Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080

PC Advisor - - CONTENTS -

Nvidia’s GTX 1080 is one of the fastest con­sumer graph­ics pro­ces­sors you can buy right now. How­ever, Nvidia’s own-la­bel ver­sion, the Founders Edi­tion (see page 48), lacks many of the bells and whis­tles we have come to ex­pect from third-party ven­dors. As the only ver­sion ini­tially avail­able, it’s also a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive.

Price

The Asus Strix GTX 1080 costs a lit­tle more still than a Founders Edi­tion board, but has been re­designed from the ground up to de­liver su­pe­rior per­for­mance and fea­tures. Prices vary enor­mously. The cheap­est you can buy it is from Ama­zon for £659, but we’ve seen other sites charg­ing up to £800.

Fea­tures

Start­ing with the PCB, the Asus card is con­sid­er­ably larger than Nvidia’s ref­er­ence model. It also looks com­pletely dif­fer­ent: not one, but three cool­ing fans adorn the board, fit­ted to Asus’s cus­tom-de­signed heatsink, equipped with large cool­ing heat­pipes.

To­gether, these com­po­nents form what Asus calls the ‘Direc­tCU III’ cooler and claims will pro­vide 30 per­cent bet­ter cool­ing, while re­main­ing three times qui­eter than Nvidia’s ver­sion.

Bet­ter cool­ing trans­lates to eas­ier over­clock­ing, while qui­eter op­er­a­tion can stop your PC from sound­ing like it’s try­ing to take off the mo­ment you launch a game – es­pe­cially if you’re team­ing up two or more cards into a multi-GPU SLI sys­tem. As is of­ten the case on high- end gam­ing cards, the Strix’s fans will switch off en­tirely for si­lent op­er­a­tion when gam­ing per­for­mance isn’t re­quired.

To make sure the board has enough power for se­ri­ous over­clock­ing, an ad­di­tional 6-pin power con­nec­tor has been added to sup­ple­ment the 8-pin socket found on the orig­i­nal de­sign.

Asus has also fit­ted full-colour il­lu­mi­na­tion both on the front of the card and on the back­plate. These can be switched to any of 16 mil­lion dif­fer­ent colours, or to any of six dif­fer­ent soft­ware-con­trolled op­er­at­ing modes, in­clud­ing breath­ing, strob­ing and colour cy­cling as well as puls­ing in re­sponse to mu­sic. You can also set the LEDs to change colour in re­sponse to GPU tem­per­a­ture, so you can see when you card is work­ing hard and per­haps take ac­tion if it ap­pears to be over­heat­ing.

For even bet­ter cool­ing, the Strix GeForce GTX pro­vides ad­di­tional fan head­ers on the board, which you can con­nect to stan­dard

case fans fit­ted to your PC. The graph­ics card can then take con­trol of these fans, to boost air­flow di­rected over the board only when re­quired.

Asus has also made a small change to the video ports by adding a sec­ond HDMI port in place of the third Dis­playPort con­nec­tor found on the Founders Edi­tion. This is sup­pos­edly to make it eas­ier to hook up a VR head­set at the same time as your mon­i­tor, although in nearly all cases you’ll have no trou­ble us­ing adap­tors to con­vert be­tween Dis­playPort and HDMI as re­quired.

Over­clock­ing

The ver­sion of the card we’ve re­viewed comes pre-loaded with three speed pro­files which can be se­lected from the sup­plied GPU Tweak II soft­ware. The slow­est, ‘Si­lent Mode’, sac­ri­fices per­for­mance and cool­ing in favour of quiet op­er­a­tion, while the de­fault, ‘Gam­ing Mode’ boosts top clock speeds from 1733- to 1898MHz. The fastest set­ting, ‘OC Mode’ pushes clock speeds fur­ther, to 1936MHz.

To get the very best per­for­mance out of the card, the soft­ware also lets you con­trol all over­clock­ing pa­ram­e­ters man­u­ally. If you’re com­fort­able do­ing this sort of thing your­self, you can opt for the non-over­clocked ver­sion of the card, which still pro­vides plenty of head­room for man­ual tweak­ing, just with­out the guar­an­teed per­for­mance of the fac­tory-over­clocked model. More im­por­tantly though, you

should take care when or­der­ing as the two mod­els share al­most iden­ti­cal model names. The one with ‘O8G’ in the model name is the fac­tory-over­clocked ver­sion.

One notable fea­ture of GPU Tweak II is the Gam­ing Booster mode, which at­tempts to shut down any un­nec­es­sary pro­grams and Win­dows ser­vices in order to pre­vent them from hog­ging sys­tem re­sources and slow­ing down your games. Hav­ing run the Gam­ing Booster, we did no­tice an in­crease in gen­eral re­spon­sive­ness, but sev­eral pro­grams were shut down, which we would have rather kept run­ning. For ex­am­ple, a track­ball util­ity was re­moved caus­ing the but­ton as­sign­ments to be lost, as was the Cor­sair Link util­ity which is used to con­trol the cool­ing sys­tem on our test rig. You do have the abil­ity to con­trol man­u­ally which pro­grams get stopped, but just hit­ting the but­ton and hop­ing can have un­de­sir­able con­se­quences.

Per­for­mance

When it comes to raw per­for­mance, the fig­ures speak for them­selves. We tested the board in ‘OC mode’, which is the fastest of the three pre­set per­for­mance modes. You should note that re­tail boards aren’t con­fig­ured to use this mode by de­fault, but we feel that if you’re go­ing to spend the ex­tra money on a board like this, you’re go­ing to want to push it as fast as it can go.

As you would ex­pect, the over­clocked Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 con­vinc­ingly out­paces the Founders Edi­tion, but you need to be push­ing it to the very high­est res­o­lu­tions to see much use­ful dif­fer­ence. Up to 1080p res­o­lu­tions, there’s re­ally no per­for­mance ad­van­tage to be seen, but once you hit 4K, gains of around 10 per­cent are ap­par­ent in Alien Iso­la­tion. Asus cites per­for­mance in­creases of 5.7 per­cent to 7.4 per­cent over the Founders Edi­tion, so we can con­firm that even bet­ter gains are pos­si­ble. One small neg­a­tive point is that we no­ticed au­di­ble ‘coil whine’ dur­ing test­ing, which was not ap­par­ent from the Founders Edi­tion.

Ver­dict

For a price premium of one de­cent game, you get a graph­ics card that’s far su­pe­rior to the Founders Edi­tion, both in terms of per­for­mance and fea­tures. Thanks to its pro­gram­mable RGB light­ing, it’s es­pe­cially in­ter­est­ing for those who want to build great-look­ing sys­tems with win­dowed side pan­els. It’s also great for those who would like their PC to re­main si­lent when not in use for gam­ing. Paul Mon­ck­ton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.