Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti. Nvidia has finally released a new generation of video cards. After two years dominating the GPU market with the GeForce 1000 series, the chipmaker now dares to take a big risk. The resulting graphics are, in theory, mouth-watering, but the prices have risen far beyond the point of reason.
It is particularly tempting for a market leader to sit back and let the money flow. AMD’s Vega architecture collapsed like a shooting star after a short hype, and last year’s crypto boom did not drag the graphics cards. However, there is a danger that the competitor will make up a catch-up by innovating, something that processor manufacturer Intel can talk about. Nvidia is therefore not resting on its laurels and is fully committed to pioneering technologies such as ray tracing and AI. The result is the Turing architecture.
The video chips that drive the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti contain nearly one and a half times as many transistors as the previous generation. This increase in silicon cannot be entirely attributed to the respectively 2944 and 4352 Cuda calculus cores, which usually account for the graphical work. Nvidia has added two new types of cores to the graphics chip: RT cores and Tensor cores. Both speak to the imagination.
Table Of Contents Summary
You will get the technology of the day after tomorrow
The RT cores of the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti are specialized in ray tracing. Actually, we have to say ray casting, because with this technique a light beam is shot at a scene for each pixel. If the beam encounters a light source after bouncing around a few times. This method of calculating exposure is much more precise and faithful than the tricks that are now used when displaying games. Animated films have been using ray tracing for years, but there was simply not enough computing power to perform these calculations for millions of pixels several times per second. Until now, Nvidia promises.
The Tensor cores are the future in a completely different way. These cores specialize in the type of calculations that use neural networks. Nvidia uses the Tensor cores for an artificial intelligence-driven form of anti-aliasing called deep learning supersampling. Thanks to advances in image recognition, RTX maps can quickly and effectively sharpen images. Nvidia trains the Tensor cores with the help of a supercomputer and that training gets owners of an RTX card in the form of driver updates.
We cannot wait until we see these imaginative techniques in our games. That is the problem. At the time of writing, there are exactly zero games that support ray tracing and dlss. Games like Battlefield 5 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider receive ray tracing at a later time. The list of games that dlss will support is longer, but we also have to wait for that. When discussing the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, we have nothing more than a ‘traditional’ comparison of performance with the previous generation.
Fight for the title
In this review, we put four cards side by side. The first is the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080. This card features 2944 Cuda cores, each running at 1515 MHz by default. The video memory consists of 8 GB GDDR6, clocked at 1750 MHz. During our stress test (for ten minutes the Unigine Valley benchmark), the RTX 2080 achieved a Core Clock speed of 1965 MHz. The card remained nice with 62 degrees.
The Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the big brother of the 2080 and is the daring favorite to take away the title ‘most powerful video card in the world’ of the GTX 1080 Ti. With a maximum temperature of 76 degrees, the 2080 Ti is clearly warmer than the 2080 and the video chip finally clocks less with 1900 MHz. We’ll see if that lower clock speed is a problem, or if the 4352 Cuda cores are enough to pass 2080. The RTX 2080 Ti has a generous 11 GB GDDR6 memory, running at 1750 MHz.
Manufacturers such as Asus have little influence on the operation of Nvidia’s chip, but the way in which it distinguishes itself through cooling. The Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti both use the same cooling, which has improved slightly compared to the previous generation of high-end Asus cards. The RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti use three relatively small fans so that the cards with 299 and 305 millimeters are on the long side respectively. We have no complaints about noise: the hum of the fans did not exceed the cabinet and processor cooling.
The measuring method
For reference, we also test an MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G and MSI GeForce GTX Ti 1080 Gaming X 11G. Both cards were not warmer than 71 degrees during the stress test. We test all cards in a PC supplied by Asus. The ROG Maximus X Formula motherboard features an Intel Core i7 8700K, up to a neat 4.8 GHz. 16 GB of DDR4 memory and a Samsung 960 EVO-SSD to store the games complete the sample PC.
All tested games are played on three resolutions: 1080p, 1440p and 2160p. If possible, we use the highest standard settings. The exception to this is Grand Theft Auto 5, which has no presets. With this game, we have manually set all settings as high as possible, with the exception of multi-sampling anti-aliasing. We have measured several times at each resolution. In the graphs, you will find the averages of all measured averages and the lowest measured minimum. If you move your mouse over the bars, you will see the exact scores.
The red bar is 1080p, gray 1440p and black 2160p. The lighter shade shows the average fps, the dark shade is the lowest measured minimum.
Assassin’s Creed: Origins
Assassin’s Creed: Origins immediately shows why the highly clocked Core i7 8700K is not a superfluous luxury for the RTX 2080 (Ti). The small difference in performance between 1080p and 1440p suggests that the video card is eating out of its nose, while the processor works three strokes in the round. The second thing to notice is that the cheaper GTX 1080 Ti performs slightly better than the RTX 2080. If this happens often, the RTX 2080 has a problem. At 2160p the differences between the cards are clearly larger. Only the RTX 2080 Ti then comes close to the magical 60 fps, with a minimum of 58.
In contrast to Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Battlefield 1 does not have a built-in benchmark. To get a representative picture of how the cards perform, we have therefore always chosen Conquest at the Sinai Desert with 64 players. The disadvantage of this method is that we have no control over how busy it is on the screen. The minimums shown can, therefore, be taken with a grain of salt. The RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti clearly has little trouble with the WO1 shooter anyway, because even at 2160p both cards easily get the 60 fps. The GTX 1080 Ti also comes along nicely, although the card performs comparatively less well than in Assassin’s Creed.
Grand Theft Auto 5
Grand Theft Auto 5 has been around for years but still forces many video cards on their knees. At least, when it comes to 2160p because at lower resolutions the differences between the four cards are remarkably small. At the highest resolution, the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti just does not reach 60 fps as a minimum, but given the 92 fps average, we are confident that you can run GTA 5 on 4K with Nvidia’s new flagship without any problems.
Ashes of the Singularity
Ashes of the Singularity is still a primordial flop of a strategy game, but we take the game with us in our comparison. The game was designed from the ground up for DirectX 12 and the battles with hundreds of units, each of which shoots dozens of light-emitting projectiles, are extremely suitable for burning processors and video cards. With these games, the RTX 2080 goes wrong again and the card has to let the GTX 1080 Ti go. This is battle two. One more shot and the more expensive RTX 2080 has to leave the field.
Total War: Warhammer 2
Ai, that third battle does not take long. It saves only a few frames per second, but the GTX 1080 Ti is consistently faster than the RTX 2080. Even for the RTX 2080 Ti, Total Warhammer 2 at 2160p shows a bridge too far. At 1440p the 2080 Ti clearly takes a lead over its predecessor, but the GTX 1080 Ti gets a minimum of 68 fps. For owners of a 1440p screen that likes to play TW: W2, upgrading is not mandatory.
The Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 desperately reaches second base, while the referee drags him away from the field. “Wait!” The card begs, “With another game, I perform better than the GTX 1080 Ti!”. The referee shakes his head. Even with the perfectly optimized Vermintide 2, the GTX 1080 Ti is jumping past the RTX 2080. A beat later, the 2080 Ti runs a nice home run as the only video card that gets the 60 fps error-free at 2160p.
Wonderful with a price tag
After testing six games, we see some patterns emerge. First of all, Nvidia’s new chips are overkill for 1080p. Even at 1440p, we run against the processor several times as a bottleneck. Secondly, we see that the RTX 2080 Ti is the only card that comfortably reaches sixty frames per second at 2160p. The third and most surprising lesson that we can learn from the results is that the RTX 2080 regularly gets the worst of the GTX 1080 Ti.
Why do not we just compare that poor Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 with the GTX 1080? That is the immediate successor? With that question, we arrive at the elephant in the room: the affordability of these new calculation samples. The tested GTX 1080 Ti from MSI goes for 820 Euros over the counter. The Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 often performs worse, but by far the most stores take a bite of 1050 euro from your bank account. The price-quality ratio of the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is even less obvious. Sixty frames per second at 2160p is beautiful, but is that also ‘1400 Euros’ beautiful?
As it stands now, we cannot but disappointed in the new generation of video cards from Nvidia. Yes, the Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti effortlessly takes over the performance crown of the GTX 1080 Ti. But at what price? We can hardly recommend the RTX 2080 if the GTX 1080 Ti performs better at a significantly lower price. And let’s be honest, 800 Euros for the 1080 Ti is still an exorbitant amount.
Of course, Nvidia still has two trump cards at hand: ray tracing and dlss. Because these distinctive features are not yet active, we cannot make a final judgment. Once these fantastic gadgets are actually implemented, we will of course return to the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti. Until that time you can leave these cards quietly.
|Review Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080|
|Good performance on 1080p and 1440p (in a vacuum)||Performs regularly worse than the considerably cheaper GTX 1080 Ti|
|Keeps cooler than the previous generation||RTX features not yet active.|
|Recommended retail price: 1050 euros|
|Review Asus ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti|
|The most powerful video card on the market||Price-quality ratio is completely lost.|
|Regularly fetches 60 fps at 2160p.||RTX features not yet active.|
|Recommended retail price: 1400 euros|
|Update: the negatives for the RTX 2080 Ti were erroneous that it would perform less well than a GTX 1080 Ti. However, this only applies to the RTX 2080. The down point has been replaced with the correct information. Moreover, the graphs have been further clarified. We apologize for the confusion.|