EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming Graphics Card Review: Pinnacle Perfection

Today we will be reviewing EVGA’s top air-cooled graphics card, the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming. This absolute behemoth of a graphics card features a custom PCB design, with a power limit of 300W, that contains a 16-phase VRM for extreme overclocking. To complement the VRM and increased power draw, EVGA also dialed up the cooling to 11; this card features a beefy heatsink and triple fan design which contribute to its size of 2.75 slots.

Priced at $1,449 during the time of publishing, the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming is far from cheap but considering all its features and cooling, it is definitely worth the asking price. Read on and find out why!

Specifications

  • Boost Clock: 1755MHz
  • Memory Clock: 14000MHz
  • CUDA Cores: 4352
  • BUS Type: PCIe 3.0
  • Memory Detail: 11264 MB, 352-bit GDDR6
  • Memory Bandwidth: 616 GB/s
  • Height: 5.48 in – 139.3 mm
  • Length: 11.89 in – 301.925 mm
  • Width: 2.75 Slots
  • Interface: 3x DisplayPort, USB Type-C, HDMI
  • Real-Time Ray Tracing
  • NVIDIA® GeForce Experience
  • NVIDIA® Ansel
  • NVIDIA® Highlights
  • NVIDIA® G-SYNC™ Compatible
  • Game Ready Drivers
  • Microsoft® DirectX® 12 API, Vulkan API, OpenGL 4/5
  • DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b
  • HDCP 2.2
  • NVIDIA® GPU Boost™
  • VR Ready
  • EVGA iCX2 Technology
  • Adjustable RGB LED
  • Built for EVGA Precision X1
  • Designed for USB Type-C™ and VirtualLink™
  • Max Monitors Supported: 4
  • 240Hz Max Refresh Rate
  • Max Digital Resolution: 7680×4320
  • 650 Watt or greater power supply with 2 available 8-pin or 6+2pin PCIe power dongles

Unboxing & Graphics Card Overview

Our review unit arrived in a different box than the regular consumer version. The front is simple, containing the EVGA logo.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra box front

The back has the UPC sticker and a few graphics.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra box back

The graphics card is well protected in an anti-static bag, secured inside of a custom fitted Styrofoam housing. When you purchase the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming consumer version you’ll receive a documentation booklet, EVGA case badge and DVI adapter.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra unboxing

Here it is: the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming graphics card! It may hard to tell in this zoomed out shot but this GPU is huge! We’ll compare it to an EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming later, which is a rather large graphics card in its own right, but nothing compared to the monster that is the 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra gaming

As with all 2080 Ti models, the rear port lineup consists of: 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b and 1x USB Type-C for connecting VR equipment.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra ports

Simply put, the heatsink is gargantuan. This is a serious GPU and EVGA has pulled out all the stops. Every aspect of this card from the fans, to the backplate and heatsink is well-made and gives the card a heft that is synonymous with a premium, pinnacle product. The heatsink has fins which protrude from both sides.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra heatsink

These fins when coupled with the oversized heatpipes connected to the GPU provide exceptional cooling which is a must for an overclocking themed FTW3 GPU.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra temps

The backplate is the metal backplate we’ve seen EVGA employ on their other 20-series GPUs. It works well and the vents allow cool air to be pushed through the entire card, further aiding in heat dissipation for the PCB. 

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra backplate

Here is an RGB header which can be used to connect RGB lighting strips and/or fans; EVGA allows you to customize the RGB lighting effects through their Precision X1 overclocking software. There is also a fan header above the RGB header which can be used to connect and control fans through Precision X1.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra heatpipes

EVGA RTX 20-Series Customization

EVGA also provides several customization options for their 20-series GPUs which are attractive enhancements that are affordable and will not void your warranty. Here are two EVGA trim kits (white and red) which alter the look of the card by changing the color scheme behind the shroud.

evga rtx 20 series red white trim kit

Also available is EVGA’s SHIELD kit which is an additional easy-to-install add-on which further enhances the aesthetics of the card. We particularly like this add-on as it adds a rugged, industrial appearance that matches the sheer power of this beast of a graphics card.

evga rtx 20 series shield kit

Features: RTX Ray-Tracing & DLSS

Like other RTX 2080 Ti cards, the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming also packs tensor cores, which are specialized components that are used in a new feature, called DLSS. It is a new form of post-processing anti-aliasing. At the time of writing, only a few games support DLSS and it doesn’t seem to work exceptionally well. Therefore, we don’t recommend you purchase an RTX card simply because of DLSS, but it may prove beneficial in the future.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra gaming review

Ray-tracing on the other hand is a much more interesting feature. It allows developers to simulate incredibly realistic lighting and shadow effects in their games, in both visual appearance and backgrounds as well as interactive elements. We experimented with ray tracing in Battlefield V and everything including water on the ground, car surfaces, floors, etc. definitely does look better and add a new dimension to the game. However, the framerate drop when using ray tracing is quite noticeable. In BFV we went from 140FPS on ultra at 1440P to around 60-75 FPS with medium/ultra-settings and DXR set to low.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra fans
EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming (top) & EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming (bottom)

Additional Features: Dual BIOS, iCX2 Cooling, etc.

The EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming includes a dual BIOS feature that includes a “normal” and an “OC” BIOS. However, the differences between the two BIOSes are not noticeable. Both BIOSes have the same base power limit of 300W and feature the same exact boost clocks. The only noticeable differences are the default fan curves, the “OC” BIOS features a more aggressive fan curve that is louder, however we did not notice any change in either idle or load temperatures between the two BIOSes.

evga rtx 2080 ti size vs 2080
EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming (back) & EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming (front)

Another cool feature, especially for enthusiasts, are the 9 additional iCX sensors placed throughout the PCB. These special sensors allow the user to see the thermals of the VRMs and memory modules on the card as well as enable pinpoint accuracy for fan speed control. Overclocking aficionados and water-cooling gurus alike will appreciate the additional thermal monitoring features that EVGA provides for of its highest-end graphics cards.

evga rtx 2080 ti vs 2080
EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming (top) & EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming (bottom)

Furthermore, EVGA incorporated a safety fuse (the first of its kind) into the design of their FTW3 edition of the RTX 2080 Ti. The fuse protects your precious GPU from damage and is something that seems like a no brainer for one of the most vital and expensive components in your gaming PC.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra vs 2080 xc2 ultra
EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming (top) & EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming (bottom)

Finally, EVGA implements real-time power connector monitoring, this enables overclockers to more effectively gauge GPU power consumption when overclocking as well as under stress scenarios such as gaming or other GPU intensive workloads.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra vs 2080 xc2 ultra gaming
EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming (back) & EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming (front)

Thermals

The temperatures from the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 ULTRA are quite impressive and the best we’ve tested to date among our air-cooled RTX 2080 Ti cards. One feature of note is that the three fans run asynchronously meaning that one of the three fans turns a certain speed based on the GPU temperature whereas the other two fans’ speed is determined by the power/memory temperature.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra review

Even when overclocked to 2100MhZ, the triple fan cooler had no problem keeping temperatures down, although the fan noise became a lot more audible. That is, however, the price you pay for amazing cooling performance. Our idle temperatures hovered around 41° C and load temperatures ranged from 62° C to 64° C depending on the overclock we applied. Remarkably, the temperature spread between overclocked and non-overclocked was incredibly small and is reason enough for some people to choose this FTW3 model over other 2080 Ti models with lesser cooling capabilities.

rtx 2080 vs 2080 ti gpu temperature comparison chart
RTX GPU load vs. idle temperature comparison. Lower is better.

The 9 iCX2 sensors can be seen below in EVGA’s industry leading RTX graphics card overclocking software: EVGA Precision X1.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra gaming cooling sensors

Performance

In addition to superior thermals, The EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming is also the highest performing 2080 Ti graphics card we have tested. Providing up to a 5% increase in performance over the Founders edition RTX 2080 Ti. As you’ll see in our benchmarks, EVGA’s top tier 2080 Ti GPU absolutely trounces everything we throw at it!

apex legends rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks
assassins creed odyssey rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks
destiny 2 rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks
doom rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks
fortnite rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks
tom clancys ghost recon wildlands rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks
gta 5 rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks
witcher 3 rtx gtx 4k 1440p benchmarks

Overclocking

When it comes to overclocking Turing cards like the RTX 2080 Ti, we often run into power limitations well before we reach the thermal limit or frequency limit of the GPU. Since the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming features extreme cooling and a modified PCB design with an increased power limit, theoretically it should be better at overclocking then reference PCB 2080 Ti cards.

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra gaming overclocking

And sure enough, this card is an absolute overclocking beast! We were able to reach a core clock of 2125MHz and memory clock of 2010MHz. To add some perspective, with our water-cooled RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, we were only able to reach a core clock of 2070MHz and memory clock of 1945MHz. To make things even more impressive, the max temperature we observed with this overclock was 66° C, which is absolutely amazing!

evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra pcb

Conclusion

The EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming is in our opinion the best air-cooled graphics card available! It is built on an improved custom PCB with an increased power limit for extreme overclocking. The thermal solution has also been greatly improved featuring a large heatsink and triple fan design. Out of the box, the card boosts to a core clock of 1755MHz, which is the highest out of all the 2080 Ti cards we’ve tested so far.

sliger sm580 evga rtx 2080 ti ftw3 ultra gaming
The EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming seen in our upcoming Sliger SM580 Mini ITX build guide.

In addition to a dual BIOS and additional thermal sensors, the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming provides a 5% increase in performance over the 2080 Ti Founders Edition, which may not seem like much on a percentage basis, but it is certainly noticeable in games. In our opinion, what really sells this card is its overclock headroom and the potential that provides for increased gains in frame rates and overall gaming performance. If that isn’t enough, EVGA provides an industry leading 3-year warranty on their RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming which is extremely generous in today’s world of one and two year warranties.

performance computer editors choice award

EVGA is currently asking $1,449 for this card, which is $250 over the Founders Edition. If you are simply going to plug the graphics card into your computer and play, we recommend you stick with cheaper 2080 Ti options, like the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XC2 Ultra for $1,249. However, if you plan on overclocking or water-cooling your 2080 Ti graphics card, we highly recommend the EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Gaming!

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