Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming OC 8 GB Graphics Card Review – WindForce For Full Fat TU104
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming OCJuly 2019
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming OC Closer Look + Teardown
Gigabyte's Windforce 3X heat sinks are some of the beefiest heatsink cooling solutions that I have ever tested. The card measure in at 286.5 x 114.5 x 50.2mm mm and comes in the standard 2 slot design.
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 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.
In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Windforce 3X series heatsink which is now in its seventh variation. The first Windforce graphics card shipped back in the Fermi, NVIDIA GeForce 400 series era so this cooler has seen some massive changes over the years. The one on the GeForce RTX SUPER Gaming OC and WindForce OC is the most refined version of the heatsink ever produced.
The new heatsink looks like a more sleeker variant of the previous Windforce with the main changes being the shroud and heatsink design. In addition to the heatsink and shroud changes, you also get a slight bit of RGB in the new shroud which is compliant with Gigabyte's RGB Fusion lighting system and is fully user-customizable.
Coming to the fans, the card actually features two different fan designs which utilize the Unique Blade Fan design. The airflow is split by the triangular fan edge, and guided smoothly through the 3D stripe curve on the fan surface, effectively enhancing the airflow.
In addition to the standard fan spin, Gigabyte Windforce fans have an alternate spinning mode. It leads the middle fan to spin in a clockwise manner while the two fans on the side spin in anti-clockwise mode. This helps reduce airflow turbulence and allow more airflow to be blown away from the card to effectively increase heat dissipation.
The fans are fully compliant with the 3D Active Fan technology which will allow the fans to stay in idle mode until the temps exceed a certain threshold. This threshold is based on both the GPU load and the temperatures, allowing for smooth and quiet operation under lower application loads.
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 matte black finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic.
There are small 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. We can also see the Gigabyte logo in the middle. Gigabyte 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 SUPER and above come with a single NVLINK connector which allows for 2-Way multi-GPU functionality. The RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080 SUPER, RTX 2080, RTX 2070 SUPER 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 and below are 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 huge fin stack that's part of the beefy heatsink which the cards utilize.
Talking about the heatsink, the massive block is comprised of composite heat pipes which combine thermal conductivity and phase transition to efficiently manage the heat transfer between two solid interfaces which increases cooling capacity. The base of the heatsink is a direct touch heat pipe surface.
The heat pipes made direct contact with the GPU die, allowing for faster dissipation of heat from the core. Gigabyte is one of the few GPU manufacturers who is still using direct contact surfaces while others have switched over the nickel-plated, cold plates. It will be interesting to see how this heatsink performs compared to the nickel-plated designs we have tested more recently.
The Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming OC comes with a factory overclock out of the box. Being so, it uses an 8+6 pin connector configuration. The card is rated at a TDP of 275W officially by the manufacturer.
I/O on the graphics card sticks with the reference scheme which includes three Display Port 1.4a, a single HDMI 2.0b and a single USB Type-C port for VirtualLink connectivity to high-end HMD (Head Mounted Displays).
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming OC Series PCB Teardown
Gigabyte makes use of an 8+2 phase PWM design that includes high-end components. The card also uses the K4Z80325BC-HC16 GDDR6 memory from Samsung that operates at 15.5 Gbps alongside a 256-bit wide memory interface. Now interestingly, these modules are rated to hit 16 Gbps but NVIDIA has toned them down by 0.5 Gbps. The exact reason for this is not stated and DRAM yields don't seem to be the issue here as the 16 Gbps dies have been in mass production for a while. What I have heard is that since the RTX 2080 SUPER uses the same PCB designs as RTX 2080, most AIBs are not going for a PCB revision just to support 16 Gbps dies which is required for stability purposes even though the chips can handle 16 Gbps with ease on a slight overclock.
Following are a few close up shots of the reference PCB which is being offered under the hood of the Gaming OC series graphics cards.
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming OC Series RGB Lighting Gallery
Gigabyte Gaming OC series cards utilize their RGB Fusion technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. The entire side logo comes with RGB Fusion Light support. 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.