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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review: The New Gold Standard

We review NVIDIA’s newest GPU

NVIDIA has a pretty solid track record when it comes to releasing a new permutation of their GeForce GPUs. The first wave of a new architecture show off the raw power of the hardware, and a year or two later the company announces tweaked versions of the cards with a Ti suffix that denotes better performance and thus better value. While the new GeForce GTX 1080 Ti don’t necessarily make the previously released Pascal GPUs obsolete, it’ll make people think twice about buying a GTX 1080.

That’s because the GTX 1080 Ti is simply the better of the two cards, both on paper and in performance. Short of buying their new Titan Xp graphics card, the GTX 1080 Ti is currently the top dog when it comes to consumer GPUs.

Unremarkable exterior

NVIDIA’s Founder’s Edition cards have typically been boring affairs visually, and the GTX 1080 Ti is no exception to that rule. It sports the same die-cast aluminum cooling shroud with a single fan, low-profile backplate and copper vapor chamber. There’s not much in the way of LED lighting, save for the one behind the GeForce GTX branding on the side with the requisite green lighting.

The shard design of the card isn’t for everyone, but no one can deny its branding prowess – you’re not going to mistake the design for anybody else’s anytime soon. Personally we like the card’s simple and elegant design.

NVIDIA has tweaked the layout of connections on the rear of the card, removing the antiquated DVI port, which leaves users with just HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. While the removal of the DVI port will leave a few users annoyed, it’s for the greater good – the space freed up by removing it allows the card to have double the airflow compared to a Founder’s Edition GTX 1080, thanks to an increase in exhaust area.

The card also has a new seven-phase 2x dual-FET power design for better power delivery and efficiency, and the GTX 1080 Ti has a 250W TDP via its 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connector.

As fast as the Titan X at almost half the price

NVIDIA’s newest and baddest card uses the same Pascal architecture as the company’s previous top dog, the Titan X. The GP102 GPU on the GTX 1080 Ti has the exact same amount of CUDA cores enabled, and has a higher base clock compared to the Titan X at 1480MHz. Probably the only thing that the Titan X has over the GTX 1080 Ti is slightly more VRAM – 12GB compared to 11GB on the GTX 1080 Ti. While we’re on the topic of memory, know that the GTX 1080 Ti has faster memory speed for its GDDR5X VRAM, at 11GHz.

Owners of NVIDIA’s Titan X cards who paid the patently ridiculous $1,200 street price when they were first launched are probably miffed that a card that’s almost half the price has the equivalent performance, at least on paper. Then again, the Titan X wasn’t meant for gamers when it was launched.

Plug and play, in ultra settings

So, does the GTX 1080 Ti manage to improve over the regular GTX 1080? Absolutely. From what we saw in our benchmark tests, the GTX 1080 Ti managed to outperform the GTX 1080 at least 20%, in some cases even 30%. That’s great news for people who’ve been planning to pull the trigger on a top-of-the-line video card from NVIDIA and haven’t bought a GTX 1080 before. People who did buy GTX 1080’s are probably fuming right now since the GTX 1080 Ti will cost roughly the same as the GTX 1080 when it first launched, with a suggested MSRP of $699 (Php 35K).

Just like before our test system comprises of an Intel Core i5 6400 Skylake processor, an ASUS B150M Pro Gaming motherboard, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD and a 5TB 7200RPM HDD.

While we weren’t able to score a 4K display to test the GTX 1080 Ti’s performance in that particular resolution, know that other outfits have thoroughly tested the card and found that the GTX 1080 Ti’s performance to be more than enough for general 4K gaming. The card is also a great performer in VR because of its raw number crunching abilities – expect to blow through most VR titles without any issues whatsoever.

Probably our only gripe with the Founder’s Edition GTX 1080 Ti that was lent to us was it tended to run hot. In a 28 degree room, we recorded temperatures as high as 86 degrees running the Haven benchmark. We had to tweak the fan settings of the card so that it operated in a safer sub 75 degree temperatures while gaming.

Verdict: The new king of the hill

NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 Ti is undoubtedly one of the fastest video cards that you can buy today, the new Titan Xp notwithstanding. What’s even better is that it has the same price as the regular GTX 1080 when it first launched a few months ago, at $699 (Php 35K). Unfortunately you’ll have to shell out quite a bit more for the card here in the Philippines, with prices starting at 38.5K for a Founder’s Edition card. NVIDIA has also cut the price of the regular GTX 1080 to just $500, but again you’ll have to trawl sites like TipidPC.com to find a card that’s within NVIDIA’s MSRP.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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