To find the best RTX 2080 Super, we evaluated all RTX 2080 Supers currently available on the market. We focused on fairly-priced models from reputable manufacturers and narrowed down the selection to 5 meaningfully-different but equally-valid picks.
What makes the best RTX 2080 Super will depend largely on your budget and needs. We’ve covered the spectrum of RTX 2080 Super cards in this buying guide, and included a section at the bottom of the article to help you choose the right one for you. If you aren’t sure what all the specs or jargon mean, consult that section of the article.
What’s The Best RTX 2080 Super?
Enough of the introductions, let’s jump into our picks; below are the 5 best RTX 2080 Super graphics cards.
Clock Speed: Up to 1815 MHz | Width: 2-Slot | Length: 270 mm | Ports: 2 DP, 1 HDMI, 1 USB-C
The EVGA Black RTX 2080 Super is, surprisingly enough, the cheapest RTX 2080 Super we can find on the market.
EVGA is known as a premium manufacturer specializing in Nvidia GPUs, so seeing them offering the cheapest option- especially in this high-end price range- is quite surprising. With EVGA, you also enjoy the benefit of some fairly good customer support- including their popular Step-Up Program.
The EVGA Black model of the 2080 Super uses EVGA’s dual-slot iCX2 cooler design. This gives it some modest length at 270 mm, but good enough cooling to safely push a modest 1815 MHz factory overclock while still retaining low temperatures.
While this card doesn’t have the sheer cooling mass of other options on this list, you don’t need to worry about overheating unless you push a truly ridiculous overclock or…just have a bad cooling setup in the rest of your chassis.
If VR support is integral to your needs, you’ll be happy to know that the EVGA Black includes a USB Type-C port for use with supported VR headsets, like the Valve Index.
Verdict: The best entry-level RTX 2080 Super
Clock Speed: Up to 1845 MHz | Width: 2-Slot | Length: 298 mm | Ports: 3 DP, 1 HDMI
The Zotac Gaming AMP RTX 2080 Super is on sale at the time of writing, which makes it one of the cheapest 2080 Supers available on the market. Even if it returns to its non-sale price, however, it will remain a modestly-priced option that doesn’t exceed the RTX 2080 Super’s $699 MSRP.
Like many other cards on this list, the ZOTAC Gaming AMP uses a dual-slot cooling design. It has a bit more length to it than the EVGA Black, but less than the triple-fan MSI Gaming X Trio.
Combined with its strong 1845 MHz overclock, this ZOTAC RTX 2080 Super presents itself as a balanced option suitable for most systems. Unless you’re building in a Mini ITX machine, you should be able to fit this card in your chassis. (Double-check if you aren’t sure!)
The only real downside we feel is worth noting about this card is that it doesn’t have a USB-C port. If you’re a VR user, that might be a deal-breaker for you. For others, though, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Verdict: The best balanced RTX 2080 Super
Clock Speed: Up to 1845 MHz | Width: 2.5 Slot (Effectively 3) | Length: 328 mm | Ports: 3 DP, 1 HDMI, 1 USB-C
The MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 2080 Super is our pick for best air-cooled RTX 2080 Super.
A quick glance at this card side-by-side with the other options will make the reason why clear. This card is beefy, boasting three fans and a massive heatsink. When used effectively, more mass for cooling enables more cooling performance. (This is why larger heatsinks and radiators are required for high-end CPU cooling.)
In addition to a design built around raw performance (and the high factory OC to match), the Gaming X Trio comes with some nice RGB frills to make the card look just a little flashier. While it isn’t a solution we’d consider thorough enough to be a main selling point, it is still certainly nice to have. Plus, this card isn’t much more expensive than other 2080 Supers, so you aren’t paying a premium for the extra visual flair.
The only thing we’d really consider a downside at this point is the sheer mass of the card. It’s a little thicker than 2 slots, which can be an issue on Micro ATX motherboards and small cases where you want to use multiple expansion cards.
The length is also by far the longest of any card on this list, but that comes with the territory of superior cooling performance. As long as your case can fit this card, neither of these downsides should be an issue.
Additionally, there is a USB-C port for VR users, so this card is a great pick in that use case.
Verdict: The best air-cooled RTX 2080 Super
Clock Speed: Up to 1830 MHz | Width: 2-Slot | Length: 266 mm | Ports: 3 DP, 1 HDMI, 1 USB-C
The EVGA Super XC Hybrid RTX 2080 Super is our pick for best hybrid-cooled RTX 2080 Super. It uses both a 120 mm liquid cooling radiator and onboard fan in order to achieve the coolest possible temps. In addition to the obvious performance benefits that come with this approach to cooling, you also get the benefit of much lower noise levels. While a good enough air cooler can match a liquid cooler in raw cooling performance, noise is an uncontested win for liquid.
Cooling aside, this is a surprisingly modest card. It isn’t too large, and the factory OC isn’t as high as some of the air-cooled options on this list. (Don’t worry- the real-world performance difference won’t be noticeable at all, and with the cooling setup you’ll have plenty of room to push it farther on your own.)
The pricing is also mostly in line with other RTX 2080 Supers, so we’re hard-pressed to give any complaints beyond nitpicks.
The only things that stick out to us is the need to mount the radiator to an open fan slot- which shouldn’t be a problem with anything bigger than a Mini ITX case- and that there’s only one HDMI port. Neither of those should be a major issue, though- and USB-C is still here for you VR users!
Verdict: The best hybrid-cooled RTX 2080 Super
Clock Speed: Up to 1860 MHz | Width: 2-Slot | Length: 290 mm | Ports: 3 DP, 3 HDMI, 1 USB-C
The Gigabyte AORUS Waterforce RTX 2080 Super is yet another watercooled graphics card, but goes with full watercooling instead of EVGA’s hybrid solution. This comes with its own benefits and downsides compared to the previous card.
Benefits first: even better raw cooling and acoustics. If you want your graphics card to be powerful but make as little noise as possible, then the AORUS Waterforce is exactly what you’re looking for.
The downside is that this necessitates a much larger radiator- a 240 mm radiator, to be precise. While you could conceivably work the EVGA Hybrid card into a Micro ATX case or a really generous Mini ITX case, you’re almost certainly going to need ATX to have room for this card’s cooling along with the rest of your system fans.
The specific watercooling implementation aside, this is still a stellar graphics card. The RGB implementation is absolutely gorgeous, on both the GPU itself and the two radiator fans. Its cooling allows it to boast the highest factory overclock and the best overall overclocking capacity, but both of those points come at a price premium.
While we’d normally stress that as a larger negative (since going $100+ over MSRP tends to put you in the range where you can just buy the next GPU up), this RTX 2080 Super is still over $300 less than the cheapest RTX 2080 Ti, so we don’t mind it as much.
Chances are if you can afford a graphics card in this price range, you can afford to pay a little extra for more visual flair and raw performance.
Don’t care about watercooling but still want the best possible RGB implementation? Get the non-water-cooled version of this card.
Verdict: The best liquid-cooled, and best overall RTX 2080 Super
FAQ and Choosing The Right RTX 2080 Super For You
Now that we’ve gone over all our top picks, we’re going to use the rest of the article to discuss how the RTX 2080 Super stacks up in gaming performance, and how to pick the right 2080 Super for you.
How does the RTX 2080 Super perform in games?
First and foremost, let’s talk about performance.
The RTX 2080 Super is built primarily for 4K/60 FPS and 1440p/100+ FPS gaming at max settings. While some more heavyweight games may require settings adjustments (especially as we begin progressing into a new console generation), expect this card to be a solid performer at high resolutions and framerates for a long while to come.
Ray-tracing makes things a little fuzzier, bringing closer to 60-80 FPS at max settings & 1440p with ray-tracing settings maxed out as well. In Metro Exodus with ray-tracing enabled, for instance, the 2080 Super maintains 61 FPS at 1440p but falls to 44 at 4K. (Using an in-between res for upscaling, like 1800p, or lowering other settings may help maintain ray-tracing and image quality at 4K gaming in this scenario.)
For modern games currently on the market, you’re more than set with this graphics card. As long as you don’t bottleneck your system with a weak CPU, you should be good to go.
Overall, the RTX 2080 Super is a stellar contender in this price range…
How does the RTX 2080 Super compare to the competition?
…and at the time of writing, basically the only one.
While AMD’s release of the RX 5700 XT has brought them closer to competing in the high-end than they have in a while, we’ll have to wait for the rumored 5800/5900 XT cards before we see true competition in the high end of GPUs. Instead, the best comparisons to make between the RTX 2080 Super and other cards would be with other Nvidia GPUs.
Compared to the last-gen RTX 2080 it replaces for the same price, the 2080 Super enjoys a modest ~7 percent performance boost. The 2080 Ti, meanwhile, still outstrips both cards by a significant margin, with an up to 34 percent performance increase in synthetic benchmarks. In real-world gaming scenarios, the difference between the RTX 2080 Super and the RTX 2080 Ti is closer to a roughly 20 percent performance difference, as demonstrated by the video embedded below:
The 2080 Ti is mostly a bragging rights card. With this in mind, it makes sense for most users who want the best performance to opt for the RTX 2080 Super at the time of writing, since its MSRP starts at $700 compared to the 2080 Ti’s $1200. While we still wouldn’t call this a value graphics card, it’s still a more sensible option for more people than the 2080 Ti is.
Factory overclocks and user GPU overclocking
In a GPU context, factory overclocks refer to the maximum boost clock that the card is rated to achieve by the manufacturer. This is a frequency that the card should be able to safely boost up to as long as the airflow and temps inside of your case are both acceptable. (If your GPU is only receiving hot air, it won’t cool nearly as effectively, and is much less likely to meet any kind of boost clock frequency.) This factory overclock differs from user-end overclocking, and in real-world performance terms, should only result in minimal, if any, noticeable performance differences. That doesn’t make the metric worthless, though.
One thing the metric shows is the manufacturer’s confidence in their card’s cooling capabilities. If they’re advertising a high factory overclock, chances are high that they believe their card can easily reach that in most scenarios, with no user-end tweaking required. That’s why you may notice that liquid-cooled cards or cards with larger heatsink/fan arrays tend to have higher factory overclocks than their smaller competition.
User-end overclocking differs from factory overclocks in the sense that you’re much more likely to see meaningful performance improvements. This is because you can also boost things like power limits and memory clocks, in addition to base GPU clocks. While you aren’t going to turn your RTX 2080 Super into an RTX 2080 Ti by doing this, what you will do is squeeze even more performance out of your card, albeit at the cost of higher temps and power consumption. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, do your own overclocking and opt for a GPU that has a lot of cooling headroom for doing so- the EVGA and MSI Gaming X cards both seem to be great picks in this matter. #5 isn’t exactly a bang-for-buck pick, but its full watercooling setup should provide even more OC headroom.
GPU length, width, and how they impact compatibility
GPU length and width are your key compatibility specs. If your GPU can’t physically fit inside your machine, then you can’t use it. While returns exist for scenarios exactly like this, nobody wants to wait days to return their new GPU and receive a smaller replacement, especially if they don’t have a spare graphics card to slap into their PC in the meantime.
Graphics card width is measured in PCI slots taken up on both the motherboard and the chassis. Most cards are dual-slot, but on the high-end, you may see some three-slot cards and some budget cards are even single-slot. This one is least likely to give you compatibility issues, unless you’re trying to build in a hyper-confined Mini ITX machine or are using multiple expansion cards in a Micro ATX machine.
Graphics card length is measured in millimeters and is much more likely to result in compatibility issues. Be sure to check the maximum supported GPU length that your chassis can support, either by checking the manufacturer’s site (recommended) or measuring it yourself. Whatever you do, don’t order a GPU before you’re sure it can fit in your case, or you’ll have to deal with the hassle of returns and reordering!
Available video ports and the differences between them
- HDMI – The most popular modern video standard, used most commonly by TVs and game consoles. May have iffy support for non-1080p/4K resolutions and higher framerates.
- DisplayPort – The most popular video standard for PC displays, used most commonly by…you get the idea. It offers higher bandwidth than HDMI and better support for a variety of resolutions and framerates.
- USB-C – Used by VR headsets with the VirtualLink standard.
And that’s it.
We hope that reading through this article helped you find the right RTX 2080 Super for you. If you have any lingering questions on buying this or any other GPU, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Until then, happy gaming!