MSI GeForce RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO Review

Author:Brent Justice

Editor:Kyle Bennett

Date: Wednesday, December 05, 2018

We review MSI GeForce RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO in the latest 2018 games using all the RTX features capable at this time. We compare performance at 1440p and 4K with an overclocked GTX 1080 and RX Vega 64. DXR Reflection Ray Tracing in Battlefield V and Adaptive Shading RTX technology in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.


Today we are going to be talking about NVIDIA’s RTX 2080 GPU and our first review of a custom add-in-board partner video card using the new Turing technology. While the official launch date of the GeForce RTX 2080 was September 20th 2018, it actually suffered from long delays before video cards made it into the hands of waiting customers. Now we are in December, and you can find GeForce RTX 2080 cards everywhere finally, but be prepared to pay a hefty price.

The official MSRP for the Founders Edition of GeForce RTX 2080 is $799 while the "regular" RTX 2080 is $699. However, expect to pay closer to the $799 price tag for custom add-in-board partner video cards, such as the one we are reviewing today.

Before we dive into the review video card, we have several articles written in regards to GeForce RTX 2080 so you can familiarize yourself with the GPU. The GeForce RTX 2080 Overclocking Preview with Scanner and GeForce RTX 2080 Founders Edition Overclocking Final are of note so you can compare that overclock with our custom card review today. We also have several previews of performance reviews listed there as well showing RTX 2080 performance early on.

Today’s review is going to focus on current 2018 games using the latest RTX technologies. We now have DXR Reflection Ray Tracing in Battlefield V, we also have NVIDIA Adaptive Shading RTX technology in Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.

RTX 2080 Brief

To remind you what the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 is, here are some brief specs. The RTX 2080 is based on NVIDIA’s Turing architecture on a 12nm manufacturing process, the codename is TU104. There are 2944 CUDA Cores, 184 Texture Units and 64 ROPs. There are also 368 Tensor Cores and 46 RT Cores. The base clock is 1515MHz and the boost clock on the Founders Edition is 1800MHz while the boost clock on the reference spec is 1710MHz. There is 8GB of GDDR6 on board at 14GHz on a 256-bit bus for 448GB/sec of bandwidth. The TDP is 225W on the Founders Edition and 215W on the reference spec.


New from MSI we have the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO video card for review today. There is actually a long list of MSI RTX 2080 GPU based video cards. MSI has video cards from a very simple reference design up to the exotic with triple fans, large heatsinks and even liquid cooled. There is certainly an RTX 2080 card for every type of gamer.

Note that there are actually two different "Gaming TRIO" video cards from MSI. There is the standard RTX 2080 GAMING TRIO and then the one we have here which is the RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO. Both have the same cooler design but the "X" denotes higher factory overclocks than you get with the non-X version. The non-X has a boost clock of 1800MHz while the X version has a boost clock of 1860MHz. Otherwise, the video cards are identical.

The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 GAMING X TRIO will retail with an MSRP of $849.99. That is a $50 premium over the Founders Edition pricing. The advantage is a custom PCB, custom cooling with robust heatsink and triple fan setup and very high boost clocks by default, 1860MHz which is higher than the Founders Edition. With the better cooling on board GPU Boost can clock the frequency well beyond the boost clock. Otherwise the video card has the same specs as any other RTX 2080, 8GB of GDDR6 at 14GHz.

This video card uses MSI TRI-FROZR Thermal Design. It is in essence three fans on a huge heatsink. The fans are MSI TORX FAN 3.0 with double ball bearing, ZERO FROZR technology, Concentrated Heatpipes and premium thermal compound. The baseplate is a solid nickel-plated copper baseplate. There are seven copper heatpipes running through the massive heatsink. The heatsink uses wave-curved fins for better aerodynamics to allow air to travel through.

MSI is using a custom PCB design with a die-cast metal sheet between the heatsink and PCB that aids in cooling and rigidity. The video card has a beefed-up power delivery system for pushing the cards to its limits. Naturally MSI also has Mystic Light which is RGB lighting throughout the video card. The backplate on the video card is also not just for looks, MSI has put thermal pads on the backplate to assist with heat dispersal.

There are three DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one USB Type-C ports on the video card. The video card measures 12.8 inches in length, 5.5 inches in width and 2.1 inches in height. The rated power consumption from MSI is 260W. MSI recommends at least a 650W PSU. This video card does require two 8-pin power connectors.