The hulking Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 shows how Nvidia’s graphics card partners can still stand out from the crowd in an era when Nvidia’s making it harder than ever to shine.

Last generation, all customized GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards plateaued at virtually the same level of performance. Custom cards were notably better than Nvidia’s own GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition, though, because Founders Edition cards were restrained by reference clock speeds and a subpar single-fan, blower-style cooler.

This generation, it’s looking like power limits will impose a new ceiling on GeForce RTX 2080 performance—but now, Nvidia’s vastly improved RTX Founders Edition cards pack a dual-fan cooler, a gorgeous design, and an 80MHz out-of-the-box overclock. Nvidia’s competing against its own partners something fierce.

The ROG Strix RTX 2080 ($870 on Newegg) fights back with heavy metal. Asus equipped the card with a massive heat sink, three fans, and extra features galore, giving the Strix RTX 2080 the ability to run incredibly cold—or virtually silent. The choice is yours. 

rog strix angle Brad Chacos/IDG

Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 specs

Let’s take a quick look at the ROG Strix 2080’s specifications.

The raw specs aren’t very different from those of Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition at their core. The ROG Strix RTX 2080 offers a higher factory overclock, at 1,860MHz compared to the FE’s 1800MHz. (The RTX 2080’s reference boost clock is 1,710MHz.) If you install Asus’s GPU Tweak II software, you’ll unlock another “OC Mode” that bumps up the clock to 1,890MHz. Memory sticks to stock speeds.

asus rog strix 2080 specs Asus

Asus ROG Strix RTX 2080 tech specs. (Click any image in this article to enlarge it.)

Asus crammed an extra HDMI 2.0b port into the ROG Strix, bringing the card’s total to a pair of HDMI 2.0b ports and twin DisplayPort 1.4 connections. They’re joined by a VirtualLink USB-C connection for future virtual reality headsets. The card also features an upgraded power configuration for overclocking, requiring a pair of 8-pin power connectors compared to the Founders Edition’s 6-pin + 8-pin setup.

The ROG Strix RTX 2080 also includes the RT cores and tensor cores required to enable new and potentially amazing RTX graphics technologies, including ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling. Our Turing GPU deep-dive explains how the new technologies work, but unfortunately, we can’t test them today. Ray tracing and DLSS aren’t currently enabled in any games, though Nvidia says the first ray traced games will show up sometime in October.

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