The ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 OC uses a familiar-looking-yet-new DirectCU III cooling solution that is about 2 cm taller than standard. Dimensions of the card are 30x13 cm.
Installation requires three slots in your system.
Display connectivity options include three standard DisplayPort 1.4a, one HDMI 2.0b, and a VirtualLink connector, which is basically USB-C with DisplayPort routing and USB-PD, so a single cable can power, display, and take input from your VR HMD.
You also get two 4-pin PWM fan headers to sync your case fan to the graphics card, and an addressable RGB header. Our reviewed sample is lacking fan connect due to some technical obstacle in the first production run, but ASUS has overcome it and all cards from the second batch on will have this feature. The image above is from the RTX 2080 STRIX to illustrate the FanConnect connectivity.
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 using 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.
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 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.
We shine the light from a self-leveling line laser onto the card, which shows no sagging.
Five nickel-plated copper heat pipes meander their way through an aluminium dual fin-stack heatsink.
A base plate conveys heat from the memory and VRM to the main heatsink.
The backplate is slightly disappointing. Unlike every other card we tested today, there are no thermal pads between the hot areas of the PCB and this backplate, though there is an ROG logo LED ornament. It's the intent that counts.
A small SMT button lets you quickly turn off all LED lighting on the card. This setting is remembered while the card has power, so it persists through reboots, just not power offs.
These mounts let you manually test the various voltage domains of this card by using a multi-meter and possibly making some tweaks through soldering.
This BIOS switch lets you toggle between the default BIOS and a quiet BIOS, which enables fan-stop and runs at much lower fan speed. The clock speed on both BIOSes is identical.
On the next page, we dive deep into the PCB layout and VRM configuration.