NVidia’s support of its multi-GPU technology has followed a tumultuous course over the years. Following a heavy push for adoption (that landed flat with developers), the company shunted its own SLI tech with Pascal, where multi-GPU support was cut-down to two devices concurrently. Even in press briefings, the company acknowledged waning interest and support in multi-GPU, and so the marketing efforts died entirely with Pascal. Come Turing, a renewed interest in creating multiple-purchasers has spurred development effort to coincide with NVLink, a 100GB/s symmetrical interface for the 2080 Ti. On the 2080, this still maintains a 50GB/s bus. It seems that nVidia may be pushing again for multi-GPU, and NVLink could further enable actual performance scaling with 2x RTX 2080 Tis or RTX 2080s (conclusions notwithstanding). Today, we're benchmarking the RTX 2080 Ti with NVLink (two-way), including tests for PCIe 3.0 bandwidth limitations when using x16/x8 or x8/x8 vs. x16/x16. The GTX 1080 Ti in SLI is also featured.
Note that we most recently visited the topic of PCIe bandwidth limitations in this post, featuring two Titan Vs, and must again revisit this topic. We have to determine whether an 8086K and Z370 platform will be sufficient for benchmarking with multi-GPU, i.e. in x16/x8, and so that requires another platform – the 7980XE and X299 DARK that we used to take a top-three world record previously.
It’s more “RTX OFF” than “RTX ON,” at the moment. The sum of games that include RTX-ready features on launch is 0. The number of tech demos is growing by the hour – the final hours – but tech demos don’t count. It’s impressive to see what nVidia is doing in its “Asteroids” mesh shading and LOD demonstration. It is also impressive to see the Star Wars demo in real-time (although we have no camera manipulation, oddly, which is suspect). Neither of these, unfortunately, are playable games, and the users for whom the RTX cards are presumably made are gamers. You could then argue that nVidia’s Final Fantasy XV benchmark demo, which does feature RTX options, is a “real game” with the technology – except that the demo is utterly, completely untrustworthy, even though it had some of its issues resolved previously (but not all – culling is still dismal).
And so we’re left with RTX OFF at present, which leaves us with a focus primarily upon “normal” games, thermals, noise, overclocking on the RTX 2080 Founders Edition, and rasterization.
We don’t review products based on promises. It’s cool that nVidia wants to push for new features. It was also cool that AMD did with Vega, but we don’t cut slack for features that are unusable by the consumer.
The new nVidia RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti reviews launch today, with cards launching tomorrow, and we have standalone benchmarks going live for both the RTX 2080 Founders Edition and RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition. Additional reviews of EVGA’s XC Ultra and ASUS’ Strix will go live this week, with an overclocking livestream starting tonight (9/19) at around 6-7PM EST starting time. In the meantime, we’re here to start our review series with the RTX 2080 FE card.
NVidia’s Turing architecture has entered the public realm, alongside an 83-page whitepaper, and is now ready for technical detailing. We have spoken with several nVidia engineers over the past few weeks, attended the technical editor’s day presentations, and have read through the whitepaper – there’s a lot to get through, so we will be breaking this content into pieces with easily navigable headers.
Turing is a modified Volta at its core, which is a heavily modified Pascal. Core architecture isn’t wholly unrecognizable between Turing and Pascal – you’d be able to figure out that they’re from the same company – but there are substantive changes within the Turing core.
We’re finally nearing completion of our office move-in – as complete as a never-ending project can be, anyway. Our set table is now done, although not shown in today’s video, and the test room is getting filled. That’s the first news item. Work is finally getting produced in the office.
Aside from that, the week has been packed with hardware news. This is one of our densest episodes in recent months, and features a response to the Tom’s Hardware debacle (by Thomas Pabst himself), NVIDIA’s own performance expectations of the RTX 2080, AMD strategic shuffling, and more.
As always, show notes are after the video.
Other than news that our move into an office is nearly complete -- and that is big news, at least, for us -- the industry has been largely focused on GPUs for the past few weeks. NVidia's remaining 10-series GPU inventory has been purged down-channel to board partners, who are now working to drop 10-series video card prices in fire sales that lead into the RTX 20-series launch. We've also heard of Spectre and Meltdown again (it's been a while), with Intel pushing more microcode updates to assist in mitigating attack vectors. Those updates came with a brief "no benchmarks" clause, but that seems to have been addressed in the time since.
Separately: We'll be at PAX West this weekend for one day (Friday), and will be joining Corsair and PC World on a PC gaming panel at 7:00PM in the Sandworm Theater. Learn more here.
The show notes and article are below the video embed, if you prefer reading.
We had an opportunity to disassemble multiple EVGA RTX video cards, including the EVGA RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, the latter featuring assistance from Der8auer of Caseking’s booth. Our coverage is still going live as we edit, render, and upload, but the immediate news item pertains to die size.
Update: Added a correction for SM / CUDA Core numbers, now that full details have been leaked.
NVIDIA announced its new Turing video cards for gaming today, including the RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070. The cards move forward with an upgraded-but-familiar Volta architecture, with some changes to the SMs and memory. The new RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti ship with reference cards first, and partner cards largely at the same time (with some more advanced models coming 1+ month later), depending on which partner it is. The board partners did not receive pricing or even card naming until around the same time as media, so expect delays in custom solutions. Note that we were originally hearing a 1-3 month latency on partner cards, but that looks to be only for advanced models that are just now entering production. Most tri-fan models should come available on the same date.
Another major point of consideration is NVIDIA's decision to use a dual-axial reference card, eliminating much of the value of partner cards at the low-end. Moving away from blower reference cards and toward dual-fan cards will most immediately impact board partners, something that could lead to a slow crawl of NVIDIA expanding its direct-to-consumer sales and bypassing partners. The RTX 2080 Ti will be priced at $1200 and will launch on September 20, with the 2080 at $800 (and September 20), and the 2070 at $600 (TBD release date).
Hardware news for the past week has been largely dominated by GPU rumblings -- a good thing, given the multi-year gap between lion's share holder NVIDIA's Pascal. The company announced its NVIDIA Turing architecture for Quadro cards, an upgrade on Volta, and has teased the GeForce "RTX 2080" gaming graphics card in one of its videos. Turing will be the subject of heavy discussion come Gamescom, based on what NVIDIA has indicated from its public event schedule. On NVIDIA's coattails, Intel has also indicated a desired to push graphics -- with teasers pointing toward potential consumer dGPUs -- by the year 2020.
The hardware move didn't slow down for our move, it turns out. HW News for the past week includes a major focus on GV104 & GV102-branded GPUs listed in AIDA64's Device ID database, new R3 2000-series CPUs shown by Lenovo, Threadripper 2's specs, TSMC shutting down for a virus, and more. This is also our first video shot in the new space (though we're still doing sound treatment, so there's a bit of echo).
The first point of interest for our regular weekly recap of HW News is our overclocking livestream. We're planning an i7-8086K CPU overclocking livestream on Wednesday, July 11, at 6PM EST. We'll likely be dragging ye olde Titan V out to claim some ranks once again, and later hope to 1v1 Buildzoid in a livestream. This last piece won't happen on Wednesday, but Wednesday will be our preparation for the live OC battle. Other GN news includes the closing of our presale for the limited edition foil GN shirts, commemorating the launch of our 10-year anniversary logo. If you've wanted one, now is the time to get an order in. Our Blueprint design shirts are also back in stock.
Aside from GN news, Micron is facing a temporary ban from sales of Crucial and Ballistix products in China (and has also responded to this ban), Intel's 9000-series CPUs have been spoiled (and may not be actually 9th Gen), and nVidia leaks from Lenovo indicate 1160 and 1180 launches are imminent.
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