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

Talk about heavy metal.

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Fire Strike, power draw, thermals, and noise

We also tested Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 using 3DMark’s highly respected Fire Strike synthetic benchmark. Fire Strike runs at 1080p, Fire Strike Extreme runs at 1440p, and Fire Strike Ultra runs at 4K resolution. All render the same scene, but with more intense graphical effects as you move up the scale so that Extreme and Ultra stress GPUs even more. We record the graphics score to eliminate variance from the CPU.

3dmark fire strike Brad Chacos/IDG

As you’d expect, the slightly higher-clocked ROG Strix earns a slightly higher Fire Strike score in all versions of the test.

power draw Brad Chacos/IDG

We test power draw by looping the F1 2018 benchmark after we’ve benchmarked everything else with a card, and noting the highest reading on our Watts Up Pro meter. The initial part of the race, where all competing cars are onscreen simultaneously, tends to be the most demanding portion.

temperatures Brad Chacos/IDG

We test thermals by leaving HWInfo’s sensor monitoring tool open during the F1 2018 5-lap power draw test, noting the highest maximum temperature at the end.

Look at those temperatures. In its default Performance mode, the Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 is ice-cold. That’s the power of heavy metal. But I wish the quiet mode were the default instead of the secondary option.

rog strix q mode Asus

The ROG Strix hits those 64-degree-Celsius temperatures at roughly the same noise levels of Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Founders Edition—which, admittedly, isn’t too loud. But in Quiet mode, the ROG Strix delivers the same performance while running virtually silent. I’ve never heard a high-performance, air-cooled graphics card run this quietly. The idle fan when the GPU is below 55 degrees continues to be a very welcome feature when you’re hanging out on the desktop instead of gaming.

Next page: Should you buy the Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080?

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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