PNY GeForce RTX 2080 XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition review: Okay but overpriced

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Our test system

We overhauled our dedicated graphics card test system for this new generation of graphics cards. We equipped the system with some of the fastest complementary components available to put the performance bottlenecks squarely on the GPU itself. Most of the hardware was provided by the manufacturers, but we purchased the cooler and storage ourselves.

  • Intel Core i7-8700K processor ($360 on Amazon)
  • EVGA CLC 240 closed-loop liquid cooler ($120 on Amazon)
  • Asus Maximus X Hero motherboard ($275 on Amazon)
  • 64GB HyperX Predator RGB DDR4/2933 ($416 for 32GB on Amazon)
  • EVGA 1200W SuperNova P2 power supply ($180 on Amazon)
  • Corsair Crystal 570X RGB case, with front and top panels removed and an extra rear fan installed for improved airflow ($170 on Amazon)
  • 2x 500GB Samsung 860 EVO SSDs ($88 each on Amazon)

We’re comparing the PNY RTX 2080 XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition ($850 on Amazon and Newegg) against the Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 ($870 on Newegg), the GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition ($800 on Best Buy and GeForce.com) and RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition ($1,200 on Best Buy and GeForce.com). We’ve also tested its performance compared to the the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition and the overclocked PNY GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, a card that we loved. Finally, to give the Red Team some representation we’ve included the results from the Radeon RX Vega 64 reference card, AMD’s most potent GPU.

Each game is tested using its in-game benchmark at the highest possible graphics presets, with VSync, frame rate caps, and all GPU vendor-specific technologies—like AMD TressFX, Nvidia GameWorks options, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled, and temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) enabled to push these high-end cards to their limits. If anything differs from that, we’ll mention it.

PNY RTX 2080 XLR8 gaming benchmarks

Strange Brigade

Let’s kick things off with Strange Brigade ($50 on Humble), a cooperative third-person shooter where a team of adventurers blast throw 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.

strange brigade Brad Chacos/IDG

The PNY XLR8 delivers essentially the same performance as Nvidia RTX 2080 Founders Edition, and comes in very slightly behind the ROG Strix, which has a massive cooler and a higher 1,850MHz overclock. That remains the case across our entire testing suite, so we’ll keep commentary to a minimum until we reach the power and thermals section. 

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 recommends DX11 only 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 even more fun. The game also supports HDR. More on that later.

far cry 5 Brad Chacos/IDG

Next page: Gaming benchmarks continued

At a Glance
  • The PNY GeForce RTX 2080 XLR8 Gaming Overclocked Edition is an okay RTX 2080 priced like a premium model. We can't recommend over other options it at full retail price.

    Pros

    • Great 4K/60 or 1440p/144Hz gaming performance
    • Slightly cooler than Nvidia's Founders Edition

    Cons

    • Cheaper feeling design than Founders Edition and rival high-end RTX 2080s
    • Costs too much for what it offers
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