Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti OC /£ 756 inc VAT

Custom PC - - REVIEWS - SUP­PLIER www.over­clock­ers.co.uk

While the world’s sup­ply of rea­son­ably priced graph­ics cards ap­pears to have been carted off to the great cryp­tocur­rency mine in the cloud, there still seems to be a rea­son­able stock of GTX 1080 Ti GPUs lurk­ing in the shops. They might not pro­vide the same bang per buck as Radeon RX 580 cards for cur­rency min­ing, but they’re ca­pa­ble of play­ing games at 4K, and that’s what counts in Cus­tom PC. We’ve al­ready been blown away by the Founders Edi­tion ver­sion of the card, and now Asus has sent us its ROG Strix ver­sion.

It’s a mas­sive slab. Its 298mm length makes it al­most a foot long (30mm longer than the Founder’s Edi­tion), and we had to care­fully insert it at an an­gle in our NZXT H440 test rig to avoid hit­ting the drive bays. Its depth also stretches fur­ther than the av­er­age graph­ics card. The new Strix cooler makes use of a large 40mm metal heatsink un­der the fan shroud, which looks huge when you view the card from the top down.

Asus de­scribes it as a 2.5-slot card, but it’s ef­fec­tively a three-slot card – it’s not as if you’ll be able to use the third slot that it cov­ers, after all, although you’ll at least get a lit­tle breath­ing space be­tween the cards in an SLI setup. There’s also a chunky metal back­plate on the back, plus a pair of 8-pin PCI-E power sock­ets, com­pared to one 8-pin socket and one 6-pin socket on the Founders Edi­tion. The card feels se­ri­ously big and weighty in your hand.

On top of the heatsink are three large fans, which only spin up when they’re needed, mak­ing the card ef­fec­tively silent when you’re not gam­ing, or us­ing the GPU for any other task. The fans are also sur­rounded by slits through which RGB LEDs shine, along with a glow­ing Strix logo on the back­plate and an il­lu­mi­nated Repub­lic of Gamers logo on the top edge. By de­fault, the card cy­cles through a rain­bow of colours, but you can set the LEDs to per­form var­i­ous colour se­quences and ef­fects in Asus’ soft­ware. Get it right, and you end up with a classy-look­ing card that can match the rest of your PC’s in­ter­nal colour scheme.

The con­nec­tion op­tions are slightly dif­fer­ent to the Founders Edi­tion as well. You get two HDMI 2b ports, rather than just one, which could be handy for VR set­ups, en­abling you to plug in a head­set and TV at the same time. You also get two Dis­playPort sock­ets, rather than three on Founders Edi­tion, as well as the in­ter­est­ing in­clu­sion of a DVI-DL out­put on the bot­tom right for older mon­i­tors.

Two ver­sions of the Strix card are avail­able – a stock ver­sion and an over­clocked one. We’re re­view­ing the OC ver­sion; like most Asus review sam­ples, this turned up with its top over­clocked mode en­abled, rather than the stan­dard Gam­ing mode.

Re­tail ver­sions will have the gam­ing mode en­abled by de­fault, but it’s easy to change it to the OC mode in Asus’ soft­ware. We’ve con­ducted our test­ing in the OC mode, to gauge the full per­for­mance po­ten­tial of the card.

In this mode, the GPU runs at a 1594MHz base clock, with a 1708MHz boost fre­quency, up from 1569MHz base clock and 1683MHz boost clock in the Gam­ing mode. As a point of com­par­i­son, the Founders Edi­tion only has a 1480MHz base clock and a 1582MHz boost clock, so the Strix card in OC mode gives you a sub­stan­tial 114MHz boost.

That 1708MHz OC mode boost fig­ure is a con­ser­va­tive quote too, es­pe­cially with so much cool­ing (and ex­tra power) on of­fer – the GPU was hap­pily boost­ing to 1961MHz and stay­ing there in most of our game tests. The mem­ory also gets a small tweak, run­ning at 11100MHz in OC mode,

although it drops down to the stock clock speed of 11010MHz in Gam­ing mode.

Per­for­mance

The ex­tra clock speed made a de­cent dif­fer­ence to the Strix’s speed com­pared with the Founders Edi­tion, gen­er­ally in­creas­ing the min­i­mum frame rate by 2-3fps. It’s not a mas­sive boost, but it’s a wel­come one. The ex­tra clock cy­cles were most ob­vi­ously ben­e­fi­cial in Doom at 4K, where the Strix’s min­i­mum frame rate jumped up by 7fps to a phe­nom­e­nal 82fps.

Dis­ap­point­ingly, this clock boost wasn’t enough to let the Strix pull ahead in Deus Ex: Mankind Di­vided though. Bizarrely, the Strix card was also slower than the Founders Edi­tion in Cr­y­sis 3 at 4K, although the card wasn’t throt­tling at all dur­ing test­ing – this re­sult is more likely to be down to the dif­fer­ence in driv­ers we used to test the cards.

What re­ally im­pressed us about the Strix card, though, wasn’t so much its frame rates, but the ef­fi­ciency of the cooler. It re­mained supremely quiet through­out test­ing, with the GPU core tem­per­a­ture top­ping out at 69°C. You can barely hear the fans spin up when they kick into ac­tion, or when they speed up. You might need a colos­sal heatsink and room for three fans to achieve this feat, but it works.

Overclocking

With two 8-pin power con­nec­tors and a mas­sive cooler at our dis­posal, we fig­ured there would prob­a­bly be some ex­tra head­room for overclocking the card fur­ther, and we were right. We upped the power limit to 120 per cent in MSI Af­ter­burner, and found we could set­tle on the mem­ory run­ning at 6005MHz (12010MHz ef­fec­tive) and add an­other 85MHz to the GPU clock, while still main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity in games. This overclock gave us an­other small per­for­mance boost and, re­mark­ably, the cooler was still quiet, with the GPU core tem­per­a­ture top­ping out at 70°C.

That’s a good re­sult, but it’s also worth re­mem­ber­ing that while the Founders Edi­tion’s stock clock speeds are much lower, it was also over­clock­able to a sim­i­lar level as the Strix card. The GPU might be hot­ter, and the cooler a bit louder, but the raw over­clocked per­for­mance re­sults are very sim­i­lar.

Con­clu­sion

Asus’ ROG Strix GTX 1080 Ti is a great piece of engi­neer­ing. It looks fan­tas­tic, it keeps an over­clocked top-end GPU cool and it’s prac­ti­cally in­audi­ble. In ad­di­tion, you also get a guar­an­teed overclock, and you only need to en­able the OC mode in Asus’ soft­ware to get a de­cent boost that the card can eas­ily han­dle. The only po­ten­tial is­sues are the card’s im­mense size, and its price. You’ll need to check your case’s graph­ics card clear­ance be­fore pur­chas­ing, and also make sure that you don’t want to use the two ex­pan­sion slots below your top 16x slot.

At the time of go­ing to press, the Strix GTX 1080 Ti OC was go­ing for £756 inc VAT on while Palit Founders Edi­tion cards are go­ing for £650 inc VAT from the same re­tailer. That’s a hefty markup for an air-cooled graph­ics card, although the cooler is re­ally good. www.over­clock­ers.co.uk,

Com­par­a­tively, though, Over­clock­ers will also sell you a KFA GTX 1080 Ti with a full-cover EKWB wa­terblock fit­ted to it for £762 – you’ll need a wa­ter-cool­ing loop to use it, but that’s £6 more than the price Asus thinks it can charge for the Strix card. To be fair to Asus, though, there are plenty of other third-party GTX 1080 Ti cards in the same price bracket. While it may be a lit­tle over­priced, how­ever, the Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti OC is fast, well-built, good­look­ing and supremely quiet. If you can af­ford it then buy it.

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