Nvidia Shares RTX 2080 Test Results: 35 – 125% Faster Than GTX 1080

Two days after Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang introduced GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 with a deafening emphasis on real-time ray tracing, the company fed Tom’s Hardware early performance data showing GeForce RTX 2080 outperforming GeForce GTX 1080 by anywhere from ~35 percent to ~125 percent at 3840×2160, depending on the workload. Its comparison necessitates a bit of analysis, though.

Right out of the gate, we see that six of the 10 tested games include results with Deep Learning Super-Sampling enabled. DLSS is a technology under the RTX umbrella requiring developer support. It purportedly improves image quality through a neural network trained by 64 jittered samples of a very high-quality ground truth image. This capability is accelerated by the Turing architecture’s tensor cores and not yet available to the general public (although Tom’s Hardware had the opportunity to experience DLSS, and it was quite compelling in the Epic Infiltrator demo Nvidia had on display).

The only way for performance to increase using DLSS is if Nvidia’s baseline was established with some form of anti-aliasing applied at 3840×2160. By turning AA off and using DLSS instead, the company achieves similar image quality, but benefits greatly from hardware acceleration to improve performance. Thus, in those six games, Nvidia demonstrates one big boost over Pascal from undisclosed Turing architectural enhancements, and a second speed-up from turning AA off and DLSS on. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, for instance, appears to get a ~35 percent boost from Turing’s tweaks, plus another ~50 percent after switching from AA to DLSS.

In the other four games, improvements to the Turing architecture are wholly responsible for gains ranging between ~40 percent and ~60 percent. Without question, those are hand-picked results. We’re not expecting to average 50%-higher frame rates across our benchmark suite. However, enthusiasts who previously speculated that Turing wouldn’t be much faster than Pascal due to its relatively lower CUDA core count weren’t taking underlying architecture into account. There’s more going on under the hood than the specification sheet suggests.

A second slide calls out explicit performance data in a number of games at 4K HDR, indicating that those titles will average more than 60 FPS under GeForce RTX 2080.

Nvidia doesn’t list the detail settings used for each game. However, we’ve already run a handful of these titles for our upcoming reviews, and can say that these numbers would represent a gain over even GeForce GTX 1080 Ti if the company used similar quality presets.

Of course, we’ll have to wait for final hardware, retail drivers, and our own controlled environment before drawing any concrete conclusions. But Nvidia’s own benchmarks at least suggest that Turing-based cards improve on their predecessors in a big way, even in existing rasterized games.