NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 video card and AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT video card on black background

The FPS Review: Quick Compare

All-new architectures go head to head, AMD RDNA2 versus NVIDIA Ampere. Both of these cards are on the high end of their respective generational line. Not the tippy-top mind you, but still a cut above most. They both came out in late 2020, September for NVIDIA, and November for the AMD. Both have a relatively similar MSRP, with the 6800 XT coming in at $649 and the 3080 at $699. Of course, as with everything in this past generation, these mainly exist on secondary markets and their prices can be basically seen as the same at this point.

Let’s take a dive into the differences between these two competitors’ cards and try to see which really comes out on top. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into either of these cards and learn a bit more about their respective architectures, check out our full reviews of the 3080 and 6800 XT. For overclocking guides check our writeups here for the 3080 and here for the 6800 XT.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 and AMD RX 6800 XT Specification

SpecificationGeForce RTX 3080RX 6800 XT
ArchitectureAmpereRDNA 2
Process NodeSAMSUNG 8NTSMC 7N
GPU Cores8704 CUDA cores4,608 Stream processors
Tensor Cores272N/A
Ray Tracing Cores6872
Boost Clock1710MHz2250MHz
Memory10GB GDDR6X 16GB + 128MB Infinity Cache
Memory Clock19GHz16GHz
TDP/TBP320W300W
MSRP$699$649

A lot of differences there. First off we can see that there’s a significant decrease -about 45%!- in GPU cores on the AMD offering, though with a decent jump in boost clock. There’s also a lack of tensor cores in the 6800 XT, though AMD’s solution to this lies in their Fidelity FX software whereas NVIDIA preferred to go for DLSS which required these additional cores. This means that an NVIDIA GPU can use both/either, whereas the AMD card must rely solely on Fidelity FX.

In memory we see the 6800 XT pull significantly ahead, with a massive 16GB of VRAM. IT also includes a 128 MB Infinity Cache, which is a bit of new tech that is supposed to speed the memory up significantly as well as help keep power consumption on the lower end. To that end, we see a slightly lower clock on the AMD memory at 16 GHz vs 19 GHz for the 3080, and a power draw just under the 3080s.

Gaming Performance

Calling a winner already would be pretty difficult with the significant differences between these cards’ specs, technologies being used, and the architecture under the hood. Let’s take a look at some gaming benchmarks to get a bit of a clearer picture.

Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn
MS Flight Sim 2020
MS Flight Sim 2020
Control
Control
Metro Exodus
Metro Exodus

Initially, we see pretty similar performance when maxed, without Ray Tracing, at 1440p and even 4K. However, once Ray Tracing comes into the picture we see the 3080 leap quite a bit ahead of the 6800 XT. These are also under non-DLSS conditions, which would see the 3080 pull ahead even further.

It’s interesting how similar they are without Ray Tracing, even seeing the 6800 XT pull ahead on Horizon Zero Dawn. There’s likely a level of optimization at work here with NVIDIA drivers that we’re not quite seeing yet with AMD. The 16GB of memory with additional speed from the Infinity Cache should see it competing with the 3080, but it’s just not quite there at 4K resolution with Ray Tracing on.

As the current console generation meanders ever forward with both consoles using AMD architecture we may see further optimizations as time goes on. However, as things currently stand the 3080 is the clear winner.

Conclusion

In other words, for the same price go for the 3080. If you can find a 6800 XT for a decently cheaper price though, it’s not a bad card. I wouldn’t be surprised to see AMD’s tech start catching up with NVIDIA in the near future either, especially since developers will be optimizing for the new generation of consoles.

Make no mistake, these are both solid cards. But currently, the 3080 is likely to be the better value, though it may hold onto its price tag in the secondary market a bit longer than the 6800 XT unless optimization significantly improves in upcoming games.

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