ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB OC and ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 8 GB OC Graphics Cards Review – STRIX Now With Axial Tech

Oct 28, 2018



October, 2018
Type Graphics Cards
Price $1299 US / $869

ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Ti & ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Closer Look + Teardown

ASUS's ROG STRIX series are some of the biggest graphics cards that I have ever tested. ASUS has further refined the ROG STRIX design by offering more cooling and thermal transfer prowess within the same package. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ROG STRIX measures at 12 " x 5.13 " x 2.13 " Inch while the GeForce RTX 2080 ROG STRIX measures at 11.8 " x 5.13 " x 2.13 " Inch. Both cards are 2.7 slot designs which means that they take up just about 3 slot spaces within your case.

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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.

The back of both cards feature a solid backplate which looks stunning as always with the ROG Eye logo on the far end, a unique laser etched design spread all over and the ASUS STRIX logo, all done in brushed metallic black colors.

In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the DirectCU heatsink which is now in its third variation. The first variation started off with the GTX 1080 and I got to see an updated version on the GTX 1080 Ti. The one used on the new RTX 20 series is the most updated one. ASUS also had DirectCU II and DirectCU III heatsinks on previous NVIDIA GPUs but they were of a far too different design than the one I have today.

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The new heatsink looks like a beefed up version the last DirectCU heatsink with the main changes being the fans and heatsink design. ASUS has kept their RGB implementation much similar to the previous model.

The shroud comes with cutouts the implement ASUS’s AURA Sync lighting. Each of the six cutouts comes with LEDs that light up and can be modified through the AURA RGB Lighting software. The software allows for several different lighting modes and full RGB colors (up to 16.8 million). There is also an RGB lit logo on the side and the back of the card which I will get to in a bit.

Coming to the fans, here we see one of the major updates to ASUS's ROG STRIX design. Gone is the wing-blade and now comes the Axial-tech. This is the first time a manufacturer is using Axial Tech based fans on their cards so it will be interesting to note how the affect thermal performance.

Compared to their older Wing-blade fans, the Axial Tech fans offer higher air flow (27% increase), greater static pressure (40% increase) and around the same acoustics. The fans are also designed to last longer thanks to their IP5X dust resistance certification.

The fans are fully compliant with 0dB Technology and are actually comprised of three areas. All of these would stay at 0 RPM (idle state) if the temperatures don’t exceed 55C. When it does exceed 55C, all fans would start spinning. You can enable this with the onboard BIOS “Quiet Mode” switch. The other mode is the Performance Mode which always spins the fans for better cooling and GPU performance.

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 slightly sharp edges that add to the durability of this card. The brushed metallic black finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic.

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. I can also see the ASUS ROG eye logo on the back which looks stunning.

If you are not a fan of the RGB LEDs, ASUS has a Stealth mode switch that lets you turn off or on, all of the LEDs on the card.

Gone is SLI and now we have the latest NVLINK gold finger connectors. Both the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 come 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 is 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 humungous 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. ASUS has moved to a 2.7 slot design which is the result of the thicker heatsink design that offers 20% more cooling area than the last gen heatsink.

The heatsink is fitted with several copper heatpipes and has a very dense aluminum surface with a cold plate that makes direct contact with the GPU and runs the entire length of the PCB.

ASUS’s MaxContact technology allows for a precision-machined heat spreader which makes up to two times more contact with the GPU than a traditional contact surface, allowing for better heat dissipation.

ASUS is also supplying a much larger reinforcing frame on the RTX 20 series cards compared to GTX 10 series. The new frame includes plastic braces that are mounted on the backplate and I/O shield and extends on both sides of the cards and the front too. This increases the structural integrity of the card by 3 times, preventing from torsion and bending.

ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Teardown:

ASUS makes use of a 16+3 phase PWM design that includes their Super Alloy Power II components such as SAP II Capacitors, SAP II Chokes, SAP II DrMOS and SAP II POSCAP. The cards also use the MT61K256M32JE-1 4:A GDDR6 memory from Micron that operates at 14 Gbps along a 352/256-bit wide memory interface.

ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 Side-By-Side:

Below, you can see the side by side differences of the ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2080 TI and 2080 graphics cards.

You can note that the shroud design is the same on both cards and so is the heatsink. The only differences between both cards are the use of a different custom PCB solution, both of which are powerful for each card.

The display port configuration on both cards is also the same which includes three Display Port 1.4a, HDMI 2.0b and a single USB Type-C port for VirtualLink HMDs (Head Mounted Displays).

ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 20 Series AURA SYNC RGB Lighting Gallery:

ASUS ROG STRIX series cards utilize their AURA SYNC RGB technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. There are a total of 6 different RGB effects which you can choose from and the cards have eight RGB accent points, six on the front, one on the side and one on the back of the card which looks really good. You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the ASUSs' ARUA Sync application from MSI's web page.

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

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