The word "subtle" definitely doesn't come to mind when describing the appearance of Galax's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Hall of Fame (HoF) edition graphics card. Even its packaging starts out bold. The card itself is a real behemoth. Not only is it physically large, but it's heavy as well. Go big or go home, right?
Since the actual performance of any third-party card depends on the GPU Boost frequency it can sustain, and thus on cooling, power limits, and processor quality, any review that relies on bar charts is little more than a snapshot of a single specimen. That's why we're putting our emphasis on the actual implementation of each model. To that end, a lot of equipment goes into thoroughly documenting a graphics card's behaviors. If you'd like a peek at what goes into such an evaluation, check out our Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB Review. It makes for a good baseline on which Galax builds.
Unboxing, Dimensions & Interfaces
Galax packages this beast in a visually impressive box with two sideways-opening wings as cover. As you might imagine, this makes opening the HoF for the first time an intensely satisfying experience. But of course, it's what's inside that counts...
The bundle includes several accessories. However, for safety reasons, it would have been better off without the three Molex-to-eight-pin adapters. The combination of their 20-gauge wires and an inexpensive power supply could turn the installation into a fire hazard. And unnecessarily so, since the number of PCIe connectors you find on PSUs typically correspond to their real power output. No adapter is able to magically generate power where there was none before. If you're interested in a Galax GeForce GTX 1080 Ti HoF card, do the right thing and pair it up with a capable enthusiast-oriented PSU.
As a nice gimmick, the box comes with a so-called "LuminHold" made of acrylic glass. It provides additional RGB lighting, and can be screwed to the expansion slot and connected to the graphics card for direct lighting control. Galax's software for this is not included; instead, you'll need to download that separately. The pictured USB stick only holds the manuals as PDF files, as well as Nvidia's GeForce Experience utility.
With a hefty weight of 1.689 kg, an above-average length of 31.8cm (measured from the slot bracket's outer edge to the shroud's back), an extreme height of 14.5cm (from the top of the motherboard slot to the upper edge of the shroud), and a portly width of 5.4cm, this 2.5-slot form factor effectively gobbles up three expansion slots to become the largest card we've tested. Furthermore, the backplate requires another 0.5cm of clearance on the other side, which could affect enthusiasts with large CPU coolers.
Whether you like the shroud's mix of plastic parts is a matter of personal taste. The clean white look is still a relatively rare sight, though. To that end, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti HoF's appearance follows the established design of previous HoF cards. So, apart from the excessive dimensions, there are no real visual surprises.
The backplate is made of brushed aluminum, coated in black on the inside, and situated in such a way that it provides a passive contribution to the overall cooling solution.
Up top, you'll find a back-lit LCD and three eight-pin auxiliary power connectors. Those PCIe connectors are rotated by 180° and positioned at the PCB's end.
The black-and-white display has a rather low resolution. It is designed to either display just a logo, or (once the appropriate software is installed) clock rates, fan speeds, voltages, and more. The effect is certainly unique, though you'll want a windowed case to show it off.
Peeking into the top and bottom reveals that the cooler's fins are oriented vertically. They also reveal the absence of a real VRM heat sink, which would have helped with cooling.
Instead, Galax adds a mounting frame positioned between cooler and board. This frame is meant to provide both additional stabilization and cooling. Unfortunately, its actual implementation is not quite perfect. More on that when we dig into thermal analysis.
The end of the card reveals four 8mm heat pipes for the right part of the cooler structure. At this angle (and from the outside), a fifth 6mm bent heat pipe is not visible.
Galax exposes a fairly standard complement of one HDMI 2.0 output, three DisplayPort 1.4-capable connectors, and a dual-link DVI-D port. Of those five interfaces, a maximum of four can be used simultaneously in a multi-monitor setup.
A GPU-Z screenshot provides the most pertinent technical information, even if the GPU Boost values we observed were much higher than Galax's official specifications.
GTX 1080 Ti FE
GTX 1080 Ti
Hall Of Fame
GTX 1080 FE
GTX 980 Ti
|Base Clock Rate||1417 MHz||1480 MHz||1569 MHz||1607 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Boost Clock Rate||1531 MHz+||1582 MHz+||1683 MHz||1733 MHz+||1076 MHz+|
|Memory Size & Type||12GB GDDR5X||11GB GDDR5X||11GB GDDR5X||8GB GDDR5X||6GB GDDR5|
|Die Size||471 mm²||471 mm²||471 mm²||314 mm²||601 mm²|
|Transistors||12 billion||12 billion||12 billion||7.2 billion||8 billion|
|Streaming Multiprocessors (SM)||28||28||28||20||22|
|GFLOPS (Base Clock)||10,157||10,609||11,247||8228||5632|
|Texture Fill Rate||317.4 GT/s||331.5 GT/s||351.5 GT/s||257.1 GT/s||214 GT/s|
|Pixel Fill Rate||136 GPix/s||130.24 GPix/s||138.1 GPix/s||114.2 GPix/s||116.7 GPix/s|
|Memory Data Rate||10 Gb/s||11 Gb/s||11 Gb/s||10 Gb/s||7 Gb/s|
|Memory Bandwidth||480 GB/s||484.4 GB/s||484.4 GB/s||320 GB/s||336 GB/s|
Test System & Measurement Methods
We explained our test system and methodology in How We Test Graphics Cards. If you want to learn more about the procedures we're using in today's review, have a look at that story. In the time since it was published, we also upgraded our CPU and cooling system to rule out any possible host processing bottlenecks.
A short summary in table-form to provide a quick overview:
|Test Systems & Measurements|
|System||Intel Core i7-6900K @ 4.3 GHz|
MSI X99S XPower Gaming Titanium
Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3200
1x 1TB Toshiba OCZ RD400 (M.2, System SSD)
2x 960GB Toshiba OCZ TR150 (Storage, Images)
be quiet Dark Power Pro 11, 850W PSU
Windows 10 Pro (All Updates)
|Cooling||Alphacool Eisblock XPX|
Alphacool Eiszeit 2000 Chiller
2x be quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM (Closed Case Simulation)
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut (Used when Switching Coolers)
|Case||Lian Li PC-T70 with Extension Kit and Mods|
Configurations: Open Benchtable, Closed Case
|Power Intake||Contact-free DC Measurement at PCIe Slot (Using a Riser Card)|
Contact-free DC Measurement at External Auxiliary Power Supply Cable
Direct Voltage Measurement at Power Supply
2x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100kHz, DC)
4x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500MHz)
1x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function
|Thermography||1x Optris PI640 80Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect|
Real-Time Infrared Monitoring and Recording
|Acoustics||NTI Audio M2211 (with Calibration File, Low Cut at 50Hz)|
Steinberg UR12 (with Phantom Power for Microphones)
Creative X7, Smaart v.7
Custom-Made Proprietary Measurement Chamber, 3.5 x 1.8 x 2.2m (L x D x H)
Perpendicular to Center of Noise Source(s), Measurement Distance of 50cm
Noise Level in dB(A) (Slow), Real-time Frequency Analyzer (RTA)
Graphical Frequency Spectrum of Noise
MORE: Best Graphics Cards
MORE: All Graphics Content