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No, the Nvidia RTX 3080 didn’t just kill the PS5 and Xbox Series X

ps5 xbox series x
(Image credit: Microsoft/Sony)

Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 3000-series is seriously impressive. If the GeForce RTX 2000-series brought dedicated ray-tracing hardware and smart graphics rendering techniques to PC gaming, then the RTX 3000-series supercharged it. 

This has seen a lot of PC fans declare that the PC is once again the gaming machine of choice, and dunk upon the PS5 and Xbox Series X. In terms of raw performance that’s true; the 12 teraflops of the Xbox Series X isn't going to challenge the 36 shader teraflops of the GeForce RTX 3090. But in other terms, the next-generation consoles are far from redundant. Allow me to explain why. 

The $699 GeForce RTX 3080 is offering 4K, 60 frames per second gaming and dramatically improved ray-tracing prfmance over the $999 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. And the $499 GeForce RTX 3070 also promises to trounce the RTX 2080 Ti, meaning it’s shaping up to be one of the best value graphics cards of 2020. 

If you’re a PC gaming fan, then you might think it’s worth opting for the RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 over spending some $500 on a PS5 or Xbox Series X and be limited machines that can’t tap into the vast range of games, old and new, that a gaming PC can. 

As someone who has a gaming PC, I’d agree with that in essence. But in practice there's some nuance here. And a compelling argument to be had that even if you love PC gaming, you shouldn’t dismiss the next-generation consoles. 

Component conundrum 

Let’s start with the basics. If you’re good at assembling IKEA furniture or building Lego, then upgrading your PC is easy on a practical basis. However, a lot of PC tech has evolved over the past few years. While you could stick a GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 into your PC, if it’s not partnered the latest and most efficient Intel or AMD processors as well as speedy RAM and SSDs, you could effectively hold back the performance of your shiny new graphics card.  

My gaming machine has a Ryzen 7 1800X, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Radeon RX 590, all sitting in a motherboard that’s a few years old and has a very fiddly name. It’s a solid gaming machine able to run most games with settings maxed out at 1080p. But if I was to pop an RTX 3070 into it, the GPU would be held back by the first-generation Ryzen CPU, despite the processor sporting eight cores.  

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3000-series

(Image credit: Nvidia)

So for me to get the most out of all the tech Nvidia has put into its RTX 3000-series, I’d need a new processor, a new motherboard, and likely new RAM. And while I’m there I might as well upgrade the power supply unit. 

All that costs money, turning a $499 GPU into a $800 PC upgrade. Suddenly that $500 PS5 with ray-tracing support and 4K at 60fps performance seems like a bargain, even if it means games might not look quite as good. 

Pointless power

Horizon Forbidden West

(Image credit: YouTube/PlayStation)

OK, let’s say you do have a PC with the latest processor, RAM, SSDs, and motherboard: a new GeForce RTX 3080 might seem like a tantalizing upgrade over say an RTX 2080 or GTX 1080. But then you have to consider if you have a display that will take advantage of the power of an RTX 3000-series. 

Does your monitor have a 1440p or 4K resolution, and does it support high refresh rates, such as 144Hz? If not then all that new Nvidia power is potentially going to waste. 

I have a 1080p 60Hz display plugged into my gaming PC. It’s a perfectly serviceable screen, but a GeForce RTX 3070 would be overkill for it, even with my PC bottlenecking the GPU. Yes I’d get access to ray-tracing but it wouldn't really be enough to justify getting a new graphics card over buying an Xbox Series X — which also promises ray-tracing support — and just plugging it into my monitor.

Before any PC enthusiasts zip to the comments to lambast me, yes I know there are some of you with the right PC setup that are just aching for a GeForce RTX 3000-series card. Heck, I imagine there's a few of you even eyeing up building a monstrously expensive gaming PC with the $1,499 GeForce RTX 3090 at its heart. And more power to you, just don't forget to get an 8K monitor... if you can find one. 

One thing I would highlight though, is a lot of games are multi-platform titles, developed to cater for the lower common denominator. In the case of the next-generation games consoles, that means the PS5 with its 10.28 teraflops of GPU power.  

As such, it may be a while before you get any PC games that will take advantage of the graphical grunt of even a GeForce RTX 3070; it’ll likely be years before an RTX 3090 is pushed to its limits. You'll get better frame rates and crisper textures, but I’m not sure you’ll see a massive jump in visual fidelity when comparing a game running at 4K on a PS5 and the same resolution on a PC.

After all, thanks to various software and hardware optimizations, it’s often the case that a powerful gaming PC is needed to match the performance of a games console, even though on paper the PC’s specs all but embarrass the console’s hardware.  

I just want to play away 

Before I go on, I don’t want to cheapen what Nvidia has achieved with the GeForce RTX 3000-series; it’s done a stellar job. It’s got three powerful GPUs to cater for people who want a strong or high-end gaming PC, as well as those who want a machine that will make mincemeat of games for years to come. 

But Nvidia hasn’t given us a compelling reason not to buy a next-gen games console. I have been gaming on PCs for years, but the new consoles are still hugely compelling, especially the PS5 with its batch of exclusive games

PS5

(Image credit: Sony)

With the next-gen consoles, we're looking at plug-and-play gaming boxes that will actually be able to take advantage of 4K TV, as well as throw a huge amount of other tech into the mix — custom SSDs, 3D audio, the DualSense controller. And while I like digging around in my PC, there’s a lot to be said for beaching myself on my sofa and playing Halo: The Master Chief Collection on an Xbox One X, even if my PC offers better frame rates and mouse-based aiming precision. 

Convenience is king in a lot of things, especially for people short on time. And that’s why even in the face of Nvidia’s new GeForce graphics cards the PS5 and Xbox Series X cannot be dismissed, despite the cries of PC fans. 

  • UA2K
    I read the article thoroughly, and i have to say, in my opinion, that some of the points that have been made are pretty pointless, and straight out put there to cater towards the console fans. Before the fanboys start frantically looking for their controller, trying to type from their PS4 browser in the most inconvenient way known to mankind, let me explain.

    I don't believe, for a second, not even in my most delusional dreams, that a Ryzen 7 1800x will create a bottleneck with a 3070. If you don't believe me, you can check here, by putting a 2080ti in the 'Video Card' section . What you get is a 0.16% bottleneck in 1080p and a whopping 2% in 4K! Oh shoot, that is so much loss (sarcastically speaking)! EVEN IF the 3070 is faster than a 2080Ti, i strongly doubt the values are gonna be that much higher.

    As far as the RAM, SSD and motherboard, who spread the idea that you need to have the latest and most expensive SSD to play a game at the best of your system's capabilities? If that was the case, consoles would be the worst choice, considering that you can't upgrade them.

    Now, the 'pointless power' part is just hilarious. That point can be used for consoles too: do YOU have a 4K HDR monitor to enjoy that upscaled resolution and 30fps consoles were offering you last gen? If you didn't, then buying a PS4 Pro was completely pointless. Even then, you can get a 2K, 144hz, 1ms for 250-300$ from Amazon ( this is just an example ). Before people jump the gun and say 'HA! MORE MONEY!', you had to buy that beautiful 4K HDR TV you're plugging your shiny, plasticky, 500$ Blu-Ray reader to. And considering how 99% of the console playerbase was brainwashed for years with the words of 'FOUR KAY THIRTY FPS!', and most PC players would go for 1080p 144hz (which are dirt cheap right now), the point doesn't really hold that much.

    Also, I don't think that people that are making rigs with the RTX 3090 for lots of doubloons are gonna be worrying about spending another 3-4k on an 8K monitor, OR they're gonna use it for productivity, for which you don't need 8K. Also, mark my words: when consoles are gonna reach 8K territory, the console community is gonna jump at it like a pack of hyenas on a dead gazelle, screaming 'EIGHT KAY THIRTY FPS!' from the top of their lungs, and suddenly become sensitive and rational when PC is gonna reach 16K, or the next big milestone.

    Ultimately, I'm not saying that consoles are just fancy and expensive Blu-Ray readers (as I said earlier), but, as the writer said, convenience is king in a lot of things. So I'm just gonna sit back, relax, and play my favourite N64 game, or my favourite PS2 game, or my favourite NDS game, or my... you know where this is going. And if I fancy to lanch a PC game that used to be a PlayStation exclusive while chatting with my best friend online, without paying for achievements, all while scrolling down the endless column of PC exclusives at 80% discount on Steam, I can do that. All while people brag about how fast their SSD is.

    Thank you for your patience, and have a nice day.
    Reply
  • munirmaf
    Agree...
    The general sentiment of the article is "sometimes worse can be better", but the gap in performance is too large to try to justify that.
    I know its not the same thing, but its like saying you should buy a PS2 not a PS3... because the PS2 has great games, the PS3 is more expensive, and plus you have a crap TV anyways... which admittedly all may be true... but, come on, we all know that thats not what you should do.
    Reply
  • felicityc
    Heck, I imagine there's a few of you even eyeing up building a monstrously expensive gaming PC with the $1,499 GeForce RTX 3090 at its heart. And more power to you, just don't forget to get an 8K monitor... if you can find one.

    It's not really running 8k. It's using dlss 2.0, so it's much more efficient than running a raw 8k video decode. That is, if the programs support DLSS- which they increasingly will unless we get stuck on consoles, who only just now realized fast storage might help. You can also run 8k- or 4k, even- on a 1080p monitor, just if you go too high the pixel density is kind of silly. There's this special thing called downsampling you might want to try in your gpu settings... but you have an rx590.

    I have a 1080p 60Hz display plugged into my gaming PC.

    Why? Even my third monitor, which was on clearance at microcenter and 60hz, can overclock to 75hz. If you haven't increased either resolution or refresh rate in the past six years, I wouldn't call that a gaming PC.

    As someone who has a gaming PC, I’d agree with that in essence. But in practice there's some nuance here. And a compelling argument to be had that even if you love PC gaming, you shouldn’t dismiss the next-generation consoles.

    Console apologetics are not required, consoles remain luddite affairs that have to innovate something we didn't really need and nvidia managed to literally get around by reducing how much storage speed the new 30 series needs. That was an actual bottleneck- SSD speed, since streaming textures is difficult. What did Sony do? Make SSD go zoooom

    Nvidia optimized the video stream to have a lower requirement with better performance. They only needed that for the 3090 and 8k video. You don't really need that fast of an SSD for most games- just an SSD will do, but most people seemed to miss that memo.

    My gaming machine has a Ryzen 7 1800X, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Radeon RX 590, all sitting in a motherboard that’s a few years old and has a very fiddly name. It’s a solid gaming machine able to run most games with settings maxed out at 1080p. But if I was to pop an RTX 3070 into it, the GPU would be held back by the first-generation Ryzen CPU, despite the processor sporting eight cores.
    No it won't. You're running 1080p60fps. You should consider a 2070 or something from the now abandoned 20 series, they should be cheap soon.

    While you could stick a GeForce RTX 3080 or RTX 3070 into your PC, if it’s not partnered the latest and most efficient Intel or AMD processors as well as speedy RAM and SSDs, you could effectively hold back the performance of your shiny new graphics card.

    No, it's not like ikea or legos. It's easier. It's literally plug into the slot and turn a screw. The hard part are the drivers and settings that not everyone gets to learn everything about.

    So for me to get the most out of all the tech Nvidia has put into its RTX 3000-series, I’d need a new processor, a new motherboard, and likely new RAM. And while I’m there I might as well upgrade the power supply unit.

    No need for a new processor, but likely suggested. You don't need new RAM, RAM hasn't really changed for years unless you are specifically going for very fast DDR4. Since you didn't mention speed I have to wonder if XMP is on.

    Suddenly that $500 PS5 with ray-tracing support and 4K at 60fps performance seems like a bargain, even if it means games might not look quite as good.

    I don't know. Is your television a higher resolution with a 60hz refresh rate? If so, why aren't you using it for your PC? Might as well.

    Convenience is king in a lot of things, especially for people short on time. And that’s why even in the face of Nvidia’s new GeForce graphics cards the PS5 and Xbox Series X cannot be dismissed, despite the cries of PC fans.

    This might have worked 10 years ago but Steam and over platforms have made it as baby-friendly as possible with things like big picture mode. Even my ISP gives me a launching platform if I chose to use it.

    It's not like 240hz is new. C'mon. 144hz I upgraded to in 2014 for CS:GO, and even then I was late to the party. I think it's absurd that tech writers can be so far behind the curve when this is their whole job.
    Reply
  • UA2K
    My gaming machine has a Ryzen 7 1800X, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and a Radeon RX 590, all sitting in a motherboard that’s a few years old and has a very fiddly name. It’s a solid gaming machine able to run most games with settings maxed out at 1080p. But if I was to pop an RTX 3070 into it, the GPU would be held back by the first-generation Ryzen CPU, despite the processor sporting eight cores.
    The more I read it, the more I think this guy either doesn't have a PC, and some random dude suggested him 'put Ryzen 1st gen in there, it's a high-end processor from 3 years ago, people will think it's too old for that videocard', or has never taken 5 mins of his time to make a small research about them, or even worse, bought a preassembled PC and decided to make an article saying how much more convenient console is while not knowing how it goes in the PC gaming world.
    Reply
  • felicityc
    munirmaf said:
    Agree...
    The general sentiment of the article is "sometimes worse can be better", but the gap in performance is too large to try to justify that.
    I know its not the same thing, but its like saying you should buy a PS2 not a PS3... because the PS2 has great games, the PS3 is more expensive, and plus you have a crap TV anyways... which admittedly all may be true... but, come on, we all know that thats not what you should do.

    gonna be honest the PS2 has better games, if you had to choose between a ps2 and a ps3 I would still pick a ps2 which is why consoles are silly. my PS2 collection has aged like wine and the PS3 can't backwards compat with it as well. hardly any ps3 games made it into that collection while rule of rose, ace combat 4/5/zero, armored core(s) (the ps3 armored cores are good too tho), front mission, persona 3/4, nocturne, ico, sotc, etc...

    god the ps2 was a great console and I think my original USA launch one is barellyyyy functioning

    yes people looked at me weird for wanting to play them on original hardware but it's nostalgic, the only thing consoles have, since PC platforms hate giving you anything nostalgic that's authentic
    Reply
  • LS3
    felicityc said:
    It's not really running 8k. It's using dlss 2.0, so it's much more efficient than running a raw 8k video decode. That is, if the programs support DLSS- which they increasingly will unless we get stuck on consoles, who only just now realized fast storage might help. You can also run 8k- or 4k, even- on a 1080p monitor, just if you go too high the pixel density is kind of silly. There's this special thing called downsampling you might want to try in your gpu settings... but you have an rx590.



    Why? Even my third monitor, which was on clearance at microcenter and 60hz, can overclock to 75hz. If you haven't increased either resolution or refresh rate in the past six years, I wouldn't call that a gaming PC.



    Console apologetics are not required, consoles remain luddite affairs that have to innovate something we didn't really need and nvidia managed to literally get around by reducing how much storage speed the new 30 series needs. That was an actual bottleneck- SSD speed, since streaming textures is difficult. What did Sony do? Make SSD go zoooom

    Nvidia optimized the video stream to have a lower requirement with better performance. They only needed that for the 3090 and 8k video. You don't really need that fast of an SSD for most games- just an SSD will do, but most people seemed to miss that memo.


    No it won't. You're running 1080p60fps. You should consider a 2070 or something from the now abandoned 20 series, they should be cheap soon.



    No, it's not like ikea or legos. It's easier. It's literally plug into the slot and turn a screw. The hard part are the drivers and settings that not everyone gets to learn everything about.



    No need for a new processor, but likely suggested. You don't need new RAM, RAM hasn't really changed for years unless you are specifically going for very fast DDR4. Since you didn't mention speed I have to wonder if XMP is on.



    I don't know. Is your television a higher resolution with a 60hz refresh rate? If so, why aren't you using it for your PC? Might as well.



    This might have worked 10 years ago but Steam and over platforms have made it as baby-friendly as possible with things like big picture mode. Even my ISP gives me a launching platform if I chose to use it.

    It's not like 240hz is new. C'mon. 144hz I upgraded to in 2014 for CS:GO, and even then I was late to the party. I think it's absurd that tech writers can be so far behind the curve when this is their whole job.

    My thought's exactly. It's insane how this tech writer can state that he has a 1080p 60hz monitor, smartphones produced nearly over the past decade have had at least those specs... the xbox 360 was a 1080p gaming machine, the new console is 50 times more powerful than that... maybe the writer can finally afford to get an xbox one, seeing as it hasn't been discontinued.
    Reply
  • AnonymousDoc
    I made an account to comment how poor & flawed an argument this writer had made, but it seems like several others have pointed out the holes in his argument.
    GGWP
    Reply
  • Eille
    UA2K said:
    The more I read it, the more I think this guy either doesn't have a PC, and some random dude suggested him 'put Ryzen 1st gen in there, it's a high-end processor from 3 years ago, people will think it's too old for that videocard', or has never taken 5 mins of his time to make a small research about them, or even worse, bought a preassembled PC and decided to make an article saying how much more convenient console is while not knowing how it goes in the PC gaming world.

    you may be disagree with him On how PC gaming works. Console is more convenient for many people. Nvidia won’t kill ps5 and Xbox X series because some people want to play video on TV rather than pc monitor and it’s cheaper. There are many games today sold on console than PC. smart phone/Mobile gaming market is still #1 either way because it more convenient than console and PC. It’s not about graphi. No, Nvidia won’t kill PS5 and Xbox X anytime soon.
    Reply
  • AnonymousDoc
    Eille said:
    you may be disagree with him On how PC gaming works. Console is more convenient for many people. Nvidia won’t kill ps5 and Xbox X series because some people want to play video on TV rather than pc monitor and it’s cheaper. There are many games today sold on console than PC. smart phone/Mobile gaming market is still #1 either way because it more convenient than console and PC. It’s not about graphi. No, Nvidia won’t kill PS5 and Xbox X anytime soon.

    You have a better argument than the individual who wrote this article.
    Reply
  • SIGKILL
    This is the most console peasant article I have ever seen.
    Reply