While attempting to snag a mid-range and budget-friendly graphics card has been quite difficult in the last six months, higher-end cards are arguably even worse. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, and hardware production continues to slowly ramp up again, hardware shortages continue to plague the market in 2021. To be fair, things are improving in terms of hardware manufacturing, but it's going to be a while before more Nvidia graphics cards are plentiful again. Especially the new RTX 3000 cards, which continue to sell out every time new sales pages go up, regardless of manufacturer. This is especially true for the higher-end graphics cards, like the RTX 3070.
The 3000 Series RTX cards continue to dominate over AMD, as Nvidia proves its latest lineup really is the highest standard for graphics cards. Recent tests of the RTX 3080 against AMD's RX 6800 XT show the card is even a significant upgrade over AMD's latest tech. However, those in the market for a high end card might be wondering how big of an upgrade the RTX 3080 is over its predecessor, the 2080 Super. In short, it's a huge upgrade, far better compared to Nvidia's RTX 2070 Super vs. 3070. The leap in graphical architecture and overall technical specifications makes the RTX 3080 a far better choice compared to the RTX 2080 Super, regardless of budget.
In direct comparison of tech specs, it's immediately apparent just how big of an upgrade Nvidia's RTX 3080 card is. Similar to the 3070 and 2070 Super comparison, Nvidia's new Ampere architecture showcases a huge increase in graphical capability with the 3000 series. In general, the RTX 3080 has a 2GB increase of VRAM over the RTX 2080 Super: The 3080 card has 10GB of GDDR6X VRAM, over the 2080 card's 8GB GDDR6. The RTX 3080 has a slightly lower base and boosted clock speed of 1440MHz and 1710MHz, respectively. The RTX 2080 Super clocks in at 1650MHz base clock and 1815MHz boosted clock speed, but again, CUDA cores are what matter.
Nvidia's latest card boasts a staggering 8704 CUDA cores over the previous 2080 Super's 3072 CUDA cores, marking a huge improvement in efficient design. Again, Nvidia's Ampere hardware framework restructures CUDA core architecture to shoulder far more graphical processing power. Borrowing from Ampere's innovations in data center processing, transposing that same card architecture into entusiast hardware has resulted in a significant performance boost. That couldn't be more evident comparing these two graphics cards together; the RTX 3080's specs are around a 35-40 percent overall performance increase over the specs of the RTX 2080 Super.
In a perfect world, and budget permitting, PC players looking to get a serious graphical upgrade for their rig should absolutely opt for the RTX 3080. The only potential differences/downsides of the RTX 3080 is that it requires more wattage (TDP), and thermals may be a little hotter depending on card manufacturer. Other than that, assuming players have the proper rigs to pair with the new card, the RTX 3080 is a surefire upgrade. Slightly more and faster VRAM, higher CUDA core count for graphical processing, the same price point (MSRP) of the RTX 3070, the RTX 3080 basically has the old card beat in every measurable regard of performance.
Of course, the only exterior caveat to getting an RTX 3080 over a 2080 Super is the current graphics card market. Prospective PC players looking to upgrade their rigs are likely and woefully aware of the state of the PC hardware market at the moment. As hardware and component shortages continue to slow down manufacturing of Nvidia's cards, sellers and re-sellers are driving up prices for all Nvidia graphics cards. That rule rings especially true for the RTX 3080 and RTX 2080 Super, which are both incredibly hard to find, and incredibly expensive when found for sale. Even if the MSRP was the same between both, the RTX 3080 will be assuredly more expensive.