Overall and Final Verdict
So now that we have taken a closer look at the details of the ROG Strix RTX 2080 and put it through all of our testing I can finally sit down and put it all together. Now, this is the first RTX 2080 aftermarket card to come into the office so most of my comparisons were with the RTX 2080 Founders Edition. While with the Founders Edition I really loved the construction of the card because of the heavy all metal cast fan shroud that integrates with the backplate. Asus went a different direction with the Strix and they have a plastic shroud. That said this card isn’t any lighter weight than the Founders Edition, Asus just decided to go crazy with the heatsink, this card is a beast. The cooler is tall and long and is nearly three card slots thick. Unlike a lot of other cards, the heatsink does run right up against the PCB as well so there wasn’t any wasted space. This translated to cooling performance that topped the charts, even competing with a water cooled card.
The card’s styling is best described as blacked out. Asus stuck with the same angular look of their other Strix cards and they didn’t bring that cybertext that I hate from their motherboards. The whole card is just black, the black backplate covers everything, same with the fan shroud, then even the PCI bracket on the end is black. So without turning the lighting on this card will blend in, at least as good as a giant card can blend in. The RGB lighting could use a little improvement on the top edge but I did love the ROG logo on the backplate that is lit up and RGB haters will also love the simple push button right on the backplate to turn all of the lighting off as well, without any software.
Beyond that Asus decided to swap a DisplayPort connection for a second HDMI, I think most people will be happy with that decision. They also slip in two fan headers and an RGB header right on the card. The RGB header is a nice way to add Aura controllable lighting to a system without RGB headers on the motherboard and without having to buy expensive controllers. The fan headers are even cooler though, they allow you to tie two fans to the GPU temperatures, not the CPU temps to help to better control the cooling in your case. Those two features aren’t new to this generation, but they are worth highlighting again.
So we have established that the Strix RTX 2080 is a great RTX 2080, but is it worth getting over the GTX 1080 Ti or even the RTX 2080 Founders Edition. Well first let's address the GTX 1080 Ti and the RTX 2080. Frankly, that was a big deal at the launch of the RTX cards, but now GTX 1080 Ti availability has basically dried up. So the new cards still available are now up in the $1500 or higher range. So while the RTX 2080 and the GTX 1080 Ti are very close in performance, that information is mostly good to know to not upgrade if you have a 1080 Ti or to help you on the used market. As for comparing the Strix RTX 2080 with the Founders Edition and other RTX 2080. Well, the Strix does cost more than the Founders Edition. It does perform a touch faster with its higher overclock and as noted the cooling performance of the Strix is out of this world. But I was surprised that it is about $70 more than the Founders Edition. More importantly, there are RTX 2080 options available at the $700 price point as well but those aren’t overclocked. So overall the price of the Strix 2080 is high, even the stock clocked RTX 2080’s are a little high in my opinion. But with the RTX 2080 now the only option in this performance range for a new card I think I would be looking at the lower end overclocked cards at or below $800 or even the stock clocked cards at $700 before this model. That said the Strix does come in at a better price than the EVGA RTX 2080 FTW3 Ultra which has the exact same clock speeds and a 3 slot design that is a lot like the 2.7 slot cooler Asus went with.
For those of you shopping right now for the holidays, Nvidia does at least have the Battlefield V offer going on right now. It doesn’t take the sting off the pricing all the way but getting a new and very popular game with the card is nice. Battlefield V actually reminds me of the last thing I wanted to talk about. RTX and the DL/AI cores that set the Turning architecture apart from the GTX lineup. Well, we finally got our first game with Ray tracing and while the initial response wasn’t great for performance it looks like Nvidia and DICE are working together to get that smoothed out. So not having even one RTX compatible game has been the main sticking point for me with the RTX cards, the performance has been good but a lot of the additional costs are for these new features and people have been worried if there would be games coming out. Finally getting a game is a little reassuring, but we are almost 3 months from the RTX launch is one game enough? Honestly, not really. I really want to see a few games let us take advantage of DLSS especially as that is going to really help performance where Ray Tracing is adding more load. So that is still a big downside to the RTX lineup, this Strix RTX 2080 included.
So is now the time to buy? Well, as far as pure performance goes things have made big jumps. But if you were holding out through the GTX 1080 Ti for something faster. Unless you can afford the RTX 2080 Ti, it is going to be a little while still before we see prices adjust down or for games to come out and really take advantage of the RT and Tensor cores of the RTX cards.
Live Pricing: HERE