two axial fans and a green ‘Super’ wordmark plastered on, but it uses the same two-slot design as its predecessors and feels just as reassuringly solid in the hand. The port report also remains unchanged, with six-pin and eight-pin supplementary power connectors and an identical I/O quintet: three DisplayPort, one HDMI port and one USB-C VirtualLink port. We didn’t expect changes here – except maybe the inclusion of a spoiler or some flame decals – but it’s good to confirm everything is present and correct.

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