Gigabyte RTX 2080Ti Aorus Extreme Waterforce 11G Review
Published: 3rd June 2019 | Source: Gigabyte | Price: |
Naturally when you're looking at two cards based upon similar architecture with identical coolers there is some cross over in our thoughts, and so first up we're going to talk about what they have in common.
The first thing is clearly that cooler. The Aorus Extreme Waterforce isn't the first pair of cards to come with built in watercooling in the form of an AIO with an external radiator, but the way that it's all been put together is very impressive. We're particularly keen on the clear panel that doubles as a place for the Aorus lighting to be shown off to its fullest. Gigabyte have really expanded all the possibilities of RGB lighting and pushed it much further than the other major companies. It's almost as if they've made a conscious decision that, as RGB is on everything anyway, they might as well go all-in and turn their products into the equivalent of the Blackpool lights (or the Vegas Strip for non-UK readers). We're big fans.
Speaking of big fans the AIO has two RGB fans on its 240mm radiator which will bring your colour choice to the top side of your system as well as keeping the cards spectacularly cool. If you're the type of user who requires silent gaming to be a major factor in your choice of graphics card then you'll be pleased with the results from the Gigabyte Aorus Extreme Waterforce pairing. Not only are the temperatures sub 50°C but that's without pushing the fans hard. If you've ever owned a graphics card that was delightfully quiet when you're tooling around on the internet but turned into a vacuum cleaner as soon as anything more demanding than Freecell appeared you'll be thrilled at how uniform the noise level from the Gigabyte pair is. It's almost the same volume regardless of what you're doing. There is a slight problem with these fans though... The cables for them run along the hoses and there is no way to really hide them or make them look tidy. Talking of the hoses, they look OK at a quick glance but they are plastic with a very thin layer of braid over the top and really make the card feel much lower quality than they deserve to be, totally lets the performance of and the rest of the aesthetics down.
Although the RTX 2080 is a sub-section of today's review we do have a couple of points to note. Firstly the stock performance is very good, up amongst the best of the RTX 2080s we've looked at. There does appear, however, to be a slight issue with the power delivery abilities which greatly limits the cards overclocking potential. Despite our best efforts there was only a medium boost with the overclock in place, certainly in comparison to the insane performance we managed to extract from the RTX 2080Ti. On the subject of the RTX 2080Ti that forms the bulk of today's review it's clear that when you can free up the GPU from any thermal limits it's as mind-blowing as we thought it was when we first looked at the high end takes upon the formula. We thought that the MSI Lightning card was absolutely jaw-dropping and yet the Gigabyte Aorus Extreme Waterforce regularly bested it in our benchmarks.
What makes the Gigabyte pair particularly attractive is the pricing. There are a few watercooled RTX cards about to appear on the shelves and if the word on the grapevine is true then the Gigabyte will be significantly cheaper than either the EVGA or ASUS takes upon the formula. Nobody will ever accuse the RTX 2080Ti of being an affordable card, but any money saved is money you can spend elsewhere on your system.
The Gigabyte Aorus Extreme RTX 2080Ti Waterforce looks brilliant with its RGB lighting, performs stonkingly well thanks to a combination of beefy factory overclock and even more performance ready to be unleashed for those willing to tinker, and all wrapped up in a quiet and very cool package. If the rumoured pricing is proved to be accurate then it could be a great argument for saving a whole lot of money in the not to distant future.