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DaVinci Resolve Studio - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Performance

Written on September 17, 2020 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 performance in DaVinci Resolve Studio

While performance when editing and doing basic grades may only be 10-25% faster with the new RTX 3080 compared to the previous generation RTX 20-series cards, when doing noise reduction or using OpenFX, the performance gap widens from a minimum of 30% faster compared to a Titan RTX to almost 2x faster compared to an RTX 2060 SUPER!

This also puts a single RTX 3080 10GB within spitting distance of a dual RTX 2080 Ti 11GB setup, which considering that is comparing a $699 GPU to a $2,400 pair of cards is extremely impressive.

Introduction

DaVinci Resolve is known in the industry as having excellent GPU-acceleration support - greatly benefiting from a powerful (or multiple powerful) video cards. This makes it very interesting in regards to NVIDIA's recently announced GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs since NVIDIA has been pushing their GeForce line of cards more and more into the professional content creation space with their "Studio" program. Gaming may still be front and center during these launches, but we have high expectations for what these new GPUs will be able to achieve in a professional application like DaVinci Resolve.

DaVinci Resolve Studio GPU Performance Benchmark - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB

If you want to see the full specs for the new GeForce RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090 cards, we recommend checking out NVIDIAs page for the new 30 series cards. But at a glance, here are what we consider to be the most important specs:

VRAM CUDA Cores Boost Clock Power MSRP
RTX 2070S 8GB 2,560 1.77 GHz 215W $499
RTX 3070 8GB 5,888 1.70 GHz 220W $499
RTX 2080 Ti 11GB 4,352 1.55 GHz 250W $1,199
RTX 3080 10GB 8,704 1.71 GHz 320W $699
Titan RTX 24GB 4,608 1.77 GHz 280W $2,499
RTX 3090 24GB 10,496 1.73 GHz 350W $1,499

While specs rarely line up with real-world performance, it is a great sign that NVIDIA has doubled the number of CUDA cores compared to the comparable RTX 20 series cards with only a small drop in the boost clock. At the same time, the RTX 3080 and 3090 are also $500-1000 less expensive than the previous generation depending on which models you are comparing them to.

While it is a bit odd that the RTX 3080 has less VRAM than the 2080 Ti, all three of these new cards should all be capable of working with 4K timelines in DaVinci Resolve. If you want to work with 8K and above media, however, only the 3090 (with 24GB of VRAM respectively) would meet our current recommendation. Using a GPU with less than 20GB of VRAM when using 8K and larger media is likely to result in constant "out of GPU memory" errors that are not conducive to a smooth workflow.

Since only the RTX 3080 is fully launched at this point (the 3090 is set to launch on Sept 24th, and the 3070 sometime in October), we, unfortunately, will only be able to examine the 3080 at this time. However, we are very interested in how the RTX 3070 and 3090 will perform, and when we are able to test those cards, we will post follow-up articles with the results.

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Test Setup

Listed below is the specifications of the system we will be using for our testing:

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of September 15th, 2020

To test each GPU, we will be using the fastest platform currently available for DaVinci Resolve- most notably the AMD Threadripper 3970X. Since Resolve utilizes the CPU so heavily, this should minimize the impact of the processor and allow each GPU to perform at their fullest potential.

One thing we need to specifically point out is that we are using an un-released build of DaVinci Resolve due to a bug that prevents the current builds (including the 16.3 beta) from properly processing R3D media with the RTX 3080. This is a known issue, with the fix being implemented in this new build.

For the testing itself, we will be using another un-released bit of software - version .92 of our PugetBench for DaVinci Resolve benchmark. This new version is very close to being available to the public, but since the tests are much better than the version that you can currently download, we opted to go ahead and use it for this comparison.

We will be using the "Extended" preset that includes both 4K, 8K media as well as specific effects and Fusion tests. Using 8K media with most of the cards we are testing is actually not a good idea due to the "out of GPU memory" errors you would likely encounter, but our benchmark does not load the Resolve UI which means that the VRAM load is much lower; allowing GPUs with just 8GB of VRAM to successfully complete the 8K tests.

Raw Benchmark Results

While we are going to go through our analysis of the testing in the next section, we always like to provide the raw results for those that want to dig into the details. If there is a specific codec or export setting you tend to use in your workflow, examining the raw results for that task is going to be much more applicable than our more general analysis.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 performance in DaVinci Resolve Studio

Overall DaVinci Resolve Studio Performance Analysis

While many reviewers like to solely look at things like temporal noise reduction (often to an unrealistic degree) or OpenFX that heavily utilize the GPU, we first want to start off by looking at the overall performance we saw from our DaVinci Resolve benchmark with each GPU in order to show what most users would likely experience in their day-to-day work.

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Looking at the Overall Extended Score, the new RTX 3080 does very well, beating the similarly priced RTX 2080 SUPER by about 20%. It also does very well compared to the more expensive RTX 2080 Ti and Titan RTX, out-performing those cards by 14% and 11% respectively. It even manages to trade blows with a dual RTX 2080 Ti setup, only losing by a few percent.

If you are currently using a lower-end RTX card, an AMD Radeon GPU, or an older GTX 1080 Ti, the performance gains are significant. Depending on the exact card, you are looking at anywhere from a 20 to 50% increase in performance with the new RTX 3080.

However, this is looking at all our tests - including the Fusion portion which is almost entirely CPU limited. To get a better idea of the maximum performance difference between these cards, we should hone in on the "GPU Effects" portion of our benchmark which looks at tasks like TNR and various GPU-accelerated OpenFX.

GPU Score Analysis

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB DaVinci Resolve Studio GPU Effects benchmark performance

The GPU effects portion of our benchmarks looks at the performance of individual GPU-accelerated effects such as temporal noise reduction, film grain, lens blur, optical flow, face refinement, and more. In our testing, these effects easily show the largest benefit from having a powerful GPU, which means that they should give us the best look at the maximum performance gain you may encounter from each of the GPUs we are testing.

In this test, the RTX 3080 puts up some very impressive numbers, beating the similarly priced RTX 2080 SUPER by a whopping 62%. This is a massive increase in performance that, in most cases, make the older RTX 20-series cards obsolete.

Compared to the more expensive RTX 2080 Ti and Titan RTX, the RTX 3080 also handily beats those cards by around 30%. Dual RTX 2080 Ti is still faster than a single RTX 3080, but as they are only ~15% faster, this is a good indicator that the upcoming RTX 3090 may be able to match or beat a dual GPU setup from the previous generation. Be sure to check back after the RTX 3090 launches on 9/24/2020 to see exactly how that card performs!

Compared to the lower-end RTX 20-series and GTX 1080 Ti cards, you are looking at up to almost a doubling of performance once you get down to the RTX 2060 SUPER or GTX 1080 Ti. And if you are considering moving from an AMD Radeon GPU to the RTX 3080, the performance gain is even more significant - up to 3x faster!

How well does the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 perform in DaVinci Resolve Studio?

Overall, the new RTX 3080 does extremely well in DaVinci Resolve. Performance while editing and doing basic grades may only be 10-25% faster than the previous generation RTX 20-series cards, but when doing noise reduction or using OpenFX, the performance gap widens from a minimum of 30% faster compared to a Titan RTX to almost 2x faster compared to an RTX 2060 SUPER!

This puts a single RTX 3080 10GB within spitting distance of a dual RTX 2080 Ti 11GB setup, which considering that is comparing a $699 GPU to a $2,400 pair of cards is very exciting. It also makes us excited to see what the RTX 3090 24GB can do after it launches on September 24th. If that card can match or beat a dual GPU setup from the previous generation, this could open to doors to significantly faster, more capable, and cheaper workstations for DaVinci Resolve.

One thing we want to point out is that the testing in this article was all done with a single RTX 3080 video card. We are very interested in doing multi-GPU testing with these new RTX 30-series cards since the new cooling designs make us concerned for the viability of multi-GPU configurations. Unlike the previous generation, these new cards (including all the third-party models we have seen so far) do not vent a significant portion of their heat directly outside the chassis which may mean that using more than 2 GPUs will not be feasible without a complex and expensive liquid cooling setup.

Given what we have seen from the RTX 3080, we doubt that you will be able to get a faster setup using the older cards even though you could stack four of them in a system, but it is possible that the maximum performance possible from a single workstation will not actually increase all that much even though these new cards are so much more powerful on an individual basis. Once the RTX 3090 has launched and we get our hands on multiple cards to test, expect to see a number of articles revolving around multi-GPU configurations.

As always, keep in mind that these results are strictly for DaVinci Resolve. If you have performance concerns for other applications in your workflow, we highly recommend checking out our Hardware Articles (you can filter by "Video Card") for the latest information on how a range of applications perform with the new RTX 3080 GPU, as well as with different CPUs and other hardware.

Computer System

DaVinci Resolve Workstations

Puget Systems offers a range of powerful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs technician talking with customer

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

Find Out More!
Tags: Hardware Acceleration, hardware encoding, NVIDIA, NVIDIA vs AMD, AMD, Vega 64, Radeon RX 5700 XT, RTX 2060 SUPER, RTX 2070 SUPER, RTX 2080 SUPER, RTX 2080 Ti, Titan RTX, RTX 3080, DaVinci Resolve
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