Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Pascal Review

Power Consumption Results

Test Setup

If you'd like to read more about our power testing setup, check out The Math Behind GPU Power Consumption And PSUs. We're also adding two more measurement series' with 500ns and 10ms time intervals to meet any challenges GPU Boost 3.0 might throw at us. Also, our current clamps were recalibrated for accuracy and speed.

Our test equipment hasn't changed, though.

Power Consumption

Test Method
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
Real-Time Infrared Monitoring and Recording

Test Equipment
2 x Rohde & Schwarz HMO 3054, 500MHz Digital Multi-Channel Oscilloscope with Storage Function
4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZO50 Current Probe (1mA - 30A, 100kHz, DC)
4 x Rohde & Schwarz HZ355 (10:1 Probes, 500MHz)
1 x Rohde & Schwarz HMC 8012 Digital Multimeter with Storage Function
1 x Optris PI640 80Hz Infrared Camera + PI Connect

Before we get going, we’d like to note that power consumption measurements at idle always pose a challenge. Even an empty desktop might see sporadic load fluctuations. Consequently, we use a long-term measurement and then choose a representative two-minute sample for our test.

Please note that the minimum and maximum states in the following tables don’t always occur at the same time. This is why the individual numbers for the rails don’t necessarily add up to the total for all of the rails.

Idle Power Consumption

Idle power consumption looks great. Altogether, our measurements indicate 6.8W. Some of this goes toward the fan, the memory and the voltage converters, which means that we’re probably looking at approximately 5W for the GPU alone. That's a fantastic result.

 MinimumMaximumAverage
PCIe Total0W
16W
4W
Motherboard 3.3V0W
0W
0W
Motherboard 12V1W
13W
3W
Graphics Card Total
1W
27W
7W

Gaming Power Consumption

The numbers get more interesting as we measure power consumption while running a loop of Metro: Last Light at Ultra HD. After the graphics card warms up to a toasty 84 degrees Celsius (10 degrees under its thermal threshold), power consumption registers 173W. Prior to the warm-up phase, we were seeing 178W, which is the limit defined in Nvidia's BIOS. In other words, the company was right on with its 180W TDP rating.

Next we compare the GeForce GTX 1080 to its predecessor, Nvidia's reference GeForce GTX 980. In the same loop, the older board consumes 180W. Now, Nvidia promises that GPU Boost 3.0 yields improved power delivery with fewer voltage fluctuations. Here's the direct comparison:

Spikes above 300W are a thing of the past. Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 barely has any, whereas they were a lot more frequent on the 980. Overall, even though these cards post almost identical averages, the GeForce GTX 1080’s curve is both smoother and more dense.

For those of you who enjoy the gory details, you'll find them in the following picture gallery:

 MinimumMaximumAverage
PCIe Total5W
273W
133W
Motherboard 3.3V0W
0W
0W
Motherboard 12V15W
62W
40W
Graphics Card Total
24W
311W
173W

Our analysis shows that only about 40W comes from the motherboard's slot. Meanwhile, the eight-pin auxiliary power connector supplies 133W of its 150W rated maximum. This means that power consumption through the PCIe cable won't be an issue. After all, we never saw any problems from Nvidia's Quadro M6000 when that cable had to supply 170W.

Gaming Power Consumption With Overclocking

Now let's switch to gaming under the highest overclock we could achieve with our GeForce GTX 1080 sample. Getting there required setting the power target to its 120% maximum and increasing the base clock to facilitate a 2.1GHz GPU Boost frequency.

It comes as no surprise that consumption rises 19% from 173W to 206. That's not particularly good news for enthusiasts concerned about their eight-pin power connectors, but it's still a fairly realistic goal that shouldn't cause any damage to your hardware.

 MinimumMaximumAverage
PCIe Total25W
342W
158W
Motherboard 3.3V0W
0W
0W
Motherboard 12V20W
72W
48W
Graphics Card Total35W
392W
206W

A more detailed efficiency comparison should boards from Nvidia's partners with better-performing coolers. So, at this point, we're limiting ourselves to a brief overview.

Currently, the scaling of clock rate, power consumption and gaming performance at different loads looks like this:


FPS (Original)
Power (Original)FPS (OC)Power (OC)
Increase in FPS
Increase in Power
Metro Last Light @ UHD:
54.1
173W
58.8
206W
+8.6%
+19.1%
Metro Last Light @ FHD:
145.0
166W
154.3
191W
+6.4%
+15.1%
Thief @ UHD:
59.2
170W
64.8
200W
+9.5%
+17.7%
Thief @ FHD:
109.9
146W
116.2
164W
+5.7%
+12.3%

Stress Test Power Consumption

Let’s explore what happens when the GPU really heats up, forcing the card to enforce its power target.

Our 176W result lands just under Nvidia's power limit. The card does have to pull its clock rates by quite a bit to keep power consumption at this level during a stress test, though. This is equally due to the temperature limit and the PWM controller’s power limit.

 MinimumMaximumAverage
PCIe Total
10W
172W
128W
Motherboard 3.3V0W
1W
0W
Motherboard 12V21W
64W
48W
Graphics Card Total
31W
224W
176W

Bottom Line

The 180W boundary is never crossed without overclocking. In fact, exceeding it would be impossible according to the engineers we asked. We repeatedly double-checked our results using different intervals, and the only measurement that gave us somewhat higher readings was 10ms interval (likely due to the measurement being less accurate).

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206 comments
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    Top Comments
  • xenol
    Quote:
    Exactly, but it seems like nvidia instructed every single outlet to bench the Reference 1080 only against stock Maxwell cards, which is honestly bullshit - pardon. I bet an OCed 980Ti would come super close to the stock 1080, which at that point makes me wonder why even upgrade now, sure you can push the 1080 too, but I'd wait for a price drop or at least the supposed cheaper AIB cards.

    The thing is not every card is OC'd to the same level, and some cards won't OC to the highest level of performance you can get. Stock is the only way to keep things fair because every card can do at least stock or better, but not every card can OC to the same level.
    25
  • tical2399
    Anonymous said:
    performance wise, no comment. Price wise, really? if the 1080 costs 700 @ launch, the 1080ti, or whatever, will cost how much? 1000? then the Pascal Titan 1500? I dont like the road we are heading, really.


    The 1080 costs 600 at launch, that extra 100 is the suckers price that nvidia is charging for day one people. They are charging 100 because they know most are stupid enough to pay it. The actual price is 600
    16
  • crisan_tiberiu
    performance wise, no comment. Price wise, really? if the 1080 costs 700 @ launch, the 1080ti, or whatever, will cost how much? 1000? then the Pascal Titan 1500? I dont like the road we are heading, really.
    15
  • Other Comments
  • toddybody
    These power consumption charts are making me cross eyed :/
    11
  • JeanLuc
    Chris, were you invited to the Nvidia press event in Texas?

    About time we saw some cards based of a new process, it seemed like we were going to be stuck on 28nm for the rest of time.

    As normal Nvidia is creaming it up in DX11 but DX12 performance does look ominous IMO, there's not enough gain over the previous generation and makes me think AMD new Polaris cards might dominate when it comes to DX12.
    9
  • slimreaper
    Could you run an Otoy octane bench? This really could change the motion graphics industry!?
    1
  • F-minus
    Seriously I have to ask, did nvidia instruct every single reviewer to bench the 1080 against stock maxwell cards? Cause i'd like to see real world scenarios with an OCed 980Ti, because nobody runs stock or even buys stock, if you can even buy stock 980Tis.
    5
  • cknobman
    Nice results but honestly they dont blow me away.

    In fact, I think Nvidia left the door open for AMD to take control of the high end market later this year.

    And fix the friggin power consumption charts, you went with about the worst possible way to show them.
    4
  • FormatC
    Stock 1080 vs. stock 980 Ti :)

    Both cards can be oc'ed and if you have a real custom 1080 in your hand, the oc'ed 980 Ti looks in direct comparison to an oc'ed 1080 worse than the stock card in this review to the other stock card. :)
    6
  • Gungar
    @F-minus, i saw the same thing. The gtx 980Ti overclocks way better thn 1080, i am pretty sure OC vs OC, there is nearly no performance difference. (disappointing)
    0
  • toddybody
    Quote:
    @F-minus, i saw the same thing. The gtx 980Ti overclocks way better thn 1080, i am pretty sure OC vs OC, there is nearly no performance difference. (disappointing)


    LOL. My 980ti doesnt hit 2.2Ghz on air. We need to wait for more benchmarks...I'd like to see the G1 980ti against a similar 1080.
    3
  • F-minus
    Exactly, but it seems like nvidia instructed every single outlet to bench the Reference 1080 only against stock Maxwell cards, which is honestly bullshit - pardon. I bet an OCed 980Ti would come super close to the stock 1080, which at that point makes me wonder why even upgrade now, sure you can push the 1080 too, but I'd wait for a price drop or at least the supposed cheaper AIB cards.
    -11
  • FormatC
    I have a handpicked Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce at 1.65 Ghz in one of my rigs, it's slower.
    6
  • WildCard999
    I have to say i'm a bit disapointed with 4K performance even though its better then the 980ti/Titan X I still wouldn't consider it a 4K GPU. I would like to see a follow-up review for SLI since the bandwith has nearly doubled with the new bridges.

    "So why does the card still have two connectors? Using new SLI bridges, both connectors can be used simultaneously to enable a dual-link mode. Not only do you get the benefit of a second interface, but Pascal also accelerates the I/O to 650MHz, up from the previous generation’s 400MHz. As a result, bandwidth between processors more than doubles."
    8
  • xenol
    Quote:
    Exactly, but it seems like nvidia instructed every single outlet to bench the Reference 1080 only against stock Maxwell cards, which is honestly bullshit - pardon. I bet an OCed 980Ti would come super close to the stock 1080, which at that point makes me wonder why even upgrade now, sure you can push the 1080 too, but I'd wait for a price drop or at least the supposed cheaper AIB cards.

    The thing is not every card is OC'd to the same level, and some cards won't OC to the highest level of performance you can get. Stock is the only way to keep things fair because every card can do at least stock or better, but not every card can OC to the same level.
    25
  • CraigN
    Why did you cap Witcher 3 at 60 FPS?

    Sure, it has some inconsistent performance, but it's a bit meaningless for the 1440p benchmark to see it just smack up against the wall with the Titan X and 980 Ti when you could have let them off the leash to at least see the maximum gains you would get from it, like you did for every other game in the review.
    2
  • Badelhas
    Nice review, congrats! But what about including tht HTC Vive on your benchmarks? If you talk about the VR benefits, you have to show them in graphs!
    12
  • tical2399
    Not enough reason to move fro my 980 ti. I don't even think that the 1080 ti will do 4k 60 in all games. I'll probably just wait another year and a half or so to 2 yeafrs for 1180 ti or whatever it will be
    0
  • FarmerFran
    Currently the 1080 is priced pretty close to the 980ti. Within ~100ish. So if you recently purchased a 980ti then an upgrade might not be worth it.
    2
  • crisan_tiberiu
    performance wise, no comment. Price wise, really? if the 1080 costs 700 @ launch, the 1080ti, or whatever, will cost how much? 1000? then the Pascal Titan 1500? I dont like the road we are heading, really.
    15
  • tical2399
    Anonymous said:
    performance wise, no comment. Price wise, really? if the 1080 costs 700 @ launch, the 1080ti, or whatever, will cost how much? 1000? then the Pascal Titan 1500? I dont like the road we are heading, really.


    The 1080 costs 600 at launch, that extra 100 is the suckers price that nvidia is charging for day one people. They are charging 100 because they know most are stupid enough to pay it. The actual price is 600
    16
  • FarmerFran
    Like all things inflation... the pricing seems to be set right with the 900 series.
    1
  • chaosmassive
    Quote:
    Seriously I have to ask, did nvidia instruct every single reviewer to bench the 1080 against stock maxwell cards? Cause i'd like to see real world scenarios with an OCed 980Ti, because nobody runs stock or even buys stock, if you can even buy stock 980Tis.


    Nvidia : My card, my rules
    4