Gigabyte hasn’t even let the dust settle after announcing the GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming before launching an even more impressive card this week, the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming edition.
Gigabyte’s Xtreme Gaming line of products represent the pinnacle of the company’s offerings. We had the chance to thoroughly test the GTX 950 Xtreme Gaming last year, and early this year we posted our evaluation of the GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming--and both offerings impressed us. Now Gigabyte is back with another Xtreme Gaming edition card powered by Nvidia’s mighty Pascal GP104.
Gigabyte hasn’t revealed the clock speed that the overclocked GPU will ship with, but the card is clearly built for overclocking. The GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming features a custom PCB design with two 8-pin power connectors for higher power delivery. Gigabyte’s Xtreme Gaming edition cards come equipped with "premium-grade components" and an "aerospace-grade PCB coating" to protect the circuitry from dust, moisture and corrosion. This card also features a large heatsink with three fans and six copper heatpipes and a full-cover backplate to keep it cool.
Gigabyte’s former flagship, the GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming, introduced a new fan configuration for the company’s Windforce cooler. The middle fan in the tri-fan cooling solution was designed to spin in reverse, which lowers turbulence and helps create more direct airflow through the card. The GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming builds on that concept by adding Windforce Stack Cooling, which features a recessed middle fan that lets the outer fans overlap its blades. This concept allowed Gigabyte to included 100mm fans on the Windforce cooler without dramatically extending the card length.
Gigabyte said the three 3D Active fans feature a double ball-bearing and sickle fan blade design tuned for air intake. The fans blow air through an array of fins with an angular design. The shape of the fins is designed to increase the cooling efficiency by up to four percent. The middle fan in the stack features a unique blade with a relief for the outer fan’s blades.
In addition to the overclocking features, Gigabyte appears to be positioning the GTX 1080 Xtreme Edition as a top choice for VR enthusiasts. We already know that Nvidia’s latest flagship has been designed with VR-specific enhancements, but Gigabyte has taken it one step further. The company followed EVGA’s lead by installing additional internal-facing HDMI ports onto the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming’s PCB, which can be used to route video outputs to the front of your case. The company has also built an accompanying drive bay attachment called the VR-Link drive bay that features two HDMI ports and two USB 3.0 ports for your VR HMD.
The rear of the card maintains the traditional three DisplayPort, one HDMI, and one DVI connection. We suspect some of the rear I/O is disabled when the front ports are in use, though.
The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming is all about performance, but it's not all serious business. The company introduced RGB lighting effects on the GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming last year. The feature has made a return with the new flagship, but the presentation has changed. The 980Ti featured RGB rings behind the fans, but the 1080 features an illuminated X across the center fan of the card. It also has an illuminated Gigabyte logo on the top and a light that indicates when the fans aren’t spinning at all. Each of those lights is customizable between a variety of colors and lighting profiles.
Gigabyte has not yet announced the pricing and availability for the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming edition card, but the company did say there will be two different bundles for the card. You’ll be able to pick up a standalone GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming card, or you can opt for GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming Premium Pack, which includes the card, a high-bandwidth SLI bridge, the VR-Link drive bay and an optional HDMI extension bracket that mounts in an expansion slot. Gigabyte said the package also includes a sweat band and a mouse pad.