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In a Nutshell
The ASUS ROG Strix LC GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC Edition is an incredibly powerful flagship graphics card capable of delivering fantastic 4K gaming experience, as well as an outstanding ray tracing performance.
Getting our hands on the high-end graphics card has become quite difficult these days. Despite the fact that the GPU prices are falling down, and card availability is improving, obtaining enthusiast-tier GPUs is still problematic. Lucky for us, our long-time associate Bobz managed to secure us ASUS ROG Strix LC GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC Edition GPU, and give us a chance to write an in-depth review of this truly amazing graphics card.
Featuring the GA102 chip, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti represents the latest addition to the NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series of GPUs. Compared to the RTX 3080, the new RTX 3080 Ti features lower GPU core clocks, but comes with two extra gigabytes of GDDR6X VRAM, 1536 more shading units, 48 additional TMUs and Tensor cores, as well as with 12 more stream multiprocessors (SMs) and RT cores. This way, the new RTX 3080 Ti is able to provide additional 4.4 TFLOPS of FP32 compute performance over the RTX 3080, and is only about 1% slower than the GeForce RTX 3090. As such, this card is primarily intended for high-end gaming at 4K resolution, and is pitted against both the RTX 3090, and the Team Red’s Radeon RX 6900 XT.
ASUS ROG Strix LC GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC Edition Specifications
|GPU Name||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti (GA102)|
|Interface||PCI Express 4.0 x16|
|Video Memory||12 GB GDDR6X|
|Core Clock||1,860 MHz|
|Memory Clock||19 Gbps|
|Connectors||2 x HDMI 2.1, 3 x DisplayPort 1.4a|
|Power Connectors||3 x 8-pin|
|Recommended PSU||850 W|
Probably the most notable feature of the ASUS ROG Strix LC GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC is the fact that this is a liquid cooled graphics card, and that it comes with a big 240 mm external cooling radiator, which is an essential part of its liquid cooling system. But before we say more about its cooling solution and rendering performance, let’s first mention a few things regarding the card’s PCB components.
Under its heatsink, the ASUS ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC hides twelve 8 Gbit GDDR6X Micron memory chips, which are designed to operate at nominal frequency of 5500 MHz (21 Gbps), and provide 12GB of VRAM in total. Compared to the Founders Edition card, the ASUS’ card is much larger, however, this is determined by its very bulky heatsink. The card features 22 power phases in total, which is four more than the FE model. Out of these 22 phases, 18 of them provide power to the GPU core, while the other 4 are designed to deliver power to the memory chips.
The VRM module on this card consists of two MP2888A PWM controllers made by Monolith Power Systems, and each one is capable of controlling a maximum of 10 power phases. Both controllers are located on the front side of the card’s PCB. On the same side a uPI Semiconductor PWM controller can be found, which controls the 4-phase power delivery system of the memory chips. The core power circuit of this card is built using ASUS’ proprietary Super Alloy II technology, which includes modern solid-state capacitors and DrMOS transistor assemblies (in this case made by Texas Instruments), each of which is designed for maximum of 60 A. The card also features two NCP45491 controllers responsible for monitoring card’s voltage and temperatures.
Like all the other video cards from ASUS’ ROG series, this one also has two connectors in the rear for connecting additional case fans which can be synchronized with the card in order to improve airflow and cooling. On the card’s PCB you can also find ASUS’ proprietary 82UA0 controller whose purpose is to control card’s RGB lighting. It’s also worth saying that the card features dual BIOS support, and it has a physical switch at its end which allows you to toggle between Performance and Silent BIOS modes.
The ASUS ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC features a boost clock speed of 1860 MHz, which is about 11.7% higher compared to the Founders Edition model. With manual overclocking, the card’s power limit can be raised to 120%. Raising the power limit produces a very positive effect on the card’s performance, as it allows the card to run more stable, and enables the user to overclock the card to the maximum core clock speed of 2158 MHz, and achieve effective memory clock of 21.2 GHz. With these settings, the card is able to run at 29% higher boost clock speed, and deliver 8% better performance in video rendering.
Speaking of connectors, the card features 5 instead of 4 video outputs. This means it has three DisplayPort 1.4a connectors, and three HDMI 2.1 connectors. Despite having three HDMI ports, the card can only display image on 4 monitors at a time, so the additional HDMI port simply provides more flexibility in choosing a preferred video output. As for the power delivery, the ASUS ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC features three 8-pin power connectors. Each connector has its own LED which indicates correct power connection (the LEDs flash in red color in the absence of power delivery).
Cooling Performance & Noise
The ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC features a hybrid cooling system, consisting of an active heatsink, and a liquid cooling loop with a 240 mm radiator. The card’s heatsink features a copper baseplate which is pressed against the GPU core and memory chips. There is also a pump that circulates water to the cooling base. Memory chips are cooled with the help of thermal pads. In addition, the heatsink includes a large radiator frame for cooling VRM power converters, as well as an additional blower fan that expels air out of the heatsink. The fan is able to run at a maximum speed of 4,000 RPM, but in reality, it never operates at these speeds. The back graphene plate not only serves as a PCB protection element, but also participates in cooling of the card’s back side through a thermal interface.
The main feature of the ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC’s liquid cooling system is its 240 mm radiator that features two 120 mm fans. The radiator has pretty standard dimensions, and can be easily mounted on most PC cases. Speaking of radiators performance, there a few things worth saying. Firstly, when the GPU’s core temperature drops below 50°C, the radiator fans automatically stop spinning. Here it needs to be emphasized that only the fans stop spinning, because the pump continues to work (albeit quietly). When the PC boots up, the fans will start spinning, but only until the video drivers are loaded up. Once that happens, the fans will stop spinning (unless the core temperature isn’t too high). Switching the BIOS mode from Performance to Silent will affect the fans behavior.
To examine the performance of the card’s liquid cooling system, we’ve decided to stress test the card for two hours. After two hours of intense gaming in Performance BIOS mode, the maximum core temperature never exceeded 50°C, which is absolutely an excellent result for a graphics card of this performance tier. The memory chips did hit the 70°C mark, however, this kind of performance was still amazing, given how hot memory chips are on most RTX 30 series graphics cards. In Silent BIOS mode, the maximum recorded GPU core temperature was 55°C, but the card ran quieter, since the fans weren’t spinning so fast. The card’s maximum power we were able to record was 405 W, and with overclocking, this figure rose up to 413 watts.
We tested the noise of the graphics card in a noise-insulated room, with all reverberations reduced as much as possible. The background noise level of our room was 19 dBA. Noise was measured from a distance of 0.5 meters from the video card, and in the level of the cooling system.
In the idle mode with loaded Google Chrome, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel, we recorded a GPU core temperature of 33°C. The fans weren’t spinning at all, but the pump was still working. Our instruments recorded a noise level of 23 dBA, which, in our opinion, was barely audible. When watching a 1080p movie with hardware encoding enabled, nothing changed.
Under full 3D graphics load, the core temperature reached 50°C. At the same time, the fans spun up to 1530 RPM, and the noise grew up to 40 dBA. This was quite loud. With Silent BIOS enabled, the GPU core temps reached 55°C under full load, and the noise grew to 33 dBA. This was audible, but it wasn’t very loud. Overall, the cooling performance of this graphics card is fantastic, but the noise levels while using the Performance BIOS mode can get pretty loud. In general, we recommend using a large PC case with a good airflow if you plan to buy this graphics card.
The ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC also features RGB lighting that includes an illuminated ROG logo on the upper edge of the card, as well as numerous diagonal stripes on top of the heatsink shroud. The lighting can be probably best observed when the card installed vertically inside the PC case, with the help of the PCI-E riser. The lighting can be controlled via ASUS’ Armory Crate utility, which also allows the user to create custom lighting scenarios and use a wide range of visual effects.
Speaking of packaging, the card comes with a standard user manual, some bonus stickers, ASUS branded ties, and ASUS keychain which is also a ruler. Everything inside the box is cleverly placed, and the box itself features a carrying handle.
Performance & Benchmarks
Due to the fact that the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is designed to be used for serious 4K gaming on ultra settings, we’ve decide to test it only at 1440p and 4K resolutions. We’ve also decided to compare it with other cards from the same performance tier, such as the GeForce RTX 3090, Radeon RX 6900 XT, and Radeon RX 6800 XT. The testing rig we’ve used for purposes of this review was based on the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU, and included 16GB of DDR4 RAM running at speed of 3.600 MHz, as well as two 1GB NVMe SSD drives. Here are the benchmark results.
As it can be seen from the chart above, the ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC is on average about 4-7% faster than the reference RTX 3080 Ti, and 0.5% slower than the RTX 3090 at 1440p resolution. Overall, this is fantastic performance, as the card is able to smoothly run graphically demanding games, such as Cyberpunk 2077 or Assassin’s Creed Valhalla at more than 80 FPS on average on ultra settings.
With such great performance, the new RTX 3080 Ti is roughly on par with the flagship GeForce RTX 3090, yet it costs less money, and consumes less power. The card is also able to easily beat AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT in most PC titles, except in a few AMD-optimized games, such as the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.
At 4K resolution we see similar performance results. The RTX 3080 Ti is capable of comfortably running all tested video games at more than 60 FPS on ultra settings at UHD resolution. Here we see that the ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti is around 6-12% faster than the reference RTX 3080 Ti, which puts it much closer to the RTX 3090’s performance level. However, at 4K resolution the RTX 3090 FE is still 1-2% faster than the ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti. Nevertheless, the card is around 15% faster than the Radeon RX 6900 XT, which is quite an impressive feat.
For purposes of this review, we’ve also tested the ray tracing performance of the ASUS ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC. To examine the card’s ray tracing performance, we’ve used Cyberpunk 2077 video game, because this game natively supports both ray tracing and DLSS technology. Ray tracing performance was tested at 1080p resolution, with both ray tracing and other graphical settings set to ultra. Here are the results.
As you can see, the RTX 3080 Ti is able to deliver outstanding ray tracing performance in Cyberpunk 2077, and even beat the GeForce RTX 3090. With DLSS enabled, the card can even run the game with more than 100 FPS on average at 1080p resolution with ray tracing set to ultra preset. Similar performance can be observed in other titles supporting ray tracing rendering, such as Watch Dogs: Legion, or Metro Exodus.
Generally speaking, the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti is on par with the GeForce RTX 3090, and is roughly 6% faster than the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT. As such, the RTX 3080 Ti can be considered as one of the fastest and most powerful graphics card on the planet, and is well-suited even for 8K gaming. The ASUS ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC features a significant performance boost over the reference model, which is no surprise given the fact that it features cranked up core clock, as well as a state-of-the-art liquid cooling system.
The ASUS ROG Strix LC GeForce RTX 3080 Ti OC Edition is an incredibly powerful flagship graphics card that trades blows with an even more expensive GeForce RTX 3090. Thanks to its overkill liquid cooling solution, the card also has a decent overclocking potential, which serious PC enthusiasts will much appreciate. The increased boost clock speed provides good performance increase at 4K resolution compared to the Founders Edition model, thus allowing the ROG Strix LC to become the fastest RTX 3080 Ti card currently available on the market.
Despite being very efficient, the cooling system of this card is very noisy, but depends much on the placement of the radiator within the PC case. Given the fact that the card consumes somewhere between 400 to 415 watts of power, and requires three 8-pin power connectors, having a high-capacity PSU is a must if you plan to buy this card.
Once again, all we can say is that this is a fantastic graphics card for 4K gaming on ultra settings, and with all ray tracing features enabled. The card is so powerful that it doesn’t even require DLSS to be used. Like all the other cards from NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series, this one also features support for 8K video output, as well as hardware decoding of video data in AV1 format, full support for RTX IO technology, and other features which content creators, and IT professionals may find appealing.
Speaking of price and availability, the card is available for purchase on Amazon, which is nice to see after a long period of limited supply due to high demand from cryptocurrency miners. As for the price, well, the ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti OC was clearly intended to be sold to users with deeper pockets, but if you have a few thousand dollars to spare, or a kidney, then go for it. You can’t make a mistake with this card.