Chinese tech site Expreview has unleashed the first hands on with the Moore Threads MTT S80 GPU (opens in new tab). On paper, the new graphics chip looks well specified. But in these early benchmarks, performance is patchy to say the least. If you were hoping for a cut-price GPU to save us all from crazy graphics card prices, this isn't it. And yet it is still intriguing.
The headline specs of the MTT S80 actually look promising. Manufactured on 7nm tech, it packs 4,096 so-called MUSA cores, 128 tensor cores and 16GB of GDDR6 running over a 256-bit. All told, it's good for 14 TFLOPS of raw compute power. Heck, this is even the world's first GPU with a PCI Express 5.0 interface.
As for pricing, slightly oddly Expreview lists it at the equivalent of around $400 including a bundled Asus TUF GAMING B660M-PLUS D4 motherboard, the latter normally selling for a little over $150. Subtract the Asus motherboard and you're looking at a sub-$300 graphics card, potentially.
That compares well with Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3060 (opens in new tab), which clocks in at 3,584 CUDA cores and 12GB of GDDR6 over a 192-bit bus—and sells for over $350. Of course, core counts can't usefully be compared across vendors. However, the RTX 3060 is only good for 12.7 TFLOPS. So, the Chinese chip offers superior theoretical shader power. Intriguing.
What's, er, more, Moore Threads (opens in new tab) was founded by former global VP and China GM of Nvidia, Zhang Jianzhong, along with a group of ex-Nvidia employees, plus others from Microsoft, Intel and AMD. The company also reportedly raised nearly $300 million in investment funding last year.
Likewise, the design of the MTT S80's PCB looks plausible. So this new chip walks like a gaming GPU, it talks like a gaming GPU. Might it actually game like a gaming GPU, thereby offering an alternative to all those painfully pricey AMD and Nvidia graphics cards?
Apparently not. Expreview hasn't exactly gone to town with the comparative numbers. In the ancient 3DMark06 DX9 benchmark, the MTT S80 gets spanked by RTX 3060, the latter being over 150 percent faster at both 1080p and 4K. In the slightly more current Unigine Valley 1.0 test, the results aren't much better. At 1080p the RTX 3060 is 100 percent faster. That climbs to over 200 percent faster at 4K.
That said, Expreview did find that the GPU could run actual PC games at reasonable frame rates. League of Legends hits 128fps at 4K and maximum detail, for instance. Unfortunately, no comparative RTX 3060 numbers were provided. But you might expect something in the region of 160fps from an RTX 3060.
Moreover, the MTT S80 also looked decent in tests of narrow synthetic performance, such as fill rate. All of which makes it rather reminiscent of Intel's disappointing Arc graphics. (opens in new tab) The hardware looks ok. But the software and drivers are a bit of a bummer.
Like Intel Arc, then, the Moore Threads MTT S80 isn't the cut-price saviour we're all waiting for in this age, despite the promise of RTX-beating TFLOPS performance for below $300. But it's still good news that somebody is trying to get in on AMD and Nvidia's private graphics party. Beyond just Intel, that is. Give those drivers a polish maybe, just maybe. It's fun to hope, at least.