AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Offers 46% Faster Performance Than NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 in Starfield: “Disproportionately Taxing”

Image: Bethesda Game Studios

AMD’s previous-generation (RDNA 2) Radeon RX 6800 XT, when paired with a 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K processor, offers up to 46 percent faster performance than the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 for Starfield on similar hardware at ultra settings. This is according to a new, 32-minute analysis of the game that Digital Foundry shared over the weekend, a portion of which demonstrates how Starfield, Bethesda’s first new universe in over 25 years, performs “bizarrely worse” and is held back by “disproportionately poor” performance for those who are running NVIDIA or Intel graphics. The discrepancies have raised concerns about how some of today’s sponsorships are affecting triple-A game releases.

…AMD graphics hardware massively outperforms Nvidia equivalents in a way that hardly reflects the standard performance profiles of the respective cards. In my GPU test area, AMD’s Radeon RX 6800 XT outperforms Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3080 by a mammoth 40 percent at ultra settings.

Let’s be clear: the 6800 XT is a good card, but it’s generally in the same ballpark as the 3080. Using optimised settings improves RTX 3080 frame health and the divide drops to 35 percent, but this is hardly normal behaviour and it’s not down to the 16GB vs 10GB VRAM differential. In fact, Starfield’s VRAM management is generally excellent to the point where even 8GB GPUs can run the game maxed at 4K ultra.

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