Up For Debate - Is 10GB of VRAM for the RTX 3080 really enough?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Sep 19, 2020 4:00 PM
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Nvidia recently announced their next generation of RTX 30 series graphics cards, and with that we got the official reveal of the flagship RTX 3080, the RTX 3070, and the world’s first consumer 8K GPU the RTX 3090. Whilst all the cards have been enticing to many PC users, promising some major performance improvements and one of the biggest generational leaps in performance, there’s one thing that has proved a bit controversial: the amount of VRAM in the specified GPUs.

Of course, it was stated already by Nvidia that 10GB of video memory is more than enough, as most of the games they officially benchmarked used no more than 6GB. But those games were from a previous generation, one before the new generation of next-gen consoles will usher in, and judging by the way next-gen games are going, those 6GB VRAM requirements are steadily increasing.

Watch Dogs Legion, for instance, just got the official PC system requirements released, and whilst they’re pretty extensive (listing specs for 1080p, 1440p, 4K and ray tracing specs too) the 4K Ultra graphics settings requirements list 11GB of required video memory. Now I’m sure a 10GB RTX 3080 will be fine to run WD Legion at 4K resolution at the Max graphics settings, but it’s interesting to see that Nvidia may not have been so forethoughtful in the 4K VRAM requirements for next-gen games.

The brand new GDDR6X memory type is one of the culprits though, as the new memory type is pretty expensive and upping the video memory capacities would increase the price of the card. But when the 3080 is specifically aimed towards 4K gaming, it's a shame to see some games bringing out their 4K system requirements with VRAM specs above 10GB.

So what do you think? Is 10GB of VRAM for the RTX 3080 enough? Will the performance of certain games get limited by 10GB VRAM? And are you going to wait for a higher VRAM version instead? Let’s debate!

is 10GB VRAM enough for 4K gaming?

Do you think 10GB of VRAM will limit performance substantially at 4K?

Our favourite comments:

The better question is "Is 10 seconds enough to buy a 3080?".

dino131

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22:00 Sep-20-2020

I honestly don't understand playing games at 4K. There's no way anyone is actually getting 150fps+ on 4k resolution. Why even bother then? Ever since I bought a 1080p 240hz I could never. Not only for the desktop smooth experience.. but playing any first person title on anything below 150fps seems ridiculous to me now

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19:56 Sep-20-2020

All this talk of 10GB of VRAM for RTX 3080 while I'm sitting here with my 2GB RX 460. For now.

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14:26 Sep-20-2020

This is why I still prefer 1080p or 1440p. I'd rather have 1080p with 144hz than 4k with 60, I'll leave 4k for the movies until the hardware catches up.

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15:46 Sep-20-2020

The situation seems to be reversing. GPU improvements are far outpacing that of CPUs. High Res gaming is becoming more viable than High Refresh Rate gaming. If you buy the 3080 for instance and not game at 4k, you are leaving some GPU power unutilized.

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08:22 Sep-20-2020

While it might not be needed at this point, buying a flagship graphics card should serve you for 3-4 years at least, much like the 1080 ti did at this point. I just don't see how 10gb is not going to be a major limitation during that timeframe.

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19:57 Sep-19-2020
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junior admin badge
21:14 Sep-19-2020

Thx for the link.

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19:44 Sep-19-2020

Given that memory allocation in games is different from actual VRAM used, I don't think VRAM was ever the limiting factor even in previous flagships at 4k based on my observations.

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19:20 Sep-19-2020

I think 10GB of VRAM at 4k will be enough for plenty of games, though there will be exceptions, but developers usually are looking for what people have and if high end graphic card has 10GB of VRAM, they will optimize for it, since there is no point to optimize for less than 1% of owners who would have more VRAM. However I think there already are 11GB VRAM optimized titles out there,...

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19:22 Sep-19-2020

... if you max them out. Like, do you remember Digital Foundry showing Battlefield V with Ampere? Do you remember that being ran without raytracing, which is supposed to be huge deature for nVidia? Well, guess why they didn't show it... because if you max it out and add raytracing, 10GB runs just a little bit too short and tanks performance. Because game was made with 11GB 2080Ti in mind.

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19:05 Sep-19-2020

i mean nvidia own 80% of the dgpu market so what do you think will the game devs develop with that in mind? Theres a difference between vram use and allocation what you seen on msi afterburner is how much vram the game wants not necessarily how much it is actually using.

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18:28 Sep-19-2020

The better question is "Is 10 seconds enough to buy a 3080?".

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junior admin badge
21:34 Sep-19-2020

Good one.

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08:21 Sep-20-2020

I wish we had 10 seconds...

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17:47 Sep-19-2020

Nothing will happen if they take extra GB from RAM. There is this thing called shared memory

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junior admin badge
21:36 Sep-19-2020

Aside from a FPS drop when that happens.

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00:56 Sep-20-2020

Would I be right in saying if GC VRAM is GDDR6X and the MB RAM is GDDR4 then there would be a huge performance drop even if it was brief during the crossover? Would the drop be continuous?

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17:22 Sep-20-2020

Small correction on the RAM part.
Currently we mostly use DDR4 (or DDR3 on older systems) RAM. The G in front of GDDR means Graphics and you'll normally find that on GPU's (tho there have been GPU with DDR type of VRAM).


But to go back to your question, the performance drop is noticeable (even if it's brief). When your computer requests access to RAM because the VRAM(GDDR) from the GPU is full it will usually manifests in FPS droops and stuttering sometimes.
As for it being continuous, the answer is depends. Here's an example:
If you enter a new area (for the first time), with a huge field of view that has a lot of details, your GPU might not have enough resources to render all of it at first. So your PC will ask for RAM resources until that's done (this is the area where you might notice some FPS drops), but afterwards if you don't enter and exit that area every few seconds you shouldn't experience those FPS drops during normal gameplay (fighting, moving etc...).

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20:16 Sep-20-2020

Yeah the G was a typing error on my part and thanks for taking the time to provide the answers.

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01:46 Sep-23-2020

Happy to help

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17:39 Sep-19-2020

My votes are "not enough" and "yes". The main problem with gaming at 4K has to do with Video RAM (VRAM). It is not the only factor but it absolutely is the biggest one!

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17:14 Sep-19-2020

Horizon zero dawn uses over 8gb vram in 4k (if available) yet there is only 2fps difference btw the 1060 3gb and the 1060 6 gb, nvidia cards seem to manage well even if they are somewhat short on memory

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18:15 Sep-19-2020

thats strange considering that difference btw 1060 3gb and 6gb is not just in vram

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18:32 Sep-19-2020

It has 10% less shaders, the perf impact should be similar

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19:52 Sep-19-2020

yea but still 5-10fps difference could mean a lot, with some games having even bigger difference

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17:02 Sep-19-2020

I have a 1050ti w/ 4gb mem..I have played some new games such as RE2, Sekiro,Remnant, Shadow of Tr, Death Stranding,etc..All these ran fine for me, are the new games really that demanding? It just surprises me to see 10gigs of memory...

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17:11 Sep-19-2020

people care about the FPS and thats why

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02:49 Sep-20-2020

Yeah I guess you're right

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04:57 Sep-20-2020

It's more to do with the resolution and the complexity of the game assets. At 1080p you'll be able to get away with a far smaller framebuffer (VRAM) than you could at 4K...

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17:00 Sep-19-2020

Come on...does anyone think this card will last longer than few months..lol...the only reason it's coming out is to force the hand of amd...then the super series comes and trust me, both 3070 and 3080 will have 10+ gigs or vram...gg

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16:07 Sep-19-2020

I am sure Nvidia can do their driver magic to avoid issues, e.g. the 1060 3gb is not further behind the 6GB model than intended (less shaders) etc.

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16:04 Sep-19-2020

yes

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Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Low, 720p
APU A8-7410 Quad-Core Radeon R5 7410 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1080 MSI Gaming X 8GB Edition 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Ryzen 5 3400G 4-Core 3.7GHz Radeon RX Vega 11 6GB
| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Ti Mobile 8GB
| 60FPS, Medium,
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 30FPS, Low,
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX Vega 8 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-10400 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1650 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-10300H 4-Core 2.50GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Athlon II X2 245 GeForce GTS 250 4GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i9-10900X 10-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gigabyte Gaming OC 3X 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500U 4-Core 2.1 GHz Radeon RX 540X 2GB Mobile 8GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-4670 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Ti EVGA Gaming 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2080 EVGA XC Ultra Gaming 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [4 votes]