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Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC Review

Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC Review

ROG-STRIX-RTX2080-A8G-GAMING_2D_ledThe Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC is one of the most expensive Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 cards around, with US and UK prices of $799 and £899. That’s not far short of the money you’ll need to spend to get your hands on the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. Can it possibly be worth it? Read our Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC review to find out.

The Card

The Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC does look like a supreme, premium product – so, in that regard, it does justify the cost.

The card is covered with a dramatic, angular shroud that has six cut-away sections with RGB LEDs. The top of the card has an RGB LED Republic of Gamers logo. A slab of metal on the rear completes the look.

Much of this card’s exterior is made from plastic, but that’s not a problem – it looks great and build quality is admirable. It looks more mature than the last RTX 2080 we saw, too. The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Duke 8G OC had a front cover that was coated with brighter, metallic plastic.

Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC 03The card looks the part, and it’s absolutely vast. It weighs just under 1.5kg, and it occupies three motherboard slots. It’s almost 335mm long, too. You’ll need to make sure your case is long enough. It may be a wise idea to invest in a bracket in order to make sure the card doesn’t start to pull its PCI slot away from your motherboard. You don’t get one in the box, which is disappointing – MSI did include one.

It’s noticeably bigger than the MSI. Yhat card was 314mm long, it weighed 1.1kg and it only just extended beyond a conventional two-slot design.

The Asus has the aesthetics and impact we’d expect from a flagship card. It also has the sort of features that will sate the most demanding enthusiasts.

At the rear of the card are two four-pin fan connectors that can be used to synchronise the cooling in your PC with the GPU’s temperature. There’s an RGB LED connector here too – so your system illumination can also match the GPU. At this far corner of the card are six contact points for testing voltages using a multimeter. The rear of the card has a button for turning off all of the lighting. However, it’s not particularly useful – that can be done from Windows, and you’ve still got to take the side panel off your PC in order to use this feature.

Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC 08The huge heatsink is serviced by three 85mm fans. Asus says that these fans have smaller hubs so the fins can be bigger, and the fans are circled by a ring that keeps everything more stable – in order to improve solidity and further improve airflow.

MSI’s card has three 90mm fans, but it doesn’t have any of the features that the Asus has – no extra fan headers, no button to turn off the lights, no RGB LED header and no multimeter touch points.

At the top of the Asus card is a tiny button that allows users to switch between two different BIOSes. These can be customised, of course, but by default they’re programmed in Quiet and Performance modes.

The Quiet option effectively functions like Nvidia’s current cards do anyway: by turning the fans off when GPU temperatures are low enough. Performance mode abandons this, keeping the fans constantly running and introducing faster speeds when the GPU is being pushed.

They’re welcome options, but they have limited usefulness. Quiet mode is absolutely fine for day-to-day operation in either of the card’s default overclocked modes – temperatures and noise levels were excellent. Performance mode is a tiny bit louder, and it only makes sense if you’re chasing tiny performance gains – temperatures were only a few degrees better here, and the GPU was only about 20MHz faster. It also means that, in less-demanding situations, the fans are running for no reason.

Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC 04At the rear the Asus serves up two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors and two HDMI 2.0 sockets. There’s also a USB Type-C port that can function with DisplayPort and power delivery. That’s fine for almost all monitors and for VR headsets, although there is no DVI on this card.

The MSI card had three DisplayPort outputs and a Type-C connector, but only one HDMI port.

At the top of the Asus you’ll find two eight-pin power connectors. That’s an upgrade on the MSI, which offered the standard RTX 2080 allocation of single eight- and six-pin connectors. That allows more electricity to flow through the GPU here than on the MSI, which is good for enthusiasts and tweakers.

The 10+2 phase power design will also embolden enthusiasts. The MSI card only had an 8+2 design, and the extra phases means that the Asus will deliver electricity in a smoother and more consistent fashion if you’re tinkering at the GPU’s limits.

The Asus has a three-year warranty. That matches the MSI card and most other board partner products.

Need more news on the latest kit? Click here to check out the latest headlines.

The RTX 2080 Core

Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC 07The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 is one of the more powerful graphics cards around at the moment. It’s got the full might of the Nvidia Turing architecture, so you get the various improvements to integer, floating point and shader operations.

The RTX 2080 has the usual 2,944 stream processors and 13.6 billion transistors. It’s also got 46 cores for Ray-Tracing and 368 cores for DLSS. As ever, these features have limited usefulness – they’re supported by more games now, but the overall numbers aren’t huge. They’ll only come into their own as more developers release games that can take advantage of these techniques.

Asus delivers overclocks by tweaking the card’s boost speeds and has left the base clock at 1,515MHz.

At default, in its Gaming Mode, the Asus card has a boost clock of 1,860MHz – a significant improvement over the 1,710MHz of the stock card and a modest jump from the 1,845MHz figure of the MSI card. It’s also higher than the 1,800MHz speed of the Founders Edition card that was released at launch but is no longer available.

The Asus also has an OC mode that ramps the boost clock further, to 1,890MHz.

Overall, it’s one of the best overclocks on the market – there are very few air-cooled cards that go higher. And, even then, cards only improve on this by around 20MHz. Still, it’s a shame that Asus hasn’t really pushed the envelope here because the core will go much higher, to beyond 2,000MHz.

The memory isn’t overclocked here, either, which seems to be the norm for RTX 2080 cards. You still get 8GB of GDDR6 at 7,000MHz.

Here’s Our Guide to the Best PCs for Work, Play and Everything In Between

Pricing

The Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC is one of the most expensive RTX 2080 cards available, with US and UK pricing of $799 and £899.

In the US, several RTX 2080 cards cost more. However, those models tend to be ready for water-cooling loops or already have water-coolers attached. They’re not directly comparable to the Asus card we’ve reviewed here.

A small selection of more conventional air-cooled cards do cost more than the Asus in the US. Tellingly, virtually none of them offer overclocks that go beyond what the Asus can offer. And, at this end of the market, a few extra megahertz will only give you a tiny, tiny performance boost. Spending extra here will only get you some additional RGB LEDs.

Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC 01In the UK, the only RTX 2080 cards that cost more than the Asus are water-cooled versions.

There are quite a few available at the same £899 price as the Asus, but only one model that goes beyond the speed of the Asus’ overclocked mode. Even then, it’s a Zotac card with a barely-higher speed of 1,910MHz.

At this end of the market, all of these cards will perform similarly and all will provide a boost over the stock-speed efforts – in short, they’re all going to be extremely fast. Unless you’re an enthusiast looking for the finest margins in benchmarks, you’re not solely buying on the basis of performance. Instead, it’s worth making a buying decision based on features and aesthetics.

Whether you’re buying the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC in the US or the UK, it’s very expensive. And that brings a couple of sticking points to the table.

The first: in the US and the UK, it’s possible to get RTX 2080 cards for under $699 and £650. Of course, those cards won’t have the overclocked core or the dozens of features of the Asus card. But if you’re not fussed about a few extra frames and you won’t use the enthusiast-level features, why splash out money that you don’t have to spend?

MSI’s card, which has an overclock but few enthusiast features, costs $749 in the US and £749 in the UK, so it’s a solid saving on a card that’s only 15MHz slower out of the box than the Asus.

The other issue, if you’re willing to spend this much on a GPU, is the RTX 2080 Ti. In the US and UK those GPUs start at $1,099 and £1,049. It’s only a little more money to save – and you won’t get overclocks or enthusiast features with one of those cards, but you’ll get a huge performance leap.

Interested in an AMD Ryzen build? Check out our in-depth guide to AMD AM4 motherboards – and our top recommendations for every budget and form factor!

Performance

The Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC offers fearsome speed, but don’t expect this card to deliver a significant performance increase over other overclocked models – or even stock-speed GPUs.

In our Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC review we’ve tested the Asus-made RTX 2080 in eleven games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K.

Happily, the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC performed well at 4K – our most demanding tests.

Its averages at 4K ranged from weaker scores of 37fps and 38fps in Total War: Warhammer II’s Battle mode and Ghost Recon Wildlands to speeds of 87fps and 92fps in Shadow of Mordor and Battlefield 1.

The Asus bolsters these results with solid minimum framerates that always got beyond 30fps at 4K.

Most of these results are equal or better than the MSI card, with its similar overclock, and they’re all a handful of frames better than the stock card. They’re all easily playable, too.

However, the Asus card couldn’t get beyond 60fps at 4K in eight of our games. These titles were never unplayable, but that 60fps limit is key for smooth gaming. If you’re searching for that framerate at 4K consistently, then you’ll need an RTX 2080 Ti – as that GPU is consistently, significantly faster.

It’s also worth saving for an RTX 2080 Ti if you want to use a high refresh rate monitor at 4K, or if you want 4K games to remain playable for a longer time in the future – that card’s extra power means it has more longevity than any RTX 2080.

So, the RTX 2080 won’t always play 4K games at 60fps, but it will still play games at 4K. It’s also got the power to handle loads of other gaming tasks. It’ll run widescreen panels and VR headsets without any major issues. Unsurprisingly, 1080p and 1440p games will run easily. You’ll get triple-figure framerates in these games – so you can run with 144Hz and 240Hz monitors too.

Theoretical tests do a good job of illustrating the gaps between the Asus card, the MSI card and the stock-speed RTX 2080.

In the 3D Mark Fire Strike Ultra test the Asus card scored 6,734 points. That’s a couple of hundred points ahead of the MSI and a little further beyond the stock card. Similar gaps were maintained in the rest of the 3D Mark tests, with smaller gaps between the two overclocked cards and a larger gulf back to the stock-speed GPU.

These results were all recorded using the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC’s quiet mode. Don’t expect a leap from the Performance mode – it only gives you about 20Hz extra, which will deliver barely deliver a single frame extra in gaming benchmarks.

Happily, the card was never loud, no matter which mode we used. It’s just as quiet as anything else out there, despite the overclocked speeds and extra performance mode.

More power required? Click here for our Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti coverage!

Conclusion

Our Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC review illustrates that this card is enormously fast and is packed full of features – but it’s certainly not for everyone.

It’s got more features than almost any other card out there – certainly more than the competing MSI. Its headers and connectors make it easy to co-ordinate fan speeds and lighting. The card looks excellent. The inclusion of 10+2 phase power, multimeter points and two eight-pin power connectors mean this card is a better option than the MSI for high-end tweakers and enthusiasts.

Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC 05Performance is excellent. It’s quicker than both the overclocked MSI card and the stock-speed offering, and it’s cool and not noisy in both its Quiet and Performance modes.

When it comes to the speeds and features on offer, we have absolutely no qualms.

This card’s biggest issue is price. It’s only a little quicker than other cards that are only a little slower. Entry-level RTX 2080s offer good performance for a lot less. And if you are searching for top performance, affordable RTX 2080 Ti cards aren’t far away.

So, in terms of performance and the range of features on offer, the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC is the best RTX 2080 on the market. However, the huge price means that this card is only suitable if you’re genuinely going to use all of those features in order to try and wring every bit of performance out of this core. If you’re not fussed about that, then you can get better value for money elsewhere.

The card in our Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC review costs $799 in the US and £899 in the UK.  Discuss our Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC review on our Facebook and Twitter pages. And, if you need some more inspiration after reading the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC review, check out our guide to our favourite laptops or go deep with our ultimate guide to 4K monitors – covering the technology, the terms and our top recommendations!

The Good

  • Phenomenal performance
  • Loads of high-end features
  • Cool and quiet throughout
  • Good cooling and RGB LED integration

The Bad

  • Minor speed bumps over other cards
  • Niche appeal for some features
  • Enormously expensive

The Specs

Stream processors: 2,944
Base clock: 1,515MHz
Boost clock: 1,860MHz
Memory: 8GB, 256-bit 7,000MHz GDDR6
Connectivity: PCI Express 3.0
Display Outputs: DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b
Max Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
TDP: 245W
Power connections: 2 x 8-pin
Supported APIs: DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 2.2, Vulkan 1.1, CUDA 7.5

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 OC

About Author

Mark Reed

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