MSI RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM X Review: Filling the Void at the High-End


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MSI RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM X Review

The RTX 3080 Ti has been rumored almost since the release of the ($699) RTX 3080 and ($1499) RTX 3090 graphics cards over 1.5 years ago. The massive price gap was just begging for another card, or two, in the product stack. Fast forward 18 months, and it’s finally here. Today we have the MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X (pronounced /so͞oˈprēm/, like Supreme) in hand for the review!

MSI’s Suprim X lineup sits above the Gaming X and Ventus models as the flagship offering. The new card features the Tri Frozr 2S Thermal design with Torx Fan 4.0 and core pipes, dual BIOS, and a pretty cool design aesthetic that should match well with most build themes. Performance on this card landed somewhere above the RTX 3080 and below the current flagship RTX 3090 while beating the venerable AMD 6900 XT in most cases. During testing and an extended gaming session, the card remained cool and quiet, showing off the huge cooler’s capability.

Priced at $1199 for the Founder Edition, the cost and performance split the difference between the bookend cards around it, though it leans heavily towards the RTX 3090 side of things on both fronts. Add the tax for premium cards like this one and its peers, and you’re so close to an RTX 3090, if you can find one, it may even be a consideration. Read on for more details about the features, performance, and overclocking to see if it may be worth the adventure of finding one in the wild.

Specifications and Features

Nvidia RTX 3000 Series Specifications
Model RTX 3090 RTX 3080 Ti SUPRIM RTX 3080 RTX 3070
Architecture Ampere
(GA102)
Ampere
(GA102)
Ampere
(GA102)
Ampere
(GA104)
Manufacturing  Samsung 8 nm Samsung 8 nm Samsung 8 nm Samsung 8 nm
CUDA Cores 10,496 10,240 8,704 5,888
RT Cores 82 80 68 46
Tensor Cores
(2nd Gen)
328 320 272 184
Texture Units
(3rd Gen)
328 320 272 184
ROPs 112 112 88 64
L2 Cache 6 MB 6 MB 5 MB 4 MB
Base Clock 1,400 MHz 1,365 MHz 1,440 MHz 1,500 MHz
Boost Clock 1,700 MHz 1,830 MHz 1,710 MHz 1,730 MHz
Memory 24 GB
GDDR6X
12 GB
GDDR6X
10 GB
GDDR6X
8 GB
GDDR6
Memory Speed 935.8 GBps 760 GBps 760 GBps 512 GBps
Memory Bus 384-bit 320-bit 320-bit 256-bit
Supplementary
Power
2x PCIe 8-pin 3x PCIe 8-pin 2x PCIe 8-pin 1x PCIe 8-pin
Standard Display
Connectors 
HDMI 2.1
3x DisplayPort (1.4a)
HDMI (2.1)
3x DisplayPort (1.4a)
HDMI (2.1)
3x DisplayPort (1.4a)
HDMI (2.1)
3x DisplayPort (1.4a)
Max Resolution 8K (7680 x 4320) 8K (7680 x 4320) 8K (7680 x 4320) 8K (7680 x 4320)
TDP 350 W 350 W+ 320 W 220 W
Release Date 09/24/2020 6/2/2021 09/17/2020 10/28/2020
MSRP $1,499 $1199+ $699 $499

 

MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X

The RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X uses the Tri Frozr 2S heatsink sporting a nickel-plated copper base plate and square core pipes to transfer heat from the GPU to all of the heat pipes the full length of the fin array. The Torx 4.0 fans are of the ball bearing type and bind together pairs of blades using a linked outer ring design. MSI says this focuses the airflow into the cooling system and increases efficiency. Additionally, Zero Frozr technology, where the fans shut off below a certain temperature threshold, is also included. This is great for the audio profile at idle or low loads. Overall the fans were relatively quiet when using the Gaming mode and kept temperatures well within operating parameters.

The heatsink itself was redesigned to improve airflow dynamics. MSI installed deflectors on the fins that provide additional surface area and directs air to where it is needed for maximum cooling. The Wave-curve 2.0 fin edges are said to disrupt unwanted airflow harmonics resulting in reduced noise. In addition to the new fin array, MSI uses precision-machined square core pipes to achieve maximum contact between the GPU and copper base plate to spread the heat along the full length of the heatsink.

Supporting this power-hungry video card electrically is a robust power delivery system. Combined with the PCIe slot, the card can use up to 525 W while being in spec. Obviously, the power limit is lower than that on this card, but as you’ll see, we’ll use more than two 8-pin PCIe connectors, and the slot provides.

About the capacitor “issue” (that’s long over at this point) on the rear of some of these cards, MSI uses mostly MLCC caps with two POSCAP/SP-CAPs. This is different than the Gaming X Trio that sports four POSCAP/SP-CAPs. The issue was all but resolved with a driver update, but it is still good to know that more premium parts are used for a more expensive card.

On the software front, MSI uses the familiar MSI Afterburner to monitor and control their graphics cards. Afterburner has been updated with additional functionality, including the OC scanner to automatically overclock the card and additional skins, keeping it up to date. In addition to Afterburner is the MSI Dragon Center used to control the system itself and Mystic light to control the RGB lighting.​​

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

TORX FAN 4.0 is built on teamwork, with pairs of fan blades bound together with a linked outer ring design that focuses airflow into the updated TRI FROZR 2 cooling system.

TOTALLY COOL CORE PIPES
Core Pipes are precision-machined for maximum contact over the GPU and spread the heat along the full length of the heatsink for optimal cooling.

SHHHH…SILENCING HEATSINK DESIGN
Stay stealthy with Airflow Control that improves airflow dynamics. Deflectors provide additional surface area and guide air to where it’s needed for maximum cooling. Wave-curved 2.0 fin edges disrupt unwanted airflow harmonics resulting in reduced noise.

THAT’S HOW WE ROLL
Extremely durable double-ball bearings spin your TORX FANs for years of intense and lengthy gaming sessions with zero noise.

MSI AFTERBURNER

MSI Afterburner gives you complete control, lets you monitor your hardware in real-time and best of all: it’s completely free. and can be used with graphics cards from all brands.

 

Retail Packaging and Accessories

Retail Packaging GE Force RTX 3080Ti
Retail Packaging

 

MSI’s retail packaging for the 3080 Ti Suprim is the same as we’ve seen with the previous version we reviewed. The card uses a white background instead of black and has the black and green Nvidia branding gracing the front. Additionally, there’s an image of the card diagonally across the front along with the Suprim X branding. Flipping the box around, you’ll see several features and specifications listed.

When you open the box up, you’re again greeted by the Suprim name on top and the MSI name on an envelope at the bottom. The envelope holds all of the included paperwork (manuals, offers, etc.). Also inside is a GPU strut designed to support heavy graphics cards. The strut includes a base, threaded dowel rod, and adjustable platform to support the GPU.​

Inside the box

Accessories

Meet the MSI RTX 3080 Suprim X

MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X
MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X

 

The MSI Suprim X looks the part of a premium video card, just as its little brother does. The shroud has a more reserved design compared to the Gaming Trio, which many already approve of. The light grey in the middle is aluminum with a brushed finish, while the darker grey on the ends is plastic. RGB LEDs accent the front of the card with two frosted “arrows” between the two outer fans.

On top of the card, you’ll find more RGB lighting. Here the GeForce RTX and Suprim branding are both backlit. The colors are saturated and bright but not blinding. The backplate sports a brushed and matte finish with the MSI Gaming Dragon illuminated with RGB lighting. The backplate also serves as a passive heatsink with thermal pads located in critical areas (memory, VRM, etc.).

Overall it’s an attractive card, and as you would imagine is a big one. Measuring 13.2 x 5.5 x 2.4-inches (336 x 140 x 61 mm), the 3080 Ti Suprim X takes up over 2.5 slots and extends well past ATX (and E-ATX) size motherboards. Be sure you have the room to house this monster inside your case and let it breathe.

 

 

A Closer Look

Starting with the I/O area, the 3080 Ti Suprim comes with three DisplayPort ports (v1.4) and a single HDMI (v2.1) with a maximum digital resolution of 8K (7680 x 4320). The I/O plate also has small holes cut out for venting warm air, but an overwhelming majority of the heat is dumped inside the chassis. As mentioned previously, power is sent to the card by three (required) 8-pin PCIe connectors.

There’s also a BIOS switch to control the fans. The switch has two modes, Silent and Gaming. We left the switch on Gaming for our testing, which ramps the fans up more aggressively to keep the card cool. In the end, the Tri Frozr 2S heatsink does a good job at mitigating the 350W of heat this card puts out and does so relatively quietly too.

IO - 3x DisplayPorts, 1x HDMI
IO – 3x DisplayPorts, 1x HDMI

3x 8-pin PCIe required, BIOS switch
3x 8-pin PCIe required, BIOS switch

Sadly, I could not take the card apart in time for the initial publication due to time constraints. However, we’ll update this section.

GPU-Z and the MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X on the Test Bench

GPUz – Stock

As you can see from the GPU-Z shot above, the MSI RTX 3080 Suprim X has a stock operating clock of 1365 MHz with an 1830 MHz Boost. The full boost speed from this sample peaked around 1925 MHz, settling around 1890 MHz or so once warmed up during testing. Below is a picture of the card on the test bench.

MSI 3080 Ti Suprim
MSI 3080 Ti Suprim

 

Test System and Benchmark Methods

Test System Components
Motherboard ASUS ROG Maximus XII ExtremeEVGA Z590 FTW WiFi
CPU Intel i9-10900K @ stock
CPU Cooler EVGA CLC 240
Memory 2×8 GB G.Skill Royal 3600 MHz CL16-16-16-36
SSD Gigabyte Aorus 2 TB NVMe Gen4 (OS + Applications)
Power Supply EVGA 750W G3
Video Card Asus ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC @ Stock, Nvidia 456.55 Win10 64-bit WHQL drivers

Our test system is based on the latest mainstream Intel z490 platform and uses the i9-10900K 10/20t CPU. The CPU is overclocked to 4.9 GHz on all cores/threads with cache set to 4.3 GHz. The clock speeds used provide a good base to minimize any limitations the CPU may have on our titles, particularly when using the lower resolutions, and should be attainable with a good air cooler or better. The DRAM is in a 2×8 GB configuration at 3600 MHz with CL16-16-16-36-2T timings, a middle-of-the-road option balancing performance and cost.

Since the last update, we have made some significant changes adding a few new titles and dropping some of the older games. More details can be found in the GPU Testing Procedure article, which we have updated with our latest benchmarks. Below is a quick summary for easy reference.

  • UL 3DMark Time Spy – Default settings
  • UL 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) – Default settings
  • UL 3DMark Port Royal – Default Settings (Ray Tracing capable cards only)
  • Unigine Superposition – Performance, 1080p High
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – DX12, “Highest” preset (will add RTX when it has been patched)
  • The Division 2 – DX12, Ultra preset, VSync Off
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – Ultra High preset, VSync Off
  • Far Cry New Dawn – Ultra defaults
  • F1 2020 – DX12, Very High defaults, TAA, and x16 AF, Australia track, do not show FPS counter
  • Metro: Exodus – DX12, Ultra defaults

Synthetic Benchmarks

Our first set of benchmarks hail from Underwriters Laboratories, which acquired Futuremark back in 2014. Earlier in 2018, a rebrand occurred, and since that time, Futuremark is now UL. The benchmarks have not changed, just the name. We chose to stick with 3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) and 3DMark Time Spy as these tests give users a good idea of performance on modern titles. We’ve also added 3DMark Port Royal, the first Ray Tracing benchmark designed for Windows 10 PCs and graphics cards with Microsoft DirectX Raytracing capabilities.

3DMark Fire Strike (Extreme) is a DX11-based test that runs at 1080p resolution. UL says the graphics are rendered with detail and complexity far beyond other DX11 benchmarks and games. 3DMark Time Spy is a DX12 benchmark designed for Windows 10 PCs. It supports new API features such as asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, multi-threading and runs at 2560×1440 resolution.

In our synthetic tests, the MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X performed well, running faster than our Asus ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC and trading punches at times with the RTX 3090. It even beats the 6900 XT in most tests as well. Overall, the 3080 Ti, MSI’s overclocked version, is an upgrade to the RTX 3080 and is within reach of the RTX 3090 in this test. Let’s see how it fared in games.

Gaming Benchmarks

For gaming benchmarks, we have updated our testing suite to bring more modern titles into the mix. Gone are Battlefield V, F1 2018, Far Cry 5, AOTS:e, and World of Tanks, replaced with Metro Exodus, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, F1 2020, and Far Cry: New Dawn. We kept The Division 2 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The games should provide a good view of the overall performance of the card. Many of these are DX12 games.

1080p (1920×1080) Results

The Division 2
Far Cry: New Dawn
F1 2020
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Metro: Exodus
Shadow of the Tomb Raider

 

At 1080p, the results from these powerful cards are compacted since the low resolution is oftentimes more CPU bound. That being said, our 3080 Ti Suprim performed well here, beating out the 3080 in most tests and trading punches with the 3090 flagship part, even beating AMD’s flagship 6900 XT in most games we test. Overclocking at this low-resolution yields minimal gains as expected. You’ll see a greater response at the higher resolutions.

2560×1440 and 4K UHD Results

Below are the higher resolution results starting with 2560×1440 and the gaining in popularity 3840×2160 (4K UHD). These resolutions prove to be a bit of a stretch for some cards, but an Ampere-based RTX 3080 Ti had no issues running either setting.

2560 x 1440
3840 x 2160

In looking at the charts above, the MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim X handled both the 1440p and 4K UHD resolutions with ease. At 2560 x 1440,  it was able to output 144 FPS in most titles. Those who play competitively typically turn settings down for higher FPS/smoother gameplay, so there’s some meat left on the bone in that case. Even here, we still see some CPU bottlenecks with the RTX 3090 running so close or even losing in a few games. But this could also be in part due to older drivers used in some titles. Bumping up the resolution to 4K UHD, we could still maintain over 60 FPS in all titles using our Ultra settings. Again we see the RTX 3090 pulling away in most titles while the 3080 is significantly faster than the 2080 Ti.

RTX and DLSS Testing

Below we did some testing in Metro Exodus, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider with ray tracing (RTX) turned on at 1440p and 4K. As you can see, it did improve frame rates, but they were still below our previous results without ray tracing enabled. We’re able to see significant improvements in performance overall with the increase in RT cores.

Overclocking

For overclocking, we used MSI Afterburner 4.6.3 beta 2. The OC scanner froze on us (I personally haven’t had good luck with this tool), but we ended up at +74 for the core and +611 on the memory. This change yielded a peak clock of 2055 MHz in-game that settled to around 2025 MHz. We simply raised the power limit to its maximum (in this case, 116%), and fan speeds were left on auto. This gave us a slight performance boost at 1080p (~2%) and a bit more at higher, more GPU-bound resolutions (~4%).

GPUz – Overclocked

 

Overclocking Software

MSI Afterburner has been a part of a video card overclocker’s toolbox for quite some time now. Over the years, it has improved its appearance and added additional functions, one of which is the automatic overclocking, or overclock scanner. While we didn’t have much luck with this version either, all other functionality worked without issue.

MSI Afterburner

 

Temperatures and Power Use

We test power consumption by running through the game benchmarks of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and F1 2020 at stock speeds and while overclocked. We monitor temperatures throughout this testing, with the peak temperature is listed in the data below. To simulate real gaming conditions more accurately, the benchmarks are extended (time) to allow the card to settle.

Temperatures

When we tested for temperatures, we left the fan profile on performance and let the massive cooling solution do its thing. In the end, the card peaked at 75°C at stock speeds and 77°C while overclocked in both titles. The card was quiet throughout testing, even when running at the maximum speeds. MSI’s Tri Frozr 2S cooling solution does the job and in relative silence on the open-air testbed.

Power Consumption

Power use on this 350 W+ card peaked at 645 W (system) overclocked and 605 W while at stock. Overall, it uses more power than the 3080 and really crept up there while overclocked. A quality 850 W PSU will be sufficient for most setups, including overclocking both CPU and GPU and still allowing for headroom and quiet operation.

Conclusion

The rumored and long-awaited Geforce RTX 3080 Ti has finally arrived. With an MSRP of well over nearly $1200, it fills the huge price gap between the current flagship RTX 3090 ($1499+) and the RTX 3080 ($699+), though it clearly leans a lot closer to the 3090. From a hardware and cost perspective, it makes sense. But as a consumer, it’s a bit of a kick in the pants. Considering that it’s still impossible to get one anywhere close to that price currently, we’ll have to use some creative thinking or dream of a time when the market settles. The MSI RTX 3080 Ti Suprim has an MSRP of… well, it’s going to be north of $1199.99, but that’s all we know. We don’t have information on other card partner pricing, but you can expect the Asus Strix and Gigabyte Aorus and EVGA FTW models to be in the same ballpark and rare as unicorns.

Performance versus a comparably overclocked RTX 3080 improved by a few percent on average and filled in the smaller performance gap between the flagship and former second in line card. The 3080 Ti comes with 12 GB of GDDR6X RAM, two more GB’s worth. While this doesn’t do much for users today, games could cross that 10 GB threshold as time goes on, leading to a slightly longer lifespan for this card. Is it worth the price difference? That depends on the user. If you’re running 4K, the leash would be slightly shorter, so the extra 2 GB could be more beneficial sooner.

In the end, Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Ti is a cut-down flagship part that performs almost as fast as the mighty RTX 3090 and a (slightly) lower price tag with it. I would like to have seen the RTX 3080 Ti start closer to $999. Staring there would bring aftermarket cards like this down a couple of hundred dollars too, but that’s all a dream. MSI’s Suprim will surely cost more than the Founders card, but who knows where it lands compared to the other like partner cards. Between the robust power delivery, quiet Tri Frozr 2S cooling solution, premium styling that fits in with most build themes, and performance that’s just about as fast as an RTX 3090, the MSI 3080 Ti Suprim is is ready to take on any contender in its space.

Click to find out what this means

– Joe Shields (Earthdog)

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