With the current state of affairs surrounding GPUs, finding any GPU has become nearly impossible.  Those that can be found are either older or mid to low-end cards and if you do happen to stumble upon anything in the RTX range, they will be priced way out of any sane person’s budget.  With this being said, ASUS still managed to send us one of their latest and greatest, RTX3080 in the TUF guise.  Upon receiving this absolute monster we quickly packed our very sad-looking RTX2080 away for some good R&R while we installed its younger and more capable brother.

The ASUS TUF RTX3080 is the very first GPU we have ever received for review and for this reason we will be looking at it at a more basic level.  Fewer numbers and charts and more real-world experience, more unboxing and general gaming use than benchmarks and overclocking.  So without further ado, let’s jump straight into it…

 

Specifications

GPUs are generally compared to the founders’ edition cards.  Founders Edition or FE cards are the cards that are made directly by Nvidia or AMD.  In our case, it will be Nvidia.  Nvidia will then share this technology with other brands such as ASUS which will then add their own designs and even up-the-clock speeds etc to make their card unique.  So for comparison, we will compare the ASUS TUF RTX3080 OC edition with its FE brother.

Nvidia GPU Specifications

Graphics Card

ASUS RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC

RTX 3080 FE

Architecture

GA102

GA102

Process (nm)

Samsung 8N

Samsung 8N

Transistors (Billion)

28.3

28.3

Die size (mm^2)

628.4

628.4

GPCs

6

6

SMs

68

68

FP32 CUDA Cores

8704

8704

Tensor Cores

272

272

RT Cores

68

68

Boost Clock (MHz)

1785

1710

VRAM Speed (Gbps)

19

19

VRAM (GB)

10

10

VRAM Bus Width

320

320

ROPs

96

96

TPCs

34

34

TMUs

272

272

GFLOPS FP32

31073

29768

Tensor TFLOPS FP16 (Sparsity)

124 (249)

119 (238)

RT TFLOPS

61

58

Bandwidth (GBps)

760

760

TDP (watts)

320

320

Dimensions (mm)

300x127x51.7

285x112x38

Weight (g)

1398

1350

 

What all of this means, is that for cases the ASUS TUF RTX3080 OC is nearly identical to the FE card apart from a slightly faster boost clock.  For the everyday gamer looking to buy an RTX 3080, this means that the ASUS TUF RTX3080 OC is a good alternative if you want something close to the specifications of the FE cards.  But we will get back to this in a while.  Let us look at the design first.

 

Design

 

 

The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC takes a traditional design that has been used across most of the brands and has shown success.  So why change something that seems to be working.  There are a few modifications though, the top metal plate sees a few cutouts that allow for more airflow through the card.  This is new to me as both my RTX2080 and RX580 both had solid top plates with air being exhausted mainly out the side.  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC sucks air through its massive 3 fans which flows through the radiators and gets pushed out the sides as well as the top.  This design works really well to keep the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC chilly even under rather trying moments such as during Warzone.  What we did find is that in smaller builds and if your CPU cooler is front mounted that the hoses could get quite a lot of heat coming off the top vents of the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC can cause toastier temperatures on your CPU.  This can easily be fixed if you have the ability to top mount your AIO though. The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC, as expected, is a rather beefy card taking up a nice 2.7 slots.  So as we mentioned before it’s not the recommended card if you are planning on having a compact build.

After doing some research on the 3 fans that the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC has we found a couple of interesting points.  Unlike some of the previous TUF models, these fans are all the same size.  The middle fan however spins in the opposite direction to the outside two.  According to ASUS, this helps with turbulent air as well as fan noise.  The improvements don’t only stop there.  The fans have an integrated rim that helps with static air pressure which in turn, helps to improve cooling and efficiency even more.  The rest of the card has quite a few radiators and the covers of the card do also help to guide airflow through these radiators all while not exposing too much of the internals.  on the top end of the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC there is also a small switch that can be moved to either performance mode, or quiet mode.  For obvious reasons, we left this to performance, because, POWER!

 

 

If you are in the market for a flashy card with lots of frills and lights everywhere to distract yourself and other people from the hefty price you paid to get this card, then the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is not the way to go.  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is aimed at the minimalist with only a side-facing TUF logo and a small strip below it that would, in most builds, go unseen as it faces to the bottom.  Personally, I absolutely adore this minimal RGB look it totally rocks in a near-RGB-less build!  For those who do enjoy some rainbow effects lighting up the inside of your case, the two RGB areas are, naturally, linkable by Aura Sync.

Something that the 30-series cards, upon announcement, manage to do really well was to set the cat amongst the pigeons with its new 12pin power connector.  The masses were in an uproar with everyone being totally certain that they will all need to dump their current power supply and upgrade to one that supports 12pins.  Fortunately, the 12pin trend did not take off apart from being used in the FE and a few odd cards here and there.  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC fortunately only uses 2x 8pin connectors which is pretty standard with higher-end 20-series cards already requiring them.

 

 

Lastly, the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC card comes with three Display Port 1.4a ports and two HDMI 2.1 ports.  Seeing as the new HDMI 2.1 ports are now the interface with the higher bandwidth, it is nice to see that ASUS is giving two of these ports.  How else would you hook up dual 70″ 4K 120hz TVs, don’t even mention dual 8K TVs…  ( sponsors anyone?  I need these, for review purposes naturally…)

 

Cooling, temperatures, and space

 

 

The new 30-series cards are obviously very power-hungry, and with performance like they produce, temperatures are only an expected side effect.  If these are some concerns that you have, we are here to put all of those to bed!  So let us get straight into it.  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC comes with a massive 320W TGP.  That is a staggering 105W more than its 20-series brother.  Our Zotac RTX2080 Amp is also a three fan variant and it runs rather cool at around  65’C under load so how will the extra 105W do on the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC.  Straight off the bat, even when idling and very little fan speed the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is extremely quiet and unless I checked I often thought that the card was set to quiet or silent mode.  When putting the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC under some stress with the severely unoptimized Warzone it did not flinch and, yet again, the fan noise was significantly less than the RTX 2080 while chilling at a really cool 60’C even at 1440p and 144Hz with most settings cranked to max.

 

 

Like we mentioned before, the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is a beefy 2.7 slot monster so if you are looking for a compact build or you do like to use one of your secondary PCIe slots then the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC might not quite fit your build.  With SLI being firmly placed in the hands of developers to use or need, I don’t see it becoming a necessity in the very near future or at least during the 30-series reign.  With most of the motherboards, today providing very good onboard audio solutions the need for a soundcard is very slim.

Performance

Unlike other reviews where the cards get put through multiple tests and a lot of data is thrown at the reader, we have decided to do it differently.  Seeing as this is our very first try at doing GPU reviews we only really have our trusty RTX 2080 and the stats on the RTX3080 FE card to go by.  So we took the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC and jumped into a host of titles such as Warzone, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Metro Exodus, Final Fantasy XV, and Division 2, and simply compared how the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC handles the variety of titles and their demand.

The most important thing to realize with the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC  is that it is not intended for 1080p gaming.  Naturally, it is more than capable of doing 1080p but if you are buying the RTX3080 with 1080p in mind, you will be wasting so much potential as the RTX3080 is suppose to be used for 1440p and 4K gaming.  This is why we did not test any of these games with 1080p settings.  In fact, we only tested in 1440p as Asus was so generous to provide a 32inch 1440p panel to enjoy.

The setup we used for these, more real-world, tests were as follows, We have an 8700K clocked to 4.8GHz, cooled by a 240mm cooler,16Gb ram running at 3200MHz, all connected to a Z390 motherboard.  We did not fiddle with OC on the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC due to most users probably using it on stock settings, and honestly, even on stock, the results are wonderful.

Division 2 – fps – 2560×1440 – ultra settings

 

 

Division 2 has been around for a while now and we first played it on our older system which only had a 9th gen i5 and an RX580 GPU.  At the time we could only get below 90fps even when in 1080p and only on medium/high settings.  So Division 2 is quite the taxing title.  After the upgrade and with the RTX2080 installed we could bump settings to ultra and 1440p and get a pretty solid 75-78fps which is respectable and very playable.  But when we changed over to the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC  results improved significantly and we were comfortably getting around 130-140fps.  These results are only marginally better than the FE card, from what we researched and found.  In comparisons like these anything around 1-2% margin of error is considered negligible and can be ignored.

Final Fantasy XV – fps – 2560×1440 – ultra settings

 

 

Final Fantasy XV is a visually stunning title and even when set to lower settings when using lower-end cards it still shines really well.  We never tested this title with the RX580 but before we tried the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC we did put the RTX2080 to the test to get a good comparison.  The RTX2080 does a fair job at 1440p cracking a solid 85fps on this testing title.  Dropping in the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC we see a monstrous improvement to the 140fps mark. Honestly even getting close to 140fps in a title like this at 1440p is mindblowing!

Metro Exodus – fps – 2560×1440 – ultra settings

 

 

Metro Exodus was truly a game-changer when it came on to the scene with it being the first title to really use ray tracing to make its visuals spectacular.  When we played it originally we played it on the RX580 and had to resort to medium/high settings to ensure a constant fps of above 60 at 1080p, and even then the little RX580 was struggling to stay cool and constantly sat above the 70’C mark.  With the RTX2080 we were able to crank the settings to ultra and step the resolution to 1440p.  We were treated to a respectable 60-65fps in a challenging title like Metro Exodus.  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC however boosted these numbers to above the 100fps mark.  Staggering considering what can be achieved with DLSS in the future.

 

 

Shadow of the tomb raider – fps 2560×1440 – ultra settings

 

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has become a standard in the testing community for its really strenuous effect on all GPUs.  Even the mightiest cards have been brought to their knees by this title, but what truly makes Shadow of the Tomb Raider such a gem is the ability to tweak so many different settings and instantly see the effects during its benchmarking section which puts Lara on the edge of a desert mountain.  With sunlight, sand, and dust blowing everywhere this is the perfect test environment for all GPUs.  As before our tried and tested RX580 was the first to venture into the Shadow of the Tomb Raider and again it delivered a valiant effort at medium settings to give us between 50-55fps at 1080p.  The RTX2080 performed much better and at 1440p was capable of getting close to 100fps!  When the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC was put in we were very excited to see if we could comfortably get past the 144fps that we all crave on our 144Hz monitors.  We are very happy to announce that the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC was comfortably making around the 150fps mark.

This proves that by jumping from the RTX2080 to the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC at the 1440p mark, you can generally expect to see double the fps, this is excluding the effect that DLSS can do as well.

 

Verdict

The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is an absolute gem, from the moment you hold it and feel the quality of how it has been made and designed. The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is a big card but its minimal RGB and clean look make it perfect for nearly any build as long as you are not expecting to build small…  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is a card that, even though having 3 cooling fans, runs extremely quiet and you can expect to hear your AIO or liquid cooler way before hearing the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC.  Even when the fans do start to spin you can expect significantly lower temperatures than even on its FE counterpart, up to 10’C to be exact!  This is wonderful for all those who have been worried that with the leap in power requirements so too would the temperatures.

But like most of you would want to know, is the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC a worthy upgrade, and I can confidently say YES, as long as you are planning to use it at the 1440p mark.  If you are still sitting at 1080p I would personally suggest looking elsewhere.  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC is not a cheap card and the new 30-series beasts are meant to be 2K and 4K cards.  You will be wasting money and the potential of the card by letting it idle at 1080p.

As a final statement.  The ASUS TUF RX3080 OC was my first interaction with a 30-series card and I am totally blown away by the performance that it delivers while not being flashy and out there like its ROG brother.  If the prices were not as ridiculous as it currently is, and the availability was at the point where you could buy one and receive it anytime in this month let alone this year like it is at the moment, I would not think twice of making the jump to the wonderfully dressed-down monster that is the ASUS TUF RX3080 OC!

 

 

special thanks to ASUS SA for supplying the review content

 

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