After taking a look at MSI’s and Sapphire’s offering of the recently refreshed AMD’s Polaris RX 580 series, you can check them out both on my channel or by clicking on the card link at the top right corner, today I will take a closer look at Asus RX 580 Strix model.
This is actually their strongest Strix model for the RX 580 series, called the Top OC, bringing in even higher out of the box factory overclocked GPU frequency. Of course, besides that, being a Strix series based product, this model is packed with custom features and unique design as you can see by packaging, which didn’t change almost at all compared to the previous generation. It’s too bad that bundle also doesn’t follow up that rich features set, as you’ll only get some user manuals and optical disc with drivers and software, you can get more up to date ones on their website, some Republic of Gamers Velcro ties and that’s it… and here’s the graphics card itself!
Asus RX 580 Strix bulks up
Just like with Sapphire RX 580 Nitro+ model, just by looking from the outside you wouldn’t think that Asus just copied over the Strix cooler design from RX 480 to RX 580 series, but that’s far from being the truth. Since the new RX 500 series has a bit higher thermal envelope due to bumped up operating frequencies, most of the board partners decided to go for a beefier cooler solution and so did Asus. On a count of that, the most noticeable change is in the size of the aluminum heat-sink hidden below that outer shell and the way it and six heat-pipes go into contact with the GPU. Instead of Asus DirectCU technology now we have as they called it Max Contact technology, where we have a big nickel plated copper base embedding the heatpipes behind it and laying directly onto the GPU surface.
As you can see it in my video listed down below, the PCB design on the RX 580 Strix seems to be intact, it still looks to be very clean thanks to the automated manufacturing process, while they’ve upgraded the base plate, now it’s much larger and holds few more thermal paddings so it can transfer the heat mainly from the MOSFET’s and video memory chips to the bigger heat-sink above it. For cooling all of that, plus the 7+1 power phase design configuration based on the Asus’s Super Alloy Power II components, we have Asus’ Wing-Blade designed 80 mm fans, three of them to be exact, which are is complying with the IP5X dust resistance certification for longer lifespan and improved reliability. Definitely something to be appreciated and expected since its price is up there compared to other RX 580’s.
Speaking of the fans, on the back end of the graphics card you will find two additional 4-pin PWM fan connectors which are a part of Asus’s Fan Connect II technology and can be used together with the chassis fans for controlled and targeted cooling via the also Asus GPU Tweak II software utility. That was also seen on the previous RX 480 generation of Strix series and now is as you can see transferred over to the RX 580 Strix series, and the same goes for the one 8-pin PCI-express power connector and video output configuration consisting out of two HDMI’s, two DisplayPort and one DVI-D and this cool and very clean looking mat black back-plate which also holds Asus’ Aura RGB LED lit RoG eye logo. Together with it, there are some other RGB LED details on the top plastic shroud around the fans and the side RoG logo. Overall, as I said in the beginning, the outside aesthetics portion of this model didn’t change at all, I personally still like it, it’s very aggressive and robust, with clear cuts and rough lines, but at the same time neutral enough on the color scheme, while you can always change and tweak it up a bit thanks to that RGB LED lighting. Just be careful in terms of its size and your chassis, it takes two and a half slots and it’s pretty lengthy at 298 mm.
The RX 580 Strix with the highest overclocking potetnial
Being their top of the line offer when it comes to RX 580 series, the RX 580 Strix TOP OC edition model comes in with a pretty high factory overclocked GPU out of the box. Using Asus GPU Tweak II software I’ve jumped over from the pre-loaded Gaming mode to OC mode profile, which I used for my testing, and which bumps up the GPU frequency from 1411 to 1431 MHz, while the memory stays at 2000 MHz. That, for now, makes it, in theory by its GPU clock speed, the fastest available out of the box factory overclocked RX 580 model which I had a chance to try until now.
Speaking of the overclocking, incorporating a little bit of my own using manual settings, with this sample I was able to hit 1480 MHz and maximal available 2250 MHz or 9 GHz effective for the video memory, which is just a tad more than compared to Sapphire’s and MSI’s samples which I reviewed before. Overall, a pretty decent result which in translation brought it anywhere from 5 to 10% of extra performance on top of the stock results.
Taking a look at the gpu benchmark test figures, numbers-wise everything is more or less close to figures which I saw in my other reviews of RX 580, give or take a frame or two, Strix one being a bit better with overclocking figures as it clocks higher. With this level of performance, you can count on having painless 1080p and 1440p gaming experience, or in my chase even at 3440 x 1440 resolution to a certain extent.
Impressive cooling on Asus RX 580 Strix Top
Having a much beefier cooler, the Strix model delivers some quite compelling performance when it comes to GPU temperatures. Idle temperature is roaming around 40°C, while the fans don’t even spin until 55°C, so the cards stay passive throughout a good portion of the time, even under light load, especially if you have a well-ventilated chassis. Under heavy load, like for example using Furmark stress test, it’s anywhere around 65°C, while in games you’ll see it get to only around 55°C, which is pretty impressive. Having three fans, it was kinda hard for it to remain quiet, especially since they under load spin anywhere from 1300-1500 RPM, being it in games or Furmark.
As of now, Asus RX 580 Strix was the most audible RX 580 which I had a chance to try out, of course, it’s far from being unbearable, but you will definitely hear it. Despite that, my biggest gripe about it was the coil whine, It’s really up there, I’m more used to hearing something like that from Nvidia’s high-end cards. Although I have the sound recording which I’ve done for the fans noise, it’s a bit hard for the microphone to pick up the coil whine since it sort of blends in with white noise of the background.
For controlling the RGB LED’s Asus uses a separate utility software called Aura and up here you can easily change the color and effects for all the LED’s which surround the cards cooler. It’s very simple and straightforward as you can see it here, you can choose from different effects like breathing, strobing and color cycle, use special effects like automatic color adjustment based on the music beat and GPU temperature or just completely turn the whole feature off.
All in all, this model is pretty packed with features, followed by the great build quality and really cool design, but Asus is again going over the top with the price, so it hard to see it being among popular choices when there’s such a strong competition surrounding it.