MSI GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming X Trio 8 GB Graphics Card Review – Team Leader Has Arrived!



MSI GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming X Trio

July 2019
Type Graphics Card
Price $749.99 US

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming X Trio Closer Look + Teardown

MSI’s Tri Frozr heat sinks are some of the biggest heatsink cooling solutions that I have ever tested. I first tested the Gaming X Trio when MSI released the 1080 Ti variant last year and that was a very aggressive design in its own right. With the RTX 20 series cards, MSI has further refined the Gaming X Trio design. Both cards measure the same at 327 x 140 x 55.6 mm with the RTX 2080 SUPER weighing in at 1582 grams. The card is also slightly taller at 2.7 slots height compared to 2.5 slots height of the previous model.

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.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080, RTX 3070, RTX 3060 Mobility GPU TGP, cTGP, PPAB Power Configurations Detailed

The back of the card features a solid backplate which looks stunning. The backplate offers a lot more functionality than just looks which I will get back to in a bit.

In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Tri Frozr heatsink which is now in its fifth variation. The first variation started off with the GTX 780 Ti Lightning, the second was the 980 Ti Lightning, then came the 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio and soon the 1080 Ti Lightning and now we have the RTX 20 and RTX SUPER Gaming X Trio graphics cards.

ASUS, MSI & ASRock Z590 Motherboard Prices Detailed – Over $1000 US For Flagship Products

The new heatsink looks like a beefed-up version the Gaming X Trio with the main changes being the shroud and heatsink design that feature an aggressive shroud design on the front, absorbing the black and silver color platelets while featuring the RGB emitting four accent points on the front and the side.

Coming to the fans, the card actually features two different fan designs based on the Torx 3.0 system. All three fans combine traditional and dispersion fan blade technology to offer better cooling performance.

The dispersion fan blade technology has a steeper curved blade that accelerates airflow and as such increases effectiveness in keeping the GPU cool. All fans deploy double ball bearing design and can last a long time while operating silently.

Now you might have noticed an odd third fan on the card which is smaller than the rest of the two fans. This fan was made small to accommodate the NVLINK connector slot on the top. The cover on top of the fan has to be removed if you are to use NVLINK functionality. Aside from that, the third smaller fan offers the same TORX 3.0 technology and the same cooling potential as the larger fans on the Gaming X Trio graphics card.

MSI also features their Zero Frozr technology on the Tri Frozr heatsink. This feature won’t spin the fans on the card unless they reach a certain threshold. In the case of the Tri Frozr 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.

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 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. We can also see the MSI Dragon logo on the back which looks stunning. MSI 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. 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 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 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. It also comes with the wave-curved fin stack 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 RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080.

The heatsink has been designed to be denser by using a wave curved fin design. It allows more air to pass through the fins smoothly, without causing any turbulence that would result in unwanted noise. Airflow Control Technology guides the airflow directly onto the heat pipes, while simultaneously creating more surface area for the air to absorb more heat before leaving the heatsink.

Talking about the heatsink, the massive block is comprised of 8mm copper squared shaped heat pipes with a more concentrated design to transfer heat from the copper base to the heatsink more effectively. The base itself is a solid nickel-plated base plate, transferring heat to the heat pipes in a very effective manner. To top it all off, MSI uses their exclusive Thermal Compound X which is said to offer higher thermal interface and heat transfer compared to traditional TIM applications.

MSI adds extra protection to their impressive PCB by including a rugged anti-bending plate. This also acts as a memory and MOSFET cooling plate while the PWM heatsink with micro fins keeps the VRM cool under stressful conditions.

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).

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming X Trio Teardown:

MSI makes use of a 10+2 phase PWM design that includes their Military Class components such as Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Chokes, and Japanese Solid Caps. 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.

The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming X Trio is a very power-hungry graphics card as showcased by its custom design. Being so, it uses a very power-intensive connector configuration which comprises of dual 8 pin connectors. The card is rated at a TDP of 275W officially by MSI.

MSI GeForce RTX SUPER Gaming X Trio Series RGB Lighting Gallery:

MSI Gaming X Trio series cards utilize their Mystic Light RGB technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. There are a total of 8 different RGB effects which you can choose from and the cards have five RGB accent points, four on the front and one light bar surrounding the side of the card which looks really good. You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the MSI Mystic Light application from MSI's web page.

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

Share on Reddit