Conclusion

In today’s review we had the opportunity to review one of EVGA’s water-cooled models, the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 ULTRA HYBRID GAMING video card (10G-P5-3898-KL) for an MSRP of $949.99 from EVGA.

This video card sports a hybrid cooling design, comprising of a separate all-in-one pre-built closed-loop liquid cooling system with an external 240mm radiator and 2x 120mm fans, and an air-cooled PCB for VRM and memory cooling. This complete package is the perfect way to keep the GeForce RTX 3080 under the hood cool, running quiet, and not held back one bit for performance.

Proudly displaying the EVGA FTW3 branding, the HYBRID GAMING video card has a high factory-overclocked GPU boost of 1800MHz. Thanks to the AIO GPU Boost is able to keep this video card clocked very high while gaming very consistently. We experienced around 1935MHz which is well above a Founders Edition’s 1710MHz. The AIO is able to maintain this frequency at a very low 55c GPU temperature and the fans being 120mm in size do not have to run fast to keep it cool. This means a very quiet operation while gaming.

Performance

In terms of performance, this video card delivers the top-end or GeForce RTX 3080 gaming performance you can experience. It rips through 1440p gaming with ease and allows entry 4K level gaming. At 1440p we are able to run every game at the highest setting, bar none. We are even able to use Ray Tracing in some games with no problem. Forza Horizon 5 for example runs at 1440p at framerates in the high 90’s with High Ray Tracing. Far Cry 6 allows us to turn all the DXR options on for a great experience with HD Textures.

In the games where Ray Tracing gives a bit more challenge, DLSS comes to the rescue. In Cyberpunk 2077 with DLSS enabled we can play above 60FPS with Medium Ray Tracing in 1440p. In Watch Dogs Legion DLSS allows us to play in the ’70s with Ray Tracing. Even in Metro Exodus Enhanced, we can play at the Extreme Quality with Ultra Ray Tracing with DLSS.

4K does become more of a challenge for the RTX 3080, especially with Ray Tracing. Some games though are more playable than others. Surprisingly the new Forza Horizon 5 is very playable at 4K with High Ray Tracing on the Extreme profile. It performs around 75FPS on the EVGA RTX 3080 at 4K which is pretty amazing. Far Cry 6 also performs well, at 4K you can easily play at high frame rates and turn on FSR and that increases even more.

FSR also allows us to play at framerates in the ’80s at 4K with all DXR options enabled. Cyberpunk 2077 is challenging without Ray Tracing and is not playable until you turn on DLSS. DLSS really helps Watch Dogs also become much more playable at 4K and Metro Exodus Enhanced is playable with DLSS.

When we compare performance to the Radeon RX 6800 XT it is a mixed bag. The Radeon RX 6800 XT seems to do very well in Far Cry 6, beating the EVGA RTX 3080 slightly. However, both cards support FSR, and FSR really helps to improve performance at 4K. The game runs very well regardless, and even with DXR enabled it is playable on both video cards.

Otherwise, the Radeon RX 6800 XT and EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 ULTRA HYBRID GAMING are fairly close in most games when it comes to rasterized performance. It’s only when we enable Ray Tracing that the Radeon RX 6800 XT falls way behind. And where the RTX 3080 falls behind, it can use DLSS and FSR to scoot forward quite a bit, and DLSS makes a big difference.

Overclocking

Overclocking the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 ULTRA HYBRID GAMING video card was an easy task. For one thing, we don’t have to worry about thermals, this GPU will never thermal throttle, it is well cooled. While we did max out the AIO fan speeds, it wasn’t necessary for the overclock, we just wanted to ensure the highest possible overclock, but it wasn’t held back at all. We turned up the Power Limit, which unfortunately is only 5%, and then went to overclock the memory and GPU.

Overclocking GDDR6X VRAM consumes a lot of power, and this can actually hurt the overall GPU overclock as it takes away from the total power available very quickly. While we hit 21GHz on the RAM easily, we did find it ate away from the GPU clock speed slightly. With the 21GHz VRAM speed, we achieved around a 2040-2060MHz GPU clock frequency. However, if we left the memory at 19GHz we could actually eek out a little more out of the GPU, upwards to around 2075MHz. In the end, we went with the balanced approach and settled for the 2040-2060MHz mark and also benefited from the faster RAM at 21GHz also.

While this overclock did improve performance in games, it wasn’t by a large amount. We saw on average a 5-6% performance improvement with the overclock. That’s arguably not even worth it to be honest. We have seen some higher overclocks on GeForce RTX 3080’s, but keep in mind it’s up to the GPU lottery, sometimes they overclock well, sometimes they don’t. It’s still very close to the highest we’ve seen out of an RTX 3080. It is also much higher than we experienced on the Founders Edition video card at any rate, so it is an improvement over that.

In the end, we feel that this card is mostly held back by its power limits. It is certainly not held back by thermal limits. The AIO keeps the GPU and memory incredibly cool. The GDDR6X VRAM can be a problem on some cards, getting very hot, but here it does not. The memory is well cooled and even overclocked it just stays at a good temperature. This GPU and memory are not being held back by cooling, it’s really all up to the power limits and power available to the card.

Our advice? Enjoy the quieter noise footprint, and just leave the card at its default out-of-box clock speed, it already has a good factory overclock at 1800MHz boost, and the AIO ensures that clock speed is consistent.

Final Points

The EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 ULTRA HYBRID GAMING video card is a phenomenal video card. This kind of uniqueness and engineering to solve problems on video cards is what we like to see. Other than custom water-cooling and tubing, the AIO hybrid solution is the best solution for enthusiasts. The all-in-one design offers a no mess, no work easy entry point to liquid-cooled gaming.

The hybrid design is the best of both worlds. You get the 240mm AIO with two 120mm ARGB fans, and then the card itself has heatsinks and a fan to keep components on it cool. The VRMs, the memory, all stay very cooled. The all-metal backplate helps in passive cooling as well. EVGA has built this card to be the best at cooling, and staying quiet.

EVGA has also kept the enthusiast in mind by allowing you to disassemble the AIO fans and install your own if you wish. EVGA has provided more than adequate ARGB headers to control RGB. In fact, on the video card itself are ARGB headers, AUX fan control, and a dual-BIOS for enthusiast tinkering.

This video card offers the top-end of GeForce RTX 3080 gaming, with a very quiet running profile. Just make sure you have space in your case to install the external radiator, and that noise can be isolated and controlled with software using custom fan profiles. The EVGA Precision X1 software is very feature-full and allows hardware monitoring of many different components on the video card as you tweak it to your desire.

Discussion

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Brent Justice

Brent Justice has been reviewing computer components for 20+ years, educated in the art and method of the computer hardware review he brings experience, knowledge, and hands-on testing with a gamer oriented...

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks [USER=3]@Brent_Justice[/USER] for another awesome review. A truly impressive card. I’m constantly at ends in deciding if I want to mod, and then invest in everything it takes to get a top-end custom loop setup going but things like this make it easy for people, when they can get one. Now granted once done most parts can be reused for future upgrades but it is a bit of money and time to do so. I priced around a $1K to upgrade my Strix 3090 to full block, and all the other parts, and never committed to it.

    In terms of the power limitations it’s an unfortunate common design choice that I’ve noticed with most manufacturers to use reference, or similar, PCBs and not include a BIOS that will allow for greater adjustments. I couldn’t tell you how much time I spent looking for a 3090 with a factory loop that also included one of the custom PCBs that allowed for increased power. Other than the Kingpin and FTW3 Ultra Hydro, and some mythical things from overseas, I never did find anything else. Pretty much everything I saw had the standard 2x 8-pin connectors.

    However the FTW3 Hydro 3090 appears to use the same 240mm radiator as the 3080 and I have doubts if it would still perform as well as what you saw with the 3080 when fully overclocked. Really seems like they should’ve used a 360mm with the 3090 but can’t say I’ve read any in-depth professional reviews like yours to examine it in-depth.

    In either case I’m on the list for one of the FTW3 Ultra Hydro and who knows, maybe when the 4090s come around someone will offer one and it’ll be accessible.

    Bottom line though is that these 3080s look to be the cream of the crop and if someone can get at MSRP they’ll be in for a treat.

  2. I have a standard FTW3 Ultra Gaming, no doubt it is a good card.

    I have a custom loop and a EKWB block on the GPU.

    Even running the standard stock cooler, I had no need to overclock the GPU.

    The stock cooler is very quiet. I had to really convince myself it was worth the time to put a block on.

    At any rate, I think it would be interesting to run an air cooled Ultra vs this watercooled Ultra and see if there was any real advantage to paying extra for it.

  3. [QUOTE=”magoo, post: 46125, member: 244″]
    I have a standard FTW3 Ultra Gaming, no doubt it is a good card.
    I have a custom loop and a EKWB block on the GPU.
    Even running the standard stock cooler, I had no need to overclock the GPU.
    The stock cooler is very quiet. I had to really convince myself it was worth the time to put a block on.

    At any rate, I think it would be interesting to run an air cooled Ultra vs this watercooled Ultra and see if there was any real advantage to paying extra for it.
    [/QUOTE]
    In reading other reviews on similar things, on other sites, generally the performance is very similar when using stock clocks. The big difference comes down to noise levels and when overlocking it.

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