This has been an enjoyable exploration evaluating the Ampere RTX 3090 versus the a pair of NVLinked RTX 2080 Tis – formerly the fastest gaming card in the world. Overall, the RTX 3090 totally blows away its other competitors and it is much faster at almost everything we threw at it. The RTX 3090 at $1499 is the upgrade from a (formerly) $1199 RTX 2080 Ti since a $699 RTX 3080 gives about 20-25% improvement in 4K gaming. If a gaming enthusiast wants the very fastest card – just as the RTX 2080 Ti was for the past two years, and doesn’t mind the $300 price increase – then the RTX 3090 is the only choice.
Forget RTX 2080 Ti SLI as it is legacy, finicky, and requires workarounds with most games to get it to scale at all. SLI gaming uses too much power, puts out extra heat and noise, and it works mostly with older games – but if you are willing to tweak them and use older drivers and don’t mind some frametime instability it may be an option. Native mGPU is supported by so few game devs that it is almost non-existent.
For pro apps and rendering, using two RTX 2080 Tis with a NVLink high bandwidth bridge is somewhat hit or miss. Some applications support it well while others have issues with it unless they have specific support for it. Some very creative users who are able to do their own programming may be able to work around, but a general creative app user should probably skip adding a second card and use a single more powerful card instead. And if you are looking to set benchmarking world records, pick a pair of RTX 3090s instead and put your system on LN2.
Skip mGPU unless you are willing to put up with its idiosyncrasies and are very skilled at working around, or if it fits your particular requirements. This is BTR’s last SLI/mGPU review for the foreseeable future. We are going to send our EVGA RTX 2080 Ti XC to Rodrigo for his future driver performance analyses so he can compare the Turing RTX 2080 Ti with the Ampere RTX 3080. He will post a GeForce 456.71 driver analysis using a RTX 3080 soon.
Stay tuned, there is a lot more on the way from BTR. Mario has upgraded his CPU platform from a quad-core i7-6700K to a i9-10850K and will have a Destiny 2 comparison between the two platforms shortly. We will also have a very special review for you soon that we just cannot talk about yet. And Sean is already working on his next VR sim review! Stay tuned to BTR.