Nvidia released its new Ampere flagship in the middle of September and since then, the RTX 3080 is one of the most sought pieces of hardware in the world. Massive performance leap coupled with competitive pricing stirred the tech market despite the obvious shortcoming of the architecture such as the immense power requirements and almost non-existent overclocking potential. There’s also the doubt whether the provided 10GB of memory will be enough for 4K gaming in a year or so when we start getting proper next-gen games.
Still, at its current price-to-performance ratio, the RTX 3080 is the best graphics card you can get right now. Another positive about it is the fact that even base models of the card feature excellent thermals, great performance, and a solid overall build quality. That’s not to say that higher tier models aren’t worth considering. They offer even better cooling systems, RGB galore, and higher power limits that raise the OC potential of these cards to acceptable levels. Below you can find our picks for the best RTX 3080 graphics cards in various categories.
We have the best affordable RTX 3080, RTX 3080 that features the best cooling, the best pick for fans of RGB, and lots more. Read on and find out which RTX 3080 card is the right choice for your needs.
Best RTX 3080 – Our Picks
|Best Base RTX 3080 Card||ASUS RTX 3080 TUF Gaming|
|Best RTX 3080 For Overclocking||ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC|
|Best RTX 3080 With Air Cooling||ASUS RTX 3080 TUF Gaming OC|
|ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC|
|Best RTX 3080 With Liquid Cooling||EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 Hybrid|
|Best White RTX 3080 Card||Gigabyte RTX 3080 Vision OC|
|Best RGB RTX 3080 Card||ZOTAC RTX 3080 AMP Extreme Holo|
|EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3|
|Best RTX 3080 For SFF Builds||Nvidia RTX 3080 Founders Edition|
|Best RTX 3080 Overall||ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC|
Best Base RTX 3080 Card
One of the best things about the RTX 3080 is that even the cards priced at MSRP have superb cooling systems, each and every one having a better performance than the cooling solution found on the RTX 3080 FE. And all that for about the same price. And the best one among these MSRP cards is the ASUS RTX 3080 TUF Gaming.
It has the best build quality, lowest thermals, excellent noise results, aluminum fan shroud, performance in line with the RTX 3080 FE, and excellent design. The card also includes dual BIOS, allowing users to choose between the performance and silent modes. Finally, another advantage over its competition is the inclusion of five video ports. While the card only supports four-monitor setups, it’s good to have two HDMI ports instead of one as seen on most other cards. Especially if those two ports are HDMI 2.1. Another base RTX 3080 model that offers five video ports is the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Eagle OC.
You can get either the base or the OC model, with the price difference between the two being less than ten percent. Alternative picks include basically every other MSRP-priced RTX 3080 model on the market. They all offer excellent thermals, at least solid build quality, great performance, and lots of RGB effects. Some models, such as the EVGA RTX 3080 XC3 Black, have some disadvantages like the lack of a backplate in the case of the aforementioned model but overall, each of the RTX 3080 cards priced at or near MSRP is a good buy.
Best RTX 3080 For Overclocking
With the highest out-of-the-box boost clock out of all RTX 3080 cards, excellent cooling system, and OC potential that goes beyond 2000Mhz, the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC edition is the RTX 3080 model with the best OC potential, at least when it comes to a card equipped with an air cooler. EVGA models such as the RTX FTW3 Hybrid and Water should come with power limits well above 400W and custom cooling systems that should give them a bit of a boost when it comes to overclocking.
Still, if you equip the ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC with a custom water block it too could reach even higher clocks. When it comes to design, the ROG Strix is one of the best looking RTX 3080 cards. The metal shroud features outstanding industrial design and there’s also lots of RGB. As for the alternatives you can get one of the aforementioned EVGA models or perhaps the Gigabyte RTX 3080 Aorus Xtreme that comes with the same out-of-the-box boost clock.
Of course, before you do that, think again do you really need a premium RTX 3080 model. Even with its superb cooling, the ROG Strix OC has only up to five percent advantage over the FE model at 1440p, even less in 4K. In other words, don’t buy high-end RTX 3080 models for their OC potential because, in that case, you’ll probably end up disappointed. Buy them for the extra features such as the better cooling and build quality, better VRMs, and extra features such as the RGB LEDs.
Best RTX 3080 With Air Cooling
Again, the ASUS TUF OC model comes out at the top. Considering its specs, it has the best air-cooling system out of every RTX 3080 card. Max temperatures are noticeably lower than on any other RTX 3080 model. The maximum temperature is only 63 degrees Celsius at the stock clock and 66 degrees Celsius when overclocked.
Best RTX 3080 With Liquid Cooling
While EVGA didn’t yet release the Hybrid version of the RTX 3080, it will most likely offer superb thermal results, in line with previous versions of the FTW3 Hybrid model. Excellent cooling combined with a 420W power limit might make the EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 Hybrid the best RTX 3080 card for overclocking, at least when it comes to pre-installed cooling solutions. But that’s going to carry a premium price, which probably won’t be worth the extra performance.
Best White RTX 3080 Card
The only white graphics card in the current RTX 3080 lineup comes from Gigabyte and looks stunning. Brushed metal silver cooler shroud combined with matte-finish white fans looks incredible. This is the best looking RTX 3080 card unless you’re into RGB, since the Vision OC comes with just a few RGB LED arrays.
If you already have a white build or plan to build one, this card would fir great with any white motherboard on the market. The card should come with respectable thermals and slight factory OC. As for the extra features, aside from the RGB LEDs, it also comes with two HDMI 2.1 ports in addition to three DisplayPort video ins.
Best RGB RTX 3080 Card
RGB fans will love the RTX 3080 lineup since it’s chock full of RGB-heavy models. Our personal vote goes to the ZOTAC RTX 3080 AMP Extreme Holo since it has the slickest RGB lighting we’ve ever seen on a graphics card. First of all, despite it going all around the card, covering a third of the fan shroud and the whole side of the card, it doesn’t look like it’s out of place. It perfectly blends with other elements of the card, something that can rarely be said about the RGB lighting. If we didn’t have the in-your-face Zotac Gaming logo this card would look even better.
As for the more affordable alternative, the RTX 3080 FTW3 from EVGA is your best bet. The card doesn’t cost as high as the Zotac RTX 3080 AMP Extreme Holo, while offering a huge RGB LED array covering the better part of the card’s side. It isn’t as subtly designed as the one found on the Zotac model but it can put on a serious light show, which is all that matter here.
Best RTX 3080 For SFF Builds
While there were some rumors about Zotac releasing a dual-fan RTX 3080 card that would be much shorter compared to the rest of the RTX 3080 lineup and thus great for SFF builds, it seems we won’t be getting one. This is bad news for anyone planning a Mini-ITX build based on the RTX 3080 because all cards are pretty long and they all have at least dual-slot cooling. In fact, most models have coolers that take even more space, with flagship models coming with triple slot behemoths.
That said, Nvidia’s RTX 3080 Founders Edition card could be a solid choice for a Mini-ITX case, as long as it doesn’t feature a sandwiched design. Regular ITX cases should offer enough airflow for the card but in sandwich cases and small ITX cases, the card’s unique cooler design will make it hot as hell.
As for the alternatives you have the RTX 3080 XC3 from EVGA that measures the same length of 285mm. But the issue here is that the XC3 has a 2.2 slot cooler, which is too thick for a great number of ITX cases. If your ITX case can house cards longer than 300mm and thicker than 2 slots you’re in luck. If that’s the case you can run most of the current RTX 3080 cards. If not well, maybe we get a proper ITX-friendly RTX 3080 card in the future.
Best RTX 3080 Overall
Finally, we have the best overall RTX 3080 graphics card. The title goes to the ASUS ROG Strix RTX 3080 OC version. It has the best cooling system, the highest out-of-the-box clocks, the best thermals, superb build quality, attractive design with lots of RGB lighting, along with extra features such as the dual BIOS and five video ports with two HDMI 2.1 ports. Yes, it’s pricey but if you’re ready to pay the price premium you’ll get a powerful, attractive, and reliable card with excellent 4K gaming performance.