The Best Custom GeForce RTX 2080 Super?
HWM Singapore|December 2019
NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2080 Super is very, very fast, but if you’re looking to take things up a notch with factory overclocks and custom cooling solutions, there are plenty of cards out there vying for your money.
Koh Wanzi

This is a premium card crammed with nearly everything you could want, and then some. However, the cooler design hasn’t changed coming from the GeForce RTX 2080, with three “axial-tech” fans and a faceted shroud with RGB LEDs on the edges.

It’s one of the heaviest cards here, but also one of the most solidly built. The plastic shroud feels really well put-together, and there’s an additional metal brace that wraps around the card to prevent excessive torsion and lateral bending of the PCB. This brace is mounted to both the backplate and the I/O shield, fully integrated into the card’s design.

In addition, you get six heat pipes and a massive finned heatsink that occupies nearly a full three slots. This helps ASUS maximise the total surface area available for heat dissipation while allowing the fans to run at lower speeds in less demanding scenarios.

The heat spreader boasts of ASUS maxContact Technology, which uses precision machining to create a surface that is flatter and more even. This maximises contact between GPU and heat spreader, translating to more efficient heat transfer. A separate surface interfaces with the VRM circuitry (10+2-phases) via thermal pads, so ASUS hasn’t neglected these crucial components either.

The three axial-tech fans have a smaller fan hub to allow for longer blades and a barrier ring that increases structural integrity and downward air pressure. They are also Ip5X dust resistant and our numbers in the results page will speak to just how well ASUS’s entire thermal design works.

The fans support semi-passive operation too, so they’ll stop spinning entirely to reduce noise when the GPU temperature is below 55°C. This technically only works in Quiet mode, but you can also enable it in performance mode through the GPU Tweak II software.

The card requires two 8-pin power connectors, compared to the 6-pin and 8-pin combo on the Founders edition and some other custom cards. each connector has a white LED that signals secured power connection, which comes in handy for troubleshooting. At the end of the card, you’ll find two 4-pin fan connectors to peg your fans to the GPU temperature and an RGB header for hooking up an LED strip to Aura Sync.

AT A GLANCE

BASE/BOOST CLOCk

1,650mHz/ 1,845mHz

POWER CONNECTORS

1x 8-pin, 1x 6-pin

DIMENSIONS

26.98 x 11.12 x 6.81cm

PRICE
$1,119

EVGA’s custom GeForce RTX 2080 Super looks quite different from all the other cards here, in a good way. The transparent cooling shroud is distinctive, and it lets you peek through to the huge finned heatsink. The design is relatively subdued, owing to muted colours and plain seethrough plastic.

It’s really thick though, requiring a full three slots in your case. It uses EVGA’s new iCX2 cooling design, with improvements to the baseplate, heatsink, and fans for better cooling performance.

For starters, a new “plate punched” design improves the baseplate’s contact with key components and the heatsink itself; the cooler also relies on a heat pipe that makes direct contact with VRM components. In addition, there are cross-drilled perforations in the heatsink itself for air to move more freely throughout, and certain fins are L-shaped to direct air to areas that require the most cooling. A tweaked heat spreader has better contact with the GPU for more efficient heat transfer, and it interfaces with the rest of the heatsink array by way of six heat pipes.

The dual fans here use hydraulic-dynamic bearings, which are supposed to provide better performance with less noise. each fan blade has a raised “E” from the EVGA logo stamped onto it, but that’s not just decorative. It supposedly creates a smoother slipstream to improve airflow. The fans stop spinning when the card isn’t working as hard, starting again only when GPU temp hits 55°C.

There’s a metal backplate on the card to protect the PCB against flexing. The metal has a rough, granulated texture that I find quite attractive. It interfaces with some components below using thermal pads, so it doubles as a passive heatsink of sorts too.

Power is supplied from one 6-pin and one 8-pin connector. Also, the rear I/O features three Displayport 1.4 connectors, one HDMI 2.0b, and one USB-C output. These features are the same as on the Founders edition, but the I/O plate has been extended to match the thickness of the cooler. That gives a slightly disproportionate look and there’s a lot of empty space to contend with.

Here’s a no-nonsense card lacking many of the bells and whistles found on some of the other models. You get a plain dual-fan cooler and a simple black cooling shroud. What really matters is the cooler, and the card comes with two 100mm fans that support semi-passive operation for lower noise. Compared to the fans from its GTX 10-series, GALAX says the new fan design has increased airflow by up to 90 per cent. Static pressure performance is also improved, which means the fans should be able to drive air through the dense heatsink more effectively. In addition, total surface area of its heatsink fins has been increased by around 50 per cent.

That said, the card feels pretty light in hand, and it lacks any further reinforcements such as the metal brace on the ASUS. It doesn’t have the reassuring heft of the other cards, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At least it doesn’t feel as if your card is going to pull the motherboard off its standoffs entirely.

Of course, no gaming card would be complete without RGB lighting, but it’s just confined to the fans here. It’s not really that visible if you mount the GPU horizontally within an upright case, and there’s no lighting on the backplate.

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