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Redshift 3.0 - 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 Redshift 3.0

Is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 good to use in Redshift 3.0? That is a hard question to answer directly because it depends greatly on your situation. If you only have room in your workstation for a single video card, or are on a strict budget, then the GeForce RTX 3080 is a fantastic choice for rendering in Redshift. It offers the fastest single-card performance we have seen (though it is likely to be surpassed by the RTX 3090 later this month) and 2GB of additional VRAM compared to the previous-gen model at the same price.

However, if you are used to buying workstations with multiple high-end video cards stacked inside to give you the best rendering speeds possible... that may not be possible with this generation, or at least not yet. Without blower-style coolers it will be hard to cool even two of these cards in a single system, and while the price:performance ratio of the RTX 3080 is undeniably great the raw performance of two RTX 2080 Super or Ti cards (which were produced in single-fan, rear-exhaust variants) will still exceed it... not to mention three or four of those, which we often built into a single tower or rackmount workstation. Only time will tell when, or even if, we are ever able to offer that many RTX 3000-series cards in one computer.

Redshift 3.0 GPU Rendering 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 Maxon's Redshift 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 Redshift testing:

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

To test each video card, we used the latest demo version of Redshift: 3.0.28. We also tried the older 2.6.41 demo that we have used in previous reviews, but it looks like the new RTX 30 Series cards do not work properly in versions of Redshift prior to 3.0. That release also added RTX support to Redshift, so the benchmark included in this new demo version should show improved performance on 20 Series cards as well.

If you wish to compare performance to your existing system, you can download the demo version of Redshift directly from their website (free account required).

Benchmark Results

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

Redshift 3.0.28 Demo Benchmark Performance on GeForce RTX 3080 & RTX 20 Series

Performance Analysis

The raw performance of the new GeForce RTX 3080 is fantastic in Redshift 3.0! It is faster than anything in the RTX 20 Series was, and 85% faster than 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 & 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 Redshift?

This is a hard question to answer directly because it depends greatly on your situation. If you only have room in your workstation for a single video card, or are on a strict budget, then the GeForce RTX 3080 is a fantastic choice for rendering in Redshift. It offers the fastest single-card performance we have seen (though it is likely to be surpassed by the RTX 3090 later this month) and 2GB of additional VRAM compared to the previous-gen model at the same price.

However, if you are used to buying workstations with multiple high-end video cards stacked inside to give you the best rendering speeds possible... that may not be possible with this generation, or at least not yet. Without blower-style coolers it will be hard to cool even two of these cards in a single system, and while the price:performance ratio of the RTX 3080 is undeniably great the raw performance of two RTX 2080 Super or Ti cards (which were produced in single-fan, rear-exhaust variants) will still exceed it... not to mention three or four of those, which we often built into a single tower or rackmount workstation. Only time will tell when, or even if, we are ever able to offer that many RTX 3000-series cards in one computer.

As always, please keep in mind that these results are strictly for GPU-based rendering in Redshift. 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.

GPU Rendering Workstations

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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, GTX 1080 Ti, Redshift, Maxon
Sicofante

https://www.techpowerup.com...

There's your blower card.

You might have thought someone would make one instead of dedicating so much space to the issue.

Posted on 2020-09-20 04:18:55

Yeah, in the days since this was published a couple of folks have linked to that Gigabyte card (on other articles in this series). I am really encouraged by that, and we are going to try and get some of them to test once the 3090 launches!

My concerns about there not being cards like this stemmed from three things:

1) Greatly increased power draw / heat output with this generation (320W on the 3080 and 350W on the 3090 - more than any previous NVIDIA cards)
2) The fact that I had not seen any previews or leaks of blower-style cards before the 17th (these articles had to be written in advance and ready to go that morning)
3) The massive size of the coolers in the cards that *had* been previewed

The 3090 Founders Edition is a hulking card, from the pictures and videos I've seen, and even the 3080 sample we have from Gigabyte (used in this article) was almost triple-slot width with three fans. If that level of cooling was necessary for these cards, it made me worry that a single-fan, dual-width cooling system would not be able to handle these GPUs.

Posted on 2020-09-20 05:38:59
grant_vz

I'm also wondering if NVLink is a requirement for multi-gpu workstations for redshift? It looks the 3090 is the only Ampere card with NVLink. I was hoping to use 2x3070's or 3080's.but it might not be possible with this generation of GPU's.
https://www.tomshardware.co...

Posted on 2020-09-21 00:29:20
Ondrej Hanel

ther will be 20GB 3080 and 16GB 3070 coming. As for the heat issues - undervolt ;)

Posted on 2020-09-21 15:10:55

NVLink isn't a requirement, per se - it just depends on the complexity of scenes you work with. However, I do think that 8 and 10GB of memory are probably not ideal for most professional rendering workloads these days... but many rendering engines are adding (or improving) out-of-core memory functionality, so they may not be as limited by VRAM as was the case in years past.

The 24GB on the 3090 should be plenty for most folks, though, and in rendering engines that support NVLink putting those cards in a pair could further boost available space. NVIDIA also tends to outfit the Quadro cards with more VRAM; there is the RTX 8000 with 48GB based on the Turing architecture now, and I fully expect something similar when they update Quadro to Ampere.

There are also lots of rumors about double VRAM variants of the RTX 3080 and 3070, though NVIDIA has not announced anything official about them so that may well just be overly optimistic folks :)

Posted on 2020-09-21 22:02:16
grant_vz

Thanks William. I'm relieved to hear that NVLink isn't a requirement for multi-GPU rendering with Redshift. From the leaks I've seen so far, it does sound as though we're likely to see a 16GB 3070 Ti variant and a 20GB 3080 Ti variant at some point. If so, I think I'll opt for 2 x 3070 Ti's (or maybe 2 x 3080 Ti's) to pair with a 3950x. This seems like it'll be a decent config in terms of performance v. cost, but of course I'll wait to see some benchmarks.

Posted on 2020-09-24 10:40:32
Mike D

Great... Now all I have to do is be lucky enough to find one in the next few months

Posted on 2020-10-05 15:58:47