Nvidia is the biggest manufacturer of graphics processors these days, alongside AMD. Their GPUs follow a very traceable pattern of launch. Every even year, they launch a new GPU generation, and every odd year, followed by the year they launched new GPUs, sees a mid-cycle refresh. These refreshed GPUs have been called ‘Ti’ for quite some time. We also saw Nvidia use ‘Super’ for the RTX 20 series and the GTX 16 series of GPUs. These included RTX 2060 Super, RTX 2070 Super, and GTX 1650 Super, among several others.
However, they ditched the ‘Super’ refresh with the newer Ampere GPUs. Now, the mid-tier refresh GPUs are called ‘Ti’ again, much like what we saw up to the GTX 10 series. A few examples are the RTX 3060 Ti, the RTX 3070 Ti, and the RTX 3080 Ti. But, what does ‘Ti’ stand for?
‘Ti’: The Literal Meaning
‘Ti’, in the Nvidia GPU universe, stands for titanium, but literally. It does not mean the Ti improvements of the original GPUs come with more titanium. They can pack the same amount of titanium required to construct their non-Ti variants. However, studying trends, we have observed these Ti GPUs come with more CUDA mores, more VRAM at times, and more RT cores in the case of the recent RTX GPUs.
RTX 3080 Ti vs. RTX 3080
A prime example of all the improvements above can be the RTX 3080 Ti GPU. Let’s have a look at the RTX 3080 Ti and how much Nvidia improved it compared to the original RTX 3080 from 2020.
|Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti|
|GPU Name||GA102||GA102 (N/A)|
|CUDA Cores||8,724||10,240 (+17.4%)|
|Tensor Cores||272||320 (+17.6%)|
|RT Cores||68||80 (+17.6%)|
|Memory Size||10 GB||12 GB (+20%)|
|Memory Type||GDDR6X||GDDR6X (N/A)|
|Memory Interface Bandwidth||320 bit||384 bit (+20%)|
|Core Clock||1440 MHz||1365 MHz (-5.2%)|
|Boost Clock||1710 MHz||1665 MHz (-2.6 %)|
The improved RTX 3080 Ti fetches around 17-20% improved hardware as compared to its non-Ti sibling. In the real world, this translates to a significant gaming performance increase. Let’s delve into the improvements in 4K gaming at the highest settings down below.
|Game Name||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Ti|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla||58 FPS||64 FPS (+10.3%)|
|Cyberpunk 2077||37 FPS||42 FPS (+13.5%)|
|Hitman III||81 FPS||89 FPS (+9.9%)|
|Forza Horizon 4||128 FPS||139 FPS (+8.6%)|
|Horizon: Zero Dawn||72 FPS||81 FPS (+12.5%)|
|Days Gone||81 FPS||88 FPS (+8.6%)|
|Red Dead Redemption II||67 FPS||74 FPS (+10.4%)|
|Microsoft Flight Simulator||37 FPS||40 FPS (+8.1%)|
We can see around 10% improvement in gaming performance in the RTX 3080 Ti compared to the older non-Ti variant. This is due to more CUDA cores, more Tensor cores, and extra RT cores. Also, increased memory on a slightly larger memory bandwidth helps with the enormous textures that today’s games come with.
GTX 980 vs. GTX 980 Ti
Next, let us look at an older GPU and its Ti variant. We will analyze the GeForce GTX 980 graphics card from 2014 and pit it against GTX 980 Ti from 2015.
|Nvidia GeForce GTX 980||Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti|
|Shading Units (CUDA cores)||2,048||2,816 (+37.5%)|
|Texture Mapping Units (TMUs)||128||176 (+37.5%)|
|Render Output Units (ROPs)||64||96 (+50%)|
|Memory Size||4 GB||6 GB (+50%)|
|Memory Type||GDDR5||GDDR5 (N/A)|
|Memory Clock||1753 MHz||1753 MHz (N/A)|
|Memory Interface Bandwidth||256 bit||384 bit (+50%)|
|Core Clock||1127 MHz||1000 MHz (-11.3%)|
|Boost Clock||1216 MHz||1076 MHz (-11.5 %)|
We can see the GTX 980 Ti was rapidly improved in comparison to the GTX 980. The Shading Units (CUDA cores) saw a massive 37.5% bump, and the TMUs and ROPs also saw a huge 37.5% and 50% increase respectively. Thanks to a larger memory based on a greater bandwidth, GTX 980 Ti was much meaner compared to the GTX 980 when it comes to gaming performance.
Let us have a look at the average gains in 1080p gaming at the Ultra settings on these cards.
|Game Name||Nvidia GeForce GTX 980||Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti|
|Battlefield 4||85 FPS||116FPS (+36.5%)|
|Crysis 3||49 FPS||64 FPS (+30.6%)|
|Far Cry 4||76 FPS||93 FPS (+22.37%)|
|Tomb Raider||69 FPS||87 FPS (+26.1%)|
|Grand Theft Auto V||73 FPS||80 FPS (+9.6%)|
|Anthem||49 FPS||54 FPS (+10.2%)|
|Far Cry New Dawn||72 FPS||79 FPS (+9.7%)|
|Resident Evil 2||91 FPS||98 FPS (+7.7%)|
We can see that the vastly improved specs of the GTX 980 Ti reflected a hugely improved gaming performance on games of that era. Older titles like Battlefield 4, Crysis 3, Far Cry 4, Tomb Raider, and Grand Theft Auto V see a massive improvement in average FPS. However, newer titles like Anthem, Far Cry New Dawn, and Resident Evil 2 don’t reflect that much of an improvement because of how demanding games have become recently.
The mid-cycle refreshes of graphics cards are a fairly decent move on Nvidia’s part. These refreshes push the maximum out of the architecture, the manufacturing nodes, and the overall design before the company settles in for newer silicon. Studying trends, we can see an improvement of almost 10-20% over the stock cards, which is astounding. This shows how much research and development can get out of the same silicon.