We continue our acquaintance with the non-reference GeForce GTX 1080 of the new Pascal architecture. Next in line is an ASUS representative from the ROG Strix gaming product line. Let’s see what the STRIX-GTX1080-O8G-GAMING video adapter can offer customers, how efficient cooling and overclocking is. Without long introductions, let’s move on to the review.
ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 (STRIX-GTX1080-O8G-GAMING)
The ASUS graphics card comes in a large box with a picture of a new cooling system for three fans and a bright colorful Strix inscription.
The scope of delivery is as follows:
- power adapter from PCI-E 6-pin to PCI-E 8-pin;
- Velcro ties for wires;
- disk with software;
- code with bonuses for the game World of Warships.
The new Strix received not only a new GPU, but also an updated design. Previously, the company has already produced video cards with a three-fan cooler, including the older Radeon family. STRIX-GTX1080-O8G-GAMING is different from them. Moreover, even from an external examination it is clear that we are talking not only about the outer case, but also about the internal design of the cooler.
The reverse side is covered with a metal plate with a geometric pattern and slots for large elements on the board. There is also a large illuminated ROG logo. In the corner, instead of one power connector, there are two — for 8 and 6 pins.
The massive video card reaches 30 centimeters in length. This is one of the largest versions of the GeForce GTX 1080.
At the same time, the available volume is used as efficiently as possible to increase the area of the radiator, which is barely covered by a casing on the sides. Even when you take the card in your hands, there is a pleasant heaviness from the massive cooling.
On the front side there is a backlight that emphasizes the curves of the case. All luminous elements smoothly change color and can create different color effects with ripples and different overflows in a wide color spectrum. All this can be configured through the software, include the option to pulse to the beat of the music, or use the backlight as an indicator of GPU load.
You can evaluate the backlight variability by watching the video from ASUS, which at the same time demonstrates other technical features of the new Strix video cards.
ASUS offers a slightly different configuration for the rear panel connectors. For the convenience of switching virtual reality VR devices, two HDMI connectors are displayed. Usually the GeForce GTX 1080 has one. HDMI is complemented by a pair of DisplayPort connectors and one DVI.
Now let’s study the design features of the cooling system. It involves five heat pipes, four of which have an increased diameter of 8 mm. At the base, the tubes fit snugly together and make direct contact with the GPU. It can be seen from the print that the crystal is completely covered by three tubes and quite a bit by the fourth. The thinnest tube is not the lot, but it helps in the overall heat transfer.
Now there is no separate heatsink for power node transistors. The corresponding contact pad is located on the side section of the radiator. That is, for all hot elements, a single radiator is used from two sections pierced by tubes.
A frame with three fans with a diameter of 90 mm is mounted on top of the radiator.
The fan blades have a small “visor” at the edges, which allows you to increase the air flow and pressure.
A separate heatsink is provided for memory chips, but the area of contact with some chips is incomplete, two chips are not covered at all.
Under the plastic casing, two LED strips stretch along special slots, which are connected via a separate cable to the board.
The plate covering the reverse side of the board is not a heatsink. Under the logo is a thin LED panel.
The printed circuit board is made according to a non-reference design. It is larger than the standard in size, the power supply system is strengthened.
The number of GPU power phases has been increased to eight, the GDDR5X memory is powered by two phases. All connectors for connecting fans and lighting are conveniently located, they are deployed parallel to the board plane. Nearby are two special ASUS FanConnect connectors that allow you to connect case fans to the video card so that their speed is regulated depending on the temperature of the graphics chip.
The GP104-400-A1 chip operates 2560 stream processors.
The memory interface is 256 bits, and its volume is 8 GB and is equipped with eight Micron D9TXS chips.
ASUS Strix Gaming supports three frequency profiles. Our default instance runs at a base frequency of 1785 MHz with a Boost Clock of 1936 MHz, which matches the OC Mode profile. Retail versions can operate at 1759/1898 MHz (Gaming Mode) by default. Memory in all modes complies with standard specifications — 10 GHz.
The mode change is carried out through the ASUS GPU Tweak program. After starting the program, a menu immediately opens with a choice of profile, where it is enough to click on the corresponding icon to change frequencies.
The utility also provides advanced options for controlling frequencies, fan speed, power limit, and operating voltage. In terms of its functionality, ASUS GPU Tweak is not inferior to the best utilities for working with video cards.
The AURA Lighting Control application is used to control the backlight. Among the additional software, it is also worth noting the XSplit Gamecaster program for streaming game video with the ability to mix different sources of media content.
The video card was tested on an open bench at an indoor temperature of 27 °C. In such conditions, Tom Clancy’s The Division (left screenshot) and Metro: Last Light (right screenshot) warmed up the card only to 66-67 °C. The fans spun up to about 1700 rpm, while the noise was low.
Boost frequencies in The Division were kept in the region of 2025-2038 MHz with peak values of 2088 MHz. This is an outstanding result in conditions where video cards of this series barely exceed the 2 GHz threshold. And even in the more difficult Last Light test, the Boost frequency tended to 2000 MHz, although there were drawdowns below this level. As a result, we can state that in OC Mode the ASUS STRIX-GTX1080-O8G-GAMING graphics card operates at GPU frequencies that are close to the maximum level. And this is with low noise and low operating temperatures!
If you need to keep the fan speed and noise to a minimum, you can switch the graphics card to Silent Mode. Frequencies in this mode are close to standard. The Metro averaged Boost below 1900 MHz and kept the fans at 1600 RPM.
Against the backdrop of record initial frequencies, one can expect outstanding performance in overclocking. In fact, this video card once again confirmed our thesis that GPU overclocking for all GeForce GTX 1080s is approximately at the same level. The base frequency has been increased to 1805 MHz with a peak Boost of 2101 MHz. The GPU voltage has been increased by one step, which has provided stabilization in some applications. Further increase in voltage and frequencies led to failures.
At the same time, in Tom Clancy’s The Division, the video card demonstrated an almost stable frequency of 2076 MHz, which allows us to talk about real advantages over previously tested models. In Metro: Last Light, the Boost frequency was at the level of 2000 MHz, and this already fits well with the results of other GeForces. The memory was overclocked to 11476 MHz.
The fan speed was fixed at 2200 rpm. The noise at the same time was moderate, and the temperatures were slightly lower than the initial ones. With a subtle approach, ASUS can be tuned to maintain acoustic comfort while slightly speeding up the fans relative to the entry level.