ASUS ROG Strix 1080 Graphics Card Review
By now, mostly everyone has been aware that NVIDIA’s next generation graphic processor, the GeForce GTX 1080, has been hailed as the most powerful single GPU in the market. It boasts impressive efficiency, a wide range of hardware features, and a relatively cheaper price tag than its predecessors. There are even reports of the 1080 outperforming two GTX 980’s in SLI and the mighty Titan X.
If this is the first you’ve heard of it, well, to put it simply, the card is pretty damn fast.
But if you’re like me, and don’t own a high-end gaming PC, you might be wondering how the GTX 1080 would perform on your average gaming set-up. Will the mere addition of the powerful 1080 increase the overall performance of your rig? How much of an improvement will it provide your gaming experience? Will I even be able to install it on my old PC?
Let’s find out.
For this exercise, we shall be working with the ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080, which the company claims performs better than the Founder’s edition. You may check our quick unboxing video before we get to the review.
Design and Construction
Physically, the Strix is sleek and impressive. It comes with three cooling fans attached to a heatsink equipped with contact heatpipes (which directly touch the GPU), all of which form the ASUS-designed Direct CU-III. This cools the GPU 30% better and runs three times quieter. The better cooling translates to better overclocking and longer hours of gaming.
ASUS is also eager to let people know that an industry-only, 100% automated production process is used which incorporates Super Alloy Power II components for premium quality and reliability.
The rear is also a looker as it’s reinforced by what the company calls an Aura RGB Lighting Backplate. This LED system lets you choose a color you prefer. With it, you can set your lights to breathing, strobing, color cycle, or to pulse to the music you are playing or the GPU’s temperature.
Connectivity-wise, we have one for DVI, another two slots for DisplayPort 1.4, and two VR-friendly HDMIs.
For power, the card is equipped with an 8-pin and a 6-pin socket.
That last part caused a bit of a problem for me when I was setting the rig up. Since older model power supplies lack the proper cables for the GPU, you’ll need power adapter cables (I needed an extra molex to 6-pin PCI-E cable for this setup). But it’s nothing a quick trip to Gilmore can’t fix.
Performance and Benchmarks
Below are the specifications of our test bench so you have an idea what we’re working with:
Intel Core i5-2400 CPU @ 3.10GHz|
ASUSTeK P8Z68-M Pro
Kingston 8gb PC1600 DDR3 RAM
2tb Seagate HDD
Thermaltake 700W PSU
She isn’t much, but I’ve clocked in a couple of thousand gaming hours on her. She was sporting a GTX 750ti before I installed the GTX 1080.
Since we are inclined to determine the peak performance we are to expect from the GTX 1080, we will set all the games to their maximum video settings at 1080p.
For comparison, I could only run all these games on the lowest settings prior to installing the GTX 1080 to get an acceptable frame rate to be able to play.
First on our list is Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The game ran at a perfect 60 fps at Ultra settings even during battles with swarms of orcs. We experienced no slowdown whatsoever during gameplay. So far, so good.
Surprisingly, Witcher 3 ran smoothly at an average of 58 fps at maximum settings during long rides on horseback and sword fights. We expected a bit of slowdown during play, but we experienced little to none.
On the other hand, Fallout 4 ran at an average of 57 fps at Ultra settings while exploring the wasteland, but proceeded to drop to a dismal average of 40 fps during gunfights, even with only one or two enemies on the screen. We had to lower the settings to High to be able to play at an acceptable frame rate.
Overwatch at Epic settings ran at a frame rate that jumped around from around 80 to 100 fps before the match I joined started, but got framerate drops to as low as 40 during gunfights, effectively rendering us unable to play. However, when we limited the game to run at 60fps, it ran relatively smoother, albeit dropping to around 50 fps during the more fast-paced moments of the game. At Ultra settings, however, the game ran a lot smoother. I settled with High settings, since even a split second slowdown in gameplay would prove fatal.
Along with testing for frame rates, we ran benchmark tests using 3DMark’s Fire Strike test for high-performance gaming PCs. We got a respectable graphics score, and an understandably low physics and combined score, since we’re running an average rig.
True to its word, the Direct CU-III has kept the GPU temperature to an average of 64 degrees while we ran our games. The GPU was near silent during our tests, and the fans are only barely audible during high stress, and is virtually unnoticeable during gaming.
I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t think we would get as good a result as we got when I placed this monster of a GPU in my old, dusty rig. I was quite certain we would get middling results, but the ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 outdid itself, living up to its name as one of the most powerful GPUs in the market.
Though we did not get perfect results for all the games we tested, a bit of tweaking of the video settings, perhaps changing the graphic settings a little below the maximum, the GTX 1080 has proven it can provide enough juice for a well-maintained, average PC to give you a near high-end gaming experience.
Overall, I’m happy with this graphics card. It is good value for its price tag, and it will serve my gaming purposes for the foreseeable future. When I retire this 5-year old rig, you can be certain the next one I build will have a 1080 in it.
This capable card will retail for Php 42,290 as it was reported during its Philippine release.
Now, I’m off to explore more of Witcher 3 on horseback in glorious 1080p. I recommend that you grab an ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 so you can do too.
This review was written by Julio Valiente.
ASUS ROG Strix GTX 1080 specs
Graphics Engine: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
Bus Standard: PCI Express 3.0
OpenGL: OpenGL 4.5
Video Memory: 8GB GDDR5X
GPU Boost Clock: 1936MHz (OC Mode), 1898MHz (Gaming Mode)
GPU Base Clock: 1784MHz (OC Mode), 1759MHz (Gaming Mode)
CUDA Cores: 2560
Memory Clock: 10Gbps
Memory Interface: 256-bit
DVI Output: 1x Native Dual-Link DVI-D
HDMI Output: 2x Native DisplayPort 1.4
HDCP Compliant: Yes
DisplayPort: 2x Native DisplayPort 1.4
Software Bundled: ASUS GPU Tweak II & Driver
Maximum Digital Resolution: 7680 x 4320
Dimensions: 29.8 x 13.4 x 4cm
What we liked about it:
- Has solid graphics
- Could generally handle games on ultra settings without breaking a sweat
- Equipped with quiet fans
- Kept temperature low
- Customization using RGB lighting
What we didn’t like:
- Though relatively cheaper, it might still be over your budget
- Still unavailable locally
- I had to return the GPU to my boss after this review