EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming Review: Ray Tracing Revolution

Today we are reviewing the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming graphics card. This GPU, while the successor to the GeForce GTX 1080, is more closely related to last generations GeForce GTX 1080 Ti when it comes to performance and despite having less memory, the new GeForce RTX 2080 and its Turing-based architecture prove to be superior to the GTX 1080 Ti. Featuring Nvidia’s new Ray Tracing technology as well as Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS) which uses AI (artificial intelligence) to render video more efficiently, increasing performance and adding a new level of smoothness to games. Let’s see how the GeForce RTX 2080 fares and if it’s worth upgrading if you have a GTX 1080 or GTX 1080 Ti…

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra review

Specifications:

  • Boost Clock: 1815 MHz
  • Memory Clock: 14000 MHz Effective
  • CUDA Cores: 2944
  • Bus Type: PCIe 3.0
  • Memory Detail: 8192MB GDDR6
  • Memory Bit Width: 256 Bit
  • Memory Bandwidth: 448 GB/s
  • Height: 4.47in – 113.65mm
  • Length: 10.62in – 269.83mm
  • Width: 2.75 Slots
  • 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 an available 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connector

Unboxing & Initial Impressions

EVGA debuted their new graphics card packaging with the 20-series cards. The box has a vertical orientation and is separated into two chambers. Here is the front, you can see the EVGA branding as well as a picture of the GeForce RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming box

The back of the box has a features section as well as a section that expands on the “GeForce Experience” consisting of Nvidia Highlights, Ansel and Drivers.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming back of box

Additional features can be found up top including Real-Time Ray Tracing, G-SYNC compatible, GPU Boost, etc.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming features

The top removed, exposing the GeForce RTX 2080 GPU.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra unboxing

This new box has a very tight fit and it secures the GPU well.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming packaging

The back of the box with the top removed. You can also see the accessories box behind the graphics card.

evga rtx 2080 unboxing

Included accessories: case badge, HDMI to DVI adapter and an installation guide.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming accessories

The inside of the bottom portion of the box. I can’t stress enough here how nice the packaging is, EVGA really knocked it out of the park.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 unboxing

Graphics Card Overview

Upon removing the antistatic bag, we are left with one monster of a graphics card: the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming.

evga rtx 2080 gaming review

The RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming is a 2.75 slot graphics card with a hefty heatsink! The beefy heatsink allows the card a more capable overclock while maintaining better temperatures.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 review

There are two heatsink sections and their tall aluminum heatfins are connected via six heat pipes. In fact, the way EVGA designed their Ultra Gaming series essentially eliminates the need to install an aftermarket cooling solution such as an Arctic Accelero Xtreme III or Raijintek Morpheus II.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra heatsink

You can also see the new hydro-dynamic bearing fans which produce less noise in addition to having a longer service life compared to axial fans. In our experience, these fans have been incredibly quiet. The card itself is dead silent until about 55-56°C at which point the fans start to spin up.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming

The card is powered via an 8-pin and 6-pin PCI-express power connector. When compared to the founder’s edition version of the RTX 2080, we believe EVGA designed a better-looking card. The new founder’s edition shrouds look great but as always, we were thoroughly impressed with EVGA’s design team here.

evga rtx 2080 review

Even the back of this card looks stunning with its black full cover ventilated backplate.

evga rtx 2080 backplate

All EVGA RTX 2080s have RGB lighting, a welcome change from the previous generation which limited that feature to the FTW models. The entire name “EVGA GeForce RTX 2080” is RGB backlit and there are several lighting modes which can be customized in EVGA’s new Precision X1 software. In addition, the EVGA RTX card shrouds can be further customized with an available red, black or white trim kit.

There are several connectivity options including 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b and the new USB-C VirtualLink port. VirtualLink provides four high-speed HBR3 DisplayPort lanes, 27W of power delivery and USB 3.1 Gen 2.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming

EVGA Precision X1 Overclocking Software Review

EVGA completely revamped their graphics card overclocking software for the RTX series of Nvidia GPUs and it is amazing! We go into full detail in our EVGA Precision X1 overclocking software review.

Ray Tracing

Real-time ray tracing is a new feature debuting with the Turing based Nvidia GPUs. It allows developers to simulate incredibly realistic lighting 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 from water on the ground, car surfaces, floors, etc. definitely do 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 110FPS on ultra at 1440P to 30-60 FPS with medium/ultra settings and DXR set to low.

battlefield v ray tracing example

Is ray tracing groundbreaking amazing? Not exactly, but it does add a noticeable and enjoyable new aspect to games that we feel enhances the beauty of the environment in the game. If you’re not playing a competitive shooter and can deal with lower frames, you’ll certainly appreciate the beauty that ray tracing is capable of adding to games.

Thermals

Idle temperatures remained in the 50°C-54°C range while on the desktop and performing non-gaming related tasks. When gaming, our temperature typically topped out at 69°C with the fans set to 1500 RPM, this setup provided acceptable GPU temperatures and minimal noise levels.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming cooler

We did notice as multitasking on the desktop increased there was eventually enough load on the GPU for the fans to spin up for a second, then turn off as the load decreased. This created a clicking/grinding noise as the fans were alternating between starting and stopping. A fluctuation in load like this causes the fans to just breach the threshold necessary to turn on and when the load fluctuates back down, the fans turn off again. To fix this, we went into Precision X1 and manually set the fan speeds.

Performance & Benchmarks

Results at 1440P:

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: 63 FPS
  • Destiny 2: 108.7 FPS
  • DOOM: 67 FPS
  • Fortnite: 131 FPS
  • Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5): 93 FPS
  • The Witcher 3: 108 FPS
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands: 81.4 FPS

Results at 4K:

  • Assassin’s Creed Odyssey: 42 FPS
  • Destiny 2: 62 FPS
  • DOOM: 93.5 FPS
  • Fortnite: 64 FPS
  • Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5): 85 FPS
  • The Witcher 3: 60 FPS
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands: 51.1 FPS

For more information on our testing system as well as a comparison to the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, GTX 1080 Ti and GTX 1080, see our ultimate RTX/GTX graphics card benchmark comparison guide.

Conclusion

Who is the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming for? If you have been using a GTX 1080 and skipped the 1080 Ti, we believe the RTX 2080 is an ideal replacement. Not only will you get a substantial increase in performance, you get access to new ray tracing features which add a whole new element to games. If you enjoy laid-back single player games and are willing to compromise your framerate for a beautiful experience, you will want the RTX 2080 for the ray tracing feature alone.

evga rtx 2080 xc2 ultra gaming review

If you have a GTX 1080 Ti and are happy with it and don’t care about ray tracing, you likely won’t feel the need to upgrade to an RTX 2080. Though we believe that ray tracing isn’t just marketing fluff, the effects are visibly noticeable and those who enjoy the most detail when playing games will want this feature.

However, anyone considering the EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming should know that they will be purchasing a solid card from the most experienced and reputable video card maker. In addition to EVGA’s unparalleled customer support, the RTX 2080 comes with a confident 3-year warranty. We highly recommend the EVGA RTX 2080 XC2 Ultra Gaming!

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