GPU Heavyweights: NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti vs AMD Radeon VII

Thanks for joining us in the latest clash between Team Green and Team Red! Today we’ll watch one of the top GPU heavyweight contenders face off against a young upstart looking for an upset. The competition will be moderated by yours truly, hailing from Salad Technologies, and our judge’s panel will be comprised of you, dear readers.

The match will be decided based on the graphics card’s performance in two rounds:

  • Power
  • Price

The moderator will evaluate the fighter’s head to head matchup in each category and assign points as earned. Judges may add their thoughts and voice relevant opposition in the comment section below. The fighters seem well-matched, so barring a surprise knockout, we hope to have a real knock-down, drag-out fight on our hands. Now without further ado, begin!

Round 1: GPU Power and Performance Evaluation

I hope you enjoyed the cute boxing metaphor, but now it’s time to drop the act and get down to brass tacks. For the past year, there’s been little competition for Team Green on the higher end of the GPU spectrum, but with the release of the AMD Radeon VII, Team Red has shown that it wants to muscle in on NVIDIA’s “luxury-level” consumer GPU market.

NVIDIA’s 2080 Ti has been the GPU for gamers who want performance over all else, ignoring the hefty price tag and the unit’s bulkiness (seriously, it’s onethick GPU). However, the NVIDIA 2080 Ti is by no means an undisputed champion. There have been serious concerns about its durability, and a general lack of games that showcase its true strengths, 4k and ray tracing. AMD figured Q1 2019 was the time to strike and released the AMD Radeon VII to go toe-to-toe with Team Green.

Unfortunately, this matchup is a bit like watching a well-designed, well-meaning cruiser face off against a modern aircraft carrier. The AMD Radeon VII is a great card for gaming, but it lacks the raw power of the NVIDIA 2080 Ti. I love userbenchmarks, and they do a better breakdown of the data than I could hope to compile, so check it out:

The NVIDIA 2080 Ti simply blows its AMD opponent out of the water in almost every category, like:

The AMD Radeon VII only barely squeaked past the NVIDIA 2080 Ti in Splatting, but once you overclock both units, the NVIDIA 2080 Ti beats the AMD Radeon VII in this benchmark as well. Rock Paper Shotgun also did a more practical comparison, by testing each GPU in various games and measuring the difference in frame rate. If you check out their article, you’ll see that the NVIDIA 2080 Ti performs better with every single game tested.

Joker productions also has a great side by side comparison complete with charts, mirrored gameplay, and info overlays. With each game, you can see how the NVIDIA 2080 Ti outperforms in terms of lighting, detail, and especially frame rate.

 


Verdict: if you care about 4k, ray tracing, and overall performance, then the NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti is the clear winner.


 

Round 2: Price And Affordability Comparison

After the previous round, you may think that NVIDIA has this match in the bag, but pricing is where AMD has always shined in my opinion. While it’s somewhat unfair to compare these two GPUs based on specs alone, we pit them against one another as the “flagship” cards of their respective teams. With NVIDIA, you can see that they’re really charging you for that flagship status, with the price of a NVIDIA 2080 Ti either at or over $1,000– depending on the manufacturer. In contrast, the AMD Radeon VII will only run you about $700 for a new model, saving you a full three C-notes at the very least.

The question now becomes which card fetches you the best deal for your money — and which will provide a better return on your investment. The answer depends on three key factors:

  • How you use the GPU
  • Budgetary restrictions
  • Expected length of service

Each card provides a different level of value, depending on how you intend to use it. I think breaking it down on a user-archetype level is useful, and simplifies the value equation. Let’s begin with the…

Power Gamer

Do you frequent forums like PCMR? Do you find yourself sneering at consoles while adjusting the liquid coolant in your state of the art computer? Chances are, you’re what I dub the “Power Gamer.” You care about performance, prestige, and graphical fidelity. For these types of players, so long as you’ve got the disposable income, the NVIDIA 2080 Ti is far and away the better choice.

The AMD Radeon VII represents a significant step down in sheer processing power, and a noticeable difference in basic rendering on every single title. Furthermore, you’re undoubtedly on the 4k gaming train, and the NVIDIA 2080 Ti is still the best card for 4k out there. The extra 300–500 bucks is well worth the investment for the vastly superior quality.

Typical PC Gamer

I would firmly lump myself in this category. You care about playing new games, and you prefer to do so on PC, either due to ease of streaming, better graphics, steam sales, etc… However, you have a budget and you’re not terribly upset if there’s pixel blur on the dynamic lighting of Kratos’ nippleFor these fellows, I would recommend the AMD Radeon VII.

Team Red’s GPU will have a much smaller hit on your wallet, allowing you to invest more into the other components of your gaming rig. Furthermore, if you find yourself playing most games in 1920×1080 (like me), then you’re still getting a top of the line card for your mode of gaming.

Cryptocurrency Miner

If you’re looking for ROI on your graphics card, and aren’t concerned about gaming performance at all, then I’ve perhaps got a surprise for you. While some may imagine a miner’s rig as a Frankenstein’s monster, kitted out with muscly GPUs to rake in digital cash, there’s actually a wide variability of viable, lower cost builds you can run. Of course, it depends on what coin you’re gunning for, but you don’t have to get the latest/greatest GPU from NVIDIA to successfully mine.

While the AMD Radeon VII might not be the absolute best card for miners, it’s certainly preferable to the NVIDIA 2080 Ti. It simply comes down to cost, with the 2080 Ti potentially taking years to pay itself off, not including electricity costs and other variables. The AMD Radeon VII costs less, mines sufficiently, and is hands down the better option.

 


Verdict: for the majority of gamers and miners, the AMD Radeon VII is the more cost effective model.


 

And The Winner Is… To Be Decided!

I think you can make a good case for either card, it all depends on what your situation is going into the purchase. In the final analysis, it’s hard not to give the edge to NVIDIA, considering the performance edge their card has. But due to budgetary considerations, AMD is still in the fight.