MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO Review

The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO takes the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti to new heights in performance and overclocking. We’ve got Metro Exodus NVIDIA Ray Tracing performance, 1440p and 4K gameplay, and we compare this video card overclocked as well as in silent mode for more efficient gameplay.


Today we have the best NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU based video card we’ve evaluated. The MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO at $1,249.99 MSRP is expensive, but that money buys you one powerful quiet gaming video card with overclocking. If you want to experience NVIDIA Ray Tracing in Metro Exodus, or smash 4K gaming, then this is the video card for you.

As we explore the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO today, make sure to compare it to our previously evaluated ASUS ROG STRIX RTX 2080 Ti video card we evaluated back in October. That video card also has a $1,249.99 MSRP. We will link you to important bits to focus on throughout the review since they are similarly priced via MSRP. One is going to overtake the other, read on to find out which.

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

First let’s remind ourselves what the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is and its specifications and clock speeds. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti was launched in September of 2018. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is based on NVIDIA’s Turing architecture at 12nm. The focus this generation is on new features NVIDIA dubs "RTX." This suite of features includes NVIDIA Ray Tracing and DLSS which require game support. The GeForce RTX series of GPUs have what are called RT Cores and Tensor Cores to facilitate these technologies.

The GeForce GTX 2080 Ti sits at the top-end of NVIDIA’s gaming GPUs. With an MSRP of $999 for the bare "reference" model and $1199 for the Founders Edition these are for a certain niche of enthusiast gamers. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti has 4352 CUDA Cores, 88 ROPs and 272 TMUs. There are 68 RT Cores and 544 Tensor Cores. The base "reference" GPU and Founders Edition have a base clock of 1350MHz. The "reference" GPU has a GPU boost clock of 1545MHz and the Founders Edition is 1635MHz. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti has 11GB of GDDR6 on a 352-bit memory bus at 14GHz. That gives is 616GB/sec of memory bandwidth. The TDP is 250W for the regular version and 260W for the Founders Edition.


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MSI has many different models based on the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU. Today we are looking at MSI’s GAMING series, which is only second to the top-of-the-line LIGHTNING series. Under the GAMING series MSI offers two variants. There is the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING TRIO and then there is the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GAMING X TRIO.

GAMING "X" denotes a higher factory boosted overclock compared to the non-X version. On the GAMING X version, the boost clock is 1755MHz while the non-X is 1635MHz which matches the Founders Edition. Therefore, if you want out-of-box performance that is better than the Founders Edition look toward the "X" branded card. Ours is the GAMING X version to evaluate today. Otherwise, both video cards are identical.

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The first thing you will notice about this video card is that it is big. This is a large and heavy video card. The length measures in at 12.8" and the width is 5.5" with the height being 2.1". The other thing that really makes this video card stand out from the others is that it has a beefed-up power delivery. This video card requires two full 8-pin power connectors as well as one 6-pin power connector. Normally the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti would just have two 8-pin. MSI has added an extra 6-pin power connector to deliver stable power through cables, rather than rely on power from the PCIe bus.

The TDP of the video card is 300W and the recommended PSU is 650W. Though personally we feel that 650W PSU would be inadequate for this video card plus a fully overclocked gaming system. Considering this video card needs three power connectors we’d suggest at least 850W. Inside the box you will find a 6-pin to 8-pin power cable as well as a graphics support bracket since this video card weighs over 5lbs. This video card has three DisplayPorts version 1.4, HDMI 2.0b and one USB-C for exceptionally current display options.

Since this video card is based on the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU it has 11GB of GDDR6 at 14GHz. The boost clock is 1755MHz though it will run much faster while gaming thanks to the beefed-up TRI-FROZR cooling system from MSI. The fans are based on MSI’s TORX FAN 3.0 technology with dispersion fan blades that are curved to accelerate airflow. The heatsink uses wave-curved fins that allow airflow to pass more smoothly between them and guides the airflow. There are copper heatpipes that make direct contact with the GPU using premium thermal paste and a copper baseplate. This video card also supports ZERO FROZR which turns off the fans below 60c.

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This build is solid using MSI’s close quarters cooling and anti-bending brackets. The power phases are also covered by a plate that is fused directly to the heatsink for excellent cooling. The PCB is a custom design from MSI and enlarged compared to the standard PCB for more cooling surface area. There are more phases, beefed up power delivery and more PCB layers. There is also a backplate with heat transfer pads so it passively cools and doesn’t trap heat. Don’t forget your RGB, this video card supports MSI MYSTIC LIGHT for RGB control via software.