Is the MSI Gaming X Trio or NVIDIA Founders Edition RTX 3080 your pick?

MSI’s Gaming X Trio is an aftermarket RTX 3080 option with an aggressive design, including customizable RGB lighting, three TORX fans, and angled plating. It brings stellar performance, with a slightly higher boost clock speed than the Founders Edition.

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  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Three TORX 4.0 fans
  • Aggressive design
  • Stellar performance with higher boost clock


  • Slightly higher power consumption
  • Slightly more expensive
  • Larger than the Founders Edition

The Founders Edition GPU is official hardware from NVIDIA, and it’s going to deliver the RTX 3080 performance you desire. Its boost clock isn’t quite as high as MSI’s Gaming X Trio, and it’s not as flashy with understated dual-fan cooling, but it does cost less and sips a bit less power.

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  • Understated design
  • Slightly lower power consumption
  • Slightly more affordable
  • Baseline RTX 3080 performance
  • A bit more compact


  • Slightly lower boost clock
  • Not nearly as flashy

MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080 vs. Founders Edition RTX 3080

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

Source: NVIDIA

MSI Gaming X Trio NVIDIA Founders Edition
GPU GeForce RTX 3080 GeForce RTX 3080
CUDA Cores 8,704 8,704
Base clock 1.44GHz 1.44GHz
Boost clock 1.82GHz 1.71GHz
Memory bus 320-bit 320-bit
Power 340W 320W
Connector Triple 8-pin 12-pin

The start of a graphics card’s (GPU) life cycle generally sees a huge buying rush. People advertise unrealistic prices for second-hand — usually unopened — hardware. It can be a frustrating buying experience, especially if you’re not sure where to buy NVIDIA RTX 30-series graphics cards to begin with. Luckily it’s not just NVIDIA selling the new GPUs; third-party manufacturers also have options available.

NVIDIA builds its Founders Edition GPUs based on specifications that it expects all third-party manufacturers to follow. These Founders Edition cards are generally well-built and will deliver the expected performance, but aftermarket cards — like the MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080 — often improve on the design. You’ll often find better cooling, higher clock speeds, and more attractive designs, especially for anyone who likes an aggressive gaming PC with lots of RGB.

This holds true so far, at least when comparing the MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080 with the Founders Edition RTX 3080. MSI’s option has been one of the top-rated third-party GPUs for the last couple of generations thanks to strong triple-fan cooling, boosted clock speeds, and aggressive design with customizable RGB lighting. It’s definitely an excellent choice for anyone who wants their PC to drip in style. It’s also using a triple 8-pin power connector setup rather than the 12-pin connector NVIDIA has opted for.

MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080

Source: MSI
On the other hand, the NVIDIA Founders Edition RTX 3080 is far more understated, with dual cooling fans, a silver and black exterior, and simple (and expected) green logo lighting on the side. Its boost clock speed isn’t quite as high, but it also has a slightly lower TDP at 320W. Note that the Founders Edition measures 11.2 inches (285mm), while the MSI Gaming X Trio measures a hefty 12.7 inches (323mm). If you’re pressed for space inside your case, this could factor into your decision.

Ultimately, availability and price are going to play a massive role in your buying decision. If you want better performance and more style than the Founders Edition has to offer, MSI’s Gaming X Trio RTX 3080 is a fantastic choice at a higher cost. But if it’s sold out and you can still get your hands on a Founders Edition RTX 3080, it might be too tempting to hold off on the new hardware, especially if it comes at a lower price. If neither of these GPUs is really what you’re looking for, check out our other picks for best graphics card.

Aftermarket GPU

MSI Gaming X Trio RTX 3080

Strong performance from a big GPU

MSI’s Gaming X Trio brings a higher boost clock, customizable RGB, triple-fan cooling, and aggressive design to the RTX 3080. It’s going to cost more, but it’s worth it for those who want to squeeze the most out of their GPU.

Official NVIDIA Hardware

NVIDIA Founders Edition RTX 3080

The reference card for all RTX 3080 GPUs

NVIDIA’s Founders Edition RTX 3080 doesn’t have quite as high of a boost clock and doesn’t have as aggressive of style, but it should cost less and still deliver strong Ampere performance.

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