The ASUS ROG RTX 2080 Ti Matrix is a large graphics card and sure to be the crown-jewel of your gaming build. It is 31.0 cm long and 13.5 cm tall, which could be a tight squeeze in some of the smaller mid-towers. As expected, a backplate is included, too.
Installation requires three slots in your system.
Display connectivity options include two standard-sized DisplayPort 1.4, two HDMI 2.0b, and one USB-C VirtualLink.
NVIDIA has updated their display engine with the Turing microarchitecture, which now supports DisplayPort 1.4a with support for VESA's nearly lossless Display Stream Compression (DSC). Combined, this enables support for 8K@30Hz with a single cable, or 8K@60Hz when DSC is turned on. For context, DisplayPort 1.4a is the latest version of the standard that was published in April, 2018.
Since earlier this year, NVIDIA has enabled support for VESA Adaptive Sync (aka FreeSync) on all of their cards. While only a small number of FreeSync monitors have been fully qualified for G-SYNC, users can enable the feature in NVIDIA's control panel regardless of whether the monitor is certified or not.
The board uses two 8-pin power connectors. This input configuration is specified for up to 375 watts of power draw.
With Turing, NVIDIA is using NVLink as a physical layer for its next-generation SLI technology. NVLink provides sufficient bandwidth for multi-GPU rendering at 8K 60 Hz, 4K 120 Hz, and other such bandwidth-heavy display resolutions. It's a point-to-point link between your GPUs, and so, latencies will be lower compared to pushing data through the PCI-Express bus.
The card has a dual-BIOS feature, with the second BIOS offering a "quiet" mode that runs the fans at lower speeds and also enables the fan-stop feature. The pump will keep running while the fans are off. Both BIOSes have identical clock and power limit settings.
ASUS provides an LED kill switch called "Stealth Mode", which lets you completely turn off all RGB LED lighting at the push of a button.
There are three interesting headers with this card; a 4-pin/3-pin RGB/aRGB header to connect additional lighting directly to the card and two 4-pin PWM fan headers for up to two case fans that sync up to your card's fan speed based on GPU temperature.
These consolidated voltage measurement points easily let you test various voltages of the card.
As mentioned before, the ASUS cooler contains a full watercooling solution comprised of waterblock, pump, and radiator. The copper base of the block is extremely large, letting ASUS cool not only the GPU, but the memory chips, which often only see minimal cooling with other watercooling designs.
The cooler packs a trio of what ASUS calls "Axial Tech Fans". These fans feature a barrier ring that runs along the periphery of the impeller to prevent lateral airflow and guide all of it axially (down on to the radiator and PCB).
For their waterblock, ASUS is using a dual-channel design with a very finely milled flow pattern.
The small base you see on these comparison images is from an Asetek waterblock, which is what most competing watercooling designs use. Here, you see how much bigger the ASUS block is.
With the main cooler removed, we get a better look at the card itself. The first detail we can make out is a large die-cast plate that sits on top of the card, covering it entirely.
The plate provides cooling for the VRM circuitry and also significantly improves the bending strength of the card, which completely eliminates any form of sagging.
Looking from the side, we can get a better idea of the sandwiched cooler design. On top, you have the waterblock with its copper base that is connected to the radiator below it (in the photo). Both are connected through the short straight-down piece of tubing on the left side of the block. To the right of the block, you see the pump with its power cable, which has a more classic-looking run of tubing connect to the radiator.
The pump is fairly compact in design and runs at a set speed all the time.
On the great-looking backplate, ASUS has included an RGB-lit ROG logo and a nicely milled surface structure.
On the next page, we dive deep into the PCB layout and VRM configuration.