ASUS GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC Review 215

ASUS GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC Review

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Introduction

ASUS Logo

The ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 OC is the company's biggest bet on the TUF Gaming brand since its transformation from a hyper-durable motherboard label to a gaming-centric name targeted at gamers looking for durable, value-conscious products a few years ago. ASUS typically positions TUF Gaming below the coveted ROG brand. Over the past few years, we've seen the company design TUF Gaming graphics cards based on entry-thru-mainstream GPUs, but this is the first outing with an enthusiast-segment GPU, NVIDIA's flagship GeForce RTX 3080 "Ampere," which debuted earlier this month. ASUS directed considerable engineering efforts into making this a premium product with several practical features.

The GeForce RTX 3080 by NVIDIA, based on the Ampere graphics architecture, is the green team's first new consumer graphics technology in two years, and an exercise at making real-time raytracing meet next-generation performance. NVIDIA took the bold step of introducing real-time raytracing to the gaming segment in 2018 with RTX—a technology that combines real-time raytraced elements, such as lighting, shadow, reflections, ambient occlusion, and global illumination, with conventional raster 3D scenes to significantly increase realism. With Ampere, NVIDIA is introducing its 2nd generation with even more RTX effects at better performance. The RTX 3080 is designed to make AAA gaming with raytracing at 4K UHD possible at 60 Hz, or with high refresh-rates at lower resolution.



The GeForce Ampere architecture introduces a new generation double-throughput CUDA core that can perform concurrent FP32+INT32 math. The new 2nd generation RT core doubles the BVH traversal and intersection performance over the previous generation and introduces new fixed-function hardware that enables newer RTX effects, such as raytraced motion blur. The 3rd generation Tensor core shares many design elements with its HPC cousin powering the A100 Tensor Core processor NVIDIA launched this spring, which leverages the sparsity phenomenon in deep-learning neural networks to double AI inference performance by an order of magnitude. NVIDIA heavily uses AI in its raytracing pipeline, and image-quality features such as DLSS. The new DLSS 8K feature takes a stab at 8K gaming by taking advantage of AI.

The new GeForce RTX 3080 features more than double the CUDA core counts than the previous-generation, with over 8,704 CUDA cores, 68 RT cores, 272 tensor cores, 272 TMUs, and 96 ROPs. All this compute muscle is fed data by an updated memory setup consisting of 10 GB of 19 Gbps GDDR6X memory across a 320-bit wide memory interface, which works out to 760 GB/s of bandwidth; that's 70% higher than the previous generation. There are several other "next generation" bits, such as support for PCI-Express 4.0 x16 bus, the latest HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4a connectivity, and AV1 video acceleration. NVIDIA built the GA102 over the 8 nm FFN process Samsung designed specially for NVIDIA.

The ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 OC retains the military-grade metal aesthetic characteristic of the brand. It uses a meaty cooling solution that features multiple fin stacks which are ventilated by a trio of ASUS's new-generation Axial-Tech fans. There's lavish use of metal on both the cooler shroud and the backplate. The cooler is longer than the PCB underneath. Much like NVIDIA's Dual Axial Flow-Through cooling solution on the Founders Edition card, ASUS used the extra length of the cooler to vent air through the card. ASUS gave the card factory-overclocked speeds of 1785 MHz GPU Boost (vs. 1710 MHz reference). The card draws power from a pair of conventional 8-pin PCIe power inputs. ASUS is asking $730 for the RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC, a tiny $30 premium over the reference design. In this review, we pit the card against a large selection of graphics cards, across an equally large selection of games.

GeForce RTX 3080 Market Segment Analysis
 PriceShader
Units
ROPsCore
Clock
Boost
Clock
Memory
Clock
GPUTransistorsMemory
GTX 1080 Ti$6503584881481 MHz1582 MHz1376 MHzGP10212000M11 GB, GDDR5X, 352-bit
RX 5700 XT$3702560641605 MHz1755 MHz1750 MHzNavi 1010300M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070$3402304641410 MHz1620 MHz1750 MHzTU10610800M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2070 Super$4502560641605 MHz1770 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
Radeon VII$6803840641802 MHzN/A1000 MHzVega 2013230M16 GB, HBM2, 4096-bit
RTX 2080$6002944641515 MHz1710 MHz1750 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Super$6903072641650 MHz1815 MHz1940 MHzTU10413600M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 2080 Ti$10004352881350 MHz1545 MHz1750 MHzTU10218600M11 GB, GDDR6, 352-bit
RTX 3070$5005888961500 MHz1725 MHz1750 MHzGA10417400M8 GB, GDDR6, 256-bit
RTX 3080$7008704961440 MHz1710 MHz1188 MHzGA10228000M10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit
ASUS RTX 3080
TUF Gaming OC
$7308704961440 MHz1785 MHz1188 MHzGA10228000M10 GB, GDDR6X, 320-bit
RTX 3090$1500104961121395 MHz1695 MHz1219 MHzGA10228000M24 GB, GDDR6X, 384-bit

Packaging

Package Front
Package Back


The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back
Graphics Card Front Angled

Subjectively, this is the best-looking product to wear the TUF Gaming badge by ASUS. The brand has come a long way, and this particular card sheds much of the "cheapness" associated with older generations of TUF Gaming graphics cards. It easily matches up to some of their premium designs. There's close to no illuminated bling, and an airy metal cooler shroud exposes as much of the heatsink underneath as possible.

Graphics Card Dimensions

Dimensions of the card are 30 x 14.5 cm. There's a needless amount of height added by that stub towards the end.

Graphics Card Height
Graphics Card Back Angled

Installation requires three slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include three standard DisplayPort 1.4a and two HDMI 2.1 (one more than other cards). Interestingly, the USB-C port for VR headsets, which NVIDIA introduced on Turing Founders Editions, has been removed—guess it didn't take off as planned.

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.

Graphics Card Power Plugs

Unlike the Founders Edition card with its fancy 12-pin connector, the RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC uses a pair of conventional 8-pin PCIe power inputs right where you'd expect them. This configuration is rated for a maximum power delivery of 375 W.


ASUS includes a dual BIOS feature with the TUF. The default BIOS is "performance", and the "quiet" BIOS will run a more relaxed fan curve with less noise, but higher temperatures and slightly reduced gaming performance. Both BIOSes have idle fan stop.

Multi-GPU Area

The GeForce RTX 3080 does not support SLI. Its bigger brother, the RTX 3090, has SLI support. As both are based on the GA102 GPU, it's purely a segmentation choice. Multi-GPU really isn't supported widely anymore, so it's no big deal.

Teardown

Graphics Card Cooler Front
Graphics Card Cooler Back

Disassembling the RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC is easy. You simply undo a bunch of screws to remove the backplate, and then turn a second set of screws to pull out the cooling solution. The cooler comes out as a clean piece, leaving behind the PCB and a base plate. The cooling solution uses two large aluminium fin stacks joined at the hip by six 6 mm-thick copper heat pipes.


The base plate on the ASUS RTX 3080 TUF Gaming is one of the more elaborate contraptions we've seen this generation. A metal plate makes contact with the memory chips and some of the VRM MOSFETs. Parts of the plate are interconnected by a flat heat pipe. Heat is dissipated by three aluminium fin stacks. There are also some flat surfaces where thermal pads pass some of the heat onto the main cooler.


As we mentioned earlier, the cooler is longer than the PCB, which means the extrusion of the cooler is cleverly utilized by punching a hole through the backplate and letting air exhaust through, much like the Dual Axial Flow-Through Founders Edition cooler. The backplate is made out of metal and pulls some heat over thermal pads.

High-resolution PCB Pictures

These pictures are for the convenience of volt modders and people who would like to see all the finer details on the PCB. Feel free to link back to us and use these in your articles or forum posts.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back


High-res versions are also available (front, back).

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Jul 4th, 2022 10:34 EDT change timezone

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