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The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition Review

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition Review

As the drumbeats of the AMD Vega graphics cards got louder and louder, NVIDIA introduced their ultimate Pascal-based gaming graphics card – the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti – to take them on. What’s astounding is that the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is really a faster variant of the NVIDIA TITAN X at a massive discount!

Read our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card, and find out why we think it deserves our coveted Editor’s Choice Award!

Updated @ 2017-11-01 : Revamped the entire review, and added new benchmark results comparing the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti against the new AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 graphics cards, as well as the Radeon RX 580.

Originally posted @ 2017-05-17

 

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Specifications Comparison

This table compares the specifications of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) against the TITAN X (Pascal) and the previous-generation GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

SpecificationsNVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN XNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 TiNVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
GPUNVIDIA GP102NVIDIA GP102NVIDIA GM200
CUDA Cores358435842816
Textures Per Clock224224176
Pixels Per Clock968896
Base Clock Speed1417 MHz1480 MHz1000 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1531 MHz1582 MHz1075 MHz
Texture Fillrate317.4~342.9 GT/s331.5~354.4 GT/s176.0~189.2 GT/s
Pixel Fillrate136.0~147.0 GP/s130.2~139.2 GP/s96.0~104.5 GP/s
Graphics Memory12 GB GDDR5X11 GB GDDR5X6 GB GDDR5
Graphics Memory Bus Width384-bit352-bit384-bit
Graphics Memory Speed1250 MHz1375 MHz1753 MHz
Graphics Memory Bandwidth480 GB/s484 GB/s337 GB/s
TDP250 W250 W250 W
Launch Prices$1,200$699 (Founder's Edition)$649

For more specifications, please take a look at our Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide.

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Unboxing The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

This is our video showing the unboxing of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card (Price Check). This is exactly what you can expect if you purchase the Founders Edition card from NVIDIA.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition (Price Check) comes in a really nice cardboard box that doubles as a display stand. Not that anyone would actually leave the card there just for display!

Inside the box, you will find the following items :

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card (Price Check)
  • DisplayPort to DVI dongle / adaptor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Quick Start Guide
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Support Guide
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti case badge

Next Page > The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Up Close, Thermal Output & Noise Level

 

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The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Up Close

In this video, we are going to take a quick look at the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card (Price Check), and its faceted die-cast aluminium cooler.

Here are close-up pictures of the various aspects of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition graphics card (Price Check).

Unlike the GeForce GTX 1070 or GeForce GTX 1060, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti does not come with any dual-linked DVI port. It only has three DisplayPort 1.4 and one HDMI 2.0b ports. That’s where the DisplayPort to DVI adaptor comes in.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) has a TDP of 250 W, and requires both 8-pin and a 6-pin PCI Express power cables. It also supports the SLI HB (High Bandwidth) bridge for two-way SLI pairing.

 

Founder’s Edition Advantage

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The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition (Price Check) was designed to be the ultimate expression of NVIDIA’s gaming vision. Hence, they crafted it with premium materials and components, including a faceted die-cast aluminium-framed shroud for strength, rigidity and looks.

Aesthetics aside, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition comes with an improved cooler built around a radial fan and an improved aluminium heatsink. The new heatsink features vapour chamber cooling and has 2x the surface area.

It also boasts a 7-phase power design with 14 high-efficiency dual FETs for both GPU and memory power supplies. Coupled with a low-impedance power delivery network and custom voltage regulators, they deliver better power efficiency and overclocking headroom.

 

The Thermal Output

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) uses the NVIDIA GP102 GPU, which is fabricated on the 16 nm FinFET process. Thanks to the more efficient FinFET process, and the new NVIDIA Pascal architecture which is designed for power efficiency, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of just 250 W.

We recorded the peak exhaust temperature of the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, and compared it to the Radeon RX Vega 64 (Price Check) and Vega 56 (Price Check) graphics cards, as well as the older GeForce GTX 1070, GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon RX 580 graphics cards.

Note that these are not the recorded temperatures, but how much hotter the exhaust air is above ambient temperature.

Despite having a 15% lower TDP than the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Price Check), the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is a cooler-running card, producing 2.8°C cooler exhaust air than the previous-generation GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card. In fact, its peak exhaust temperature was just 2.6°C hotter than the exhaust air from the Vega 56 (Price Check) graphics card.

 

The Noise Level

Of course, the lower exhaust temperature might be due to a more powerful, and therefore, noisier, fan. Let’s see how noisy the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition fan really is…

In the video above, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition (Price Check) was recorded while it was running the 3D Mark Time Spy benchmark. As you can hear, the fan spools up quite a bit at times, but it is still quieter than the Vega 64 (Price Check).

Next Page > Benchmarking Notes, The 3DMark Benchmark Results

 

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Benchmarking Notes

Our graphics benchmarking test bed has the following specifications :

Operating System : Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit

Processor : AMD Ryzen 7 1800X processor running at 3.6 GHz

Motherboard : AORUS AX370-Gaming 5

Memory : 16 GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 memory (dual-channel)

Storage : 240 GB HyperX Savage SSD

Monitor : Dell P2415Q Ultra HD Monitor

We used the GeForce driver 385.41 for the NVIDIA graphics cards, and Radeon Software 17.9.1 for the AMD graphics cards.

 

3DMark DirectX 12 Benchmark (2560 x 1440)

3DMark Time Spy is the DirectX 12 benchmark in 3DMark. It supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition (Price Check) did very well in this DirectX 12 benchmark. It was 35% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64 (Price Check), 54% faster than the Vega 56 (Price Check), and 64% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070!

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3DMark (1920 x 1080)

For Direct 11 performance, we started testing the graphics cards using 3DMark at the entry-level gaming resolution – 1920 x 1080.

Due to the relatively low resolution, this is a CPU-limited test for many high-end graphics cards. Even so, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti did well, delivering scores that were 26% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 43% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070, and 58% faster than the Vega 56.

 

3DMark (2560 x 1440)

We then took 3DMark up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s take a look at the results!

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) pulled away with the higher resolution. At 1440p, it was 30% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 48% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 64% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

3DMark (3840 x 2160)

This is torture, even for the new AMD Vega 64 and Vega 56 graphics cards, but this is definitely the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti’s domain!

At this resolution, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) was 28% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 45% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 63% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

Next Page > Ashes of the Singularity & Total War: Warhammer Benchmark Results

 

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Ashes of the Singularity (1920 x 1080)

We tested Ashes of the Singularity in the DirectX 12 mode, which supports the Asynchronous Compute feature. We started with the full HD resolution.

At this resolution, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) was 3.3% slower than the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check), and 4.5% slower than the Vega 64 (Price Check). The two AMD Vega cards have a big advantage in AOTS, thanks to its support for Asynchronous Compute.

 

Ashes of the Singularity (2560 x 1440)

We then took Ashes of the Singularity up a notch to the resolution of 2560 x 1440. Let’s see how the cards fare now…

At 1440p, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) was virtually equal to the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 in performance, and just 2.5% faster than the Vega 56.

 

Ashes of the Singularity (3840 x 2160)

Finally, let’s see how the cards perform with Ashes of the Singularity running at the Ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160.

Only at the 4K resolution did the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti pull away from the two AMD Vega cards. Even so, it was just 4% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, and 16% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56. It completely outclassed the GeForce GTX 1060 and the Radeon RX 580, beating both by 75%!

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Warhammer (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

All six graphics cards were so fast, they were CPU-limited at this resolution. But we can already see that support for Asynchronous Compute gave the new AMD Vega cards a major performance advantage. They actually beat the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti by 6-8%!

 

Warhammer (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At the 1440p resolution, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti pulled just ahead of the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check), beating it by 3.3%. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 (Price Check) was faster, but the performance gap dropped to just 3%.

 

Warhammer (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by Total War : Warhammer‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

Only at this 4K resolution did the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) show its true mettle. Suddenly, it was 41% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 60% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 65% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

It was also the only graphics card to deliver an average frame rate at or above 60 fps. If you want to play Warhammer at 4K in Ultra quality, this is definitely the card to use!

Next Page > The Witcher 3 & For Honor Benchmark Results

 

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The Witcher 3 (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) was really fast, delivering average frame rates in excess of 150 fps! This made it 37% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64 (Price Check), 55% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check), and 61% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

The Witcher 3 (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

All the cards took a massive hit in frame rate with the resolution boost to 1440p. But the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was the only card capable of delivering an average frame rate in excess of 100 fps. In fact, its minimum frame rate was higher than the average frame rate of all the other cards in the comparison!

At this resolution, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was 48% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 65% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 71% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

The Witcher 3 (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in The Witcher 3.

The 4K resolution in The Witcher 3 is really tough on graphics cards, virtually halving their frame rates. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) remained strong though. It was the only card to deliver an average frame rate in excess of 60 fps at this resolution.

Astoundingly, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was 53% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 72% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 76% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070 at this resolution.

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For Honor (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

Even at 1080p, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) delivered eye-popping results, with an average frame rate of 170 fps. Its minimum frame rate was actually higher than the average frame rate of the other graphics cards in this test!

At this resolution, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was 39% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64 (Price Check), 58% faster than both Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) and GeForce GTX 1070.

 

For Honor (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

At this resolution, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was the only card to achieve an average frame rate in excess of 100 fps. It was 43% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 63% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 68% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

For Honor (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, recorded by For Honor‘s internal DirectX 12 benchmark.

The 4K resolution in For Honor is a real frame rate killer. Even the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was not able to deliver an average frame rate of 60 fps, although it came close. In fact, it is the only graphics card you can consider if you want to play For Honor at the 4K resolution.

At this resolution, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) was 48% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 66% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 74% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

Next Page > Mass Effect: Andromeda Benchmark Results, Our Verdict & Award

 

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Mass Effect: Andromeda (1920 x 1080)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

At this entry-level gaming resolution, all six cards did well, delivering average frame rates far in excess of 60 fps. Notably, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check), GeForce GTX 1070, Radeon RX Vega 64 (Price Check), and Radeon RX Vega 56 (Price Check) are so fast, their frame rates never dropped below 60 fps.

Thanks to Asynchronous Compute and the CPU limit at this resolution, the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 was 7% faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Even the much cheaper Radeon RX Vega 56 was just 4% slower than the GTX 1080 Ti.

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda (2560 x 1440)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

With the jump in resolution, every graphics card took a massive hit in their frame rates. But the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) registered only a slight dip in frame rate. This allowed it to overtake the Radeon RX Vega 64.

At this resolution, it was 26% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 35% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 44% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

 

Mass Effect: Andromeda (3840 x 2160)

This chart shows you the minimum and maximum frame rates, as well as the average frame rate, that FRAPS recorded in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

When the resolution was increased to 4K, even the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) took a large hit in its frame rate. Even so, it managed to deliver an average frame rate just shy of 60 fps.

At this extremely high resolution, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was 48% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 63% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 72% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

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Our Verdict & Award

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) is the ultimate desktop gaming graphics card you can buy today.

Built on the NVIDIA GP102 GPU, it is actually a faster variant of the NVIDIA TITAN X. Both the TITAN X and the newer TITAN Xp are US$ 1,200 cards designed for deep learning and machine learning. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, on the other hand, is meant for gaming, and it has no real competition.

As our benchmark results show, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is in a class of its own when it comes to 4K gaming. At that resolution, it was, on average, 38% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 64, 55% faster than the Radeon RX Vega 56, and 63% faster than the GeForce GTX 1070.

In most games, it will deliver average frame rates in excess 60 fps even at the 4K resolution of 3840 x 2160. It does so well at 4K gaming that it would be a real shame if you don’t pair it with a 4K Ultra HD monitor.

Thanks to the NVIDIA Pascal architecture and the 16 nm FinFET fabrication technology, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti was not just much faster than its predecessor (the GeForce GTX 980 Ti), it actually ran cooler and quieter. Surprisingly, it also used less power and produced less heat than the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, which was fabricated on the smaller 14 nm FinFET process.

What is probably most amazing though is the value proposition. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) is actually faster than the NVIDIA TITAN X, but costs just over half as much. Of course, this is part of NVIDIA’s price rationalisation, designed to make their cards more competitive against the AMD Vega onslaught.

For its unchallenged performance lead and greatly improved value proposition, we think the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (Price Check) deserves our Editor’s Choice Award. If 4K gaming is what you are aiming for, you can’t go wrong with this card! Great job, NVIDIA!

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