Best RTX 2080 Ti Graphics Card in 2021

Best 2080 Ti

What is the best RTX 2080 Ti? Depending on who you are, the answer to that question might change. RTX 2080 Ti availability has never been better: supply seems to have finally outstripped demand, and there are plenty of unique variations of the graphics card from different manufacturers to choose from.

We’ve taken care of some of that work for you by narrowing down your choices to five and providing detailed breakdowns of each. Each card comes from a reputable manufacturer and should provide a stellar gaming experience, but depending on the specifics of your budget or chassis, the right card for you will change.

Past the reviews, we’ve included a buying guide in the bottom of the article for those of you who aren’t walking into this as a pre-existing GPU expert. You’re welcome to skip down there if you don’t understand the jargon or specs we’ll be discussing, or if you just want to know a bit more about the base RTX 2080 Ti GPU that all of these graphics cards are based on.

For those of you who are ready, though…let’s hop into the meat of it.

Our Recommended

Best RTX 2080 Ti Graphics Card in 2021

PROS

Lowest price, supports 5 monthly payments

Strong cooler design

Subtle RGB lighting

CONS

“2.5 slot” design is still effectively 3 slots

Low factory OC

First up is the Zotac Gaming RTX 2080 Ti AMP, an RTX 2080 Ti with a massive 3-fan, 3-slot cooler design. This is a beefy boy, and it’s also the cheapest RTX 2080 Ti we can find on Amazon at the time of writing, despite the aforementioned beefiness. It even supports Amazon’s five monthly payments system, which makes it a bit more accessible for users who can’t drop $1K in one go… though you’d better make sure you meet those payments each month. (We recommend having at least 2-3 months’ worth saved up.)

Despite the Spectra RGB LED mentioned in the product advertising, don’t be fooled: the RGB lighting here is only for a small LED strip with the brand name on the thin side of the card. It is a nice little touch of cosmetic customization, but this is hardly a fully-fledged RGB GPU. (Those come later in the article.)

The advertising also insists that this is a “2.5” slot design, but, much like with a parking lot, blocking 2.5 is still effectively blocking 3. We aren’t sure why Zotac bothers to advertise as if there’s any difference, and we’ve listed it as a 3-slot card in our specs to avoid confusion.

Also, the factory OC is a little low on this card versus other models… but you shouldn’t have any issue pushing it a bit higher with user-end overclocking, the cooler is definitely beefy enough for it. If all you want is a no-frills RTX 2080 Ti for as cheap as possible, this is the card for you.

PROS

One of the cheaper options, supports 5 monthly payments

Strong cooler design and RGB accents

Strong factory OC

CONS

3 slots AND the longest card

If you want a balanced RTX 2080 Ti, then the MSI RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio might be the right choice for you.

Downside first: this card is massive. It’s the longest card on this roundup, and it’s still three slot. This is a hefty, hefty graphics card… but that means equally-hefty cooling capacity, which shows in a high factory overclock. You get a triple-fan cooler and a very thick heatsink here, which means that pushing it even farther with user-end overclocking shouldn’t be a big problem.

This is still one of the cheaper options on this list, and it boasts a decent RGB implementation around the fans. It even supports Amazon’s five monthly payments option, which makes it more accessible from a price standpoint. Like before, though, we recommend having enough saved to cover at least the first two/three payments, since the consequences for missing a payment can be steep.

This is a fairly strong option, so long as it can actually fit inside your PC. Provided it can and you don’t specifically want, say, liquid cooling or a particular brand name, this card should service you well.

PROS

Superb cooling design

Strong factory OC

RGB

CONS

Price getting higher

Large

For some of you, seeing that “EVGA” brand name will be enough to sell you on this graphics card. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. EVGA has repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be one of the best Nvidia GPU manufacturers, and it isn’t just their build quality; it also shows in their excellent customer service.

If you’ve already had a good experience with EVGA in the past and this card is compatible with your system, go ahead: this is probably the green light you were already looking for. Also, there’s RGB!

For the rest of you… this graphics card is still pretty easy to recommend. It has one of the higher factory overclocks available on the market, and we consider EVGA’s cooler design to be genuinely stellar. It is a 3-slot card, but it’s also a bit shorter than a lot of the other options on this list, which is a welcome change of pace (Want a 2-slot air-cooled card? Try the EVGA XC Gaming alternative. It includes RGB!).

The only other real downside is the price, which is a bit higher than other 2080 Ti GPUs.

PROS

Superb cooling design

Strong factory OC

RGB

CONS

Price getting higher

Large

“I want a 2-slot RTX 2080 Ti!” says the boy to the monkey’s paw, “But I don’t want to sacrifice any performance!”

A finger on the paw curls, and a box containing the AORUS Xtreme RTX 2080 Ti spawns on the floor.

… okay, we’re probably being a little bit hyperbolic here. If you want the best water-cooled RTX 2080 Ti, the AORUS Xtreme is definitely it. I mean… look at it! It’s a 2-slot RGB card with an attached 240mm radiator, which also has RGB fans. On paper, it also has the best factory overclock of any RTX 2080 Ti on the market (a spot it shares with the #5 card on this list), and its pricing is in line with other high-end RTX 2080 Tis.

The only issue here is that radiator. While it definitely looks great and will provide the performance you need for a solution like this, it’s also, well, a 240mm radiator. Even on fully-specced ATX machines, this card’s attached radiator is going to take up quite a lot of room and forget trying to use it in an ITX PC. This isn’t really a fault of the card itself, more a fault of the concept of liquid cooling your graphics card to begin with.

As long as you have the room and the money, though, this card should provide a stellar experience. That RGB also goes a long way, at least in our book.

Want a smaller water-cooled RTX 2080 Ti? Try EVGA’s Hybrid card.

PROS

The best RGB implementation by far

Great factory OC

Great cooling design

CONS

One of the largest cards

One of the most expensive

If you are looking for a great 2080 Ti Graphics Card that comes with exemplary RGB integration, then you should definitely check out the ROG STRIX OC 11Gb 2080 Ti.

This GPU comes with everything you want in a graphics card, with the added bonus of RGB that doesn’t overstate or over assert its presence within your machine. Set just above the fans, these RGB lighting strips keep your 2080 Ti illuminated in  use, and that isn’t all the contributes to the aesthetics of this card.

The ROG STRIX OC 11Gb also features 0db tech, that makes it possible for the fans on this GPU to stop spinning when the temperature is low enough, allowing you to enjoy your game in silence when its safe to do so. Combine that with a reinforced frame that prevents distortion, and you have yourself an amazing looking 2080 Ti.

Outside of the way it looks, you can expect some seriously premium performance from this card. It has an overclocked 11Gb of GGDR6 memory sat inside it, with 4352 CUDA cores all powered by a NVIDIA’s Turing architecture, which allows for a 1665 megahertz boost clock.

Basically, when it comes to great looking GPUs, its going to be hard to beat – and it has the hardcore gaming performance to match, making this an expensive albeit immense 2080 Ti to include within your gaming PC build.

Buying The Best RTX 2080 Ti For You

If you don’t understand any of the tech jargon we threw around above, or still just aren’t sure what card to pick this section is for you. This buying guide is written to help you choose the best RTX 2080 Ti for your needs, since each card we’ve listed has meaningful differences that set them apart from each other. We’ll also answer a few questions specific to the RTX 2080 Ti, namely how it performs and if it’s worth it when compared to other options.

How Does The RTX 2080 Ti Perform?

Let’s get this part out of the way first.

Hands down, the RTX 2080 Ti is the best consumer graphics card on the market right now. It has no competition, and unless AMD’s Navi architecture comes with an unprecedented push to the high-end from AMD, it might not for a few years to come. Nvidia pushed themselves here to give us the most powerful GPU of all time, and we think it’s fair to say that they succeeded.

For 4K gaming at Ultra settings and 60+ FPS, this card cannot be beat. For 1440p and 1800p gaming at 120+ FPS, this card can’t be beat. Even enabling ray-tracing with max settings should be playable with most games at 4K and 1800p.

Truthfully, this card is pretty overkill for pretty much any resolution under 4K60 or 1440p144. If the rest of your system can’t support those capabilities, it’s probably best to get a cheaper GPU and spend the extra cash on a better CPU or storage solution.

Is The RTX 2080 Ti Worth It?

In terms of performance-per-dollar… No. God, no. This is the farthest thing from a value card there is on the market.

A card like RTX 2080 Ti is for two types of consumers:

  • Someone who wants to show off their system or “flex” their specs, to whom money is not an object
  • Someone who wants the absolute best performance on the market… to whom money is also not an object

If you aren’t either of those people, then the RTX 2080 Ti might not be worth it for you. We would instead recommend considering the RTX 2080 or RTX 2070, which have much of the performance for a portion of the price.

Understanding Clock Speed

Many people look at clock speed and think it’s a direct measure of performance. This happens with CPUs and GPUs alike, and it’s never quite that straightforward with either technology.

Make no mistake: the higher the clock speed, the better the performance. The RTX 2080 Ti card on this list with the highest factory overclock will undoubtedly perform better than the one with the lowest… but not to the extent that you might think. We’re talking a 5% performance boost at best, with maybe 10% or 15% with additional overclocking to one of the water-cooled cards.

The fact is, no amount of overclocking will change the simple fact that you’re using an RTX 2080 Ti, which, remember, is already a borderline excessively powerful card. The main reason to care about a higher factory overclock is if you don’t feel like overclocking it yourself, or to gauge how confident the manufacturer is in their cooling setup.

Speaking of cooling…

Air-Cooled Versus Water-Cooled RTX 2080 Ti

Is a water-cooled RTX 2080 Ti better than an air-cooled RTX 2080 Ti?

Yeah… but not by much. You will certainly see lower noise levels and higher overclocking headroom, but that comes with the additional downside of mounting an additional radiator, and an additional point of failure. Sufficiently-advanced air cooling configurations can accomplish similar cooling results, they’ll just be noisier and a lot bigger on the PCI Express slot than a liquid-cooled counterpart.

The main reason to get a water-cooled RTX 2080 Ti is if you want a quieter system… or you just think it looks cool. At this price range, it’s okay to admit when you just want something extra flashy. If we were going to judge you, then we wouldn’t have written this article.

Width And Length

Width and length are the measurements that will determine whether or not your RTX 2080 Ti actually fits inside your PC. Compared to most lower-end graphics cards, your average RTX 2080 Ti is much longer and thicker… but this makes a lot of sense. This is the GPU with the greatest performance on the market, after all– it makes sense that will require a bigger package, doesn’t it?

Most RTX 2080 Tis we’ve found are triple-slot cards, which is unusual in lower price ranges. A few dual-slot cards also exist, but they come with much lower clocks and cooling performance, so we recommend sticking to triple-slots if your system can fit them. Width is measured in these slots.

Sorry, Mini ITX builders: you’re going to have trouble fitting most of these cards in your rig. If you have 2 or 3 PCI slots available in your case, you may be in luck… but you’ll want to check the length measurement (in millimeters) to be extra sure that it fits. Old prebuilts or office PCs need not apply, especially considering the 2080 Ti’s need for a 650W minimum PSU.

Ports, And What USB-C Is Doing Here

Last but not least… Actually, last and least.

Ports. What are the ports to look out for, and why is there a USB port on your graphics card?

Your usual suspects of DisplayPort and HDMI are here. These are standard for the modern displays you’ll want to use with your 2080 Ti: you shouldn’t be pairing this card with VGA or DVI monitors. Most 2080 Tis will also have a USB-C port, which is actually intended for VirtualLink compatibility, or VR headsets. You may also be able to use this port with displays that support DisplayPort USB video input, but your mileage may vary with that implementation.

Things To Consider

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PC guide
Christopher Harper is an up-and-coming tech writer with nearly a decade of experience (starting when he was 15!) and a genuine love for PC hardware, as well as tech and gaming at large. When he isn’t writing, he works on fiction, YouTube videos, and competitive gaming.

Independent, transparent, rigorous and authentic, our reviews are the most thorough and honest in PC gaming. Learn about our review process.

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