As the inventor of the GPU, Nvidia’s products are highly sought after by those looking to boost the performance of their computer’s graphics processing unit. Used to quickly change and reshape the computer’s memory as a way to speed up the creation of images on a display device, GPUs have been used in everything from cell phones to desktop computers to video gaming consoles and all sorts of other systems and devices in between. 

But which GPU is the best overall? Two of Nvidia’s most recent devices — the 3080 and the 3090 — have plenty of similarities and differences between them and their benchmarks. As such, weighing the pros and cons of the two and coming up with an answer can be a little difficult. Let’s break down the specs, the similarities, the differences, and the pros and cons below to find which GPU is the very best value.

3080 vs 3090: Side-by-Side Comparison

RTX 3080 GPURTX 3090 GPU
Release date:September 17th, 2020September 17th, 2020
Memory size:10GB GDDR6X24GB GDDR6X
Memory interface:320-bit384-bit
Memory clock speed:1.188GHz1.219GHz
CUDA cores:8,70410,496
Boost clock speed/base clock speed:1.71GHz/1.44GHz1.7 GHz/1.4GHz
TDP:320W350W
Price:$700$1,500
Best value:NoYes

3080 vs 3090: What’s the Difference?

With these benchmark specs in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more specific differences between the 3080 and the 3090. Analyzing important factors such as overall performance, gaming capabilities, and mining abilities will make it much easier to know which GPU comes out on top.

Performance

Above all else, the most important thing about a GPU is how well it performs when running applications. Apart from this, everything else is just a bonus. Looking at the specs above, the 3090 has a larger memory size, a higher memory interface, a faster memory clock speed, and thousands more CUDA cores. Not to mention, its TDP is higher too. While it might not have the fastest boost or base clock speed and comes in for $800 more than the 3080, it seems that the 3090’s performance with applications is second to none.

Gaming

While the 3090 outperforms the 3080 in many obvious ways, one area where the two appear closer in capabilities is gaming. To the untrained eye, the two might not even look all that different when running 4K games at the highest frame rate. However, the 3090 comes out ahead when you look at the next step up, 8K gaming. The 3080 just can’t do what the 3090 can do in this regard. 8K gaming isn’t fully here yet, to be sure, but it’s also not that far off. If you’re a casual gamer, the 3080 will do just fine. If you’re more serious about it, though, then you might want to opt for the 3090 instead.

Mining

As of late, more and more people are buying up as many GPUs as they can get so that they can begin mining cryptocurrency — a very lucrative but extremely energy-consuming activity that needs high-powered GPUs to work. Nvidia knows that its GPUs are being used for mining, and for this reason, the company has decided to implement something called lite hash rate technology (also known as LHR). LHR has been added to all of Nvidia’s latest GPUs, including both the 3080 and the 3090. LHR helps GPUs determine whether they’re being used to mine crypto and will reduce its hash rate by half if triggered. This means that neither the 3080 nor the 3090 are good choices for cryptocurrency mining.

3080 vs. 3090: Three Must-Know Facts

  • While the 3090 seems to outperform the 3080 in many regards, it needs to be said that the 3080 is still a spectacular GPU in its own right — especially when compared to its predecessors like the 2080 or 1080. The differences between the 3080 and the 3090 are much less drastic than the difference between these two GPUs and the ones that came before them.
  • Unless you have a 5K or an 8K display, you might not be able to notice a difference between the 3090 and the 3080. The GPU is capable of quite a significant number of extremely powerful performance benchmarks, but it’s important to make sure you can handle them before purchasing. 
  • It’s rumored that Nvidia will release the 4000 series (and perhaps even the 5000 series) of its ever-popular GPUs in September of this year. It’s the way they’ve done product releases for years, and it’s not likely to change anytime soon — especially given the popularity of its GPUs. If you’re not in any rush to purchase a GPU or feel on the fence about the 3000 series, perhaps consider waiting for the next big announcement before making a decision.  

3080 vs 3090: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Looking at the specs, the similarities, the differences, and the pros and cons of them all these benchmarks, it becomes easier to choose a clear winner in the 3080 vs 3090 debate. All in all, you have to hand it to the 3090. Its price isn’t the cheapest, but looking at the sheer power, size, and speed of the GPU, it’s clear that it’s the best value for your buck. Not to mention, the 3090 truly sets the bar for benchmark performance. The sheer speed and power with which the 3090 runs its applications simply can’t be beaten.

Not to mention, there’s also compatibility to consider. The 3090’s compatibility is remarkable, making it so that buyers won’t have to completely reconfigure their setup and spend even more money on even more products to make the 3090 work. This compatibility is just another excellent thing that makes the 3090 the superior choice.

3080 vs 3090: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are 3080 and 3090?

The 3080 and the 3090 are the latest and most powerful entries in Nvidia’s 3000 series of GPUs.

What are 3080 and 3090 used for?

The 3080 and the 3090 are graphics processing units used to speed up the creation of images on a display device.

What is the difference between a 3080 and 3090?

There are many differences between the 3080 and the 3090, most of which can be seen in the above chart of benchmark specs. For instance, the 3090 is about 10-15% faster than the 3080 when it comes to 4K gaming.

How much better is 3090 than 3080?

When all is said and done, the 3090 is really only marginally better than the 3080 — looking at the big picture, both are excellent GPUs (especially in comparison to previous generations of Nvidia GPUs, such as the 2000 or 1000 series). If you had to quantify it, the 3090 is about 10-20% better than the 3080 but more than twice as good as the 2080.

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  • Available here: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/graphics-cards/30-series/rtx-3080-3080ti/
  • Available here: https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/graphics-cards/30-series/rtx-3090-3090ti/