Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 review: An ice-cold, whisper-silent beast of a graphics card

Talk about heavy metal.

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Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 gaming performance

Strange Brigade

Let’s kick things off with Strange Brigade ($50 on Humble), a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blast through hordes of mythological enemies. It’s a technological showcase, built around the next-gen Vulkan and DirectX 12 technologies and infused with features like HDR support and the ability to toggle asynchronous compute on and off. It uses Rebellion’s custom Azure engine.

We tested DirectX 12 with async compute off, as it traditionally only boosted Radeon GPUs, though the RTX 20-series makes huge gains in those regards thanks to its revamped GPU architecture. We’ll likely enable the feature in future tests. The gains amount to only a couple of frames per second in this game, though.

strange brigade Brad Chacos/IDG

The Asus ROG Strix pulls ahead of the Nvidia RTX 2080 Founders Edition by a few percentage points across all resolutions, a trend you’ll see across the board in our test suite. We’ll mostly let the games benchmarks speak for themselves because of that. For a more in-depth analysis of how the RTX 2080 compares against its rivals and predecessors, be sure to read our GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti review.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider ($60 on Humble) concludes the reboot trilogy, and it’s utterly gorgeous—so much so that even the state-of-the-art GeForce RTX 2080 Ti barely manages to average 60 fps with all the bells and whistles turned on at 4K resolution. Square Enix actually optimized this game for DX12, and only recommends DX11 if you’re using older hardware or Windows 7, so we test with that. Shadow of the Tomb Raider uses an enhanced version of the Foundation engine that also powered Rise of the Tomb Raider.

shadow of the tomb raider Brad Chacos/IDG

Far Cry 5

Finally, a DirectX 11 game! Far Cry 5 ($60 on Humble) is powered by Ubisoft’s long-established Dunia engine. It’s just as gorgeous as its predecessors—and almost even more fun. The game also supports HDR. More on that later.

far cry 5 Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: Gaming performance benchmarks continue

At a Glance
  • The powerful, massive Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 lets you choose between chilly temperatures or near-silent operation, outclassing the Nvidia Founders Edition in every way. It's huge and very pricey, though.

    Pros

    • Excellent 4K/60 or 1440p/144Hz gaming
    • Very low GPU temperature in Performance mode
    • Virtually silent in Quiet mode
    • Stuffed with features: Dual BIOS, RGB and fan headers, etc.
    • RT and tensor cores for ray tracing, DLSS, and more

    Cons

    • Extremely expensive
    • Matches GTX 1080 Ti's performance in games
    • Ray traced and DLSS games aren't available yet
    • Massive; may not fit in some cases
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