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ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC Review
Review By @ 04:24pm 09/07/21

Product: ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC
Type: Graphics Card
Price: ~ $3,499 AUD
Availability: Now

With the recent release of the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti we took the Founders Edition for a spin and marvelled at how it got close to GeForce RTX 3090 performance. So much so that the couple of frames difference meant that it was for all intents and purposes a RTX 3090 but with 12GB of memory instead of 24GB. A decent prospect, on the account of the VRAM-heavy RTX 3090 being more of a card for professionals and those that spend their evenings editing videos or rendering, err, renders.

For straight up gaming, especially for those pushing 4K or an ultrawide resolution that sits above 1440p, there’s not really a lot out there that can match the RTX 3080 Ti. Seeing as it takes the ‘Ampere Flagship’ crown off of the GeForce RTX 3080, that sort of unmatched high-end performance is what you’d expect. But, when it came to the Founders Edition we did notice that it ran a little warmer than the non-Ti RTX 3080, so we began to wonder if that would be the case with partner cards like the ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC.

A card that is physically beefy, sturdy, stylish, and formidable. An offering from ASUS that adds its own top-of-the-line flagship ROG STRIX cooling and finish to the flagship RTX 3080 Ti. The OC of the name adds an additional 8-pin connector for even more power for the already power-hungry RTX 3080 Ti, something that opens the door to pushing clock speeds higher than the already boosted out-of-the-box settings.

Now, what does that mean when stacked up against the Founders Edition? Well, without any tinkering that’s similar performance at a much cooler temp.

Of Numbers and Heat Sinks

With three fans and an almost three-slot thickness, the ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC is an all-round beast of a GPU - in stature and underlying technology. There’s quite a bit of metal in the build too, which adds to the premium feel. The large heat sink allows for the OC action to do its thing, in addition to temps sitting mostly in the high-60s range -- unless you push the clock speeds. It’s a premium GPU that has been refined over previous models, taking into account the benefits that come from going ‘Ti’.
  • Architecture (GPU): Ampere
  • CUDA Cores: 10240
  • RT Cores: 80 (2nd Gen)
  • Tensor Cores: 320 (3rd Gen)
  • GPU Boost Clock: OC mode: 1845 MHz, Gaming mode: 1815 MHz
  • Memory Capacity: 12GB GDDR6X
  • Memory Interface/Speed: 384-bit/19 Gbps
  • TDP: 350W (non-OC)

Compared to the baseline RTX 3080 the improvements see a roughly 18% increase across the board, from the number of CUDA Cores, to the memory capacity, and interface. Translation, the Ti model is noticeably more powerful than the non-Ti edition -- with this ASUS ROG STRIX edition pushing faster out-of-the-box clock speeds than the Founders Edition model, alongside beefier and more impressive cooling.

Physically beefy, sturdy, stylish, and formidable. An offering from ASUS that adds its own top-of-the-line flagship ROG STRIX cooling and finish to the flagship GeForce RTX 3080 Ti.

The TDP of 350W listed above refers to the non-OC running of this GPU, where under load we saw the RTX 3080 Ti’s power draw exceed this by a considerable margin -- that is 400W when overclocked. This makes ASUS’s 850W power supply recommendation something that we’d definitely agree with, especially when it’s so easy to overclock with ASUS’s own GPU Tweak II software. A hassle-free boost to performance, though one that comes with higher temps and higher fan noise. And the jump to 400W.

Like with all RTX 3080 Ti models the 12GB of super-fast GDDR6X VRAM does make this version of the RTX 3080 feel better suited to 4K gaming in the long-run, where the additional capacity and boost in speed comes in handy. And then some, because the 4K capabilities of the beefier cards in the RTX 30 series are all impressive. Which can be attributed to NVIDIA’s Ampere architecture.

An Ampere Primer

The below is a summary of the RTX 30 Series technology, applicable to all GeForce RTX 3080 Ti models. An Ampere primer if you will.

A sizable portion of games currently in development for PC and consoles, from indies to AAA high-end titles, will be driven by resolution, frame-rate, and cutting-edge effects like real-time ray-tracing. The latter is already here, first brought to the scene in 2018 with the GeForce RTX 20 series. The original ‘RTX On’, NVIDIA made that tech-dream of real-time ray-tracing a reality.
Something that, with the arrival of affordable RTX-powered gaming laptops and consoles like the Xbox Series S, has become mainstream.

Like with all RTX 3080 Ti models the 12GB of super-fast GDDR6X VRAM does make this version of the RTX 3080 feel better suited to 4K gaming in the long-run, where the additional capacity and boost in speed comes in handy.

From NVIDIA’s side, being first to implement ray-tracing also meant being on the cutting edge from the get-go, and at the forefront of in-game performance. Additional hardware in the form of RT Cores were brought into the picture to take some of the taxing computation off of GPU processors. To ensure that games ran at the coveted 60-fps, Tensor Cores were added into the mix -- building on NVIDIA’s expertise in the field of AI to drive rendering with DLSS.

Control, Cyberpunk 2077, Death Stranding, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, and more -- DLSS is one of the most impressive technical feats we’ve seen in a long time. With or without ray-tracing, it provides a generational leap in performance without sacrificing visual quality. Ampere features second generation RT Cores (NVIDIA’s dedicated ray-tracing hardware) and third-generation Tensor Cores (the AI stuff that makes DLSS the perfect match for hardware intensive ray-tracing in addition to simply boosting performance).

There’s also the new custom Samsung 8nm process and a chipset that radically re-designs the Streaming Multiprocessor (SM) to effectively double the concurrent calculations and what have you. To get technical we’re talking about FP32 and INT32 operations, two things that are, err, things. Topping it all off is the introduction of HDMI 2.1 support and a PCIe Gen 4 interface leading to better CPU utilisation and faster loading times.

That said, one of the big draws that comes from NVIDIA’s latest GPU architecture lies beyond raw performance, and that’s applicable whether you’re talking about the RTX 3060 or the new RTX 3080 Ti. Both DLSS and hardware-driven real-time ray-tracing are game changers, DirectX 12 features like Variable Rate Shading and Mesh Shaders too. AI-based video production tools for creators, full Adobe integration, RTX Broadcast which can turn any space into a streaming setup with AI powered voice and visual controls.

Game Performance

And so we get to it, the numbers. The meat in the GPU review sandwich. The frames-per-second, the detail settings and sliders pushed to ‘Ultra’ maximum levels, the resolution cranked. And all manner of games known for pushing systems to their limit fired up.

But first, a look at our testing setup.
  • GPU: ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
  • Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 UNIFY
  • Memory: HyperX FURY DDR4 RGB (32GB at 3600 MHz)

And now, the first batch of results.

These results cover what you might call ‘rasterised’ performance, that is titles without DLSS or hardware accelerated real-time ray-tracing (scroll down for those numbers). Just straight hardware grunt pushing as many frames as possible, with the optimisation left mostly to game developers, engines, and driver support.

4K is where we’ll begin as it paints the clearest picture of the RTX 3080 Ti’s capabilities -- and that is as a 4K powerhouse, where just about every game can hit well above 60-fps. DOOM Eternal continues to stun, turning in a 168.2 fps average at 4K, a 1.7 times increase over the RTX 2080 Ti and a 15% increase over the baseline RTX 3080.

4K is where we’ll begin as it paints the clearest picture of the RTX 3080 Ti’s capabilities -- and that is as a 4K powerhouse, where just about every game can hit well above 60-fps.

Thanks to DOOM Eternal’s recent ray-tracing and DLSS update, we were able to test it out in 4K with ray-tracing enabled and DLSS set to Quality on the ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC. Playing through the entire Phobos level the frame-rate sat comfortably in triple-digits, hovering around 150-fps for the most part. Which is, yeah, pretty amazing. Head here to see it in action.

On the opposite end of the spectrum Assassin's Creed Valhalla sat at just under 60-fps in 4K, but that’s with that game’s super-demanding Ultra High settings. And even though it’s incredibly taxing to render a native 4K image thanks to the sheer number of pixels compared to even a 1440p image, it’s here where the RTX 3080 Ti probably impresses the most. The drop-off in performance when going from 1440p to 4K sits at around 25% -- making this GPU kind of perfect for all of the ultrawide displays that sit in that in-between range.

It’s also worth noting that with a few titles we found that even at 1440p the GPU usage wasn’t hitting 100% - The Division 2, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and Far Cry New Dawn - a similar situation we had when we reviewed the Founders Edition.

With the various 3D Mark tests above, which cover a wide range of resolutions and DX11 or DX12 or even RTX scenarios, the picture that emerged -- in terms of the RTX 3080 Ti’s place in the 30-Series line-up -- was fairly straightforward. And in line with the in-game performance we saw.

Compared to the standard RTX 3080 the performance bump here sits in the region of 10-15% and compared to the RTX 3090 the difference separating the two is a fairly unnoticeable 2%. In favour of the bulkier RTX 3090. Compared to the RTX 3080 the increase in performance isn’t monumental, though when stacked up next to last-gen’s RTX 2080 Ti it most certainly is a massive jump.

And finally, compared to the Founders Edition this ASUS model mostly turned in slightly higher performance whilst running cooler to boot.

Ray Tracing and DLSS

It took a little while but real-time ray-tracing is finally “a thing”. Especially when it comes to the AAA games we play. From Cyberpunk 2077 through to Metro Exodus, Control, Call of Duty, and more. And with that DLSS has become the secret sauce to pushing ray-tracing at high-resolutions. A generational leap on top of an existing leap.

Through dedicated hardware and advanced AI, image upscaling is given the sci-fi treatment with DLSS. The difference between a natively rendered image and the DLSS ‘Quality’ setting is often negligible. In fact, sometimes the DLSS image features a more detailed image. Both DOOM Eternal and Death Stranding are great examples of that, with DLSS enabled performance jumps by around 30-fps over the native presentation alongside the crisper image.

Metro Exodus (which proved to be one of the best first-uses of the tech) and its new Enhanced Edition showcases the advancements made in a single update. Not only does it implement the latest version of DLSS but it overhauls the ray-tracing to deliver one of the most detailed and impressively lit game-worlds to date. Compared to the RTX 2080 Ti, DLSS and RTX performance with the RTX 3080 Ti is incredible and still sits in the range of the RTX 3090.

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The ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC is without a doubt a high-end premium GPU, from its built quality to overall size, cooling, and features. The stylish RGB strip and angular design is not only something that stands out, but pretty much tells you right away that you’re looking at a serious gaming rig.

The ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC is without a doubt a high-end premium GPU, from its built quality to overall size, cooling, and features.

At default Gaming or even Silent settings, the overall performance of the card is quiet and cool -- though when you do start overclocking the fans make their presence known alongside the card’s carbon footprint. Yeah, we were a little surprised to see the power usage creep up to 400W when overclocked - though we’d wager that the overall power of the RTX 3080 Ti is that those extra couple of frames aren’t really worth it for now. At least not in the majority of titles where the already triple digit performance bump wouldn’t even be noticeable.

Which brings us to the question of value compared to the current line-up of RTX 30 Series graphics cards, something that is reasonably hard to answer when you look at price-points. Taking a look at the current GPU market across all cards (including those from AMD) and you’d be hard pressed to see any sort of consistency. Or reality for that matter. And on that note the best way to view the RTX 3080 Ti -- at least for this review -- comes down to its impressive performance and RTX features like DLSS. RTX 3090-like grunt in a package that is, well, more appealing to gamers.
What we liked
Performance in the RTX 3090 zone makes it a 4K beast
DLSS, Reflex, and other tech offer up more than straight-up performance
ROG STRIX keeps it all cool and quiet (even when in OC mode)
Second-gen ray-tracing performance
What we didn't like
Power hungry, even when idling
Three 12-pin connectors for said power
Current GPU prices
We gave it:
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