Overclocking NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition with Flames in the Background

Introduction

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition, launched in November 2022, is the follow-up to the GeForce RTX 4090, one step-down, down but still offering great 4K performance.  In today’s overclocking review, we are going to overclock the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition video card and see what kind of performance uplift you get from overclocking. 

With this review of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition overclocked we are going to push the power, push the GPU frequency, and push the memory.  The TDP of this video card is 320W, and we are interested to see how high we can push it when overclocking. The Founders Edition has 3x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, which should give us plenty of power on their own, up to 450W, so what will matter is how high we can push the Power Target. In addition, the GeForce RTX 4080 is a power-efficient GPU, so power shouldn’t be an issue when overclocking, we may hit the physical limit of the GPU fairly easily. In addition, the Founders Edition is cooled extremely well, with overkill cooling.

We will test the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition Overclocked versus the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT with the latest drivers, as well as GeForce RTX 3090 Ti Founders Edition.  We will test at 4K gaming, and with Ray Tracing and DLSS, so that everything gets utilized in our overclock performance testing. 

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition was launched in November 2022 at an MSRP of $1,199.99.  The GeForce RTX 4080 FE uses the newest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 40 Series Ada Lovelace architecture on a custom TSMC NVIDIA 4N process.  It has 7 GPCs, 38 TPCs, 76 SMs, and 9,728 CUDA Cores with 76 3rd Gen RT Cores and 304 4th Gen Tensor Cores and 112 ROPs, and 304 Texture Units.  It has a GPU Boost of 2505MHz and has 16GB of GDDR6X VRAM on a 256-bit memory bus at 22.4GHz providing 716.8GB/s of bandwidth.  The TGP is 320W.

How to Overclock the GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition

First, to begin overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition we downloaded the latest version (1.3.7.0) of EVGA Precision X1 overclocking software, which is the best overclocking tool for Founders Edition GeForce RTX video cards.  It allows you to change the power target, the fan profiles, the GPU clock, the memory clock, and the Voltage.

Screenshot of EVGA Precision X1 Overclock with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition

In EVGA Precision X1 you can see our highest overclock settings we found playable on the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition.  We were able to increase the Power Target by 11% from 100% to 111% for the power target range. This is much smaller than what we’re able to set on the GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition, which was able to be increased by 33%. Overall, this gives the RTX 4080 FE a lower TGP headroom, compared to the RTX 4090. We were also able to increase the fan speeds to 100%, though be warned, the fans are very loud at this setting, and pretty darn annoying, but we wanted to do this so nothing was holding the card back. 

Screenshot of GPU-Z Overclock with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition

Next, you can see that we managed to push the GPU Clock up to +170.  We got it as high as +190, but the video card would lock up in about 1 minute of gaming.  At +190 we hit 3GHz on this GPU, but again the games crashed within 1 minute of playing.  Backing it back down to +170 turned out to be the right place, it brought a GPU frequency bump and did not throttle after a long time of gaming.  You can see what this resulted in clock speed below.  We tried to raise the Voltage but found it throttling performance more when we did this, so it was best to leave it alone.

For the memory, we managed to bump it up to +800 which put it at 12000MHz, which results in a 24GHz frequency versus the default 22.3GHz.  Beyond 24GHz caused performance to decrease. The default memory bandwidth is 716.8GB/s, and with our overclock at 24GHz for the memory it is increased to 768GB/s, a 7% bandwidth improvement.

GeForce RTX 4080 FE Overclocked GPU Frequency

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition Overclocked GPU Frequency Graph

The default reference GPU Boost for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition is 2505MHz.  At default, this comes out to be a real-world GPU Boost of settling to 2775MHz after long gaming. It starts off at 2790MHz but does settle to 2775MHz, so that is the baseline we will compare with.   Therefore, the GPU is already boosting quite high, well beyond the spec.  With our manual overclock at +170 plus the TGP increased and fans at 100% we got a very consistent clock speed when overclocked.  It flatlined right at 2955MHz the entire time while gaming. This seems to be the physical limit of the GPU. Therefore, at 2955MHz we got a 180MHz frequency overclock or 6% GPU frequency overclock. These overclock percentages are slightly lower than the RTX 4090’s potential for overclocking. 

Test Setup

We have updated our drivers, and all gameplay data for this review is fresh on these drivers.  We are using NVIDIA GeForce Driver version 528.02 and the latest release AMD Adrenalin 22.12.2 driver for the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX and XT.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 Founders Edition System Setup Table

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Brent Justicehttps://www.thefpsreview.com
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 https://www.youtube.com/c/JusticeGamingChannel You can check out his computer builds on KIT - @BrentJustice https://kit.co/BrentJustice

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