ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC 11 GB Review 40

ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC 11 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The price of the ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Strix OC isn't known yet. We've assumed a price of $740 throughout this review.
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Good temperatures - no throttling
  • Quiet in gaming
  • Fans turn off in idle
  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Backplate included
  • Two case fan headers that are synced with the GPU's fans
  • ASUS AURA RGB headers
  • DVI port included
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4
  • More expensive than Founders Edition
  • 15% reduced efficiency vs. Founders Edition
  • 2.5-slot design might not fit all cases
  • Memory not overclocked
ASUS is the first company to ready a custom GTX 1080 Ti variant. The GTX 1080 Ti STRIX OC comes with a decent factory overclock and a completely redesigned thermal solution. Out of the box, the card is 5% faster than the reference "Founders Edition" card when averaged over our test suite at 4K resolution. This makes the card 8% faster than the much more expensive Titan X and a whopping 30% faster than the GTX 1080, which just a few weeks ago was the card every enthusiast wanted. AMD's fastest, the Fury X, is about half as fast. This makes the GTX 1080 Ti a great option for 4K gaming as it is able to deliver 60 FPS at the highest settings in most of our titles. ASUS did not overclock their memory chips, which could have yielded a little bit of easy extra performance as these new 11 Gbps GDDR5X chips work really well and easily reach 1500 MHz - a few MHz above 1376 MHz should have been no problem.

ASUS has re-engineered their thermal solution. It no longer uses DirectTouch technology (heatpipes make direct contact with the GPU's surface). Instead, a mirror-polished heatspreader has been added, which will soak up heat and distribute it toward the six heatpipes. The cooler's thickness has also been increased, resulting in a 2.5-slot design, which is an ASUS STRIX first. This choice unlocks additional cooling capabilities because the heatsink can be bigger, resulting in more surface area. Graphics cards using more than two slots should be a non-issue these days, with nearly all motherboards having plenty of spacing; only users of small-form-factor cases should double check.

I'm happy to report that the ASUS STRIX cooler doesn't even come close to throttling, which we did notice on the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. In our testing with heavy gaming, the card reaches only 69°C, which is a long way from the 83°C thermal cutoff beyond which the card will reduce clock speeds. ASUS has also included the idle-fan-off feature we love so much since it provides a perfect noise-free experience during desktop work, Internet browsing, and even light gaming. A high-quality backplate with controllable RGB lighting rounds off their cooling configuration. Unlike earlier ASUS cards which came with some sort of red highlight, the cooler is now held in plain black and gray, relying on RGB lighting for color. So now, you can perfectly match the graphics card's color to your case's theme. Gaming noise of the GTX 1080 Ti STRIX is a lot better than what we've seen on the Founders Edition. It is quiet with 33 dBA, but I think it could still be quieter given temperatures are so low. It seems ASUS focused slightly more on delivering lower temperatures than low noise. This is certainly an opportunity for MSI and their Gaming cards, which consistently delivered outstanding noise levels in the past. Maybe that's why ASUS has promised to release a "quiet" BIOS soon, which will change the fan configuration to run at lower noise with slightly increased temperatures.

Just like on their GTX 1080 Non-Ti STRIX, ASUS has replaced one of the three DisplayPort outputs of the reference design with an additional HDMI port. This brings the number of HDMI outputs to two, which, according to ASUS, was done to let people connect a VR headset and a TV or two VR headsets at the same time. On the other hand, it does mean that you can no longer run three G-Sync monitors in surround (G-Sync requires DisplayPort, adapters won't work). Given both of these configurations are very rare, I have no opinion on which configuration is better. Also included are the two fan headers on the card, which can be used with case fans to run them at the same speed as the graphics card. This capability has been expanded for the GTX 1080 Ti to let you control the fans' speed through software, at a fixed level, or match it to CPU's temperature or the highest temperature of both the CPU and GPU. Near those fan connectors you'll also find an ASUS AURA RGB header, which lets you sync your lighting with ASUS/ASRock motherboards and a variety of other compatible peripherals.

Power consumption of Pascal is amazing, and the GTX 1080 Ti is no exception here. The overclocking and board design changes by ASUS did reduce overall efficiency, though. It is roughly 15% worse than the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. Some of that is expected due to the overclock out of the box, and around 280 W during gaming should be no problem anyway. The good thing is that this means upgrading the power input configuration from 6+8 to 8+8 was a needed move and is not just for show like we've seen on other cards.

While an exact price has not been set yet, we know with certainty that the price will be higher than that of the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. Unlike previous Founders Edition cards, the GTX 1080 Ti FE will not come with a hefty price premium and rather mark the lower end of the price spectrum. ASUS will also have a GTX 1080 Ti Turbo, which comes at FE pricing or below, but misses many features from the STRIX Series. Throughout this review we've used a price point of $740, which might be slightly optimistic. I'd say everything up to $770 (or 10%) is worth the money considering you get a much better cooler and lots of additional features. On the other hand, it's a significant amount of money, and you might want to hold your trigger finger a bit to see what the other board partners will offer, and at which price points.
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