The most obvious characteristic is its two-piece design—a card and a liquid-cooling radiator joined at the hip with pre-filled coolant tubing.
Visually, the ASUS STRIX uses a mixture of black and various shades of gray, nice shininess there indeed. The front of the cooler shroud is made out of plastic, while the backplate is metal.
Dimensions of the card are 29 x 11 cm, and it weighs 1364 g, but this is only for the business end of the card. One has to factor in the dimensions of the 240 mm x 120 mm radiator and a pair of 120 mm fans, not to mention the tubing.
Installation requires three slots in your system and a spot for a 240 mm x 120 mm radiator.
The 240 mm radiator is of standard thickness and includes a pair of 25 mm-thick 120 mm fans.
Display connectivity includes three standard DisplayPort 1.4 and two HDMI 2.1. The DisplayPort 1.4a outputs support Display Stream Compression (DSC) 1.2a, which lets you connect 4K displays at 120 Hz and 8K displays at 60 Hz. Ampere can drive two 8K displays at 60 Hz with just one cable per display.
Ampere is the first GPU to support HDMI 2.1, which increases bandwidth to 48 Gbps to support higher resolutions, like 4K144 and 8K30, with a single cable. With DSC, this goes up to 4K240 and 8K120. NVIDIA's new NVENC/NVDEC video engine is optimized to handle video tasks with minimal CPU load. The highlight here is added support for AV1 decode. Just like on Turing, you may also decode MPEG-2, VC1, VP8, VP9, H.264, and H.265 natively, at up to 8K@12-bit.
The encoder is identical to Turing. It supports H.264, H.265, and lossless at up to 8K@10-bit.
This switch lets you select between the "P" (performance) and "Q" (quiet) BIOSes.
The card puts out two 4-pin PWM case fan headers, which are running at a speed that's synchronized with the graphics card fan. This makes it extremely easy to build a low-noise case. When not gaming, and heat is low, the case fans will be stopped. Once your gaming sessions starts and the card heats up, the case fans will start spinning, to exhaust hot air from the graphics card out of the case.
Unlike the fancy 12-pin connector on the Founders Edition, ASUS sticks to conventional PCIe connectors. Three of them add up to 525 W of power input capacity.
The GeForce RTX 3080 Ti does not support SLI.
The plastic top-shroud of the cooler pops right out, and holds an RGB element.
The main liquid-cooling component is a Gen 7 Asetek AIO pump-block, which pulls heat from the GPU and memory chips through a large, square copper base. A secondary aluminium heatsink ventilated by a lateral-blower cools other components, such as the VRM.
The large square copper base makes contact with the GPU and memory chips surrounding it. It also shoulders some cooling of the secondary heatsink. The thermal pads on the memory are 2.0 mm thick, VRM pads are 1.5 mm thick, and the backplate pads are 2.5 mm.
A high-quality aluminium backplate finishes things off.