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GALAX RTX 2080 EX 1-Click OC Graphics Card Review

  1. About the GALAX RTX 2080 EX 1-Click OC Graphics card…
  2. Graphics Card Design
  3. How its tested
  4. Futuremark Benchmark
  5. OpenGL Benchmarks
  6. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  7. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  8. Hitman
  9. DOOM
  10. GPU Computation Benchmark
  11. Folding at Home and LuxMark OpenCL Benchmark
  12. SuperPosition Benchmark
  13. Power Draw and Fan Noise Levels
  14. GPU Cooling and Manual OC Impressions
  15. Conclusion
  16. Online Purchase Links
  17. View All


Disclosure: The RTX 2080 EX 8G is loaned by GALAX.

About the GALAX RTX 2080 EX 1-Click OC Graphics card…

At first glance, the GALAX RTX 2080 EX is looking to be a card with a compact design because of its colour and design choice. It is not when compared with its RTX 2080 Founders Edition. The graphics card seems to be lightweight compared to other graphics card of this class. The GALAX RTX 2080 EX’s cooling system is advertised to dissipate heat up to 260watt TDP, with a larger heatsink fin surface area and higher airflow (70.1 CFM) rating. Fair enough.

GALAX has a good set of competitors who have varying SKUs. It also doesn’t help when Nvidia is also competing with its AICs when it started selling the Founders Edition exclusively. GALAX is more known for its all-white HOF series graphics card- the all-white GPU is the talk of the town. I did review a GALAX graphics card in the part. So let us see how it goes from here.

Packaging and Contents

The internal packaging is well done. The RTX 2080 is protected by foam block and a pad on top of it. The GALAX RTX 2080 EX is accompanied with three years warranty.

To accessorise or not to accessorise?

Accessorising a discrete graphics card seems redundant. Most brands just give a disc, sleeved PCIe cables that are not going to be used and a case badge. GALAX has none of these. These cables are not sleeved but you shouldn’t rely on a power supply which, at the very least, does not have the required auxiliary cables to power up such graphics cards. At some point, someone would be providing a very small capacity driver+utility flash drive and a case badge as a norm for all of its mid-to-upper end graphics cards. Providing sleeved extension cabled would be a better option than providing Molex-to-PCIe power cables.

Helpful manual!

I do appreciate a newbie-friend instruction manual to install a graphics card. Many gaming PC users who never built a system together would find it easy to make such installation thanks to such a manual.

Specifications

  • GPU Engine Specs:
  • CUDA Cores 2944
  • Core Clock (MHz) 1710
  • 1-Click OC Clock (MHz) 1755 (by installing Xtreme Tuner Plus Software and using 1-Click OC)
  • Memory Specs:
  • Memory Speed 14Gbps
  • Standard Memory Config 8GB
  • Memory Interface Width 256-bit GDDR6
  • Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 448
  • Feature Support:
  • PCI-E 3.0
  • Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 10 64-bit, Linux 64-bit
  • Display Support:
  • DisplayPort 1.4 x 3, HDMI 2.0b
  • Dimensions(with Bracket): 295*143*52mm
  • Dimensions(without Bracket): 285*127*52mm

Clock Speed

For some reason, GALAX clocked this card at Nvidia RTX 2080 reference spec- 1515/ 1710 MHz. By comparison, the Founder’s Edition is up to 1800 MHz on boost clock. This graphics card’s “one-click” OC profile adds +45MHz, which is up to 1755 MHz boost clock.

There is an RTX 2080 EX OC which has a +135MHz boost clock more than its reference specification.

External Design Overview

The GALAX RTX 2080 EX graphics card 2x 100mm fans a large GPU fin array within it. You can see most of its PCB mounting from its side, where you can also observe heatsink mounting on the VRMs.

To complete it, there’s the plastic backplate. Visually, GALAX RTX 2080 EX has the requirements of a high card fulfilled here. The fan shroud is plastic while the backplate is metal.

Graphics Card Dimensions

The GALAX RTX 2080 EX is 11.61” x 5” and takes two-slot space. But because of its clean shroud design and sober paint job, the card makes the impression of being a standard size graphics card. The only part where it stands out is the paint job on the backplate. There are RGB LED lights on the fans, but it doesn’t bleed through the letterings on the side.

Power and NVLink Connector

The RTX 2080 Founders Edition has an official power draw rating of 225W, with a 650-watt power supply recommendation. For some reason, GALAX recommends a minimum requirement of 550-watt power supply. The GALAX RTX 2080 has the same additional PCIe power connector requirement as the Founders Edition- a single 6-pin and second 8-pin PCIe connection. There are no LED indicators over the connector’s area to indicate a proper/improper connection.

The RTX 2080 supports the use of NVIDIA RTX NVLink Bridge. The graphics card uses a PCIe 3.0 x16 bandwidth.

Rear I/O Options

The RTX 2080 Founders Edition has DisplayPort, HDMI and USB Type-C. While the GALAX RTX 2080 EX does not have a USB Type-C output, it has three DisplayPort 1.4 and a single HDMI 2.0b. The RTX 2080 supports up to four multi-monitor setup has supported 8K resolution at max.

Based on the clock speed and offerings, the GALAX RTX 2080 EX is placed somewhere between NVIDIA’S reference specification and RTX 2080 Founders Edition, with a custom cooler design.

GPU Cooler Design

There are six spring-loaded screws that you need to remove via the backplate area. The GPU cooler comes out easily. There are three connectors on the PCB going to the shroud.

While GALAX has a large heatsink array, the dismantling process is very clean. There are four nickel-plated composite heatpipes, with one of them cut short just after the heatbase, with a smaller one having a U shaped. One side of the pipe is having a contact with the copper base, with the other end kept in the middle. This way, GALAX is able to cover the entire heatbase from underneath to ensure the best possible heat draw from the GPU core.

Sleeve bearing fan?

Both the 100mm nine-blade fans are ECOTHERM sleeve bearing fans. These have no model numbers on it.

Internal PCB Observation

Contrary to the information on the website, the GALAX RTX 2080 EX has 7+2 Phase, with a clear indication of an empty phase area. This PCB isn’t different from RTX 2080 EX-OC, which is likely to be an 8+2 phase design. GALAX needs to make this connection on the website.

Sub Component Overview

NVIDIA has two SKU markings for the RTX 2080 8G- TU104-400-A1 which are not meant for factory OC- and the TU104-400A-A1 where AICs are allowed to set these chips with factory OC clock speeds.

In both cases, you can manually overclock them. This graphics card uses the A revision.

The card uses MPS1829 PWM controller and an array of MPS1852 DrMOS. The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Micron

Test Setup

Hardware BBQ gets very minimum support from hardware manufacturers since we have a no-strings-attached policy. But thanks to a handful of companies who value the importance and benefits of providing components for the test bench, we do what we’re good at with the resources at hand. I would like to thank:

  • Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT Rev 1.0 motherboard
  • WD India for providing 4x WD Red 3TB NAS drives
  • Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply
Test Setup for: GALAX RTX 2080 8G EX
CPU+ CPU Cooler Intel i7 4790K + Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT Motherboard
Memory Kingston 16 GB 1600 MHz DDRIII
Primary OS drive SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD + WD Red 3TB WD30EFRX
Power Supply ANTEC 1300W
Chassis Lian Li A70F Full Tower PC Case

Driver Version: 430.53 WHQL

We do not get to keep our graphics card. As a result, the comparison is between older drivers and the newer driver at the time.

Futuremark Benchmarks

  • 3DMark: Sky Diver, Fire Strike, Fire Strike Extreme and Fire Strike Presets
3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your PC and mobile devices in one app. Whether you’re gaming on a smartphone, tablet, notebook, or a desktop gaming PC, 3DMark includes a benchmark designed specifically for your hardware.

With more tests coming soon, we’ve given 3DMark a new interface that’s faster, more flexible and easier to use. What’s more, you can now get faster downloads and save storage space by choosing to install only the tests you need.

  • 3DMark 11: Xtreme Preset
3DMark 11 is a DirectX 11 video card benchmark test for measuring your PC’s gaming performance. 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of DirectX 11 features including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 consistently and reliably tests your PC’s DirectX 11 performance under game-like loads.

OpenGL Benchmarks: Cinebench 11.5 and Cinebench R15

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross-platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software Cinema 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

Game Benchmarks

  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor DX 11 with 3 presets
Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you, discover the origins of the Rings of Power, build your legend and ultimately confront the evil of Sauron in this new chronicle of Middle-earth.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider DX 11 and DX 12 with 3 presets each
Featuring epic, high-octane action moments set in the most beautifully hostile environments on earth, Rise of the Tomb Raider delivers a cinematic survival action adventure where you will join Lara Croft on her first tomb raiding expedition as she seeks to discover the secret of immortality.
  • Hitman (2016) DX 11 and DX 12 with 3 presets each
As Agent 47, you perform contract hits on high-profile targets in exotic locations around the world. With the Full Experience, you will have access to all episodes as they release periodically throughout 2016, starting April 2016.
  • DOOM OpenGL 4.5 with 3 presets each
DOOM returns as a brutally fun and challenging modern-day shooter experience. Relentless demons, impossibly destructive guns, and fast, fluid movement provide the foundation for intense, first-person combat.

Buy game licenses for cheap!

For measuring GPU computation, I’ve included Compubench benchmark workloads.

  • Face Detection and TV-L1 Optical Flow Test
  • Ocean Surface Simulation Test
  • Particle Simulation-64K Test
  • Computation Benchmark- Graphics and Video Composition
  • Bitcoin Mining

OpenCL Benchmarks

  • Folding at Home Benchmark
  • LuxMark OpenCL Benchmark

Super Position Benchmark

  • 1080p Extreme
  • 4K Optimized

Power Draw Test: Test using kill-a-watt

Fan Noise Level Test: Calculated by subtracting ambient noise

3DMark 11 Benchmark

Extreme Preset


3DMark Benchmarks

Sky Diver

Fire Strike

Fire Strike Extreme

Fire Strike Ultra

With 3DMark 11 Extreme benchmarks and 3DMark’s Sky Diver, the performance level stays before the Radeon RX 480. As for performance load, the gap is closer towards GTX 1060 6G, staying below some variants of the 1050 Ti.

Cinebench 11.5

Cinebench R15

Shadow of Mordor

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Hitman (2016)

DOOM

Presets List

Medium High Ultra
Lights Quality Medium High Ultra
Shadows Quality Medium High Ultra
Player Self Shadow Off On On
Directional Occlusion Quality Medium High High
Decal Quality Medium High Ultra
Decal Filtering 2x 4x 8x
Virtual Texturing Page Size Medium High Ultra
Reflections Quality Medium High Ultra
Particles Quality Medium High Ultra
Compute Shaders Off On On
Motion Blur Quality Medium High Ultra
Depth of Field Off On On
Depth of Field Antialiasing Off On On
HDR Bloom Off On On
Lens Flare Off On On
Lens Dirt Off On On
Rendering Mode Default Default Default
Sharpening Amount 2.0 2.0 2.0
Film Grain 1.0 1.0 1.0
UI Opacity 70% 70% 70%
Show Performance Metrics Off Off Off

Computational Benchmarks

Bitcoin Mining

Folding @ Home

LuxMark OpenCL

Unigene SuperPosition Benchmark

Fan Noise Levels

Anything more than 80% of total fan speed is loud. The sleeve bearing fans scream at 100% speed. You wouldn’t really reach these speeds at auto fan+ overclocked profile. In manual, depending on what you want to and maintain, it can be audible.

Within its power draw of 75-watts, one might be curious to know about its overclocking capacity.

Clock Speed Comparison

Reference OC Profile Manual OC
1485/ 1665 MHz 1485/1710 MHz 1585/1810 MHz

I’ve increased its base clock speed to 100MHz to see if there any additional performance advantage for gaming.

GPU-Z Screenshots

Why couldn’t GALAX have this graphics card’s clock speed as same as the Founder’s Edition? It is just strange. It could have done that effortlessly.

The GALAX RTX 2080 EX has a stock base/boost clock of 1515/1710MHz just like Nvidia’s reference specification. GALAX does have a factory fitted OC profile that can be enabled via its One-Click overclocking utility. That profile gives a 1560/1755 MHz, a minor 45MHz boost. Typically, non-reference cards have either factory overclock profile enabled out-of-the-box or have an option to switch between “OC” and “Gaming” Mode, with OC profiles enabled out of the box. The same could have been done here rather than leaving it on the clock speed.

With the GALAX’s XTREME TUNER utility, I was able to get +115MHz base/boost clock (against reference stock speed).

UtilityImpressions

To use the +45MHz One-Click OC profile, you’ll need to download GALAX’s One-Click OC utility.

You can overclock and monitor via GALAX’s Xtreme Tuner utility, but there’s no way to save the OC profiles via its software. For the function it serves, the utility is rather large horizontally because of its core clock and memory clock’s ‘speedometer dials’. While his up to a user’s taste, You can control the GPU fans individually. According to GPU-Z logs, the temperature-controlled fans start when it exceeds 59 degrees Celsius.

The Xtreme Tuner does not have any onboard function to detect and flash any new VBIOS on the GALAX RTX 2080 EX graphics card. These are the usual implementations on any graphics cards which comes with its utility.

 Temperature Observation

At stock speeds with thermal-control fan settings, the temperature hit 71 degrees Celsius on load. The +45 MHz bump hardly cracks a degree or two more. With the manual overclock, it barely touches 73 degrees Celsius.

While the cooling performance is no doubtedly on par with typical GPU coolers in other counterparts, the sleeve bearing fans does get noisy.

3DMark Benchmark

Game Benchmarks- DX 12/OpenGL 4.5 Highest presets

About the card…

Picking a non-reference graphics card is a daunting task- power consumption, design, cooling performance warranty, pricing and local RMA reputation are a few factors for buyers to narrow down their choices.

This is where the GALAX RTX 2080 EX 8G gets lost.

Competing with NVIDIA’s own reference edition is not a way forward. While I can’t speak about Founders Edition design, it is a competition with higher boost clock speed, seemingly competent cooler design (compared to its earlier blower design) and a lack of USB Type-C. GALAX’s cooling shroud and backplates are plastic, but this point can be dismissed in the favour or lighter option. GALAX should also consider switching to ball-bearing fans.

Most of these cons disappear with the RTX 2080 EX OC. But it also faces options against other AIC units. This is where GALAX needs to play either the pricing game, assuming NVIDIA would allow that- or have useful accessories with factory-overclocked profiles. In this case, just that the +45MHz on the base clock set out of the box.

About the utility…

The utility can always be updated and GALAX doesn’t need to look very far. RivaTuner skinned Afterburner is one good example. It just needs a better interface design.

But it is best if GALAX adds the built-in vBIOS search and flash utility with the ability to store OC profiles in the system. As an added bonus, it can always the option to save its monitoring data in a log file, much like how GPU-Z does.

Indian pricing

This graphics card is not available through Amazon India, US and UK. It is available via well-known retailers and therefore I’ll pick Prime ABGB’s listing.

In India, it plays the pricing card rather well. The RTX 2080 EX OC is itself priced for Rs. 61,999/-. This would make more sense to pick up over the EX “1-Click OC” model for its higher out-of-the-box clock speed, 8+2 phase power distribution. Other graphics cards are priced at a higher price segment.

The RTX 2080 EX OC 8G is cheapest graphics card sold in Prime ABGB at the time of writing, with RTX 2080 WindForce OC sold for Rs. 66,500. The WindForce OC, on the other hand, has two OC profiles- 1785 MHz boost clock under “gaming” mode out-of-the-box and 1800 in OC mode, which matches the Founders Edition. While I am not aware of GIGABYTE RTX 2080’s cooling capability, it has three fans. This and the EX OC has the USB Type-C for Virtual-Link.

  • Compact ‘looking design
  • Effective GPU cooler
  • 100mm twin fans
  • Three-years warranty
  • No USB Type-C (Available in EX OC)
  • Sleeve bearing fans
  • Providing a sleeved PCIe extension cables is more useful than a molex-to-PCIe adapters
  • “1 No out-of-the-box Factory OC pre-applied profile.


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