The new series of graphics cards by Nvidia seem ridiculous. For very similar prices to the previous generation of cards we are looking at unrivalled performance, power efficiency and cards that are making gaming in higher resolutions such as 4K and 1440p more realistic at higher frame rates. The newer cards are also making virtual reality a real prospect with even the lower end cards boasting the ability to run VR effectively. The GTX 1080 is the top flight GPU of the new generation of cards. It has insanely high clock speeds, unparalleled performance on games, rendering and multitasking, alongside more memory than you can shake a stick at (8GB of GDDR5X to be exact!). Nvidia have a great standing of setting performance and technological precedent in the graphics card department, but it only goes so far. The stock cards tend to be plagued with poor cooling, thermal throttling, displeasing aesthetics and an overall aura of feeling “limited” in potential. Enter aftermarket cards; not just any aftermarket card though, namely the ASUS Strix 1080. ASUS have a tendency to push graphics cards to their limits in terms of features and raw performance and despite already being a GTX 1080, the same applies here. Their edition of the GTX 1080 comes with impressive cooling efficiency, a striking visual look and a real boost in terms of gaming power. When you have a card as powerful and as pricey as a GTX 1080, it is only right it looks the part and performs at its maximum potential.
The ASUS STRIX GTX 1080 comes with an impressive set of specs:
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
OC Mode Core clock: 1784 MHz (1936 MHz boost)
Gaming Mode (default): 1759 MHz (1898 MHz boost)
Memory clock: 10010 MHz
Memory bus width: 256-bit
CUDA cores: 2560
APIs: DirectX 12, level 12_1 ,Vulkan , OpenGL 4.5
VR Ready: Yes
SLI Ready: Yes, SLI HB Bridge – Supported Memory type and capacity GDDR5X, 8GB
Direct CU III cooler
Power Connector: 1x 6-pin, 1x 8-pin
Power Consumption: Up to 300W PCIe 3.0
OS Support: Windows 7-10, Linux, FreeBSDx86
Ports: 2x DisplayPort 1.4, 2x HDMI 2.0b, 1x Dual-link DVI HDCP: 2.2 Simultaneous outputs: 3 Card width: 2 slots
Dimensions: 134 x 298mm
Software: GPU Tweak II, Aura software
Warranty: 3 years
Notable specs include a high clock speed featuring two differing modes for optimal performance, SLI (Max two cards), a low power consumption of max 300W and a 3 year warranty!
The ASUS STRIX 1080 comes with a plethora of features worthy of the top flight performance delivered by the GTX 1080. Foremost, the GPU comes kitted with DirectCU III with ASUS’s unique wing-blade fans that aim to bring a 30% cooler card at 3x quieter performance. Not only does this triple fan design dissipate heat effectively, it allows the card to hit peak performance before thermal throttling becomes a concern. Alongside this, it comes with a design choice specifically for VR. The number of different ports allow a VR headset and a display to be connected without having to swap cables. The card also comes with “ASUS FANConnect” which is a 4-pin header located on the card to connect system fans to to allow the GPU to determine the amount of cooling required which is an excellent option to have. In terms of software, the GPU comes with ASUS’s GPU Tweak II software that allows for easy overclocking and profile swapping on the fly. It makes it incredibly easy to push the card to its max potential. It also comes with an AURA software that controls the lighting on the edges of the fan, the back plate and the nameplate of the card.
I’m a big fan (no pun intended) of color neutral designs. Designs that allow you to mess around and create your own system aesthetic and ASUS have enabled the option to do exactly that. Their choice of neutral greys and blacks coupled with the extensive array of LEDs allow you to customize and change to your wants and needs. Founders edition cards, alongside many other aftermarket cards, limit you to certain design choices. I mean, come on, who spends over £600 on a GPU without the intention of it looking good? A card this powerful and this expensive deserves to be as functional and changeable as you want. This card can go into any system and look extravagant and that is what makes it special. The LEDs allow it to double as a standout feature within your system and lift limitations of choice in your system. Put this into any case of any color and you have got yourself a winner. The only downside to the design and appearance potentially is the triple fan setup. Not only is this card heavy as hell (GET YOUR GPU SAG RIGHT HERE) but the triple fan can be an absolute hassle to get in to some cases. There is a decent number of mid towers that will definitely struggle to fit this card in properly and the only way around that is a full tower or a large mid-tower. Don’t underestimate the size or weight of this card. I had to move HDD trays and put in an anti-sag holder to give it the space it needs. That being said, once it’s in your system, it’s sure to be a damn winner. This is, in my opinion, the best looking aftermarket card out there. A GTX 1080 deserves to look as badass as it is and ASUS are the only people to hit the nail on the head thus far.
Performance is everything when it comes to buying a GPU. You buy a top end aftermarket card to get top end results, that’s how it works. The GTX 1080 not only is a GPU that makes 4K gaming a real possibility but makes ease of 1440p and god-like work of 1080p. Those out there looking for monitors in the range of 144Hz or 4K gaming have to look no further. Although 4K can stick in the playable region of 30-60fps on most titles, 1440p is in regions that not even some GPUs see on 1080p and 1080p is like driving your Ferrari of a graphics card like a Fiat 500. The ASUS STRIX GTX 1080 reduces thermal throttling, makes overclocking easier and offers higher base clocks than stock cards, and the extra FPS and general performance does show when it comes to benchmarking! Take a look: (Includes – Star Wars: Battlefront, GTA V, DOOM, Crysis 3) 1080p, 1440p, 4K. (Out of the box speeds running on an i7 6700K, 16GB of RAM and a Crucial MX 300 SSD) – (MAX SETTINGS AA OFF, V SYNC OFF).
The ASUS STRIX GTX 1080 is a fantastic aftermarket card. It pushes the 1080 stock leaps and bounds forward and does so in style. I could mention that this is one of the more expensive aftermarket cards, but in all honesty if you are buying a GTX 1080, 1) the price tag probably doesn’t bother you and 2) you want the best looking, best performing and best available version of the 1080, which is exactly what the STRIX offers. Sure, it is pricey, but a 1080 is pricey and the visuals and added performance you get is definitely worth investing in. No thermal throttling, no ugly green glow, just pure sexy performance, which is exactly what a 1080 should be.