Nvidia’s newest generation of graphics cards, the RTX series, based on the ‘Turing‘ architecture has started reaching consumers and we are beginning to see real world performance and experiences from the communbity of these highly-powerful cards. There are two options when buying a RTX 2080 Ti, either opt for a Founders Edition (FE) card which is based on a reference design and PCB, or instead opt for a aftermarket/AIB variant of the RTX 2080 Ti that often varies fron the FE in terms of factory clock, length, design and cooling.
There are a lot of aftermarket RTX 2080 Ti cards available to choose from despite the card being announced only in September 2018, although we have found that only a handful of cards will be satisfactory for most PC builders and their preferences, and are really the only RTX 2080 Ti cards worth considering (for now in 2018).
We have done plenty of research on the /r/
Best RTX 2080 Ti Aftermarket Cards – My Recommendations
Best RTX 2080 Ti card of 2019
Right now, the MSI RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio has the highest overclock of any AIB card in 2018. The Gaming X Trio 11GB recorded a 3DMark Firestrike score of 35.035, higher than the 34.577 recorded from ASUS’ RTX 2080 Strix OC edition, and 33.352 from the NVIDIA FE RTX 2080 Ti card.
Asides from the sheer performance of the Gaming X Trio, this card has a great looking, neutral (finally!) design with one impressive-looking backplate. The TDP is rated at 250W, with 1x 6pin and 2x 8pins supported to power this behemoth of a card.
One thing to note that the Gaming X Trio doesn’t have power balancing, which is something the reference cards have.
This isn’t a small card, measured at 327mm in length – so don’t think about it fitting in any small form factor builds anytime soon.
Another great option, on par with the Gaming X Trio, is the sleek looking ASUS’ ROG STRIX Gaming RTX 2080 Ti. This monster of a card is fantastic for overclocking, with users reporting 135 MHz increases in clock frequency with ease, and +1000 MHz increases in memory clock with this performance-built card. This is largely due to the impressive VRM cooling setup, and with this cooling and performance increase the ROG STRIX RTX 2080 Ti remains to be an extremely silent card, and is actually (with the Gaming X Trio) one of the quietest RTX 2080 Ti cards that have been tested in 2018.
The only AIB RTX 2080 Ti card that we think will be able to compete against the Gaming X Trio and ASUS ROG STRIX once released is EVGA’s Kingpin edition of the RTX 2080 Ti – but that won’t be available for a while. With that considered, the Gaming X Trio is the best card right now to get if you’re looking for the best out of the box performance from the RTX 2080 Ti.
Best AIO/liquid cooled RTX 2080 Ti card
If you’re looking for a water cooled RTX 2080 Ti, you have two choices right now – either buy a aftermarket out-of-the-box RTX 2080 Ti, with a AIO Liquid cooling solution (e.g. ROG Matrix RTX 2080 Ti), or buy a founders edition (FE) RTX 2080 Ti or a RTX 2080 Ti with a reference PCB and an A chip in it.
With this RTX 2080 Ti you would then put a ‘Watercool HEATKILLER IV‘ or ‘Aquacomputer kyrographic NEXT’ water block on it, which we think provide far better cooling performance and quality than EK waterblocks. Flash the BIOS to 380W and you are able to overclock the RTX 2080 Ti to approximately 2100Mhz clocks, and it will be difficult to see the RTX 2080 Ti go north of mid-40 degrees when overclocked.
These two waterblocks are regarded as the best waterblocks for the RTX 2080 Ti, and in terms of choosing between the HEATKILLER IV and Kyrographics (w/ the active backplate) – the Kyrographic NEXT will provide the absolute best performance but the HEATKILLER IV will provide better value for its impressive performance and build quality – and this is why it gets our vote for the best water block for the RTX 2080 Ti.
To summarize this section, when it comes to liquid cooling solutions on RTX 2080 Ti cards, we don’t recommend non-reference PCB liquid coolers, but for maximum performance and quality to rather install a premium waterblock onto the RTX 2080 Ti yourself.
If you do not feel comfortable installing your own custom waterblock onto the RTX 2080 Ti and rather buy a premade AIO solution, then below is a list of the AIO/liquid RTX 2080 Ti cards announced and/or available right now in 2020:
- ASUS RTX 2080 Ti ROGG Matrix
- EVGA RTX 2080 Ti HYBRID FTW3
- EVGA RTX 2080 Ti HYBRID XC
- EVGA RTX 2080 Ti HYDRO COPPER FTW3
- EVGA RTX 2080 Ti HYDRO COPPER XC
- Gigabyte RTX 2080 Ti AORUS EXTREME WATERFORCE WB
- MSI RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk EK X
- MSI RTX 2080 Ti Sea Hawk X
- ZOTAX RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm
Quietest RTX 2080 Ti card
If you’re looking for a quiet RTX 2080 Ti right now there are two models that are equally matched in terms of noise – the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 Ti and the MSI Gaming X Trio. On top of mentioning the Gaming X Trio as the best RTX 2080 Ti card out there right now In 2018, it has recorded a noise level of 36 decibels at max load and running at around 75C.
In comparison, the ROG Strix RTX 2080 Ti version actually features 2 modes – silent mode and performance mode. In performance mode temperatures are cool air 63C and at 40 dB, and in silent mode the ROG Strix reaches down to 36 dB at 73C.
There’s not much to separate between them in terms of noise performance, but right now the MSI Gaming X Trio presents better value compared to the ROG Strix RTX 2080 Ti since it provides higher clocks and is a lower price.
Cheapest RTX 2080 Ti card
Right now, the cheapest entry point into an RTX 2080 Ti system is to go for the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti Black, retailing at just $999. The perfect aftermarket RTX 2080 Ti card if you want to build the cheapest RTX 2080 Ti build right now. However, demand is insane at the moment for these cards and Nvidia are not matching this with equal supply – meaning any RTX 2080 Ti is not going to be cheap and will likely command a large premium over retail.
The EVGA 2080 Ti Black may be the cheapest, but it still packs a serious punch. Many owners of this card have noted great performance out of the box, as well as overclocking potential – reddit user /u/phildo0890 reported a stable OC profile with +200 Mhz on the core clock and +900 Mhz memory clock, sitting at a max temperature of 77c (at 100% fan speed) – and a seriously impressive max overclock of up to 2115MHz. It is important to note this can be down to the silicon lottery, and RTX 2080 Ti performance can vary from card to card, but regardless we think the EVGA 2080 Ti Black is a fantastic card for the money.