Subdued NVIDIA Tease GeForce RTX 3090Ti, RTX 3050 & More

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅05.01.2022 01:24:46


NVIDIA were the second of the big three PC processor architects to make their CES 2022 presentation today, countering AMD's celebration of APUs, CPUs and GPUs with their own dominating showcase of technological superiority. Or at least that was the expectation in some quarters, with many enthusiasts perhaps even anticipating a teaser of RTX 40-series hardware to whet their appetite for the year ahead.

What they were left with however was something of a damp squib, a pre-recorded video that didn't even feature CEO Jensen Huang's idiosyncratic delivery (and expensive jackets) to liven up matters. Just (with few exceptions) more of NVIDIA's familiar 2021 portfolio, a depressing prospect given the straits PC gamers are going through right now.



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The NVIDIA CES 2022 Special Address began in customarily bullish fashion. Helmed by Jeff Fisher, NVIDIA Senior Vice President in charge of GeForce, the presentation started by showcasing recently released and upcoming games that all feature NVIDIA RTX technology, be it DLSS or RTX ray-tracing. He then meandered into the state of the industry - gaming, it appears, is healthy, with 10's of millions of creators and gamers of all stripes using NVIDIA hardware in work and play.

NVIDIA Reflex for instance will be coming to seven titles in the coming weeks, including Rainbow Six Extraction, iRacing,Ready or Not and God of War (finally on PC after years of being a Playstation exclusive). The value of these features will vary by title and system spec, but each is absolutely a net up-side for anyone with even entry-level RTX hardware.



The first product highlight was GeForce NOW, the premiere game streaming platform. It now supports over 1100 games, publishers such as EA and Ubisoft are increasingly embracing the service, and regular updates are going out every Thursday that add more games and features. Gamers can play on cutting edge hardware remotely, even through lightweight devices such as Chromebooks and smartphones. And the RTX 3080 membership plan gives access to even this monolithic GPU and the horsepower it's capable of bringing to bear (at a cost of $99 for 6 months). But that's just a summation of 2021.



The first new hardware announcement was a new category of monitors for competitive gaming, 1440p NVIDIA G-SYNC Esports Displays. Highlighting the fact that premium RTX 30-series GPUs can run esports titles at well over 300fps, NVIDIA have partnered with monitor manufacturers such as AOC, ViewSonic and ASUS ROG to deliver monitors with more demanding specs:

- 27" screen diagonal,
- 1440p/1080p Dual-Format (displayed image strictly uses central 1920x1080 pixels in 1080p Format rather than scale down to size)
- Up to 360Hz refresh rate at 1440p
- NVIDIA Reflex analyser
- 'Esports Vibrance' colour presets to better differentiate active and passive in-game models


NVIDIA contention here is that playing at higher resolutions improves player aim over time (3% was the quoted statistic when transitioning from 1080p to 1440p) and hence in-game competitiveness. A more cynical view might be that NVIDIA are worried that competitive and enthusiast gamers find it increasingly difficult to justify RTX 3080-class hardware, and so marketing marginal ancillary upgrades is now necessary to justify that enormous investment. Either way, G-SYNC Esports displays are coming soon.

A New Kid on the Block: RTX 3050



Next up came NVIDIA's most important reveal of the day: the GeForce RTX 3050. Highlighting the inadequacies of the still widely-owned GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1650 when it comes to 60fps gaming in 2022 (a problem of their own making thanks to a lack of new silicon in the <$250 segment since April 2019), their newest entry-level GPU. Based on their Ampere architecture and still equipped with RT and Tensor Cores, it'll be the first time you can play ray-traced games with DLSS on a 50-class GPU at over 60fps. Key metrics include:

- 9 Shader-TFLOPS
- 18 RT-TFLOPS
- 73 Tensor-TFLOPS
- 8GB GDDR6 VRAM




Both RT and Shader synthetic FLOPS are below that of the RTX 2060 6GB, but Tensor Core performance numbers comfortably exceed that of the last gen's 60-class GPU. The RTX 3050 will probably lean heavily on DLSS to reach comfortable frame rates, particularly in any ray-traced environment.

We'll know more on January 27th, when the card is expected launch at an MSRP of $249 (around 245 inc. V.A.T.). That's $50 more than AMD's just-revealed Radeon RX 6500 XT, but actual comparative performance and street pricing will be anyone's guess.

Omniverse - Tools For Someone Else's Metaverse?

The now-familiar Omniverse section of NVIDIA's press conferences delves into the applications and middleware tools made possible through the use of NVIDIA hardware and SDKs. Fisher touched on plugins for popular software such as photoshop, which can leverage tensor and CUDA cores for complex effects like subtle object masking, image and video enhancement and photo-real materials.



There were two aspects of the Omniverse presentation that will have gaming and consumer applications even today: Pose Estimation through NVIDIA Maxine and 3D face animation through Omniverse Audio2Face. Both could be tremendous boons to head and full-body Virtual Reality, and indeed it's inspiring that these technologies, which where only hinted at more than two decades ago, are finally possible on home hardware.

Supporting the hardware needs of creators in 2022 will be an expanded range of RTX Studio laptops and innovative formfactor systems, starting at $799 and kitted out with the latest high-end displays and GeForce Studio drivers.

4th Generation MaxQ

NVIDIA MaxQ was launched to optimise laptop internal layout, cooling, performance and more. Today NVIDIA are launching 4th Generation MaxQ with AI-optimised layout, GPU/CPU load balancing, GPU resource management and more. NVIDIA Battery Boost has been rearchitected with these concepts deep in its DNA, and now offers up to 70% more battery life.



A Pair Of New Ti's

Joining the NVIDIA laptop hardware lineup are a pair of new performance GPUs: the RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti. The former is 70% faster than the laptop-class RTX 2070 SUPER and will be paired with 1440p displays, while the latter beats out even the Turing-based RTX TITAN desktop GPU. NVIDIA claim that the RTX 3080 Ti is the fastest GPU ever shipped in a laptop, and we have no reason to disagree.



RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti laptops will be matched with suitable G-SYNC displays with a minimum resolution of 1440p. Models from NVIDIA's partners will start to appear on February 1st starting from $1499 and $2499 respectively, and will also have their own NVIDIA Studio counterparts for creative and prosumer customers.

The Final Tease

The consumer graphics section of the presentation ended by teasing the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, NVIDIA's upcoming RTX 30-series flagship successor. This 'monster' GPU is capable of 40 Shader-TFLOPS, 78 RT-TFLOPS and 320 Tensor-TFLOPS, and is equipped with 24GB of 21Gbps GDDR6X memory, the fastest ever on a graphics card.

As impressive as that is however, it was merely a tease. More information on detailed specifications and pricing will be available 'later this month'.



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And the consumer section of the NVIDIA presentation ended there. Ali Kani, NVIDIA Vice President and General Manager of Automotive, went on to discuss the latest applications of NVIDIA hardware and software technology in the sphere autonomous driving, including the NVIDIA DRIVE platform. It's beyond the scope of this article, but well worth checking out at https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/events/ces/ if it fits without your sphere of interests.

All told it was card to come away from the NVIDIA presentation without a vague sense of disappointment. The message was that we can expect more of the same from the green team in the first half of 2022, but there was no hint of excitement for the future. Even the tease at the end fell flat due to the unmentioned cost of the RTX 3090 Ti. Will it be $2000? Maybe more? $3000 even? At a certain point even halo products lose their lustre because they're not just aspirational, they may as well not exist.

That being said, a shoot-out between the GeForce RTX 3050 and Radeon RX 6500 XT is a mouthwatering prospect for later this month, so long as both offer a meaningful price/performance improvement over current market options.

Expect to see announcements of partner RTX laptops designs from the likes of ASUS ROG, HP, ACER and more as CES 2022 progresses. More NVIDIA CES 2022 news and announcements can be found at the event page.








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