Best RTX 2080 Graphics Cards

Picking the best RTX 2080 graphics card out of the dozens of variants that are available on the market might not be the easiest task. You might even be wondering whether the upgrade from GTX to RTX is worth it. When Nvidia launched the RTX 2080 in September of 2018, it was by far the fastest graphics card available on the market. It basically stayed that way for some time until Nvidia launched the Super Best RTX 2080 Ti to supersede it. The RTX 2080 is built on the 12 nm process and uses the TU104 GPU at its core in its TU104-400A-A1 variant. The GPU itself is quite large with a die area of 545 mm2 containing 13,600 million transistors inside. These specifications make the RTX 2080 a force to be reckoned with, especially considering its support for RTX real-time Ray Tracing.

Best RTX 2080 Graphics Cards
Complete RTX 2080 Graphics Card Guide In 2021

Being such a powerful card, the RTX 2080 is certainly not the easiest card to handle. It is rated for a maximum power draw of 215W according to official ratings (TDP ratings, not TBP or TGP), which is moderate considering the modern standards. However, since the RTX 2080 is an enthusiast-grade product, purchasing a premium variant of this card makes a lot of sense. Investing in one of the best RTX 2080 variants out there will make sure that there are no thermal or acoustic issues down the line, and the user can even dabble with some overclocking should they see fit. Also check out our RTX 2080 Super Guide, which is different.

The Best RTX 2080 GPUs Of 2021

#PreviewProduct NameAwardDetails
MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080Best Overall RTX 2080
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ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 Gaming OCBest Looking RTX 2080
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3EVGA FTW3 Ultra RTX 2080Best Overclocking RTX 2080
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4ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMPBest Value RTX 2080
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5Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 WindForce 3XBest Budget RTX 2080
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Preview
Product NameMSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080
AwardBest Overall RTX 2080
Details
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Product NameASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 Gaming OC
AwardBest Looking RTX 2080
Details
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#3
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Product NameEVGA FTW3 Ultra RTX 2080
AwardBest Overclocking RTX 2080
Details
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#4
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Product NameZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMP
AwardBest Value RTX 2080
Details
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#5
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Product NameGigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 WindForce 3X
AwardBest Budget RTX 2080
Details
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Last Update on 2021-10-27 at 17:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The graphics card market is still suffering from the ongoing stock shortage and the situation ahead is unclear. Nvidia themselves have refused to give an estimate as to how long the shortage can last, especially of the RTX 3000 series graphics cards. While our recommendations of the best temporary graphics cards might be keeping you going, they are still no replacement for your dream card. Still, the market is bound to recover someday and it is better to have your research ready when you are finally able to buy that RTX 2080. Keeping that in mind, below are some of the best RTX 2080 variants you can buy in 2021.

1. Best Overall RTX 2080 - MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080

Top Of The Line

Pros

  • High Boost Clocks
  • Huge Heatsink
  • Aggressive Styling
  • Lots of RGB
  • Impressive Power Budget

Cons

  • Quite Pricy
  • Case Compatibility Issues

13 Reviews

CUDA Cores: 2944 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1515/1860 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 14 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x USB-C

MSI’s Gaming X lineup has always delivered some extremely high-quality variants for each generation of graphics cards. The MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080 furthers that cause by providing a top-of-the-line variant of the RTX 2080 that has excellent build quality, amazing thermal performance, and a unique design that would be the star of most modern gaming PCs. We would be glossing over some of the highlights of this card today, but if you want the full rundown, check out our detailed review of the MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080.

Under the extensive 327mm fan shroud, MSI has installed a bulky heatsink that is attached to a series of copper heatpipes that spread the heat throughout the fin array of the heatsink. The fins of the heatsink are uniquely curved which increases the surface area of the heatsink for maximum heat dissipation, while also improving airflow through the fins. The airflow is provided by three, high-quality Torx fans which are a part of MSI’s Tri Frozr cooler design. The fans themselves are extremely quiet even under load, and even turn themselves off when the GPU is idling in order to improve acoustic performance.

Best RTX 2080
MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080

Aesthetically, the MSI Gaming X Trio is quite a unique-looking card. The angular and aggressive design language is prevalent on this card, especially on the fan shroud. There is plenty of RGB lighting as well on the card, which should be ideal for those who want to customize their GPU to match the theme of their PC. Of course, the lighting can be controlled by using Mystic Light. Many enthusiasts prefer mounting the MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080 in a vertical orientation in order to show off its beautiful design, but you might need a riser cable to do that. The backplate of the card is also filled with numerous cuts and vents which give a very angular look to the card even in the horizontal orientation.

A similar variant from MSI was also included in our roundup of the best RTX 3070 graphics cards, which is also a worthy read for you.

All in all, the MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080 is a premium variant of the RTX 2080 that possesses excellent build quality, along with some amazing performance in the thermal and acoustic sectors. The Gaming X Trio does demand a sizeable price premium over MSRP but that might just be worth it if you’re looking for one of the best RTX 2080 offerings that does not disappoint in the long run.

Want something better than RTX 2080? Head over to our RTX 3080 buying guide.

2. Best Looking RTX 2080 - ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 Gaming OC

Premium ASUS Offering

Pros

  • Massive Factory OC
  • Impressive Thermals
  • Huge Power Budget
  • Quiet Fans
  • Attractive Design

Cons

  • Very Expensive
  • Another Long Shroud

558 Reviews

CUDA Cores: 2944 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1515/1860 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 14 Gbps | Power Connectors: 2x PCIe 8-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x USB-C

ASUS’s ROG Strix line has always been an impressive contender when it comes to AIB partner graphics cards, and the ROG Strix RTX 2080 is certainly no exception. It is one of the most premium variants of the RTX 2080 currently available on the market, and it certainly should be on the priority list for enthusiast buyers. However, if you are looking for a more mid-range graphics card to start with, check out our recommendations for the best RTX 2060 graphics cards.

What makes the ASUS ROG Strix variants really impressive is their excellent management of temperatures and noise. The ROG Strix RTX 2080 features an extensive 3-slot heatsink design that takes care of temperatures quite well and leaves plenty of headroom for overclocking as well. Again, the shroud is rather long so case compatibility in mini-ITX cases or even some micro-ATX cases may be an issue. The heatsink is aided by three Axial Tech fans from ASUS, which are optimized for high static pressure as well as for decent airflow through the heatsink. This maximizes the heat-dissipation capabilities of the card while also providing excellent acoustic performance as well.

Best RTX 2080
ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 Gaming OC

As far as looks go, the ASUS ROG Strix cards are some of the best-looking cards on the market. At first glance, it might seem like the ROG Strix RTX 2080 is a bit plain and understated, but as soon as the RGB lighting zones light up, the card’s aesthetics are raised to a whole new level. Apart from the beautifully designed fan shroud, the lighting is also present on the sides of the card as well so it is visible in both vertical and horizontal orientations. The ASUS ROG Strix RTX 2080 is another card that looks really great when installed in a vertical orientation.

Related Read: Best RTX 2060 SUPER Graphics Cards

Overall, the ROG Strix is a really premium option that might interest you if you are looking for the best of the best when it comes to the RTX 2080. Its hefty price premium is something to be considered, however, as there are other competing options that might just offer a bit better value.

3. Best Overclocking RTX 2080 - EVGA FTW3 Ultra RTX 2080

Classic EVGA Design Language

Pros

  • High Boost Clocks
  • Extraordinary Overclocker
  • Excellent Thermal Performance
  • Good Acoustic Performance

Cons

  • High Price
  • Lack of Lighting
  • Plain Design

645 Reviews

CUDA Cores: 2944 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1515/1860 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 14 Gbps | Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin, 1x PCIe 6-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x USB-C

EVGA is known for making some of the most high-quality AIB aftermarket graphics cards for any GPU, and it was no different for the RTX 2080. We also went with an EVGA variant in our recommendations for the best RTX 2070 graphics cards, but the case is a little different here. Our pick out of EVGA’s complicated lineup is the high-end EVGA FTW3 Ultra RTX 2080. Since the RTX 2080 is an enthusiast-grade graphics card, it really makes sense to opt for a premium variant such as the FTW3 if you are in the market for this card.

The highlight of the FTW3 Ultra RTX 2080 is its extraordinary GPU Overclocking capability, coupled with an excellent thermal management system thanks to its beefy heatsink array and incredible fans. EVGA has also included a lot of sensors all over the PCB of the card which provide the card with real-time sensitive information such as the temperatures of different spots, in order to best manage the cooling system for optimal performance. The fans are also quite premium and contribute a lot to the card’s impressive acoustic performance. Under light load or in idle situations, the fans turn off automatically and that improves both noise levels and the longevity of the fans.

Best RTX 2080
EVGA FTW3 Ultra RTX 2080

If aesthetics are your thing, then you might want to avoid the FTW3 Ultra variant of the RTX 2080. As good as its thermal performance is, the card does not look anywhere near as premium as some of the aforementioned options. The fan shroud is plain and bare, with an understated black color that does not stand out from the crowd. There is no RGB lighting on the fan shroud whatsoever, so that is something to keep in mind when making a purchase decision if you like customizing the look of your GPU.

You may be interested in our picks for the best RTX 2070 SUPER Graphics Cards as well.

The EVGA FTW3 Ultra RTX 2080 is another performance-focused premium variant of the RTX 2080 that should be ideal for those buyers who are looking for the lowest temperatures and noise levels but don’t really care about looks as much. When it comes to overclocking, it might just be the best RTX 2080 out there. It is still quite an expensive graphics card, however, so other options should be taken into consideration as well.

4. Best Value RTX 2080 - ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMP

A Reasonable Choice

Pros

  • Decent Thermal Performance
  • Relatively High Factory OC
  • Reasonable Pricing
  • Acceptable Acoustics

Cons

  • Case Compatibility
  • Controversial Aesthetics
  • Minimal Lighting

216 Reviews

CUDA Cores: 2944 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1515/1830 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 14 Gbps | Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin, 1x PCIe 6-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x USB-C

Out of all the Zotac variants for the RTX 2080, our pick is the Zotac Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMP edition which is sort of the second-best variant from Zotac’s lineup. The AMP variant of the RTX 2080 makes a lot of sense due to its combination of a decent feature set and a reasonable price premium. A similar Zotac variant was also included in our roundup of the best RTX 3090 graphics cards, which you should definitely check out.

As far as the cooling performance goes, the Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP does not disappoint in this area. It doesn’t offer chart-topping performance like some of the cards mentioned above, but considering its mid-range price target, its performance is not underwhelming at all. The card still features a hefty heatsink array with several heatpipes designed for efficient heat dissipation. The fans that Zotac has installed in the AMP variant are good quality, quiet fans that do not get obnoxiously loud even under significant load.

Best RTX 2080
ZOTAC Gaming GeForce RTX 2080 AMP

In terms of looks, the Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP is a bit underwhelming, especially compared to some of the more premium options on our list. The fan shroud is a bit bizarrely shaped with an angular design language that looks a bit unconventional. Lighting is restricted to the Zotac Gaming logo on the side of the card which is visible when the card is installed in the horizontal orientation. The RGB lighting can be controlled using Zotac’s software, of course.

Related Roundup: Best RTX 3060Ti Graphics Cards

Overall, the Zotac GeForce RTX 2080 AMP is a reasonable, mid-range variant that offers more than acceptable thermal and acoustic performance without completely breaking the bank. Gamers looking to maximize their bang-for-the-buck should definitely prioritize this variant of the RTX 2080.

5. Best Budget RTX 2080 - Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 WindForce 3X

Back To Basics

Pros

  • Adequate Cooling Performance
  • Very Affordable
  • Consumes Less Power

Cons

  • Plain Look
  • Low Boost Clocks
  • Lack of Lighting
  • Low Power Budget

164 Reviews

CUDA Cores: 2944 | Base/Boost Clocks: 1515/1710 MHz | Memory: 8GB GDDR6 | Memory Bandwidth: 14 Gbps | Power Connectors: 1x PCIe 8-pin, 1x PCIe 6-pin | Outputs: 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort, 1x USB-C

Gigabyte makes the list with the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 WindForce 3X graphics card which is a base model variant of the RTX 2080. Contrary to some of the aforementioned options, this is not a premium offering rather it is aimed at or near MSRP pricing to maximize the value proposition for the buyer. Gigabyte’s WindForce cooler also made an appearance in our roundup of the best RTX 3060 graphics cards, which is also a helpful read.

The WindForce 3X RTX 2080 offers decent performance when it comes to thermals and noise. It will certainly not be topping any charts in this category, but its performance is sufficient to manage the RTX 2080 GPU at stock settings. The heatsink is aided by three WindForce fans, hence the name, which focus the airflow directly through the fins in order to improve the efficiency of heat dissipation. This allows the card to keep its temperatures in check, without ramping the fans up too much. On full load, however, the fans do have a tendency to become a little bit noisy but that certainly isn’t a deal-breaker at this price point.

Best RTX 2080
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 WindForce 3X

If you are more biased towards aesthetics, you might be disappointed to know that the WindForce 3X is quite understated and plain in that department. The fan shroud features no notable design cues and there is a complete lack of lighting as well. This card is definitely not the one for those who are looking for an RTX 2080 for a themed gaming PC. Still, at this competitive price point, the aesthetics really do not matter a lot as the card doesn’t look unappealing from any angle.

Related Review: Palit Gaming Pro RTX 3070 Review

All in all, if you are looking for an RTX 2080 variant that gives acceptable thermal and acoustic performance but does not break the bank, then this might just be the perfect budget pick for you. It certainly does not compete for the crown of the best RTX 2080 graphics card out there, but it is one to consider if the value is your utmost priority.

Factors to Consider And FAQ’s While Buying RTX 2080

The RTX 2080 is a high-end card intended for gamers who don’t really care about their budget and want the most out of their GPUs. It runs modern titles at the highest settings and resolution without breaking any sweat, making it a popular choice among gamers with a high budget. Especially since it supports Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling technology, the card handles high resolutions like a breeze. There’s a huge competition on the market where every AIB is trying to make the best GPU. All GPUs have different price points due to their features and aesthetics. Unfortunately, critical factors of GPUs such as performance and quality of components used on the PCB are taken for granted by unaware buyers. No GPU is identical in terms of schematics and usage of quality components which is why a good knowledge about each and every variant is necessary.

Therefore we recommend you go through the key factors to consider so as to avoid ill-informed purchase decisions. Remember, the best RTX 2080 graphics card for you might not be the same as the best one for someone else.

Thermal Performance

Heat is the primary cause of wear and tear in non-mechanical electronic devices. If the method of dispersing heat from a GPU is unsuccessful, this may result in a premature failure. The RTX 2080 is a power-hungry card with a TDP of 215W. A GPU must have acceptable cooling so that it maintains consistent performance while maintaining the lifespan of its components. Especially since the advent of technologies such as GPU Boost, a self-boosting algorithm, the temperature now has a direct impact on performance. A good cooling system would require a beefy heatsink with fins of the highest surface area and a high count of fans that routes air through them towards the exhaust. Proper use of Thermal Interface Materials (TIM). Good quality thermal pads and pastes maintain contact with the surface area which results in efficient heat transfer. An efficient cooling solution also allows enthusiasts to overclock their GPU without thermal throttling.

Some GPUs have special fan designs for acoustics or perfect airflow known as 0db fans. These have a special stop fan function which only allows fans to spin once the card reaches temperatures higher from idle. If you are anxious about GPU lifespan, we’d say to look at thermal performance reviews so you can expect from your new GPU.

Aesthetics

Even though aesthetics are an opinionated matter, some may consider it as an important factor. Every single person has a unique taste when it comes to the design language of GPUs. The majority of gamers don’t really care much about aesthetics as long as they are getting the performance in the least amount of cash possible. Some of the best RTX 2080 variants, while they cost a lot, have these fancy fan cases, backplates, and last but not least the almighty RGB lighting effects. RGB doesn’t increase FPS or thermal performance but will light up your build making it look stand out in the crowd!

And so concludes our roundup of the best Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 variants on the market. Be sure to let us know in the comments about your own picks, and which variant should have made it into the list in your opinion.

FAQs

Is the RTX 2080 worth it in 2021?

Yes, the RTX 2080 is still a very capable card in 2021. It can handle 1440p gaming quite well, and can even dabble with some 4K gaming at decent framerates. Even though it might not be the latest and greatest from Nvidia, it still packs a decent punch in 2021. The rise of technologies like DLSS also helps its cause.

Can RTX 2080 run 4K 60 FPS?

The RTX 2080 is primarily a 1440p card, but it can handle some games at 4K as well. Lighter games such as eSports titles like Rocket League, or competitive games like CSGO should be able to run fairly easily on 4K at high framerates. Moreover, modern AAA games with some settings turned down should be able to run at 4K with playable framerates.

Can my PC handle RTX 2080?

Any modern gaming PC with a reasonably powerful CPU should be able to handle the RTX 2080. Generally, there is no minimum spec when it comes to a graphics card installation, but one should be careful about potential CPU bottlenecks. Ideally, one should pair the RTX 2080 with at least an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU (2000 series or newer), or an Intel Core i5 (8th Gen or newer) to avoid any CPU bottlenecks.

Why is the RTX 2080 so expensive these days?

The RTX 2080 has been affected by the global silicon shortage and ongoing cryptocurrency trends just like other graphics cards. Low stock and high demand have contributed to its high pricing situation. Nvidia has been unable to match the demand for the RTX 3000 series cards and thus people have resorted to older-gen flagships such as the RTX 2080, creating a demand surplus that is not being matched by the available stock.

Hassam Nasir
As a Senior Editor, I run, operate, and implement a substantial amount of work at Appuals.com. I supervise a team of enthusiastic geeks and also create content strategies. Whenever I am not at my work desk you'll find me tinkering around PC hardware and retro gadgets.