Nvidia has once again blasted its old cards out of the water. The announcement of the latest RTX 3000 series came on the 1st of this month from Nvidia CEO, Jensen Huang, and we see if it is time to upgrade, or take shelter from the newest hype in PC gaming. Today we compare the 2nd generation RTX release from Nvidia with the current market of 1st gen RTX 2000 series graphics cards and decide whether it is time to buy.
How much will it cost?
Firstly, the most important point, price. The new RTX 3000 series is the 2nd generation of the super fancy ray-tracing technology which has revloutionised in-game lighting by processing individual rays of light, rather than using shaders and texture adjustments to generate stronger light illusions. Never before has Minecraft looked so good. Of course these features are still present on the RTX 2000 series and are even boasted about on Sony's Playstation 5, but the upgrade and value provided in the new GPUs is much fairer than that of the transition from GTX to RTX with a much lesser cost, and brand new faster chip architecture.
Nvidia has left us anticipating the staggered release of the RTX 3070, RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 Founders Editions with the price point of the RTX 3070 being the most appealing but being the longest to wait for.
Boasting a whopping 28 billion transistors, the new Ampere architecture strongly outperforms the previously high priced Turing architecture that we saw introduced on the RTX 2080, and sends the old Pascal architecture of the GTX 10XX series to sleep. The technology is expected to be 1.5x greater than Turing, and with the lower cost provides excellent value, which is a welcomed consideration from Nvidia. The 2nd-hand market for these cards will likely say otherwise.
A step up in graphics memory from semiconductor giant, Micron- who use well-known brands such as Crucial and Ballistix Gaming to market their products, have claimed that they are first in the industry to implement PAM4 technology on their memory chips. They also add that this development is the greatest generational leap for a GPU in the company's history. Moore's Law, we thank you once again. Only the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 will feature GDDR6x with the RTX 3070 remaining with GDDR6 8GB.
3rd Gen Tensor Cores
Without getting deeply flustered by the mathematics and arithmetic of how tensor cores work, along with the fundamentals of using tensor calculations, we can understand tensor cores as components which aid AI and machine learning by enhancing performance of calculations and creating more efficient neural networks.
In this case, Nvidia have swapped out their 1st gen cores for the latest 3rd gen. To the consumer this may be beyond their understanding of the purpose of these cores, but is nonetheless a worthwhile upgrade from the RTX 20XX series as tensor cores affect the processing of pixels on different scales. Less pixels to process= processing power saved thanks to tensor math.
Copy the link below the tensor core image to read more on tensor cores, the article is a great explainer.
Thermal Design= 30% more efficient
The new design of the RTX 3070, 3080 and 3090 incorporates a pull-push engineering design to draw in cool air from the front of the PC and push out the hot air out of the back of the PC. The new fan approach has not been seen on GPUs, and if these series of cards completely solves thermal issues of previous generations, then the chapter of ray tracing GPUs reads well.
RTX 3000 vs RTX 2000
It's safe to say that the time-effect of reducing the cost of new technology has come into full force and as such, we are greeted with a much fairer set of price points compared to the release of the RTX 2000 series. The RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition retailed at $999 (£750) at release and the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition at $699 (£525).
If you have recently purchased a card such as the RTX 2080 Super or RTX 2070, then you have unfortunately dug a small financial hole as prices have sharply dropped to the price point of the RTX 3070 and below. During July and August, prices for RTX 2080s and 2070s were between £500-£800+ for non Founders Editions.
Holding off until the release of the new RTX 3080 on September 17th will save you the problem of losing value immediately on your purchase- for a short while at least, as supply is initially scarce.
If you are big-stacks, then what are you waiting for? Get that insane spec RTX 3090 for a cool £1399 and flex over all console players.
PC players have every reason to be excited with the new release of Nvidia's cards, expect dramatic upgrades in graphics and lighting effects in 1080p titles. With the hotly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 on the horizon, we can only imagine what Night City will be like with its neon-punk styling. PC gaming has certainly reached a new height. Get your old parts sold off whilst you still can, and prepare yourself for Nvidia's latest and greatest lineup to date. This generational leap is special.