The Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming, with its excellent cooling and solid performance is easily the RTX 3080 for most people. It may be a bit large for the smallest PC cases out there, but promises to be one of the best GPUs of its generation.
Best in class cooling
Same price as Founders
May be a bit large for some folks
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The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is here, bringing with it one of the biggest generational leaps in graphics card history. And just like any other GPU launch, it's accompanied by aftermarket graphics cards like this Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming card, bringing more robust cooling and RGB flair to an already amazing package.
And because this Asus TUF Gaming edition of the RTX 3080 retails for the same $699 (£650, AU$1,399) as the Founders Edition of the RTX 3080, there's really no reason to avoid jumping on this version. While it doesn't have the downright futuristic cooler design of Nvidia's own card, the cooler Asus brings to the table does a fantastic job of keeping temperatures under control – in fact, it's the first RTX 3080 we've tested that stays cooler than Nvidia's own.
Throughout our testing, through a gauntlet of eight games and three synthetic benchmarks, the Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming peaked at just 61°C, a full 11°C below the max temperature of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition. And that's without making a massive triple-slot card that is too long to fit in many folks' cases. Although, at 11.81 inches long and 2.04 inches thick, some people may still run into issues with PC case compatibility.
Because of this, this is definitely a graphics card that most people should feel relatively comfortable with just tossing into their PC and never really worrying too much about the graphics card overheating. And because there will be so much thermal headroom, most people should be able to get a pretty healthy overclock out of this graphics card – though out of interest of time, we didn't really put that to the test.
Even right out of the box, though, the Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming manages to perform pretty much identically to the Founders Edition, even managing to beat it by a few fps in most tests. However, most of the gains here are within margin of error, so your mileage may vary.
This is the system we used to test the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X (16-core, up to 4.7GHz)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Masterliquid 360P Silver Edition
RAM: 64GB Corsair Dominator Platinum @ 3,600MHz
Motherboard: X570 Aorus Master
SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro @ 1TB
Power Supply: Phanteks RevoltX 1200
Case: Praxis Wetbench
For instance, this Asus model scores 11,449 points in the 3DMark Port Royal test, placing it right in between the MSI RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio and the RTX 3080 Founders Edition. That's a story that repeats itself over and over again, with the Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming sitting in the middle of these other games in Horizon Zero Dawn, Metro Exodus, Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and more.
There are a couple games where the Asus RTX 3080 falters, like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Far Cry 5, but again the differences are marginal at best. The Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming serves as an excellent version of Nvidia's card at its price.
As for how it looks in your PC case, it's a bit shorter than the MSI Gaming X Trio – though not by much, and is also a 2.5-slot card. Because of the massive amount of power that the RTX 3080 inherently eats up, this is something we should expect to see a lot of.
There are also three fans here, which combined with the fact that there are just 2 8-pin PCIe power connectors is one of the largest contributing factors to the low temperatures.
Aesthetically, it has the kind of gunmetal gray color profile that is unfortunately prevalent in graphics cards, but it's offset by a surprisingly tasteful RGB logo near the back of the card. In fact, it might be our favorite lighting in any RTX 3080 that's not the Founders Edition, because it doesn't look tacked on at the last minute like the ridiculous bar on the MSI Gaming X Trio version.
Especially as the generation goes on and the Founders Edition becomes more rare and expensive, the Asus TUF Gaming edition of the RTX 3080 should be one of the top aftermarket cards on your list, especially if you don't want to fork over extra money for a more extreme graphics card like the MSI Gaming X Trio edition or Asus' own ROG Strix line.
Buy it if...
You don't want to pay extra
The Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming graphics card comes in at the same retail price as Nvidia's own Founders Edition, which means you're not paying any extra for this card – at least in theory.
You don't want to worry about thermals
If you're just looking for a version of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 that you can just toss in your case and forget about, this is the one. The lowest temperatures at stock settings that we've seen on any RTX 3080 so far.
Don't Buy it if...
You want an overclocking behemoth
Because this Asus TUF Gaming chip doesn't have the beefy power delivery like, say, the MSI Gaming X Trio, you're not going to be able to push it quite as far before running into voltage and power limits.
You're playing at 1440p or below
We've said it before and we'll say it again. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 is only truly necessary for straight 4K gaming. Even the best processors on the market will start to bottleneck the Asus GeForce RTX 3080 TUF Gaming at lower resolutions.
Bill Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's computing editor. They are fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but they just happen to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop them a line on Twitter or through email.
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