Nvidia GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs: 5 things PC gamers need to know

Nvidia revealed its long-awaited GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards on Tuesday, and frankly, they look ferocious. The company claims these GPUs represent Nvidia’s “greatest generational leap ever,” and on paper, the GeForce RTX 3070, GeForce RTX 3080, and GeForce RTX 3090 certainly look to live up to those claims.

Our GeForce RTX 30-series announcement coverage and RTX 30-series vs. RTX 20-series spec comparison wade deep into the sort of nitty-gritty details that nerds love. But if you’re a gamer who just wants a high-level tl;dr view of what matters with these graphics cards, read on.

Here are five things you need to know about Nvidia’s cutting-edge GeForce RTX 30-series.

1. They should be smoking-fast

One of the biggest digs against the older GeForce RTX 20-series was that those GPUs didn’t provide enough performance uplift versus their predecessors. Nvidia listened. The company claims the $500 GeForce RTX 3070 will be faster than the former $1,200 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti flagship, and the $700 GeForce RTX 3080 will churn out frames at a much higher clip. As for the monstrous $1,400 GeForce RTX 3090, well, Nvidia didn’t get into many hard performance details other than to say it will be the first graphics card capable of playing games at 8K resolution. Holy moley.

Check out these Nvidia-supplied performance charts:

geforce rtx performance Nvidia

An Nvidia-supplied comparison of how the GeForce RTX 30-series GPUs compare against the RTX 20-series in a variety of games.

nvidia 2nd gen rtx core Nvidia
nvidia generational leap Nvidia

And yes, the GeForce RTX 30-series should absolutely scream in games with RTX features like ray tracing and DLSS enabled. Nvidia says the revamped RT and tensor cores inside these “Ampere”-architecture GPUs will be 1.7X and 2.7X faster than their predecessors, respectively.

Of course, you want to wait for independent testing to verify Nvidia’s lofty claims, but nevertheless: Giddy up.

2. The memory can make your games faster

The GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 pack cutting-edge GDDR6X memory, which promises to move data twice as fast as the GDDR6 memory found in the GeForce RTX 20-series. The 3090 comes packed with a whopping 24GB of it. That’s impressively ludicrous, but some new Nvidia technology aims to put that memory and the GeForce RTX 30-series’ PCIe 4.0 support to even better use: improving your game-loading times.

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