AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme 8 GB Graphics Card Review – Round Goes The RGB On A Triple Fan, Custom PCB Design



AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme

October, 2018
Type Graphics Card
Price $879.99 US

AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme Closer Look

AORUS's Xtreme graphics card rock the new Windforce design which is a refinement and a modern take on the Windforce 3X solution. The card measure in at 290 x 134.31 x 59.9 mm. The card takes up two slots inside a chassis so it's easy to install.

You would have to keep in mind the height when going for a dual card solution as your case or motherboard PCIe slot combination may not allow such setup. The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation.

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The back of the card features a solid backplate which looks stunning and offers a premium look. There's a lot of nifty features about this backplate which I will come back to shortly as you continue reading this review.

In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Windforce series shroud which offers great aesthetics over the previous models. The shroud design is more futuristic looking and comes with a new heatsink design underneath it which should offer better cooling performance.

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The black and silver accents on the front shroud are great. The frame is made up of plastic with metal surfaces along the sides and middle cover. The middle cover houses a small Falcon logo which illuminates RGB lighting when powered up.

Coming to the fans, the card features three 100mm stack fans that provide higher airflow and a smooth operation. The key feature of the fans is that they adopt an alternate spinning design as standard spinning leads to turbulent airflow inside the card, leaving less space for hot air to disperse.

With alternate spinning technique, the middle fan rotates clockwise while the two fans on the side feature anti-clockwise rotation, allowing for better dissipation of heat. This also enhances the airflow pressure, keeping the heatsink cooler under intense gaming workloads.

All fans deploy double ball bearing design and can last a long time while operating silently. They also offer silent operation compared to standard fans.

AORUS also features their 3D Active Fan technology on the Windforce heatsink. This feature won’t spin the fans on the card unless they reach a certain threshold. In the case of the Windforce heatsink, that limit is set to 60C. If the card is operating under 60C, the fans won’t spin which means no extra noise would be generated. AORUS has also included a small LED fan indicator which lets you know when the fans are in "Fan Stop" state.

Most users who haven't seen this technology in action before would think that the fans were dead on arrival but the indicator lets them know that its the feature that is actually doing its job here.

I am back at talking about the full-coverage, full metal-based backplate which both card use. The whole plate is made of solid metal with rounded edges that add to the durability of this card. The brushed silver finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic. There's also the large AORUS logo which lits up with the RGB Fusion technology.

There are cutouts in screw placements to easily reach the points on the graphics card. There are open vents for the hot air to move out from the back too. AORUS is also using heat pads beneath the backplate which offer more cooling to the electrical circuitry on the PCB.

Gone is SLI and now we have the latest NVLINK gold finger connectors. The RTX 2080 comes with a single NVLINK connector which allows for 2-Way multi-GPU functionality. The RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 are the only cards to support NVLINK connectivity so multi-GPU is only for the high-end spectrum of cards and for good reason. Only these cards have enough bandwidth that can drive another GPU of their tier as anything below wouldn't have the power to interlink to the other card.

A single x8 NVLINK channel provides 25 GB/s peak bandwidth. There are two x8 links on the TU102 GPU and a single x8 link on the Turing TU104 GPU. The TU102 GPU features 50 GB/s of bandwidth in parallel and 100 GB/s bandwidth bi-directionally. Using NVLINK on high-end cards would be beneficial in high-resolution gaming but there’s a reason NVIDIA still restricts users from doing 3 and 4 way SLI.

Multi-GPU still isn’t optimized so you won’t see much benefits unless you are running the highest end graphics cards. That’s another reason why the RTX 2070 is deprived of NVLINK connectors. The NVLINK connectors cost $79 US each and are sold separately. Currently, only NVIDIA is selling them as the AIB cards don’t include any such connectors but that may change once the standard is adopted widely.

With the outsides of the card done, I will now start taking a glance at what's beneath the hood of these monster graphics cards. The first thing to catch my eye is the huge fin stack that's part of the beefy heatsink which the cards utilize.

The large fin stack runs all the way from the front and to the back of the PCB and is so thick that you can barely see through it. It also comes with the angular fin design which I want to shed some light on as it is a turn away from traditional fin design and one that may actually offer better cooling on such power-hungry graphics cards such as the Turing based GeForce RTX 2080.

The heatsink has been designed to be denser and features an unequal and angular fins design. It allows more air to pass through the fins smoothly, without causing any turbulence that would result in unwanted noise, while also enhancing the cooling capacity to a certain extent.

AORUS is also using their heat pipes direct touch contact base which is now covering the GPU, MOSFET, and VRAM. Making direct contact with the heat pipes instead of using a cold plate should theoretically be the best approach for transferring heat off of the GPU die but I will be testing it up to see if it really holds up with a die such as the TU104.

The AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme comes with a factory overclock out of the box. Being so, it uses a dual 8 Pin connector configuration.

AORUS is also using a beefier I/O solution on their Xtreme series graphics cards, giving access to a total of 7 outputs. These include triple HDMI, triple DP ports and a single USB Type-C port. It's very useful if you are a display or VR enthusiast, rocking multiple displays or HMDs on your gaming setup.

AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme PCB:

AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Xtreme RGB Lighting Gallery:

AORUS GeForce RTX 20 Xtreme series cards utilize their RGB Fusion technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. The fans are embedded with a LED strip that gives you an amazing spiral RGB effect while the side logo and the backplate logo are also fully lit up with RGB LEDs. You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the Gigabyte RGB Fusion application from Gigabyte's web page.

Following is what the graphics card looks like when lit up.

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