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OctaneRender 2020 - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Performance

Written on September 17, 2020 by William George
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TL;DR: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Performance in OctaneRender

Is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 good to use in OctaneRender? That is a hard question to answer directly because it depends greatly on your situation. If you are on a very limited budget, or only have room in your workstation for a single video card, then the GeForce RTX 3080 is a great choice for OctaneRender. It has the highest single-card performance we have seen (though it will surely be eclipsed by the RTX 3090 later this month) and 25% more memory than the previous-gen model at the same price point.

At the same time, though, if you are accustomed to workstations with three or four powerful video cards stacked inside to give you the best rendering speeds possible... that may not be an option with this generation, or at least not for a while. Without rear-exhausting models it will be hard to cool even two of these beasts in a single system, and while the price:performance ratio of the RTX 3080 is undeniably great the raw performance of two RTX 2080 Ti cards (which were produced in single-fan, rear-exhaust variants) will still outpace it by a fair margin... not to mention three or four of those, which we routinely built into a single tower or rackmount workstation. We will have to wait and see when, or even if, we are ever able to offer that density of RTX 3000-series cards.

OctaneRender Performance Review for NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB

Introduction

On September 1st, NVIDIA launched the new GeForce RTX 30 Series, touting major advancements in performance and efficiency. While gaming is almost always this media focus during these kinds of launches, professional applications like OTOY's OctaneRender should also see some significant per-card improvements as well.

There is a downside to this product launch for GPU-based rendering, though: the new cooler design that NVIDIA has introduced on their Founders Edition RTX 3000-series cards is even worse for multi-card configurations than the last generation. If third-party card manufacturers are able to produce RTX 3080 and 3090 cards with rear-exhaust coolers then things will still be okay, but if not then per-system performance in GPU rendering will be much lower despite the speed of a single card being higher.

If you want to see the full specs for the new GeForce RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090 cards, we recommend checking out NVIDIA's page for the new RTX 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 2070 Super 8GB 2,560 1.77 GHz 215W $499
RTX 3070 8GB 5,888 1.70 GHz 220W $499
RTX 2080 Super 8GB 3,072 1.65 GHz 250W $699
RTX 3080 10GB 8,704 1.71 GHz 320W $699
RTX 2080 Ti 11GB 4,352 1.55 GHz 250W $1,199
RTX 3090 24GB 10,496 1.73 GHz 350W $1,499
Titan RTX 24GB 4,608 1.77 GHz 280W $2,499

While specs don't always line up with real-world performance, it is a great sign that NVIDIA has roughly doubled the number of CUDA cores compared to the GeForce RTX 20 Series cards at similar price points. At the top-end of the new line, NVIDIA appears to have also combined the roles of the previous-gen RTX 2080 Ti and Titan RTX into the new RTX 3090. It has as much VRAM as the Titan did, but for $1,000 less - putting it in the same ballpark as the 2080 Ti, but with more than double the memory and CUDA cores.

Since only the GeForce RTX 3080 is fully launched at this point (the RTX 3090 is set to launch on Sept 24th, and the RTX 3070 sometime in October) we, unfortunately, will only be able to examine the RTX 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 their results.

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Test Setup

Listed below is the specifications of the system we used for our OctaneBench testing:

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of September 14th, 2020

For this test, we used the latest version of OTOY's OctaneBench 2020.1.5. This edition was the first that worked properly with the new GeForce RTX 3080 video card - our attempts to use the older 4.00 and earlier 2020.1 variants did not recognize the new card as a viable render device. This likely means that all RTX 30 Series cards will not work properly on previous releases of OctaneRender.

We ran the test twice on each GPU, with the best result being included in the graphs below. If you wish to compare performance to your existing system, you can download OctaneBench 2020.1.5 directly from OTOY. They also maintain a database of results that you can reference and contribute to.

Benchmark Results

Here are charts showing the performance of the new GeForce RTX 3080 compared to the other video cards we tested:

OctaneBench 2020.1.5 Performance on GeForce RTX 3080 & RTX 20 Series

Performance Analysis

The raw performance of the new GeForce RTX 3080 is fantastic in OctaneBench! It is faster than anything in the RTX 20 Series was, and more than twice as fast as the RTX 2080 Super for the same price. Combined with a 25% increase in VRAM, that massive increase in rendering speed makes it a fantastic value...

... if you only need or want one video card. But that is where the problem lies for the RTX 30 Series cards: GPU based rendering scales very well across multiple graphics cards, but this generation is not built in a way that is friendly to operate multi-GPU configurations. The Founders Edition cards that NVIDIA showed off at their launch event appear particularly ill-suited to this, as one of the fans on them blows hot air directly up - which would mean heat from a lower card going directly into the cooling system of the card above it. Even the triple fan GeForce RTX 3080 GAMING OC 10G from Gigabyte that we did this testing on passes through some heat from one of the fans directly upward, and the heat from the rest of the fans simply circulates back into the chassis. We've looked at how this sort of approach to cooling does not work well in multi-card systems before.

Should it somehow turn out that multiple cards of this type are actually able to be cooled effectively in the same system, there is still the issue of card spacing to deal with: a least one slot would be needed between cards for airflow to the fans, preventing the stacking of 3-4 GPUs that we are accustomed to from blower-style cards in past generations. And if that were solved by video card OEMs putting out cooling system variants that exhaust heat out the back of the computer, there would still be the issue of increased power consumption on these cards. NVIDIA's specs show the GeForce RTX 3080 drawing up to 70W more per card than the previous 2080 Super & 2080 Ti, and the RTX 3090 is slated for 100W more. Multiple cards like that would strain today's largest PC power supplies.

Is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Good for OctaneRender?

This is a hard question to answer directly because it depends greatly on your situation. If you are on a very limited budget, or only have room in your workstation for a single video card, then the GeForce RTX 3080 is a great choice for OctaneRender. It has the highest single-card performance we have seen (though it will surely be eclipsed by the RTX 3090 later this month) and 25% more memory than the previous-gen model at the same price point.

At the same time, though, if you are accustomed to workstations with three or four powerful video cards stacked inside to give you the best rendering speeds possible... that may not be an option with this generation, or at least not for a while. Without rear-exhausting models it will be hard to cool even two of these beasts in a single system, and while the price:performance ratio of the RTX 3080 is undeniably great the raw performance of two RTX 2080 Ti cards (which were produced in single-fan, rear-exhaust variants) will still outpace it by a fair margin... not to mention three or four of those, which we routinely built into a single tower or rackmount workstation. We will have to wait and see when, or even if, we are ever able to offer that density of RTX 3000-series cards.

As always, please keep in mind that these results are strictly for GPU-based rendering in OctaneRender. 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 wide range of programs perform with various GPUs, CPUs, and other hardware.

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Tags: Hardware Acceleration, NVIDIA, RTX 2060 SUPER, RTX 2070 SUPER, RTX 2080 SUPER, RTX 2080 Ti, Titan RTX, RTX 3080, GPU Acceleration, GPU, Render, Rendering, Video Card, Octane, OctaneBench, GTX 1080 Ti, OTOY
scodi

always has this question, for multi GPUs is this scenario there is no need for SLI?
octane can use multiple gpus even if they are not SLI connected?

Posted on 2020-09-21 12:36:05

Octane makes very good use of multiple GPUs, even without SLI / NVLink. The scaling we have observed in Octane with previous generations of GeForce cards is nearly linear: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

What NVLink can allow, in supported applications, is faster communication directly between video cards. That can be utilized for things like sharing of data in VRAM, if a program / rendering engine is written to do so. The RTX 3080 does not support NVLink, though.

Posted on 2020-09-21 22:11:47
scodi

thank you for your reply

Posted on 2020-09-22 04:13:34
Mark

Could you by any chance be able to run a benchmark with two RTX 3080 cards when possible to see the score and how the thermals look? I'm sure that two 3080s will outperform a 3090 but I still can't decide between getting two 3080s or one 3090 for rendering with octane.

Posted on 2020-09-22 12:57:33

If we get a pair of 3080 FE cards then I do plan to test that, but the way our benches are set up (open air / no chassis) it won't really answer the question of thermals in a real-world scenario. Our product qualification team focuses more on things like that, and if I hear anything from them on that front I will try to relay it here or in future articles. Personally, I am more hopeful to see blower style cards released at some point - there were links popping up to a RTX 3090 of that type from Gigabyte, but I don't know if that will be available at launch or further down the road.

For rendering specifically, something else to consider is VRAM. Yes, I'm sure two 3080 will outperform a 3090 (just as two 2080 outperformed a 2080 Ti previously) but if you are working with more complex scenes then the extra memory on the 3090 could make that a better choice overall. Just some food for thought :)

Posted on 2020-09-22 16:27:30
Mark

I see, this makes me a bit more certain on my decision. Thanks for the reply c:

Posted on 2020-09-23 10:54:56