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RTX 2080 Ti: Processor of the Future, or Expensive Garbage?

Updated: Mar 13, 2019

By: Connor Bass

PTS Falconer Contributor

March 11, 2019

GPUs (Graphical Processing Units) are some of the most amazing pieces of technology that nobody knows about. Basically, GPUs accelerate the creation of images that output to your screen, and lessen the load on your CPU (Central Processing Unit).

If you want to do anything more complicated than writing an essay in Word, chances are that your GPU is involved. Browsing a website? That's mostly your CPU, but your GPU can help with more complex, dynamic pages. Watching a YouTube video? Your GPU is helping your CPU display that video. Playing a video game? Your GPU is doing most of the work.

GPUs are heavily optimized to render images. To illustrate how optimized GPUs are, I set up a test. I set a game to run on integrated graphics, which means it treats your CPU as a GPU and tries it’s best to run the game. Running on integrated, the CPU could run the game at 14FPS. With the help of the GPU, the framerate never dropped below 60. That is a 430% increase in performance! And this test was done using a CPU (i7-4720HQ @ 2.60GHz $350) that cost exactly as much as the GPU (GTX 980m $350).

Anyways, let's talk about the newest, most powerful GPU on the market: The RTX 2080 Ti. At 162% the price of the previous generation’s top-of-the-line processor (the 1080), the 2080 costs a staggering $1,300! This massive leap in price is due to the new technology in the 2080: ray tracing. Ray tracing is a new, incredibly complex technology that allows for much faster renderings of realistic objects. The only problem is that GPUs with ray tracing make up less than 1% of GPUs in the world, so barely anybody is developing software that is ray tracing compatible. As of right now, there are only two or three games that can utilize ray tracing. Running normal games (Overwatch, CS:GO, DOTA, etc.) that don’t utilize ray tracing, the 2080 only boasts an effective speed increase of 23% over the 1080. That’s insanely small! Why would you ever pay $1300 for something that is only effectively 23% faster than something that costs $800?!

The only people I could realistically recommend the 2080 to are 3D modelers that don’t want to wait for hours just to render a single scene. In rendering tests, the 2080 performed 110% better than the 1080 when it came to rendering a target array with geometry shaders. As for what most of us buying a high-end GPU are concerned with (gaming), the 2080 is still only 23% faster than the 1080. Don’t get me wrong, ray tracing is the technology of the future, but we aren’t all ready for the future just yet.

TL;DR: Expensive garbage. Just get a 1080 (or two).