The Turing cards have finally hit the market, and the RTX 2080 looks to be the most promising of them all, at least as far as value is concerned. It is a 4K-capable card that comes at a price significantly lower than that of its bigger and worse sibling, the 2080 Ti.

If you’ve decided to finally upgrade your gaming rig with an RTX 2080 or are building a new one from scratch, here are several of the best RTX 2080 models that you can get in 2018!

The 5 Best RTX 2080 Graphics Cards For 2018

ModelCoolingConnectivity 
EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC GAMINGDual-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C
GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming OCTriple-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C
ASUS Dual-series GeForce RTX 2080Dual-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C
ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2080 Single-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X TrioTriple-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x USB-C

EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC GAMING

best rtx 2080

About the Graphics Card

Kicking off the list, we have the EVGA RTX 2080 XC Gaming, and it is quite a bit different from the design that we’re used to seeing with this company. The exterior is now translucent with customizable trim colors, the hydrodynamic bearing fans come with a bunch of small EVGA logos on them, and of course, the card has a backplate and an RGB-lit logo.

Furthermore, the card comes in two variants: the regular XC that we’re looking at here, but there’s also the XC Ultra which features not only a much thicker heatsink but also improved fans, both of which aid heat dissipation and pave the way for more serious overclocking.

Specifications

Base Clock1515 MHz
Boost Clock1800 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0b

1x USB-C

TDP215W
Recommended PSU650W

Our Thoughts

Coming at the $800 MSRP, the base XC Gaming model definitely is an appealing offer, and there’s always the slightly more expensive XC Ultra variant that might appeal more to those looking to squeeze as much extra performance as they can out of their new GPU.

There’s little to say about this model in general – it has great build quality, highly durable and quiet fans, and a rather neutral overall design. However, it is precisely the design that we have some qualms with, in this particular case.

While translucent exteriors seem to be quite popular right now, we can’t quite say that they are universally liked. On top of that, the backplate exposes a bit too much of the PCB for our liking, and the fan design does feel a tad too chaotic and asymmetrical for our tastes, too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsqcAaI6H_4

What We Loved

  • Solid performance
  • XC Ultra version with improved cooling
  • MSRP pricing on the regular model

What We Didn’t Like

  • Design won’t agree with everyone

GIGABYTE GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming OC

About the Graphics Card

The next model we have lined up comes from none other than Gigabyte, and they’re coming in strong, complete with a new design. Gone are the orange highlights, replaced by a sleek dark grey exterior design that is further complemented by the beautiful metal backplate and the ever-present RGB lighting, this time found in the logo on the side.

The triple Windforce fans seen in the Gigabyte RTX 2080 Gaming OC have been redesigned slightly, though the recognizable stripes are still there. In combination with the large heatsink and its six composite copper heat pipes, they allow this card to hit some serious clock speeds without overheating.

gtx 2080 gpu

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1515 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1830 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0b

1x USB-C

TDP215W
Recommended PSU650W

Our Thoughts

The folks over at Gigabyte have really outdone themselves with this model. Not only have they managed to create a graphics card with great overclocking capacity and performance, but it’s one that looks great to boot. Not to mention that it’s a completely neutral design this time around, as they have dropped the signature orange stripes that were a ubiquitous detail with their Pascal cards.

Speaking of stripes, the only real issue we have with this card is a rather nitpicky one, and it’s to do with RGB. Namely, Gigabyte’s cards have always been a bit underwhelming in this regard, at least outside their Aorus series. That said, we would have much preferred to see the orange stripes replaced by RGB stripes, but of course, this takes away little to nothing from the card’s overall appeal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOl4nc-g81k

What We Loved

  • Excellent performance
  • Neutral design

What We Didn’t Like

  • Basic RGB

ASUS Dual-Series GeForce RTX 2080

best rtx 2080 card

About the Graphics Card

Moving forward, we have a graphics card from Asus, although it does not fall under their premium Republic of Gamers brand. Rather, it belongs to a more modest series of products: it’s the Dual-Series RTX 2080.

The card comes equipped with two fans and a massive heatsink, allowing for some great performance in spite of this being a dual-fan card. The Dual-Series products have always had a function-over-form design philosophy, so there’s no flashy RGB or overly-complex patterns to speak of. Instead, the card boasts a simple black-and-white exterior and backplate that are bound to fit well in most builds.

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1515 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1830 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0b

1x USB-C

TDP215W
Recommended PSU650W

Our Thoughts

Overall, this Asus RTX 2080 is quite similar to the above model from Gigabyte – both sport clean and neutral exteriors and their performance is roughly the same, the key difference being that the Dual-Series version swaps the third fan for a thicker heatsink, thus making the card thicker but shorter.

As before, our only issues are to do with design. While we don’t mind having a more basic and neutral exterior in a graphics card, some people really might prefer a more premium feel in their $800+ flagship GPU.

What We Loved

  • Great performance thanks to a thicker heatsink
  • Clean and neutral exterior design

What We Didn’t Like

  • The design is a bit basic
  • No RGB

ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2080

best 2080 card

About the Graphics Card

The following card comes from another highly reliable Nvidia partner, Zotac. And something that makes this card different from most others out there is its cooling. Namely, it comes equipped with a blower fan instead of the standard open-air cooling most commonly seen in graphics cards.

Design-wise, there is not much to say. Unsurprisingly, the exterior design is, once again, quite minimal, sticking mostly with black and dark grey, foregoing any complex patterns and RGB. It does, however, ship with a great-looking brushed metal backplate that certainly contributes to its aesthetic appeal.

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1515 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1710 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0b

1x USB-C

TDP215W
Recommended PSU650W

Our Thoughts

Obviously, what sets this card apart from the others is the less-popular blower cooler. This particular type of cooling has a set of advantages and disadvantages of its own: a blower expels hot air straight out of the back of the card, thus being great for smaller cases or those with limited airflow. On the downside, they tend to be quite a bit louder than open-air coolers, since it’s only one fan doing all the work.

With that said, it should be clear that the card’s main drawback will be the limited overclocking performance and the overall dubious value of blower-cooled cards outside the more cramped cases. On the bright side, it is available for under $800 at the moment, thus being a great prospect for those who are looking to get an RTX 2080 cheap.

What We Loved

  • Clean and minimal exterior design
  • Low price
  • Ideal for small cases and those with limited airflow

What We Didn’t Like

  • Limited overclocking potential
  • Blower fan gets loud under load
  • Dubious value outside small form factor cases

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio

best gtx 2080

About the Graphics Card

And now, we have a more serious (and more expensive) solution coming from MSI: the MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio. This series has been known for its gaudy and over-the-top designs, but that’s not the case here – there are no conspicuous red highlights to be seen, as the exterior boasts only different shades of grey, complemented by several RGB-lit areas.

The card is cooled by three huge and powerful double ball-bearing Torx 3.0 fans, allowing for some truly outstanding clock speeds and excellent overclocking capacity.

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1515 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1860 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0b

1x USB-C

TDP260W
Recommended PSU650W

Our Thoughts

There’s really no beating around the bush with this one – the RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio is a top-of-the-line graphics card, through and through. It is one of the fastest RTX 2080 models available, offers top-notch build quality, extensive RGB lighting, and even the design itself – an area where MSI has been a bit notorious – leaves very little to be desired.

The only real issue with this card is its pricing, as it is quite a bit more expensive than most RTX 2080 models, though still nowhere near as pricey as the RTX 2080 Ti. Nonetheless, the card will primarily appeal to enthusiasts seeking to squeeze as much performance as possible out of this Turing GPU.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVfhtALejUQ

What We Loved

  • Superb performance
  • Beautiful design all the way through
  • Great RGB lighting

What We Didn’t Like

  • One of the more expensive models

The Best RTX 2080 for 2018 – Our Pick

When all is said and done, if we had to choose one of these models as the best RTX 2080 model, we’d go with the MSI RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio.

Usually, when picking out the best product in any given category, we tend to go with the one that presents the best value. However, since all of these cards are fairly similarly priced, we thought we’d go with the one that just seems to have it all – design, build quality, and performance.

And that would be it for this buying guide! If we’ve missed any standout models or made any errors, feel free to let us know in the comments below, and we’ll do our best to rectify any mistakes as soon as possible.

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