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Asus ROG Strix LC GeForce RTX 3080 Ti Review: The Fastest Card We've Ever Tested

Extreme performance and lots of RGB

Asus ROG Strix LC GeForce RTX 3080 Ti
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Our Verdict

Liquid cooling and a colorful light show combine to create an extreme enthusiast-grade RTX 3080 Ti that surpasses all of the other GPUs we've tested so far. But at this price you wonder why there’s no ROG Strix LC RTX 3090.

For

  • + High out-of-box clocks
  • + Excellent cooling and performance
  • + Attractive design with lots of RGB

Against

  • - 'Only' 12GB VRAM
  • - No memory OC at stock
  • - Requires a very spacious case

The Asus ROG Strix LC RTX 3080 Ti sets a new record for out-of-box performance, no doubt helped along by the copious RGB lighting — you all know RGB makes your PC parts go faster, right? Despite having just half the VRAM of the RTX 3090, a healthy factory overclock combined with excellent cooling make this the fastest graphics card we've ever tested, at least until the next heavily factory overclocked card shows up. This would potentially be one of the best graphics cards you could buy right now, if you could actually go out and buy it.

The formula for breaking records isn't much of a secret: deliver more power and better cooling to the GPU, allowing for higher clock speeds. That's precisely what Asus has done with the ROG Strix LC line. We've seen the same core design before, in the ROG Strix LC RX 6800 XT specifically, but the RTX 3080 Ti model has to kick things up a notch. Asus added a third 8-pin PEG power connector, giving a total theoretical maximum power delivery of 525W. Here are the specs, compared to the other RTX 3080 Ti cards we've reviewed: 

Graphics CardRTX 3080 Ti AsusRTX 3080 TiRTX 3080 Ti Zotac
GPUGA102GA102GA102
Process TechnologySamsung 8NSamsung 8NSamsung 8N
Transistors (Billion)28.328.328.3
Die size (mm^2)628.4628.4628.4
SMs / CUs808080
GPU Cores102401024010240
Tensor Cores320320320
RT Cores808080
Boost Clock (MHz)1860 (OC mode), 1830 (Gaming mode)16651710
VRAM Speed (Gbps)191919
VRAM (GB)121212
VRAM Bus Width384384384
ROPs112112112
TMUs320320320
TFLOPS FP32 (Boost)38.134.135
TFLOPS FP16 (Tensor)152 (305)136 (273)140 (280)
Bandwidth (GBps)912912912
TDP (watts)380?350350

Fundamentally, these are all the same GPU, so the only real difference is in clock speeds and power. Asus doesn't specify a card TGP, but does recommend at least an 850W power supply. Based on our testing, which we'll get to later, we've listed an approximate TDP of 380W. Enabling the OC mode increased the power limit by an additional 10%, meaning the card could potentially draw as much as 420W, but in practice other limits (like clock speed) come into play, which we'll see in the power testing on page four.

Besides increasing the clocks, Asus provides some other extras. For example, you get two HDMI 2.1 ports, along with the usual gamut of three DisplayPort 1.4 outputs. While DisplayPort generally remains the preferred solution among gamers for the time being, HDMI 2.1 technically allows for higher resolutions and bandwidths. We haven't seen any DisplayPort 2.0 hardware yet, and HDMI 2.1 provides for up to 8K 60Hz over a single cable, which should prove more than sufficient for many years to come.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: GPU Benchmarks and Hierarchy

MORE: All Graphics Content

Jarred Walton

Jarred Walton's (Senior Editor) love of computers dates back to the dark ages, when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.

  • Tech0000
    yeah so high end graphics cards RTX-anything and AMD-anything are unobtainium - therefore any review is frustratingly meaningless. Scalpers and crypto mines are the only buyers - don't see this changing anytime. Hopefully "Lovelace" will have better availability when it launches next year. At this stage in the product generation cycle, you might as well skip and RTX 30xx all together. Stick with what you got until next year.
    Reply
  • saunupe1911
    So you guys have never tested a Kingpin??? Heck I should have resold you mine at a fair price LOL!!!!
    Reply
  • sizzling
    Tech0000 said:
    yeah so high end graphics cards RTX-anything and AMD-anything are unobtainium - therefore any review is frustratingly meaningless. Scalpers and crypto mines are the only buyers - don't see this changing anytime. Hopefully "Lovelace" will have better availability when it launches next year. At this stage in the product generation cycle, you might as well skip and RTX 30xx all together. Stick with what you got until next year.
    Depends where you are. I’m UK and I’ve just looked and can find several 3080Ti versions in stock between £1400-£1700 for delivery tomorrow.
    Reply
  • Jim90
    sizzling said:
    I’ve just looked and can find several 3080Ti versions in stock between £1400-£1700 for delivery tomorrow.

    But..!!!....in all honesty, only the braindead would shell out £1400-£1700 (-$2336.90) for a 'gaming' (!!) GPU.

    Shocking, disgusting, pathetic...need I say more!
    Reply
  • sizzling
    Jim90 said:
    But..!!!....in all honesty, only the braindead would shell out £1400-£1700 (-$2336.90) for a 'gaming' (!!) GPU.

    Shocking, disgusting, pathetic...need I say more!
    I agree the price is insane, I paid £750 for my 3080. You can’t compare GBP to USD as we have 20% VAT on the price. Usually the USD and GBP numbers are similar so 750GBP would normally sell at about 750 USD. However the point was they are in stock, if people would stop paying these prices they would drop.
    Reply
  • Schlachtwolf
    I have the Asus 6800xt version of this Asus WC line-up, apart from the Asus logo on the side it is nearly identical. And yes it is a 1440p beast.... cool, quiet (once I replaced the poor quality Asus fans that had a lot of play in them and rattled with Noctua fans) and looks a peach !!!
    Reply
  • LolaGT
    What a monster, but these are never seen owned by the masses, not even the similar cards of ten years ago. These are for the elite with literally money to burn.

    Also, PoW isn't going away any time soon. Certainly not in months, not in 2022, maybe in a couple years.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    I just find it harder and harder to get excited about GPUs as long as the prices are so out of whack, the economy looks worse every day, and the upper end becomes out of reach for more and more people.

    Back before this insanity and we had the $1200 2080 Ti it was expensive for sure, BUT it was the ultra high end AND with 12 month financing affordable for most anyone with a steady job, so it wasn't out of reach for the majority.

    In 2021 with rampant inflation affecting everyday life and insane GPU prices, it's a far different story. When you're talking upwards of $2000 for a GPU, even though it is ultra high end, it's not exactly attainable for most people anymore .

    And to me that just takes all the fun out of it. Unlike other things far too expensive for most people to ever dream of owning, such as an exotic car or expansive house, there's nothing about a GPU to marvel at or to get excited about for not owning one other than knowing that one day that performance will become the next mainstream and then entry level performance.

    The problem is, if the trend continues, that performance boost for mainstream and entry levels will be followed by a major price increase.
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Every graphics card over $1000 should have a AIO style remote cooler.

    It seems like the marginal added cost shouldn't be very much. The difference between high end air and AIO is not too much.
    Reply
  • JWNoctis
    If I could have a guess, the middling people with both the income and financial sense to keep a healthy rainy-day reserve (but not much more) are also often financially too sensible to buy high-end GPUs like these for themselves at current prices, unless they need it for a living.

    Sometimes I wonder that - mining wannabes and actual miners excluded - how many of these are really bought by those both with the use themselves, as opposed to their offspring or S.O. etc., and the means themselves, as opposed to those of their guardians, or some other windfall.
    Reply