With the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070 Super versions making meaningful improvements over the original versions of the same cards for the same price, Nvidia adjusted their foothold in the market to address the rising competition from the likes of AMD. Mid-range cards are the bread and butter of the GPU industry, with higher-priced enthusiast cards existing for the smaller markets that can afford them and, generally, bragging rights that come with their purchase. The RTX 2080 Super isn’t a GPU that is meant to shake up the status quo that the RTX line established nearly a year ago. Instead, it only serves to muddy the waters a little bit.
Those waters flow between the current RTX flagship the 2080 Ti, and the now very new RTX 2070 Super. The performance difference between these two cards is significant, but so is their price. There’s a distinct difference in the markets they both aim for, but the RTX 2080 Super doesn’t have that same focus. That’s because it only marginally improves over the existing RTX 2080, but not enough to outweigh the much larger improvements of the RTX 2070 Super.
On the outside, the RTX 2080 Super is identical to the RTX 2070 Super. It features the same 8+6 pin power connector that drives a dual-fan cooling solution, encased in a sleek silver and chrome body that exudes style. The dual-fan setup is quiet and beautiful, only spinning up when necessary and staying whisper-quiet even at higher speeds. It keeps things cool too. Not as cool as most third-party designs, but it’s safe to say that Nvidia’s Founder’s Edition certainly has improved on its already great cooling designs since their inception.
Underneath that are the same sorts of gains that featured in the RTX 2070 Super too. That is to say, smaller baby steps forward rather than wholesale changes seen in the RTX 2060. The RTX 2080 Super features the same 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM across the same memory bus and at the same speed. It is complemented by a bump up in core clock speed, from 1515MHz to 1650MHz, and an increase from 2944 CUDA Cores to 3072. More cores, a higher clock speed and the same blisteringly fast memory mean you can expect some performance gains over the original RTX 2080 (as if you expected any less), but it might have been nicer to see a bit more work put in to bridge the gap between it and the towering Ti version of the original.
Memory, for example, might have benefitted from an increase to the same 8GB, improving performance when attempting to hit smooth and stable 4K gaming. That isn’t to say that the RTX 2080 Super isn’t adept at that – even the RTX 2070 Super is pretty great at hitting good 4K gaming – but it certainly would’ve helped give it a bit more flair when entering the market.
The RTX 2080 Super is a supremely powerful card, don’t get that wrong. It’s overkill for anything below 1440p, unless you’re aiming for extremely high refresh rates at standard HD. It manages this well at 1440p too, but it really shines when you start bumping things up to 4K. You can expect stable, above 60FPS performance with a little tweaking, and sometimes without any at all. The RTX 2080 Super manages to be that card that you just stick in and don’t have to think too much about, because everything actually does just work.
Check out the testing across our suite of benchmarks see exactly what you’re getting.
Synthetic tests are impressive too, with the RTX 2080 Super not really struggling to hit high numbers in both 4K and ray-tracing focused stress testing.
The problem comes in with pricing. The RRP of the RTX 2080 Super starts at R12,500.00, which is just over 40% more expensive than the starting price of the RTX 2070 Super. For that big of a jump the gains aren’t nearly as impressive, and a much tougher sell than before when comparing the original versions of the same two cards. All the Super line has done is position the RTX 2070 in a much stronger position than it ever was, and make the RTX 2080 Super look a bit lost between it and the much stronger RTX 2080 Ti. In a similar way to what happened to the GTX 1080, Nvidia seems to have made the same mistake again.
That isn’t to say you will be disappointed with an RTX 2080 Super. It’s difficult to look at its performance and not beam with pride. But it’s certainly a purchase that should give you some pause. At its asking price, it’s well beyond mid-tier builds, and pushing into the upper echelons of enthusiast gaming. At that point, it’s not hard to start considering a little more to make the much bigger jump to the Ti version of the RTX 2080, or cutting some loses and snagging a deal on the RTX 2070 Super. The RTX 2080 Super is a great card, just not the best purchasing decision right now
Last Updated: August 13, 2019