ASUS ROG Strix Gaming RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti Review
Published: 26th September 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: £999.99 and £1499.99 |
The more that we test the Turing GPU and its attendant RT and Tensor Cores, the more we are impressed at the consistency of the performance you can extract. nVidia deserve a massive pat on the back for managing to deliver a seriously complicated PCB requiring all sorts of new hardware on board, and doing so in a way which works just as well on their Founders Edition cards as it does here on a ROG product.
Indeed, so consistent is the performance and so relatively good was the nVidia card that we think it has caught ASUS out slightly.
Performance across both cards is very good. The stock tests were run with the regular BIOS mode rather than the OC mode, and showed how good the nVidia GPU Boost 4.0 can be, by providing fast boost clocks which were enough to have the Strix RTX 2080 and RTX 2080Ti right in the thick of the action. Naturally if you moved to the OC BIOS you should expect a little more performance even than that, but we know that if you're running cards at stock you're probably a fit and forget type of person. If ASUS want you to use the OC mode all the time they wouldn't have provided a switch to turn it off, but instead made it the default option. However, if you would flick that switch then maybe you'd manually overclock too, or at least utilise the OC Scanner software, and here there are some performance boosts to be found. Both cards were very close to the nVidia and MSI cards we have in our graphs, but if there was a gap to be found it was nearly always found in the favour of the ASUS ROG Strix cards, and particularly so in the case of the RTX 2080Ti.
Build quality is spectacular as you would expect from ASUS. The cards are solid, the fit and finish is great, the coolers themselves are excellent in performance whether you demand quiet usage or cool temperatures. We also really like the RGB lighting and the ROG logo on the backplate is a particular highlight, especially as it's in the place that is easiest to show off. If you did want to use the increasingly popular PCI Express extenders to place your GPU more prominently on display then there is a lot of RGB lighting around the fans too.
Previously the nVidia reference cards were good examples of the breed that found popular homes with people who would strip off the fairly poor air cooler and put on a water block or an AIO solution. With the pricing being so competitive any minor performance deficits could be overlooked. This also meant that the main brands could apply their custom cooling and bells and whistles secure in the knowledge that the consumer would pay a bit more for the simplicity of an air cooled card which had more performance than the reference model and allowed them to demonstrate their brand loyalty.
The ASUS Strix pair of RTX cards seem to have been priced with that state of affairs being the expected future, rather than the reality of the Turing GPUs wherein the nVidia card is really good, the MSI version is both great and only a tiny bit more than the nVidia one, and this is now expensive without much in the way of benefits to make it the wise choice. Obviously if you are the type of person who is fiercely loyal to ASUS then you'll understand that there is always a little bit of price mark up on a ROG product when compared to the competition. In the case of the RTX 2080 that mark up is just on the borderline of what's getting enough back for your investment, being £250 more than the nVidia FE card.
The ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080Ti on the other hand is far too expensive at a whopping £400 more than the nVidia card at somewhere between £1449 and £1499.99 based on the fact that the lower model 'Dual' card has an MSRP of £1375. It feels like ASUS know they have built the ROG brand into a colossus and that the Ti is a single card weapon unlikely to be purchased in pairs, so instead of making £300 profit by selling you an SLI setup they'll make it by selling you a single card for too much money. We don't think they planned on the nVidia being so good and the MSI being so affordable. All of which means that the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 price still stings harder than it should, but the Strix RTX 2080Ti, despite its bomb-proof build quality and excellent performance, is just too much money for what you're getting unless you're absolutely hell-bent on having an all ASUS setup. In our eyes the 2080 should have been £899 and the Ti would have still stung at £1299, yes thats right we are saying we wouldnt even be impressed if the Strix Ti cost less than what they are currently selling the 'Dual' card for. To say Im disappointed in their pricing on this launch is a massive understatement, Id mix in a bit of fear about what the future may hold for them if they continue on this path too.
The ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 will be available for £999.99, whilst the ROG Strix RTX 2080Ti has an (estimated) price of £1499.99.