The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition was launched on September 16th, 2020 as part of the RTX 30 series. The Ampere architecture-based GeForce RTX 3080 FE was released with an MSRP of $699 and replaces the GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER which were also launched at this same price point. It also offers a nice upgrade from the GeForce GTX 10 series.
In our review, we found the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition actually performs faster than the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, which is in a completely higher price bracket. With the GeForce RTX 3080 FE you can now get faster than GeForce RTX 2080 Ti performance at a price that is $500 less than the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE.
Can it get faster? That’s the question we have today and something that we are going to answer in this overclocking article. Today’s review article focuses completely on overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition and seeing how high it can overclock. We will then test performance and compare it with performance at default and with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE for reference.
NVIDIA’s Founders Edition
Before we begin our overclocking adventures, we must first point out how NVIDIA’s Founders Edition is different from this generation. This round NVIDIA’s Founders Edition is a custom NVIDIA PCB, board, and heatsink/fan design based around the RTX 3080 GPU. This is actually not the reference design. NVIDIA has a separate reference design, with the standard shaped PCB, that it sends out to manufacturers. This Founders Edition design is in fact unique to NVIDIA, and this is NVIDIA taking the reference design and basically making their own custom card like you would see manufactures like ASUS and MSI and GIGABYTE and EVGA do.
That means that the overclocking potential and results of the NVIDIA Founders Edition is unique to the Founders Edition design. Other add-in-board manufacturer designs could perform very differently when it comes to overclocking potential as their hardware components and cooling will all be different.
Keep this in mind today as we look at overclocking. The overclocking potential and performance we experience today is unique to the Founders Edition. Now, that all said, remember that the Founders Edition has a boost clock set at 1710MHz and a memory clock of 19GHz. Therefore, we will be looking towards overclocks that start from this baseline. It has a unique fan design, a push/pull configuration, however, we are running in an open environment, so no worries there about it being able to take in enough cool air.
The first thing to look at is how the video card operates at default settings. GPUz shows that the Boost is 1710MHz and the lowest default clock is 1440MHz. However, because of GPU Boost, the frequency should actually run above 1710MHz at default operation as best it can. The memory is at 1188×16 which is 19GHz. The default memory bandwidth is 760GB/s.
In our testing, the average GPU clock is 1837MHz while gaming on the GeForce RTX 3080 FE video card. We have a graph below that will compare the default frequency with the overclocked frequency. Right up front though the frequency was above 1710MHz at all times while gaming, so the boost is boosting beyond 1710MHz while gaming.
According to GPUz senor results the top-end or maximum peak frequency the video card will hit while gaming is 1995MHz. However, this is just a peak, not the actual average or real-time frequency while gaming. We did note that with this new driver (version 456.71) the maximum peak frequency is lower (1995MHz) compared to the launch driver (version 456.16) which peaked at 2010MHz with that driver. It seems the new driver, which changes the boost tables has in fact caused the maximum peak frequency to lower 15MHz on our Founders Edition.
Due to this fact, we re-tested all of our default performance with the new 456.71 driver plus all our overclocked data is on the 456.71 driver. So, all of our RTX 3080 data in this article is up to date running on the latest driver and taking into account the new boost tables. For the record, we saw no performance differences between the two drivers at default performance, so you do not have to worry about the driver lowering performance in games.