Despite the ongoing availability woes for current-generation GPUs, NVIDIA’s board partners continue to march forward with custom GeForce RTX 30-series designs, that are near complete departures from Founders Edition models. Case in point, the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X we’ll be showing you here today. Although it is built around the same GPU as NVIDIA’s Founders Edition, MSI went in a completely different direction than NVIDIA’s design. While the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founder’s Edition has a relatively small, notched PCB with a small form factor power connector and a traditional 2-slot width, the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X is over a foot long, over 5” tall, and packs a trio of 8-pin PCIe power connectors. It’s also actually thicker than a GeForce RTX 3090. The MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X is a beast in every sense of the word.
Because the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X is based on the very same GA102 GPU as every other GeForce RTX 3080-series cards, its core counts and overall feature set remain unchanged. For a deep dive into what the NVIDIA GA102 and the Ampere GPU architecture are capable of, we recommend checking out our launch coverage. We’ve got all of the juicy deets available there and won’t be rehashing the deeper technical aspects of the GPU here.
Where the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X differs from other cards in its it GPU boost clocks, PCB design and layout, and physical dimensions.
Front and center is the absolutely massive cooler on the card. The MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X features a large heatsink with Wave-Curved 2.0 fins to maximize airflow and surface area, which runs the entire length of the front of the PCB. A nickel-plated copper heat-plate with multiple heat-pipes running through it (and the heatsink) makes direct contact with the GPU. A separate heatsink with additional heat-pipes is also connected to the memory and voltage regulation modules on the board.
Speaking of the board itself, MSI has outfitted it with additional copper to aid in heat dissipation along with 16 digital power phases – 4 dedicated to the memory – to feed power to the GPU and 10GB of GDDR6X memory.
Sitting atop the heatsink array is a stylized, brushed aluminum shroud. MSI calls the entire assembly its TRI FROZR 2S cooling system, and as you’ll see later, it does a very good job keeping temperature nice and low. MSI brands the triple fans used on the card TORX FAN 4.0. The fans feature dual-ball bearings for durability and every other fan blade is linked at the end to provide some additional rigidity and help direct airflow.
There is an aluminum backplate on the card as well, in addition to a number of MSI’s signature dragon emblems – one on the back and three more on the fans. Of course there is RBG lighting available on the card too, which can be configured through MSI’s Dragon Center software.
Out of the box, the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X has a maximum boost clock of 1905MHz. There is a BIOS switch on the card that toggles between Gaming and Silent modes, though clock speeds are the same with each. The BIOS switch only seems to alter the fan curve. Silent mode quiets things down slightly at the expect of somewhat higher temps. With MSI’s Dragon Center software, users are able to toggle an Extreme Performance mode that kicks the boost clock up to 1920MHz, but that’s still child’s play compared to what you can do when overclocking the card with MSI’s Afterburner utility, as you’ll see in just a bit.
The outputs on the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X are just like any other GeForce RTX 3080 and include a trio of full-sized DisplayPorts and an HDMI port. MSI, however, does go the extra mile with the card’s accessory bundle. In addition to the obligatory literature, MSI included a high-quality mouse pad and a metal support bracket with the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X, to prevent the card from flexing and placing additional stress on the PCIe slot when mounted horizontally.
Overall, the MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X presents impressively out of the box. Now let’s see how it performs…