ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Super STRIX OC Review 19

ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Super STRIX OC Review

(19 User Comments) »

Value and Conclusion

  • The ASUS RTX 2080 Super STRIX OC isn't listed in the US, and ASUS couldn't get us any pricing yet. The slightly lower-clocked RTX 2080 Super STRIX Advanced is price at around $780, so assuming $800 seems reasonable.
  • Solid performance increase over the original RTX 2080
  • Fastest memory ever seen on a graphics card—15.5 Gbps
  • Very quiet in gaming (quiet BIOS)
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • More power-efficient than Founders Edition
  • Idle fan stop (quiet BIOS)
  • Dual BIOS
  • Low temperatures (default BIOS)
  • Backplate included
  • Voltage measurement points
  • RTX Technology
  • Fan and RGB headers
  • DLSS could lift the card to 4K 60 FPS performance
  • Game bundle includes both Control and Wolfenstein: Youngblood
  • SLI support
  • VESA Adaptive-Sync, HDMI 2.0b, USB-C, DisplayPort 1.4, 8K support
  • High price
  • Power limit not increased over Founders Edition, lower than RTX 2070S STRIX OC
  • With default BIOS: could be quieter and lacks fan stop
  • Always running into power limiter, which complicates overclocking, too
  • Memory not overclocked
In late July, NVIDIA released their GeForce RTX 2080 Super. While the release seems unexpected at first, it makes sense if you take a closer look at their product stack. In order to counter AMD's Navi-based Radeon RX 5700 Series, NVIDIA released the "Super" refresh of Turing, which offers faster variants of the RTX 2060 and RTX 2070. Unlike the original RTX 2070, the RTX 2070 Super is based on the TU104 graphics processor, which is the same chip that powers the RTX 2080 lineup. This jump in performance shrunk the gap between the RTX 2070 and RTX 2080, which makes the original RTX 2080 less attractive to potential buyers, especially at its current price point. That's why NVIDIA is giving the RTX 2080 the +1 treatment, too. The RTX 2080 Super is based on the same TU104 GPU that powers the RTX 2080, but uses all shaders available in the silicon. NVIDIA is also bumping their memory clocks up to 15.5 Gbps, which helps with performance, too.

ASUS has made extensive changes to the PCB layout of their STRIX OC. The VRM configuration has been strengthened from 8+2 to 10+2 and a better voltage controller is used. Out of the box, the card is overclocked to a rated boost of 1860 MHz, which translates into an average real-life clock of 1995 MHz. At 1440p, the ASUS RTX 2080 Super is 8% faster than the original RTX 2080, which widens the gap to the RTX 2070 Super to 14%, restoring the balance in this market segment. NVIDIA's flagship, the RTX 2080 Ti, is 13% faster than the RTX 2080 Super. AMD's fastest, the now end-of-life Radeon VII, is 17% behind, and the new Navi-based RX 5700 XT is 23% slower—not even close. Performance numbers of the RTX 2080 Super are good; the higher FPS rates definitely help improve the gaming experience at 4K. While not a 4K60 max details card, it is good enough for solid 4K gaming with decent frame rates if you are willing to sacrifice some details settings (depending on the game). Its high performance will also help gamers looking to drive a high-refresh-rate monitor beyond 60 Hz on 1440p at the highest details.

The ASUS RTX 2080 Super STRIX OC comes with the large triple-slot, triple-fan thermal solution we've seen on the RTX 2080 non-Super, too. Thanks to six heatpipes, temperatures are very low, reaching only 66°C. While these temps look mighty impressive, you have to take noise levels into account too. Here, the STRIX OC doesn't do so well, reaching 37 dBA, which is a bit more noise than even on the dual-slot Founders Edition. It looks like ASUS favored temperatures over noise levels with their default fan curve. Thanks to a dual-BIOS feature, this is easily fixed. The "quiet" BIOS is just a button-flick away and transforms the card into a super-quiet high-end gaming powerhouse. In this mode, the card reaches 76°C, still fine, but runs at only 31 dBA, which is the best result we've seen during our RTX 2080 Super reviews. The "quiet" BIOS also includes the idle-fan-stop feature, which shuts off the card's fans completely in idle, productivity, and light gaming.

Surprisingly, ASUS chose to use the same board power limit as on the Founders Edition, which is unexpected since a higher power limit unlocks more performance because the card can boost higher for longer and does not hit the power limit all the time. While such a power limit increase obviously increases power draw and heat output, I'm confident that the cooler could handle it. On the other hand, the STRIX power limit results in excellent efficiency due to reduced power draw, beating even the Founders Edition by 10%, which is pretty significant. ASUS has upgraded their power input configuration to two 8 pins, which are good for 375 W in theory, but even in Furmark, we only see 250 W—a 8+6 connector setup could handle that with ease since it is good for up to 300 W.

For overclockers, the manual power adjustment limit has been increased from 280 W on the Founders to 313 W on the STRIX OC, which is a generous increase and justifies the dual 8-pins. Some other cards give you a higher power limit; the EVGA FTW3 goes up to 351 W, for example. However, 313 W should be sufficient for nearly all overclockers. The default power limiter does complicate overclocking a bit because you can no longer dial in the exact clocks you want to overclock to. Still, our manual overclocking tests show good results, leading to a 6.4% real-life performance improvement. Especially the Samsung 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory chips overclock extremely well, reaching 2320 MHz in frequency, which is the second-highest we've ever seen. Wondering why NVIDIA chose to clock the cards at 15.5 Gbps even though the memory chips themselves are guaranteed to run at 16 Gbps, I reached out to them and got the response that "this is related to the PCB design of the original 2080 board. On the 2080 Super we reach max stability at 15.5, while leaving some OC headroom".

Like all other NVIDIA RTX cards, the RTX 2080 Super includes support for raytracing hardware acceleration. With only a few titles so far, I'm not sure if it's the most important technology to have today, but I am convinced that with their close ties to developers, NVIDIA will do everything they can to push this technology forward, which will ultimately result in an improvement of fidelity in games. Console makers Sony and Microsoft are also working on raytracing for their next-gen hardware, which will definitely help adoption rates, too. The RTX 2080 Super has additional RT cores and higher performance overall, which will help cushion the performance hit from raytracing.

ASUS hasn't provided any pricing info for the RTX 2080 Super STRIX OC, and I couldn't find the card listed in the US (only the "Advanced" is listed for $780). In Europe, the STRIX OC can be bought online for €860 including VAT, which translates into $800. At that price, the RTX 2080 Super STRIX OC is $100 more than the Founders Edition, definitely too much. I would say given the competition and what the card offers (it offers a lot), a more reasonable price would be around $750–$770, which would align it with other premium RTX 2080 Super cards. In order to offset the cost a little bit and show off the benefits of their RTX technology, NVIDIA includes a two-game bundle with all RTX Super cards consisting of Control and Wolfenstein: Youngblood. A future bundle seems to include the new Call of Duty title.
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