The RTX 3080 is nVidia’s latest, and the first release in the 3xxx line. If you want the tl;dr straight away: It is good, and we recommend buying it if the price fits your budget.
If you want the slightly longer list of pros and cons, without reading reviews for hours (we do that for you), then you have come to the right place.
RTX 3080 Pros
The RTX 3080 is the most powerful consumer graphics card available right now, beating last year’s ~$1200 2080 Ti by a decent margin, while costing $700. That is a $500 cheaper card that performs better, which by itself is an excellent start.
So, what kind of performance are we talking about? 100+ FPS on The Witcher 3 at 4K! That is pretty wild!
The card draws a lot of power, but the stock heatsink is good at maintaining decent temps, and the noise levels are decent too. If you follow major graphics card launches, you would know that most stock heatsinks are average at best, which means that you typically buy a card with an aftermarket heatsink. Those cost a lot more at launch, so having a good stock heatsink out-of-the-gate is great.
RTX 3080 Cons
The RTX 3080 might beat last year’s $1200 card for cheaper, but the $700 asking price is still very high! Nvidia’s launch prices for new GPUs are still noticeably inflated from the pricing model they were using up until the release of the first-gen RTX products. And with the global pandemic hitting so many of us, we have less disposable income to spend.
It is also notable that this card’s performance is extreme overkill for the standard 1080p/1440p screens used by ~95% of Steam’s users. If you are on anything lower than 1440p@144hz, you can safely give this one a miss (unless you’re planning for games far into the future—when, at any rate, even newer hardware will be available—or you’re looking to upgrade to 4K very soon).
Lastly, even though this is a flagship card, it has no SLI, so you cannot upgrade by buying a second one later for cheap. Unless you’re a rendering professional (who might’ve been eyeing the RTX 3090 instead anyway) that is a small nitpick, as more and more games are abandoning direct SLI support anyway.
The RTX 3080 is a luxury card with great performance, suitable for a hardcore gamer with a big wallet. It can (and will) easily replace the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti in the Exceptional and Enthusiast tiers of our chart.
Oh, and until the 3090 is launched, we will be removing the RTX 2080 Super in SLI from the Extremist tier. There is nothing to replace the 2080 x2, since 3080 x2 is not possible.