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Asus Gives The GTX 1080 A Strix Overhaul

Nvidia revealed the GeForce GTX 1080 at the beginning of May to much fanfare. The company announced that Founders Edition cards (reference) would be available and that partners would be free to launch their own custom cooled and overclocked cards on May 27. Asus didn’t waste any time preparing the Strix edition cards.

The GeForce GTX 1080 is the first Pascal based GPU to hit the market. It features 2560 Cuda cores and 160 texture units, and under Nvidia’s specification, it operates at 1607 MHz (1733 MHz boost). Partners are of course free to adjust the clock speeds as they see fit to take advantage of their advanced cooling solutions, and Asus has done just that with the two Strix models.

The Asus Strix GeForce GTX 1080 cards come equipped with the company’s Direct CU III cooler that runs copper heatpipes directly over the GPU and spread out through a large array of vertically-mounted fins. Asus cools the heatsink with three wing-blade 0-dB fans that spin down when the card is at idle or processing a light workload. Asus said the wing-blade fans are tuned for maximum static pressure and claimed that the Direct CU III cooler offers 30% better cooling performance than Nvidia’s Founder’s Edition cooler.

The Asus Strix GTX 1080 cards are designed for better overclocking performance. In addition to the Direct CU III cooler, Asus has added a second power connection so the card can draw more, stable power. The cards also feature an 8+2 phase power solution that Asus said operates cooler and more efficiently than the reference design. The Asus Strix cards are also manufactured with the company’s Auto-Extreme technology, which ensures fewer manufacturing errors by automating the entire assembly process.

The Strix GTX 1080 cards come equipped with Aura RGB lighting. The front shroud of the card includes six different LED lights, and the backplate includes an illuminated Strix logo. The lighting can be customized, and Asus offers six different lighting modes, including static color, breathing and music effect. You can even make it react to the GPU temperature. The lighting effects for the GPU and other Aura-enabled components are independent, but Asus said a future software update will enable synchronization between the lights on the graphics card and Aura enabled motherboards.

Asus is also introducing an interesting new fan control feature along with the Strix GTX 1080 cards. Asus Fanconnect technology puts the GPU instead of the CPU in control of your chassis fans. Case fans have long been controlled by the CPU load through your motherboard, but these days GPU load doesn't necessarily mean there's heavy CPU load. Asus has put two fan headers directly onto the Strix GTX 1080 cards, allowing the GPU load to dictate the pace at which the case fans ramp up or slow down.

ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 OC EditionROG Strix GeForce
Core Clock1898 MHz boost clock in gaming mode1607 MHz base clock
1936 MHz boost clock in OC mode1733 MHz boost clock
InterfacePCI Express® 3.0PCI Express 3.0
Memory Interface256-bit256-bit
Display Interface1x Native DVI-D output1x Native DVI-D output
2x Native HDMI 2.0 outputs2x Native HDMI 2.0 outputs
2x Native Display Port 1.42x Native Display Port 1.4
AvailabilityJune 4June 4

The Asus Strix GeForce GTX 1080 comes in two flavors. The standard Strix model has the same clock speed specifications as the Founders Edition card, but the company offers a factory-overclocked version, as well. The Strix OC model comes with two modes to choose from: Gaming Mode, which boosts as high as 1898 MHz, and the OC Mode, which boost all the way up to 1936 MHz. Asus said both cards have headway for further overclocking if you wish to gain even more performance.

The Asus Strix GeForce GTX 1080 is part of Asus’s Beyond VR Ready program. Both cards exceed the necessary requirements to deliver excellent VR performance, but Asus took these one step further to make the cards more VR friendly. Each Strix GTX 1080 features two HDMI outputs so that you can hook up an HDMI display, such as a TV or a projector, to your computer, while an HMD, such as the Rift (which requires HDMI) can be plugged into the other one. Asus also includes two DisplayPort 1.4 outputs, which support G-Sync, as well as a DVI-D port.

Asus said the Strix GTX 1080 carries an MSRP of $619.99, and the Strix GTX 1080 OC sell for $639.99. Both cards will be available on June 4.

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Kevin Carbotte is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews of graphics cards and virtual reality hardware.