As PC enthusiasts’ frustration grows, due to the unavailability of current generation GPUs, from both Nvidia and AMD, many are looking for previous-generation alternatives; and though vendors are certainly not putting these older models on sale as would normally be the case – because of the high demand and limited number of units – second-hand deals are becoming all the more enticing to fill the GPU-gap present in newer builds.
The best, most powerful, last-generation graphics card – when it comes to gaming performance – is Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and it holds this lead by quite a margin. This GPU performs almost equally to Nvidia’s new-gen, $499, GeForce RTX 3070, even surpassing it in 1080p and 4K gaming benchmarks. But how does it perform against AMD’s answer to the GeForce RTX 3070: The Radeon RX 6800. This GPU costs 15% more than the GeForce RTX 3070, and it can muster performance to match it. But how does it fair against the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti? Can the previous-generation GPU be a good alternative to AMD’s new mid-level option? Let’s compare the two and find out.
|Graphics Card||AMD RX 6800||Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti|
|Processing Node||7 nm TSMC||12 nm TSMC|
|Transistor Count||26.8 Billion||18.6 Billion|
|Die Size||520 mm²||754 mm²|
|VRAM Storage||16 GB GDDR6||11 GB GDDR6|
|Memory Bandwidth||512 GB/s||616 GB/s|
|Base Clock||1,700 MHz||1,350 MHz|
|Boost Clock||2,105 MHz||1,545 MHz|
|Memory Clock||2,000 MHz 16 GB/s||1,750 MHz 14 GB/s|
|Pixel Rate||202.1 GP/s||136.0 GP/s|
|Texture Rate||505.2 GT/s||420.2 GT/s|
|FP16 Performance||32.33 TFLOPS||26.90 TFLOPS|
|FP32 Performance||16.17 TFLOPS||13.45 TFLOPS|
|FP64 Performance||0.1010 TFLOPS||0.042 TFLOPS|
|TDP||250 W||250 W|
Specs & Technologies – AMD RX 6800
With its 40% smaller processing node, the Radeon RX 6800 manages to contain 44% more transistors than the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti – despite having a die that is 31% smaller. Also, despite being a mid-range GPU, it has a larger VRAM storage size by 5 GB, though it does lack in memory bandwidth by about 20%. Other than the bandwidth, its 13% less shading units and TMUs, the AMD Radeon RX 6800 is superior to Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in every other way. It has faster all-around clock speeds and better theoretical performance, even though it requires the same amount of operational energy (250 watts).
The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti features Nvidia’s Turing GPU architecture, with first generation ray-tracing, first generation tensor cores, and DLSS 2.0 being the main technological features inherent in this generation. DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) can boost gaming framerates through the use of AI, by rendering only 25% to 50% of the pixels of the image but upscaling it with its tensor cores (of which the 2080 Ti has 544) in real time.
The AMD Radeon RX 6800 also has AMD’s first-generation ray tracing, Intelligent Image Sharpening, and Fidelity FX technologies (adaptive image upscaling) – which are both outclassed by Nvidia’s DLSS. However, the new generation Compute Units – with redesigned data paths, pervasive fin-grain clock gating, and new pipeline rebalancing – together with AMD’s new Infinity Cache (which is similar to their Zen 3 Level 3 Cache) allow its 256-bit memory bus to deliver twice the bandwidth of a 384-bit bus, despite being 30% more energy efficient. Another feature that can provide immense value, and is included with the AMD Radeon RX 6800, is Smart Access Memory. When pairing a Radeon RX 6000 Series GPU with a Zen 3 CPU, these two components share an expanded data channel that allows for the widening of the GPU memory bottleneck, which translates to considerable framerate increases without the need for upscaling. Finally, Radeon Boost can also increase high resolution framerate by detecting fast on-screen motion – through the user’s input – and dynamically lowering the resolution for frames that the user cannot notice.
Overall, a slight advantage must be given to the Radeon RX 6800 in terms of specifications and technologies, as it is by two years the newer graphics card and that does reflect in its performance.
Features – TIE
The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti includes Nvidia’s GeForce Experience, AI boosted Studio and Broadcast platforms, G-Sync, and their lag-reducing Nvidia Reflex features. On the other hand, AMD includes their Radeon Adrenalin 2020 edition software, FreeSync, Radeon Anti-Lag, and one-click overclocking through the Radeon Software Performance Tuning Presets. Standard, similar, features included with both options, though some users may find more value with Nvidia’s Broadcast and Studio software, as it can be useful for entry-level streaming or recording.
Power Efficiency – TIE
Both the Radeon RX 6800 and the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti have an equal TDP requirement, so it is only fair to call it a tie for this category. An argument can be made that, if we were to judge the power efficiency based on performance, the Radeon RX 6800 would have an edge over its Nvidia counterpart, as it does outperform it in gaming benchmarks by a respectable margin. However, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti does hold its own when it comes to workstation applications, so judging power efficiency based on performance would be unfair in this case, as each GPU performs better in different modes of application.
Price and Availability – Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
It’s been harped on aplenty by users and the media alike, but the rollout of the new generation of GPUs has been disappointing, to say the least. Both Nvidia and AMD are guilty of this let down, with their limited number of available units and the fact that they took no measures to stop automated and mass purchasing of their products which resulted in a market where scalpers gleefully pile unethical sums of money and genuine consumers wait for months in order to receive a GPU needed to create a new build.
In terms of price, the Radeon RX 6800 is 42% cheaper than the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, and does outperform it when it comes to gaming, so it does have a better price tag. Still, given that second-hand GeForce RTX 2080 Ti units can be found for an excellent price, and the fact that the Radeon RX 6800 is currently all but non-existent, we will have to give the advantage to the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
|RX 6800||RTX 2080 Ti|
|Gaming 1080p Performance1||Average: 179 FPS|
1% Min: 136 FPS
|Average: 160 FPS|
1% Min: 125 FPS
|Gaming 1440p Performance1||Average: 143 FPS|
1% Min: 111 FPS
|Average: 125 FPS|
1% Min: 101 FPS
|Gaming 2160p Performance1||Average: 84 FPS|
1% Min: 71 FPS
1% Min: 62 FPS
|Cost per Frame 1080p1||$3.24||$7.50|
|Cost per Frame 1440p1||$4.05||$9.60|
|Cost per Frame 4K1||$6.90||$16.21|
|Premiere Pro Overall Score2||974||1090|
|DaVinci Resolve Overall Score3||1234||1349|
|After Effects Overall Score4||1103||1120|
1 Based on an 18-game-average framerate, benchmarked by TechSpot.
2 Based on V.092 benchmarks for Premiere Pro 2020 by PugetBench.
3 Based on V.092 benchmarks for DaVinci Resolve Studio by PugetBench.
4 Based on V.092 benchmarks for After Effects 2020 by PugetBench.
Benchmarks prove that the Radeon RX 6800 is superior to the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in gaming, no matter what the resolution. At 1080p it averages 12% faster framerates, while for 1440p and 4K it averages around 14% faster framerates. This only goes to show how much technology has improved in the last couple of years, and how AMD has stepped up their game in order to compete with Nvidia.
However, this is only the case when it comes to gaming, as the current generation of both CPUs and GPUs coming out from AMD have been gaming-focused. On one hand, we have the Ryzen 5000 Series Zen 3 CPUs which only show optimization for faster single-core performance architecture, and on the other hand we have the Radeon RX 6000 series GPUs, which have editing benchmark scores that can only be characterized as substandard. The new $649 Radeon RX 6800 XT scores less than the previous generation $399 GeForce RTX 2060 Super (991 vs 1026), while the $999 Radeon RX 6900 XT scores less than the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (998 vs 1033) for Adobe Premiere Pro. For Adobe After Effects, the Radeon RX 6800 does score higher than the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti in GPU stress tests (109.6 vs 103.9), but unless one is using a high-end Threadripper CPU, After Effects will be bottlenecked by the CPU far before the GPU.
Therefore, when it comes to content creation applications, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti still holds an advantage over all new AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series GPUs, including the RX 6800.
The results are quite straightforward for this comparison, as the AMD RX 6800 is the superior GPU with regards to gaming, while the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti is the superior GPU for content creation and most other workstation applications.
If you are looking for a graphics card that can handle both gaming and content creation, then either GPU’s performance will be satisfactory, and the decision will ultimately depend on what is available. If you can find a Radeon RX 6800 for its MSRP, then it would be the wiser option, as finding a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti at the $550-600 price-range may not be that easy with the GPU shortage that the market is experiencing.
Overall, the Radeon RX 6800 displays an impressive level of performance for its price, and the fact that it rivals Nvidia’s previous generation flagship model is no mean feat. If only it could actually be purchased by consumers… If only.