With graphic cards seeing a slow decline in prices around the globe, it’s the perfect time to get back into the game and buy yourself a new GPU. Depending on your budget and other factors, you might be interested in buying either the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060. While both are high-performance graphics cards that can run most modern titles with ease, there are big differences in the specs and performance.
In this NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 vs GTX 1080 comparison, we’ll be benchmarking both GPUs on different game titles to see which is the best. If you’re having a hard time deciding whether to buy the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or just want to know how much improvement NVIDIA made in a span of 5 years, keep on reading below.
Also read: Ryzen 7 5800X3D vs Ryzen 9 5900X
RTX 3060 Specs
- GPU Name: GA106 (GA106-300-A1),
- Fab Process: 8 nm
- Die Size: 300 mmÂ²
- Transistors: 13,250 million, vs, 7,200 million
- Shaders: 3840
- Compute Units: 30
- Core clock: 1627 MHz
- ROPs: 64
- TMUs: 120
- Memory Type: GDDR6
- Bus Width: 192 bit
- Memory Speed: 1750 MHz 14 Gbps effective
- Memory Size: 12288 Mb / 12 GB
TDP: 170 watts
Release Date: Jan 12th, 2021
GTX 1080 Specs
- GPU Name: GP104 (GP104-400-A1)
- Fab Process: 16 nm
- Die Size: 14 mmÂ²
- Transistors: 7,200 million
- Shaders: 2560
- Compute Units 20
- Core clock: 1607 MHz
- ROPs: 64
- TMUs: 160
- Memory Type: GDDR5X
- Bus Width: 256 bit
- Memory Speed: 1251 MHz 10008 bps effective
- Memory Size: 8192 Mb / 8 GB
- TDP: 180 watts
- Release Date: 27 May 2016
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Background
To begin with, NVIDIA released the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 in January 2021 and saw huge success. With a huge 12 GB VRAM, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 provides incredible performance on high refresh rates and resolutions for gamers. The RTX 3000 series graphic cards are currently the best lineup to come out of NVIDIA. These are the predecessor to the GeForce 20 generation and will soon become predecessors to the GeForce 40 generation cards.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is a GDDR6 memory-type graphics card with a 192-bit memory interface. RTX 3060 also has support for DirectX 12 Ultimate as well as other features which enable it to run raytracing technology and other features allowing it to run all modern game titles as well as upcoming ones. Its core clock speed ranges from a base clock of 1320 MHz to 1777 MHz when boosted.
When talking about the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060’s 3D rendering features, the 112 texture mapping units, 3584 shading units, and 48 ROPs stand out. Alongside this, there’s hardware ray tracing technology as mentioned before with 28 raytracing acceleration cores, as well as variable-rate shading, and some more features.
To enhance the speed of machine learning apps, NVIDIA has also implemented 112 tensor cores in the RTX 3060. Moreover, the RTX 3060 also has 128 KB worth of L1 Cache as well as 3 MB worth of L2 Cache.
When buying the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, you would require a PSU that is able to support its max TDP of 170 W. It is a dual-slot card so it comes with a 12-pin power connector to draw power and is connected to the PCIe 4.0 x16 slot on the motherboard. Furthermore, the RTX 3060’s triple slot variants include 2x HDMI ports and 3x DisplayPorts
Built on the Ampere architecture with an extremely small 8nm process, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 comprises of 12,000 million transistors.
Thanks to the improved technology, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 has seen huge success in the gaming community and is still a very popular GeForce 30 generation graphics card. It’s also on the cheaper side as the price at launch was 329 USD.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Background
For a quick rundown, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 was released back in May 2016. Despite its fairly high price for the time, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 offered very impressive performance for gamers with its huge 8 GB VRAM. It is the successor to the GeForce 900 generation and a predecessor to the GeForce 20 generation.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 has the GDDR5X memory type connected with the 256-bit memory interface. It’s built on the 16nm process and is able to run all modern titles thanks to the DirectX 12 support. Moreover, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 has a basic clock speed of 1607 MHz which can be boosted up to 1733 MHz.
Regarding 3D rendering potential, NVIDIA has equipped the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with 160 texture mapping units, 2560 shading units, and 64 ROPs. Moreover, it has 48 KB worth of L1 Cache and 2 MB worth of L2 Cache.
With a maximum TDP rating of 180W, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 requires a good PSU. Also, the card is connected to the standard PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and comes with an 8-pin power connector being a dual-slot when talking about width. All standard ports such as HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort 1.4a are available.
In the past, NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture was very popular with gamers and enthusiasts thanks to its 16nm process which was even smaller than the Maxwell architecture’s 28nm process.
Hence, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 which was built on Pascal has been a highly successful product from NVIDIA with its 7200 million transistors allowing for high performance on high resolutions and refresh rates. On launch, its price was 599 USD which is greater than the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060.
Differences In Specifications
As we jump more into the RTX 3060 vs GTX 1080 Comparison, we need to know the difference in specs. Thus, from the specs sheet, we can already highlight a few key differences between the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. Firstly, the 3060 is a much more recent card compared to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, which means it has improved technology and architecture. While NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 is built on an older 16nm Pascal architecture, the 3060 was built on the Ampere architecture. This means that the 3060 has more transistors than 1080.
It is also worth noting the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is packing an extra 4 GB worth of VRAM than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. Moreover, the 3060’s memory type is GDDR6 compared to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080’s older GDDR5X memory type. In the case of core clock speeds, both are very close. Other important factors when it comes to rendering graphics like shader units, ROPs, and TMUs are all in favor of the 3060.
Extra features implemented in the GeForce 30 series also include raytracing and tensor cores. With that said, it’ll be interesting to see how the older NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 competes with the 3060 in terms of performance, and how much improvement we got in a span of 5 years.
RTX 3060 vs GTX 1080 Gaming Benchmarks
In this section, we’ll be seeing benchmarks done by YT/Testing Games to see which GPU bests the other in average frame rates, temperatures, power consumption, and more. For this NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 comparison, the following test PC was used.
- Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
- CPU: Ryzen 9 5900X
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero
- CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
- Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 12GB / NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
- RAM: 32Gb RAM DDR4 3800Mhz
- SSD: 2 x SAMSUNG 970 EVO M.2 2280 1TB
- Power Supply: CORSAIR RM850i 850W
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is the twelfth installment in the Assassin’s Creed franchise and came out in 2020. This game was developed by Ubisoft which has a bad reputation for optimizing its games on PC.
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was tested on 1080p resolution like all other games on this list on max settings. You would need a high-end GPU to play it as the game is very GPU intensive, even for 2020 standards.
At standard 1080p resolution, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 was outputting an average of 43 FPS while reaching 69°C temperature. On the other hand, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was reaching 54 FPS on average with a temperature of 54°C. This means that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 gave 10% higher average frame rates while being 11% cooler.
Crysis 3 Remastered
Crysis 3 is an old game, (originally released in 2013) that received a remastered version in 2021, along with its previous installments in the trilogy. It is a tactical FPS game with great mechanics and gameplay which were received with critical acclaim.
Crysis 3 Remastered was tested on the highest possible settings at 1080p resolution. Crysis 3 is a very beautiful game and requires a good GPU to run it as it’s a very GPU-intensive game.
With an average output of 48 FPS, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 was reaching 67°C temperature compared to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 which was outputting 68 FPS on average while also being at 55°C. Overall, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 had a nice 30% boost in FPS over 1080, while also being 20% cooler.
Horizon Zero Dawn
Horizon Zero Dawn is an action role-playing game developed by Guerilla Games and released in 2017. It is a beautiful game that requires a strong graphic card to render the graphics. With that said, the game was tested on the highest settings at 1080p resolution for both graphic cards.
Horizon Zero Dawn saw an average of 57 FPS from NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 while reaching a temperature of 63°C. Contrastingly, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was reaching an average frame rate of 70 FPS with a 55°C average temperature.
We can observe that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was 19% higher in FPS compared to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, while also being 13% cooler.
Death Stranding is a game developed by Kojima Productions which was released in the fall of 2019. It is an action game that received critical acclaim and became a huge success for the developers. Death Stranding was tested on the highest possible settings at 1080p.
With Death Stranding, we can see that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 was reaching 83 FPS on average while reaching a temperature of 61°C, as compared to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 which was reaching an average of 109 FPS and also a much cooler 55°C temperature.
Another nice 13% boost in FPS from the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 over the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. Also, the temperatures were 10% cooler as compared to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.
Far Cry 6
Far Cry 6 is the latest installment in the Far Cry franchise which was released in October 2021. The game is developed by Ubisoft and requires a strong graphics card to render the graphics. It was tested on 1080p resolution with the highest possible settings.
We can see that in Far Cry 6, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 was reaching 63 FPS on average while being close to 68°C hot. On the other hand, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 had an average frame rate of 82 FPS at 54°C. From this, we can easily say that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was 24% better at giving a higher average frame rate and also 21% cooler than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.
Cyberpunk 2077 was released in late 2020, developed by CD Projekt RED. On launch, it had a number of issues and was overall filled with glitches.
Moreover, the game is very badly optimized and even the most powerful graphics cards aren’t able to provide a good experience. Cyberpunk 2077 was also tested on the highest settings at 1080p resolution.
In Cyberpunk 2077, we were seeing an average of 28 FPS from the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 while it also being 66°C hot. Moreover, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was reaching an average of 40 FPS and at the same time being at 60°C in temperature. With that in mind, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was performing 30% better than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in terms of FPS and was also 10% cooler. Another win for the 3060.
Days Gone is an action-adventure game developed by Bend Studio. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies and particularly requires strong GPU power to render zombie hordes and crowds. Days Gone was also tested on the highest settings at 1080p resolution.
For Days Gone benchmarks, we saw the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 reaching 67 FPS on average while being at a temperature of 68°C and on the other hand, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was seeing an average of 93 FPS while reaching a temperature of 63°C.
So according to math, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 had a huge 28% more FPS output than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080, all while being 8% cooler than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 was developed by Rockstar and released in 2018. The attention to detail in graphics and mechanics really makes it stand out among modern PC games and the visuals still look stunning four years later.
To render all those details, Red Dead Redemption 2 requires a strong graphics card. The game is quite GPU intensive but also very nicely optimized. Like all other games on this list, RDR2 was also tested on the highest settings at 1080p resolution.
We can see the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 reaching an average frame rate of 43 FPS while being 67°C hot as compared to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 which was reaching a 57 FPS average while being at a temperature of 57°C.
Red Dead Redemption 2 also had a nice boost for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with it being 25% better in FPS output than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was also 15% cooler than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator was officially released in 2020 and is considered a very realistic flight simulator. Graphics are a huge factor in making the experience feel as realistic as it is. Microsoft Flight Simulator was also tested in 1080p resolution on high settings.
Talking about Microsoft Flight Simulator, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 was seeing an average frame output of 39 FPS being at a temperature of 72°C compared to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060’s 54 FPS at 58°C.
This means that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 had a 10% higher frame output than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 and was also 20% cooler overall.
The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 is still a popular game for one which was released in 2015. Also, from CDProjekt Red, the game is a breathtaking take on the action role-playing genre of videogames. It was received with critical acclaim and became a huge success for the developers.
Lastly, in Witcher 3 benchmark, we can see the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 reaching an average frame rate of 65 FPS while being at a temperature of 69°C.
On the other hand, we can see the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 reaching an average 86 FPS frame rate while being at a temperature of 57°C which is considerably lower. Like other benchmarks, in this one, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was also 25% faster in outputting frames as well as 18% cooler.
Which One Should You Get?
In the end, from this NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 vs NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 comparison, we’ve gathered a few facts that should be laid out before you consider which one to buy.
Firstly, we know that the 3060 is the more recent graphics card with newer technology than 1080. With its faster clock speeds and extra VRAM, nobody expected 1080 to put up such a decent fight.
With that said, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 beat NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 in all games that were tested with it having an average 25% higher frame rate than 1080. It’s also worth mentioning that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 was also 15% cooler overall in all games tested than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.
In the end, while the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 is a great improvement from its old predecessor, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 is also able to run all of these games in the playable FPS range at 1080p resolution.
If you need those extra frames and a more future-proof experience, consider investing in a 3060. Otherwise, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 will cost much less and give enough performance to last a few more years until it truly gets outdated.
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