Asus’s Strix GTX 1080 is a monster. If you’re planning on gaming at 1440p resolutions and above you need one of these. It destroys everything you throw at it at ultra settings and barely flinches, that’s why it’s received the ‘Top Performance Component’ award.
I implore you, sell your car and get one NOW. OK, maybe that wouldn’t be such a great idea, but if you can afford one, your $800 buys you one of the best video cards on the market (bar the new Titan, which is a LOT more expensive).
Physically, it’s a massive piece of kit and stretches to nearly 12-inches long. It sports a triple fan set up and a chunky heat sink. The styling of the card is a pretty non-descript, and it’s a functional gun metal grey/black color.
It features a nice-looking metal back plate and the only thing showing it might be a bit special, is the Republic of Gamers branding subtly stamped on the backplate and fans.
Upon firing up your system the Asus Aura LEDs help the card glow an ominous orange, but looks aside, it kicks out virtually no heat, and minimal noise.
When you fire up a game prepare to be amazed.
I tested the Asus Strix GTX 1080 on Unigine Heaven’s 2560x1440p benchmark, and got a score of 3,083.
This compared to a score of 1,676 on the same test but with a 8GB R9 390X video card.
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It should be noted the test system I used for this post is far from ‘enthusiast’ level.
It’s clear the Asus Strix GTX 1080 is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, but the temperatures show it’s doesn’t really struggle even when delivering eye-watering performance.
I’d be willing to bet that with a faster CPU, frame rates would be a bit higher, but not massively so.
FreeSync NOT G-Sync
I’m also using a FreeSync monitor as opposed to an overpriced G-Sync offering.
I was initially unsure about how this would work with a Nvidia card, but there were no problems at all getting frame rates above 60 frames per second.
There were no compatibility issues I could detect, with the only slight issue being excessive ‘tearing’ of graphics on Metro 2033: Redux.
Turning v-sync on in this game fixed the problem, and I was still getting consistent 60 frames per second while it was activated.
What I would say to anyone with a Nvidia video card who is considering investing in a G-Sync monitor is just don’t do it.
You can get just as good performance from a FreeSync monitor – plus you’ll save a fortune too.
I loaded up Witcher 3 at 2560x1440p on my Acer XG270HU monitor.
I cranked everything up to ultra settings (including Nvidia hairworks) and the card handled it with ease.
I fired up FRAPs to check the frame rate and it didn’t drop below 70 frames per second for my entire 45-minute test session.
I could feel some heat from the video card, so I switched to desktop, opened GPU-Z, and monitored temperatures of the GPU while I played.
I then played through another chunk of the main story (finally returning the ugliest man alive to Kaer Morhen – if you’re not a Witcher 3 fan, ignore this reference) to see if it would stress the card’s sensors.
The temperature definitely went up, but compared to the furnace that an R9 390X kicks out (when trying to play the game at lower settings I might add), it was nothing.
The GPU-Z monitoring report showed temperatures had varied from between 55c to 71c throughout the entire 45-minute play session.
Given a longer game I’ve no doubt they might go up a little more, but probably not by much. It was impressive, and way off the 94c maximum temperature recommended by the manufacturer.
I also put the card through its paces on Battlefield 4, jacking all graphics options up to their maximums, and seeing how it performed during online multiplayer.
As with the Witcher 3 the results were impressive, at 2560x1440p resolution the frame rate did not drop below 100 frames per second on FRAPs, while again temperatures remained admirably low.
Using GPU-Z again, the maximum temperature I recorded for a 45-minute gaming session, was 68c.
While an older game Crysis 3 is still a demanding one, and I thought might be the game to finally bring the GTX 1080 to its knees. There was a wobble, but overall the game played very smoothly.
Playing the opening level on the oil rig – again at maximum settings and at 2560x1440p resolution – FRAPs showed the frame rate briefly dip into the 40-50 frames per second bracket (shock, horror!), before something adjusted and they rose to a steady 70-80 frames per second.
It remained at the higher rate for the rest of my 45-minute session.
Recording the temperatures on GPU-Z showed even this momentary wobble in smoothness had no discernible impact on temperatures, with the sensors recording a maximum of 69c.
Metro 2033: Redux
This was the ONLY game I found that mildly irritated the Asus Strix GTX 1080, but only at absolute maximum settings with full tessellation on.
With tessellation the game’s graphics were reduced in some early parts to ridiculously low levels -19-20 frames per second.
I initially thought there was something wrong with the video card, but turning tessellation off completely fixed the problem.
From then on, frame rates were very good.
I was getting 80 frames per second consistently at 2560x1440p resolutions, with settings at maximum.
As mentioned earlier in the post, there were issues with screen tearing of graphics, but this was easily remedied by switching v-sync on in the video options.
Yes, this did lock my frame rate to ‘only’ 60 frames per second, but it still looked great and the Asus Strix GTX 1080 never dipped below 60 frames per second.
Asus Strix GTX 1080
|Chipset architecture||Pascal 16nm|
|GPU power connectors||1 x 6-pin PCIe, 1 x 8-pin PCIe|
|Video connectors||2 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x DVI-D DL, 2 x HDMI 2.0b|
|Max concurrent displays||4|
This is an awesome card. It can handle whatever you throw at it at 1440p resolution and will have no problem tackling 4K games either – though you might need to adjust graphic detail down slightly.
The Asus Strix GTX 1080 performed exceptionally well in all of the game tests, but also managed to keep remarkably cool and quiet while doing it.
If you can afford one, this is definitely a good, long-term investment and will ensure you get high frame rates in the the latest games for the next few years – easily.
The Asus Strix GTX 1080 is available now.
Building a Gaming PC
Building a gaming PC is a great skill to have, and if you’re planning on including the Asus Strix GTX 1080 in a new system you should take a look at my guides.
If you’re new to building PCs, and are a little unsure about where to start, take a look at the below video playlist. It’s designed to be as simple and straightforward to follow as possible.
There’s tips in there on how to install a video card, among other things.
Click the menu box in the top left of the below window to cycle through all the videos.
I deliberately made the videos short and clear, to help make the learning process as straightforward as possible.
If you need tips and hints about installing a video card for your new PC build, hit me up in the comments section, or tweet me directly.
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But Why Build?
As PC games get better and better and the hardware to run them advances at an ever quicker rate you may be tempted to buy a pre-built custom gaming PC.
STOP! Don’t do it. There’s a range of benefits to building your own PC:
- you’ll save a tonne of money
- you can customize it exactly as you want
- you avoid ‘bloatware’ that comes bundled with pre-built systems and clogs up performance
The good news is it’s a buyer’s market with a massive range of components available to builders and building a gaming PC is easier than many realize.
If you can put together a Lego kit you can build a computer. It’s that easy.
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If you’re interested in other PC gaming components and builds head to the blog.
There’s so many different PC systems you can build. Check out a few ideas below.