EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra review: Built to push the bleeding edge of performance

EVGA's GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra packs a fantastic custom cooling system and all sorts of extras designed to push clock speeds to 11.

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This DX11 game that isn’t really a visual barn-burner like the (somewhat wonky) Red Dead Redemption 2, but it still tops the Steam charts day in and day out, so we deem it more worthy of testing. RDR2 will melt your graphics card, sure, but GTA V remains so popular years after launch that upgraded versions of it will be available on the next-generation consoles. That’s staying power.

We test Grand Theft Auto V with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gta v Brad Chacos/IDG

Rainbow Six Siege

Like GTA V, Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege still dominates the Steam charts years after its launch, and it’ll be getting a visual upgrade for the next-gen consoles. The developers have poured a ton of work into the game’s AnvilNext engine over the years, eventually rolling out a Vulkan version of the game that we use to test. By default, the game lowers the render scaling to increase frame rates, but we set it to 100 percent to benchmark native rendering performance on graphics cards. Even still, frame rates soar.

rb6 Brad Chacos/IDG

Power draw, thermals, and noise

We test power draw by looping the F1 2020 benchmark at 4K for about 20 minutes after we’ve benchmarked everything else. We note the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter, which measures the power consumption of our entire test system. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion. 

This isn’t a worst-case test; we removed the Core i7 8700K’s overclock and specifically chose a GPU-bound game running at a GPU-bound resolution to gauge performance when the graphics card is sweating hard. If you’re playing a game that also hammers the CPU, you will see higher overall system power draws. Consider yourself warned.

power Brad Chacos/IDG

Nvidia’s GA102 GPU is a power hungry chip, and it’s even more so under the FTW3 Ultra’s factory overclock and abundant RGB lights. Make sure your power supply is up to snuff before you snag any of these Ampere cards.

We test thermals by leaving GPU-Z open during the F1 2020 power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

temps Brad Chacos/IDG

EVGA’s heavy-metal, sensor-laden cooler works. Keeping such a power-hungry GPU limited to just 72 degrees Celsius under maximum load is a stunning achievement. While MSI’s Gaming X Trio was incredibly quiet, the FTW3 Ultra stays silent no matter what you’re doing. You can’t hear it over the case fans and CPU cooler in our system for practical use, nor did it make a peep even with the side panel off. This is a fantastic cooler.

It’s worth noting that the FTW3 Ultra’s secondary BIOS increases fan speeds, either to lower temperatures or to give the GPU more thermal headroom for boost clocks, but we didn’t benchmark that configuration. We test graphics cards at stock settings.

Next page: Should you buy the EVGA GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra?

At a Glance
  • EVGA's GeForce RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra packs a fantastic custom cooling system and all sorts of extras designed to push clock speeds to 11. Overclocking enthusiasts will love this, and overlook its high power draw and massive size.


    • Excellent 4K and 1440p gaming
    • Cold, silent custom cooler
    • Loaded with overclocking-friendly features
    • Fan and RGB headers, striking RGB lights
    • Precision X1 software is superb
    • Ray tracing at 4K and 1440p
    • Ultra-fast GDDR6x memory


    • Massive size
    • Very high power consumption
    • Steep premium for luxurious features
    • Ugly red plastic accent 'lips' on ends
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