The new RTX 30-series graphics cards have been announced. Here's what you need to know

A quick guide to Nvidia's RTX 3080 and other Ampere GPUs

Nvidia's latest line of GPUs are monsters. Even the lowest spec of these second-gen RTX cards outperforms the 2080 Ti—the fastest consumer GPU in the world up until just now. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang calls Ampere "the greatest generational leap the company has ever made".

1. What is Ampere?


The new Ampere range spans three cards: The RTX 3090 ($1,499), The RTX 3080 ($699), and the RTX 3070 ($499). Nvidia claims the flagship 3080 offers twice the performance of the 2080 Ti.

2. Meet the RTX family

Nicknamed the 'BFGPU' (for Big Ferocious GPU, obviously), 3090 is said to be the first consumer card able to run games in 8K at playable frame rates. It packs more than twice the RAM of the 2080 Ti.

3. The 3090 is a beast

Nvidia is working with Micron to produce the fastest memory going for Ampere. GDDR6X can run at over 19Gbps, and both the 3080 and 3090 will use that speed to run games in 4K and beyond at high frame rates.

4. GDDR6X could be a game-changer

Nvidia's been working on an ingenious solution to keep Ampere cards cool and quiet. With a topsy-turvy fan design and short PCB, it hopes to keep air whizzing through your case optimally.

5. New cards, new coolers

While you don't necessarily need a new motherboard for Ampere, the next-gen cards will run best with PCIe 4.0 support. For that, you need an AMD Ryzen chip and motherboard, but by the time any of that really matters, we also expect Intel to be PCIe 4.0 ready.

6. You won't need a new motherboard... probably

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