MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X Video Card Review

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MSI has gone SUPRIM and debuted a new graphics card series in their lineup, called SUPRIM pronounced “Supreme.”  This new series was built from the ground-up based on many of MSI’s technologies rolled up into one new customized video card. 

There are typically two variants of the SUPRIM series, an “X” model and a non-X model.  The X models will have a higher factory overclocked Boost clock, while the non-X models will have a lower factory overclock.  If you want the fastest out-of-box experience, reach for the “X” models.  However, because the X and non-X are the same design, the non-X variants should also be equally good overclockers for enthusiasts.

Today we have reviewed the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X 10G video card.  This is as good as it gets from MSI out of the new GeForce RTX 3080 GPU.  This video card carries a high price premium ($899 vs. the baseline $699) which is a $200 difference, but for that, you get a custom card with a high overclock and overclock potential in every aspect.  The build quality alone is the kind of thing you’d expect for the pickiest connoisseurs of video card perfection.

This was also our first custom add-in-board partner video card to evaluate, outside of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition we reviewed and overclocked.  Therefore, we made several comparisons to the Founders Edition today to see how they compare and differ.  That way you could see if that extra $200 is really worth it.


The first thing we want to talk about is the dual-BIOS. It is really great that this video card supports a dual-BIOS.  There is a built-in SILENT profile and GAMING profile with a switch on the video card.  This video card will ship with the SILENT profile activated by default.  At first, we were put off by this, because who wants to spend $900 on a video card and have its performance artificially held back just to keep the fan speed low and quiet.  We feared it would not perform very well or even throttle below the GPU Boost. 

We were pleasantly surprised to find in our testing that our fears were wrong.  We tested both positions of the BIOS in this review, the SILENT mode and the GAMING mode.  In every game and every game setting configuration, including Ray Tracing and DLSS we saw at most only a 2% performance difference, or 1FPS in actual framerate difference.  There were even some situations where performance was exactly the same.

We did however find that there is a real-world GPU clock frequency difference between the two modes.  It just isn’t huge.  In the default SILENT mode, the frequency stayed around the 1905MHz GPU Boost clock.  When we switched to GAMING mode it ran a bit higher around 1950MHz.  So technically it’s higher in GAMING mode, but not so high that it makes a big difference in real-world performance.  Therefore, you do not lose out on performance in the default SILENT mode.

One thing that you do get though in GAMING mode is a cooler running GPU.  The GPU temperature difference was quite different.  To be honest, we did not even notice the fans being louder in GAMING mode.  For all intents and purposes, it was only a 7% increase in fan speed in GAMING mode, and that made for a big change in GPU temp and a higher clock speed.

It is our opinion that when you install this video card to just go ahead and flip the switch into GAMING mode.  You will not notice any louder noise out of the fans, and what you’ll get is a higher GPU frequency while gaming, and a cooler running GPU.  In cases where you might be cramped or have less than adequate cooling, switching over to GAMING mode will help ensure the best performance and cooling on the video card.  Let’s put it this way, you are paying $900 for a video card, you might as well set it to its best potential. 


When it comes to performance, we did experience this video card providing higher performance over the GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition whether it was in SILENT or GAMING mode.  On average we experienced a 4-5% performance difference.  There are some outliers you may experience where the result is higher.  This isn’t Earth-shattering, but it is a nice bump in performance without having to do anything.  The reason the difference is so small is because the Founders Edition is actually boosting quite high with GPU Boost’s normal activities, so the space between them isn’t as large. 

That space doesn’t come in until you overclock the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X video card.  Overclocking is truly the selling point of this video card.  When we look at the overclocking performance we find performance advantages from 6-10% over the default performance of the MSI RTX 3080 SUPRIM X.  When you compare that to the Founders Edition it’s an over 10% performance advantage.  That allows games to run smoother at high settings and with Ray Tracing and at higher resolutions.  It really comes in handy for 4K gaming.

With the Founders Edition video card, we only managed to overclock it to around 1990MHz, we could not sustain 2000MHz.  However, with the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X we were actually able to maximize the overclock as high as 2100MHz.  The GPU Frequency settled down over time to 2085MHz.  This is an amazing overclock and well surpasses the capability of the Founders Edition.  It also does it with much better thermals.

The Final Points

It comes down to this, if you want the fastest GeForce RTX 3080 it is going to be with custom add-in-board partner video cards.  In that realm, the video cards that stand out are going to be video cards like this one, the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X 10G.  All that engineering, all that history, all those MSI technologies rolled up into this video card make for a video card that has that potential that enthusiasts love. 

It comes with a price, a hefty price.  Newegg has it listed at $909 at the time of this writing.  MicroCenter has it listed at $899.  These are the price points you can expect to pay for this video card when it is in stock.  Amazon has it listed, but no price right now.  The big question remains, is it worth the extra $200?  Naturally, that is a subjective question and answer, and everyone’s budget is different. 

What we can say is that we feel the price is worth it based on the engineering and attention to detail on this video card.  We can tell MSI put a lot of work and effort into this video card.  It is well thought out in many aspects.  It also has a high potential for overclocking, and we were successful in pretty much gaining 10%+ performance in games with overclocking. 

That helps solidify the GeForce RTX 3080 GPU as the best performer besides the GeForce RTX 3090.  We didn’t talk about it much, because it really goes without saying, but this video card slew Radeon RX 6800 XT performance.  Factor in Ray Tracing performance, and the support of DLSS, and it’s not even close.

We know right now, at the time of writing, availability is the main concern.  Hopefully, that will get better as the year continues, and maybe prices may even come down over time.  If you are interested in a GeForce RTX 3080 based video card, you owe it to yourself to give the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X your attention.


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MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X 10G

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Brent Justice
Former managing editor of GPUs at HardOCP for 18 years, Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components since the late 90s, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review, he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer-oriented and hardware enthusiast perspective. You can follow him on Twitter - @Brent_Justice You can sub to his YouTube channel - Justice Gaming You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice

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