Fans of the latest PC gaming tech rejoice, for ‘tis the season of the new graphics card launch. NVIDIA has revealed that it is launching the RTX 4080 graphics card in November, just a month after it released the brand-new flagship RTX 4090 graphics cards.
The RTX 4080 will be a great choice for anyone who wants amazing graphics and high frame rates, but at a lower price point than the RTX 4090.
There are two variants of RTX 4080 launching, but while both will offer improved performance over the last generation of cards, there’s also the question as to how much power they’re going to draw. Are you going to be able to just upgrade immediately or will you need a new power supply alongside?
Let’s explore the expected power consumption of both RTX 4080 graphics cards, to help you decide.
How Many Watts Will An RTX 4080 Use?
NVIDIA has said that the RTX 4080 (16GB) will use 320 watts of power, while the RTX 4080 (12GB) will use 285 watts of power. This is lower than the 350 watts of power used by the previous generation’s RTX 3080 graphics card.
That’s pretty impressive, considering the improvements in performance that will apparently by offered by both of these cards over their predecessor. To be able to offer better frame rates whilst reducing the power consumption is definitely a win, and means that anyone looking to directly upgrade won’t have to swap out their power supply.
When we’re able to see both versions of the RTX 4080 put through their paces, it’ll be interesting to see how they perform when idle. The RTX 3080 only draws around 10 watts while the card is in an idle state – when you’re using your PC without needing the graphics card – so it will be useful to see whether the next generation also lower this, but don’t expect it to.
Not that it matters much – what’s more important is the peak performance of these cards, as that’s what you need to plan for when checking your gaming PC. The advertised upper limits of 320 watts and 285 watts are an average, and you can expect the cards to exceed that on occasion.
More reasonably, you should expect a true peak to be somewhere around 350 watts for the 16GB version of the RTX 4080, and 315 watts for the 12GB version of the card.
You need to know these peaks because you don’t want to miscalculate and just work with averages when you’re upgrading from a much older card – as you might not get the power supply you need.
Remember that these stats are just for the graphics card, and you also need to factor in the power consumption of every other component in your PC – the processor and motherboard especially, which are likely to be the next-highest power draws.
Read more: How Many Watts Does A Gaming PC Use?
But returning to the graphics cards alone – you might also want to consider their running costs. Assuming an average gaming time of 8.5 hours per week, you can calculate that the RTX 4080 (16GB) will use 2.95 kilowatt-hours per week or 154 kilowatt-hours per year.
And the RTX 4080 (12GB) will use 2.68 kilowatt-hours per week, which works out at 139 kilowatt-hours per year.
Assuming an average electricity cost of $0.14 per kilowatt-hour, this makes the annual running costs of the graphics cards alone $21.56 for the 16GB version, and $19.46 for the 12GB version.
What Power Supply Will I Need For An RTX 4080?
The recommended power supply for an RTX 4080 (16GB) is 750 watts, while the recommended power supply for the 12GB RTX 4080 is just 700 watts. You may want to aim higher if you’re using these cards in a top-spec PC though.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a power supply. The most obvious is whether it has the capacity to power your whole PC.
The assumption, if you’re buying an RTX 4080 graphics card, is that you want a gaming PC that isn’t pushing every boundary but that still packs a punch and can run the latest games in great quality.
So, you might not have the very best processor, but you’ll certainly have an 11th or 12th gen i7 or better, or a similar-generation Ryzen 7 or better. Of course, you might not – you might be focusing more of your budget on your graphics card with a view to playing games on good settings now, and upgrading other components later – arguably a wise choice.
Either way, your PC is going to need a power supply that can handle everything, so you need to add together the power consumption of your components and add 20%, to account for fluctuations and power spikes.
Then you’ll also want to consider efficiency – when buying a power supply with a higher power capacity, efficiency matters more since it’s measured in percentages – a higher percentage wasted means you’re throwing money at watts that are just generating unnecessary heat.
So, make sure you buy at least an 80+ Gold rated supply.
Read more: Power Supply Ratings Explained
The Best Power Supply For An RTX 4080?
The best power supply for an RTX 4080 is a 750-watt supply that is rated 80+ Gold or better. You may be OK with a 700-watt supply for the 12GB version, but it’s safer to aim higher if you can afford the few dollars extra.
This Corsair power supply is a great choice. It ticks the boxes for both capacity and efficiency, and it comes with a 10-year warranty too, giving you peace of mind that it will last for the duration of your gaming PC.
It’s also fully modular, which means you don’t need to hide cables inside the tower that you aren’t using, which also helps to keep the airflow running through the PC, offering marginal improvements to performance.
Plus, it’s available in either black or white, so you can build a very pretty gaming PC!
RTX 4080 FAQs
NVIDIA claims that the RTX 4080 will be between 2 and 4 times faster than the RTX 3080, although in real terms you can’t expect to see double frame rates. Until the card is fully tested with the latest games, we won’t know exactly how much faster it is.
The 12GB version of the RTX 4080 will start at $899 while the 16GB will start at $1,199. Expect the card to sell out quickly at launch, meaning they will be resold for much higher prices initially until new stock is released in early 2023.
An 850-watt power supply is definitely sufficient for a gaming PC with an RTX 4080, whether you’re getting the 12GB or 16GB model. 750 watts will probably be enough but choosing an 850-watt power supply gives you room to upgrade your PC in the future.