Reviewing graphics cards in these stock-starved times is tough, yet the Colorful RTX 3080 iGame Advanced OC (opens in new tab) was one of the first overclocked SKUs to land on my test bed at launch and so deserves a look. But that release was months ago now, so why has it taken so long to feature this chonky boi in the hallowed URLs of PC Gamer?
Well, originally it was a little aggressive. One of the the features of this overclocked version of the Nvidia RTX 3080 (opens in new tab) is that it includes a physical button to allow simple overclocking of the card. The One-key OC button bumps up the clock speed from the standard reference boost clock of 1,710MHz to a more tasty 1,785MHz.
The first of the Colorful RTX 3080 samples the company sent over, however, was more ambitious and attempted to boost well above the 1,800MHz mark and so the cards almost inevitably fell over. That, and they were also running the original, also rather aggressive, Nvidia drivers and sported the now-maligned SP capacitors (opens in new tab). The second unit we now have in hand has this more conservative clock speed bump and a redesigned capacitor layout on the rear of the GPU with MLCC caps in the mix too.
If you manage to find one in retail, then it's worth checking out whether the advertised One-key OC Boost clock is 1,785MHz or whether it's higher, that way you'll know if you're getting the proper final retail version. For Colorful's part, however, I'm confident the early review samples will have already been worked through.
But that does lead us onto another reason for the delay on this RTX 3080 test compared with our previous third party reviews—supply has only gotten tighter and tighter as time has gone on. On occasion you will find a new batch of RTX 3080s rocking up in store, but at this point you buy what you can get, and simply don't have the luxury of being too picky about brand loyalty.
On the plus side, the RTX 3080's GA102 GPU is a stellar bit of graphics silicon, with the Nvidia Ampere architecture (opens in new tab) delivering an incredible gen-on-gen performance boost over its predecessor. That makes pretty much any card sporting Nvidia's flagship chip a great buy… so long as you can pick it up for anything like a reasonable price.
GPU - GA102
Lithography - Samsung 8nm
Die size - 628.4mm2
Transistors - 28.3 bn
CUDA cores - 8,704
SMs - 68
RT Cores - 68
Tensor Cores - 272
GPU Boost clock - 1,710MHz
One-key OC Boost clock - 1,785MHz
Memory bus - 320-bit
Memory capacity - 10GB GDDR6X
Memory speed - 19Gbps
Memory bandwidth - 760GB/s
Power connectors - 3x 8pin
MSRP - $799
The MSRP for Colorful's overclocked RTX 3080 iGame Advanced OC is $799, which puts it at a pretty hefty price premium before, what we're now referring to as, 'the GPU bad times' started anyways. That also puts it nominally above the Asus RTX 3080 TUF OC (opens in new tab) and Palit RTX 3080 GamingPro (opens in new tab) versions we've already reviewed.
Pricing is a mess right now, however, so MSRP's are almost irrelevant.
What aren't irrelevant are the specs. The iGame Advanced OC uses the same essential Nvidia Ampere silicon, so the GA102 GPU and 10GB of GDDR6X memory, but as I mentioned earlier you also get the potential for a clock speed boost up to 1,785MHz, which actually turns into an average clock speed of 1,843MHz when you take Nvidia's GPU Boost tech into the equation.
That puts the OC run of the Colorful RTX 3080 iGame Advanced at the top of our list in terms of overall clock speed, but also when it comes to power draw too. In OC mode it's pulling 374W on average, and peaks at over 410W. Hence why it pairs that triple slot girth with three 8-pin PCIe power connectors too. If you thought the funky 12-pin one on the Founders cards was an annoyance, you're going to be pissed at this.
Power and thermal performance
Even without the overclock it's a pretty thirsty card, with an average power draw almost on par with the resolutely overclocked Asus TUF card we tested. And you're going to want to have that OC mode on, now that it doesn't crash the GPU, because that's the only way you're going to get gaming performance to match either the excellent RTX 3080 Founders Edition or the nifty Palit RTX 3080 GamingPro.
Otherwise its standard gaming performance is a little lacklustre, by comparison to both other RTX 3080 cards and to the AMD RX 6800 XT (opens in new tab), given how close fought that particular GPU head-to-head is.
4K gaming performance
1440p gaming performance
CPU - Intel Core i7 10700K
Motherboard - MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi
RAM - Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro @ 3,200MHz
CPU cooler - Corsair H100i RGB Pro XT
PSU - NZXT 850W
Chassis - DimasTech Mini V2
But no matter whether the overclock is on or not, the Colorful RTX 3080 iGame Advanced OC has some serious cooling attached to it. That triple slot, triple fan cooler is no joke, and no slouch in the chip-chilling department. Even with the GPU pushed higher than any other RTX 3080 we've tested the silicon never peaked above 67°C and averaged just 64°C, which is far cooler than the admittedly far smaller reference card design.
And it looks kinda cool too.
It looks like a beast of a graphics card, and while I'm not a huge fan of the central, pulsing RGB LED fan itself, selling your PC's soul to install the Colorful control software will allow you to make it a more pleasing solid magenta.
But aesthetics are only really a matter for that initial purchase, that moment where you pull it out of the box and can somehow feel justified spending the best part of a grand on a solid lump of gaming tech. Once it's installed in your machine that knowledge of a card well bought will only come when you're getting the level of performance you feel you've just paid for.
But, right now, no-one can pay for it. If we're talking MSRP, and relative GPU purchases though, I would still be absolutely recommending people go for the Founders Edition card for outright performance, restrained looks, and a solid price point. Otherwise, well, I'd be mighty tempted by a sub-$699 RX 6800 XT if I could find one.