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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Card Roundup

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is, for all intents and purposes, the company’s fastest desktop gaming graphics card - Titan Xp, the company's only faster (niche) card, costs ~60% more. The 1080 Ti employs a 12-billion-transistor GP102 processor sporting 3584 CUDA cores, 224 texture units, and 88 ROPs. A base clock rate of 1480 MHz typically accelerates to 1582 MHz under most gaming loads thanks to GPU Boost. And Nvidia’s partners tune those frequencies to differentiate their boards. An aggregate 352-bit memory bus hosts 11GB of GDDR5X memory able to move up to 484 GB/s of information.

In comparison, the vanilla GeForce GTX 1080 utilizes a much less complex GP104 GPU armed with 2560 CUDA cores, 160 texture units, and 64 ROPs. Its 8GB of GDDR5 memory is still high-end by today’s standards. However, you’re looking at the difference between smooth performance at 3840x2160 from GeForce GTX 1080 Ti and a card better suited to 1440p at maxed-out details in the vanilla 1080. You’ll pay about $200 more for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, but in a world now unfriendly to multi-GPU configurations, we recommend buying the fastest single-GPU solution you can afford.

How about the competition from AMD? Performance-wise, there is none. Radeon RX Vega 64 is more comparable to GeForce GTX 1080. At least for now, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is in a class unto itself.

So, if you’re looking for the best graphics performance available, let’s explore some of the available options and why you might consider one GTX 1080 Ti over another.


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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Graphics Cards

10/23/2017 Update: added the MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z (no award).


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Available GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards span a ~$150 range. So why would you consider spending extra when the least-expensive models are already brutally fast? The reasons are loosely interrelated: clock rates, cooling, advanced features, and aesthetics.

You see, Nvidia’s reference specification calls for a base GPU frequency of 1480 MHz. But GP102 can run faster. So add-in board partners experiment with more aggressive settings. A 5% or 6% increase means higher frame rates. And when you’re already looking at top-of-the-line, extra performance isn’t cheap.

Overclocked GPUs generate more heat, creating stability and reliability issues. As a result, the pursuit of performance goes hand-in-hand with upgraded cooling. Some manufacturers turn to triple-slot heat sinks and fans, while others integrated liquid cooling. Along the way, they strive for improved acoustics using larger, slower-spinning fans or beefy radiators.

All of the surface area introduced by these substantial thermal solutions becomes an ideal canvas for decoration. Enter the elaborate fan shrouds, the configurable RGB lighting, and the LCD read-outs.

In the end, you’re left to decide whether Nvidia’s reference specs are good enough, or if you’re willing to pay for a bit more guaranteed performance, the cooling to keep an overclocked config stable, and maybe a little eye candy. Our reviews dig deep into the strengths and weaknesses of each individual implementation, allowing you to choose the attributes that matter most in a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.

The final analysis of each board is listed below for quick and easy reference (top-awarded cards appear first, and graphics cards with the same award are listed alphabetically):

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB OC Edition

Moderate power target
Relatively light weight
Hardly any coil whine
External fan connectors
RGB output for LEDs
More expensive than competing GeForce GTX 1080 Tis
Oscillating fan noise
VRM cooling not optimal

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB OC Edition


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EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Gaming

Dual-slot form factor
Well-implemented (asynchronous) cooling and acoustics
Unique nine-sensor temperature monitoring
Much more expensive than Nvidia's Founders Edition version
Triple-slot competition is generally faster/quieter

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Gaming


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Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G

Faster than Founders Edition
Quiet
Exceptional cooling concept
Theoretical 375W power limit
$50 more than Founders Edition
Bundled software not great for overclocking

Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G


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MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11GB

Fast
Quiet
Well-built cooler
Large
Heavy
Expensive

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11GB


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Asus GTX 1080 Ti ROG Poseidon Platinum

Aggressive factory overclock
Flexible cooler
Minimal whine from chokes
External fan connectors
RGB lighting
Restricted liquid flow
Relatively expensive card
Low-frequency bearing noise
Heat pipe quality could be better

Asus GTX 1080 Ti ROG Poseidon Platinum


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MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z

High factory GPU Boost frequency
Very good thermal solution
Quiet fans
Hardly any coil whine
Lots of RGB effects to choose from
External sensors
Power consumption
Near non-existent availability
Inaccessible pricing
Very heavy
High starting fan pulse
High power consumption

MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z


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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder's Edition

Fastest graphics card available
Attractive price versus Titan X
Centrifugal fan exhausts waste heat
Temperature-limited
Not as quiet as some board partner designs

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder's Edition


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Zotac GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition

Factory-overclocked GPU and memory
Massive heat sink and coolers
Excellent build quality
One of the lower-priced 1080 Tis
Insufficient cooling on VRMs
Louder than competing GeForce GTX 1080 Tis
VRM noise

Zotac GTX 1080 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition

  • wikiwikiwhat
    I got the ROG STRIX version and I love it to death.
    Reply
  • mr0000000000
    Why was something like the MSI Lightning/X/Z omitted?
    Reply
  • TEAMSWITCHER
    You really need to show a picture of each card mounted in the same case. I would like to know which cards sag and which do not. There is nothing more annoying that building a clean looking case, and then seeing the video card not parallel with the desktop. It looks bad.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    20282475 said:
    Why was something like the MSI Lightning/X/Z omitted?

    The MSI Lightning Z was just added.
    Reply
  • subZEROx264
    I think you need to add performance per dollar chart so it can help people to decide more easily.
    Reply
  • Umeed
    The FTW3 Gaming model is shown here to have 3 display, 3 hdmi....but I can only find it with 1 hdmi and 3 display on Amazon, which model comes with 3 HDMI?
    Reply
  • Darkbreeze
    How is this a roundup? Roundups generally include a comparison of all the reviewed models. Seems like more and more we just have marketing summaries, not actual hardware comparisons.
    Reply