Nvidia RTX 3080 is already having serious problems — what you need to know

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080
(Image credit: Nvidia)

As if getting an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 wasn't difficult enough, those lucky enough to have one are running into problems with third-party models. 

It all started with someone on Linus Tech Tips flagging a game crashing with the Zotac GeForce RTX 3080 Trinity last week. Since then, that issue has expanded to include owners of the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 3X OC reporting crashes in the Overclockers UK forum. A lot of these crashes see people thrown out of games and back to the desktop, and so far there’s no clear explanation of why that’s happening. 

ComputerBase flagged the reports of problems, but has yet to recreate the same issues with its GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition, a graphics card that comes directly from Nvidia. However, it would appear that when the graphics card is boosted to beyond a 2.0GHz clock speed it causes a crash to the desktop.  

This issue appears to be particularly noticeable with third-party versions of the RTX 3080 as they tend to come with a factory overclock. 

“I would like to point out a possible problem for all (un) happy owners of an MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 3X OC,” said ComputerBase forum user R-47. “The card boosts significantly too high with default settings in games -> e.g. up to 2040 MHz after a few seconds in the [Assassin's Creed: Origins] benchmark, which then of course causes a game crash.” 

What to do

The solution to this seems to be offsetting the GPU’s clock speed by as much as 100MHz, undervolting the graphics card using the MSI Afterburner 4.6.3 BETA 2 utility software, and disabling hardware-accelerated GPU planning in Windows 10. But these are hardly ideal solutions to a problem in a brand new and very powerful $699 graphics card. 

While there's currently no official fix, we’d be fairly sure that Nvidia will be working on a driver update to tackle the issue, provided it’s not a fundamental flaw in the hardware. Nevertheless, this isn't great news for people who manage to get their hands on the RTX 3080. And with AMD Big Navi on the horizon, Nvidia would be wise to move quickly to solve such problems with the RTX 3080. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.