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

Talk about heavy metal.

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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity ($40 on Humble) was one of the very first DX12 games, and it remains a flagbearer for the technology to this day thanks to the extreme scalability of Oxide Games’ next-gen Nitrous engine. With hundreds of units onscreen simultaneously and some serious graphics effects in play, the Crazy preset can make graphics cards sweat. Ashes runs in both DX11 and DX12, but we only test in DX12, as it delivers the best results for both Nvidia and AMD GPUs these days.

aots Brad Chacos/IDG

GTA V

We’re going to wrap things up with a couple of older games that aren’t really visual barnburners, but still top the Steam charts day-in and day-out. These are games that a lot of people play. First up: Grand Theft Auto V ($30 on Humble) with all options turned to Very High, all Advanced Graphics options except extended shadows enabled, and FXAA. GTA V runs on the RAGE engine and has received substantial updates since its initial launch.

gta v Brad Chacos/IDG

Surprise! The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is faster than the newer RTX 2080 in GTA V.

Rainbow Six Siege

Finally, let’s take a peek at Rainbow Six Siege ($40 on Humble), a game whose audience just keeps on growing, and one that still feels like the only truly next-gen shooter after all these years. Like Ghost Recon Wildlands, this game runs on Ubisoft’s AnvilNext 2.0 engine, but Rainbow Six Siege responds especially well to games that lean on async compute features. That’s why it performs so much better on Vega 64 and the RTX 20-series cards compared to the older GTX 10-series GPUs.

rainbow six siege Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: Synthetics, power, thermals, and noise

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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