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Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition gaming review — A ray-traced 4K future

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Nvidia Rtx 4080 Founders Edition Review Gaming Benchmark Pc Fps Ray Tracing
Image via Nvidia

Nvidia Reflex and DLSS 3 thoughts

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Going back to the discussion on DLSS 3 Frame Generation, it’s still too early to decide on Nvidia’s latest framerate boosting tech. The testing we did was just too limited and it will be worth seeing how the implementations perform in more games.

The image quality seems to vary just like with DLSS 2, and it’s unclear why Frame Generation is only compatible with VSync in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Ghosting can result in some frames, while other visual artifacts and motion blur can commonly occur. With that said, it can also look indistinguishable at times so there’s value to testing it in any game where it’s available and seeing for yourself if you want to use it.

Additionally, Frame Generation adds latency due to the technical design. The way it works is a frame is rendered, then another frame is rendered. The GPU then generates a frame based on what the algorithm estimates will happen between those two frames and that’s what you get. It’s easy enough to understand that your gameplay is now waiting on an extra frame to render before you can see all three in sequence.

To offset this latency increase, Nvidia requires the implementation of its Reflex latency reducing tech for Frame Generation to be turned on. You also ideally want to have your PC already rendering at a decent refresh rate before you activate Frame Generation. Traditionally, higher framerates reduce latency, but that is not the case for DLSS Frame Generation. Your latency will roughly stay the same, but the game will look smoother. For example, 144 fps equals just 6.94ms, but 60 fps equals 16.7ms, which is a massive difference in system latency. Trying to natively render just 60 fps and adding Frame Generation on top will make your game feel sluggish compared to traditional native rendering, despite appearing smoother than 60 fps.

This is obviously a dealbreaker for using DLSS 3 Frame Generation in a lot of scenarios, and the feature is probably best used for helping you max out a high refresh monitor such as 165 fps or greater. We tested on a 4K 165Hz Samsung Odyssey Neo G7, and DLSS 3 felt quite good in Microsoft Flight Simulator and A Plague Tale: Requiem to a lesser extent. However, these are not games that absolutely require responsive input.

Once you get your bearings for how to use DLSS 3 Frame Generation though, it can do absolute wonders in allowing you to turn up settings and enjoy the best graphics out there. We’ll just have to see if Nvidia can improve it with time. There’s also a very limited number of games that support DLSS 3 as of today, but that list will only expand.

Nvidia Dlss 3 Supported Games List

Image via Nvidia

Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition review verdict

You’ve probably already determined for yourself at this point whether or not the RTX 4080 is worth the starting price of $1,199 USD, but a short recap and some concluding statements are due. This review of Nvidia’s RTX 4080 Founders Edition shows it’s clearly an impressive piece of gaming hardware on an engineering level alone. It’s hard to find any fault with it in that regard.

Power consumption is worth it for the performance you get, the temperatures are excellent, it’s relatively quiet, and it looks quite sleek. If I had to gripe about anything in regard to the physical aspect, it would be the power adapter for a variety of reasons. It’s highly recommended you move to a native 12VHPWR cable. This is clearly a well-made product and Nvidia dominates the GPU market with good reason. There’s also the ongoing question of what’s wrong with some of Nvidia’s bundled adapters.

I do have to point out that the lack of PCIe 5.0 x16 support is disappointing though, as it will force Intel 12th and 13th gen users to compromise PCIe lanes if they also want to run PCIe 5.0 SSDs. Had Nvidia added PCIe 5.0 x16, there would be no performance loss running this card in a x8 lane configuration. Additionally, there will certainly be plenty of DisplayPort 2.0 monitors arriving in the future, and these cards only offer HDMI 2.1 output at best. There’s nothing necessarily bad with HDMI 2.1, especially since it does work well for high refresh 4K and Nvidia cards support DSC, but you’d expect more cutting edge features for a $1,199+ USD graphics card.

Meanwhile, AMD is gearing up to offer DisplayPort 2.1 on its Radeon 7000 Series graphics cards which launch in December.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 40 Anniversary Glider (copy)

Image via Microsoft/Asobo Studios

The 4K gaming performance is there, however, and the ray tracing improvements over the 30 Series are massively impressive. This is a beast of a graphics card that delivers super smooth gameplay and graphics that look like the game trailers. It’s important to also recognize the quality of Nvidia’s drivers.

As for DLSS 3 Frame Generation, it feels a bit situational. However, it’s a great selling point for some games like Microsoft Flight Simulator. Time will tell how it impacts the PC gaming market.

As expensive as it is, the Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition gets a thumbs up in our review. Graphics enthusiasts can now have 4K resolutions, high refresh rates, and ray tracing for gorgeous-looking games. There’s also cutting-edge performance for creators and streamers via features like NVENC and AV1 encoding support just to scratch the surface. Nvidia brings a lot to the table with this card, if you’re hungry for this level of performance.


Reviewer’s note: The Nvidia GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition was provided directly from Nvidia for review. As with any PC component, this graphics card is only as good as the parts paired with it. It’s strongly suggested that you pair a high-end PC and 4K monitor with the RTX 4080 to avoid performance bottlenecks and get the full experience out of this graphics card. See our review of the Intel i9-13900K for something that will pair well with the RTX 4080.

Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition

8.5

Nvidia delivers an excellent quality product that checks all the boxes for a premium high refresh gaming experience, even in 4K with ray tracing. Not everyone needs RTX 4080 levels of performance though, and that price is something else.

Kevin Foley
About The Author
Senior Staff Writer with PC Invasion since 2020, advocate for playing on the hardest difficulty options, and a graphics fanatic. Kevin's go-to gaming genres are shooters, RPGs, tactical strategy, and environmental puzzlers. His favorite franchises of all time include Halo, Mass Effect, Portal, KotOR, Super Smash Bros., Fortnite, and The Elder Scrolls. When he's not writing about games, he's investigating PC tech to see how it can improve gaming experiences.