MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio 11 GB and GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio 8 GB Graphics Cards Review – Next-Gen Tri-Frozr For Next-Gen NVIDIA GPUs
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X TrioSeptember 2018
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio & RTX 2080 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 Ti weighing in at 1582 grams and the RTX 2080 weighing in at 1553 grams. Both cards are 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.
The back of both cards feature a solid backplate which looks stunning and one subtle difference between the RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 variant is that the RTX 2080 has a slightly different back-plate dimension compared to the RTX 2080 Ti due to the use of different PCBs. The cooler shroud and the design of the backplate, however, remains the same. I will show you a better difference between both cards and their PCBs 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 series Gaming X Trio models.
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 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. 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.
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio Teardown:
MSI makes use of a 14+3 phase PWM design that includes their Military Class components such as Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Chok, s and Japanese Solid Caps. The card also uses the MT61K256M32JE-1 4:A GDDR6 memory from Micron that operates at 14 Gbps along a 256-bit wide memory interface.
The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 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 two 8 Pin and a single 6 pin connector. The card is rated at a TDP of 300W officially by MSI.
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 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 MT61K256M32JE-14:A GDDR6 memory from Micron that operates at 14 Gbps along a 256-bit wide memory interface.
One of the things I personally liked on the RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio is the attention to detail. While the normal gamer wouldn't ever tear down his graphics cards as I do, I was surprised to see the power delivery package to feature small MSI Dragoon logos on them. It's things like these that shows that the manufacturer has really put some love while developing their latest high-end product.
The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 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 two 8 Pin connectors. The card is rated at a TDP of 260W officially by MSI.
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio & MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio Side-By-Side:
Below, you can see the side by side differences of the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio and GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio 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).
Lastly, you can see a final look at the MSI GeForce RTX Gaming X Trio series graphics cards before we go in the performance segments. Once again, these cards are really good looking and anyone inside your gaming PC is going to make it shine.
MSI GeForce RTX 20 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.