NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti shootout: The fastest cards money can buy

By Koh Wanzi - 25 Dec 2017

Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G

Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G

Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition

Aorus’ take on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti stands out for its particularly thoughtful cooling system. The card is outfitted with three 100mm fans, but unlike the GALAX card, it manages to make the length more manageable by employing a stacked design. This is Gigabyte's premium gaming brand, much like ROG is to ASUS, so we'd expect nothing but top-notch performance and design here.

The middle fan is slightly recessed, and the other two fans overlap it, so they overall require less space. While this is still a fairly large card at 293mm long, any effort to make it less unwieldy is definitely welcome.

The WindForce fan in the center also spins in the opposite direction from the other two, supposedly to better optimize airflow.

We should also point out that this is one of the highest clocked cards of the lot, second only to the Zotac, with a 1,607MHz base clock and 1,721MHz boost clock

The metal backplate confers quite a lot of heft to the card, and it helps shore up the structural integrity of the PCB. The Aorus logo lights up when the card is powered on, and you'll be able to customize the effects using the Aorus Graphics Engine utility. 

In addition, there’s a large cutout on the backplate that exposes a distinctive copper plate. This copper plate sandwiches the GPU between it and a separate copper base plate that is in direct contact with the chip and VRAM. This two work in tandem to cool the GPU, so while the heatsink draws heat away from the GPU and VRAM, the copper plate helps dissipate heat from the back of the chip’s package.

Many base plates only make direct contact with the GPU and neglect the VRAM, so it's nice to see Gigabyte go with an extra-large one that extends to VRAM components as well. And because the base plate interfaces directly with the six heat pipes, the memory chips are able to benefit from active cooling. We really like this, and it's an improvement from half-hearted designs that force the VRAM chips to rely on thermal pads interfacing with the narrow heatsink fins for some measure of cooling. 

There is also further thermal padding on the metal backplate itself, which makes contact with select components on the PCB itself. As a result, it functions as more than just a structural support and actually helps with passive cooling by providing additional surface area for heat dissipation.

The voltage regulation components, chokes, and capacitors are cooled by the large heat sink fin array, and more thermal pads help interface between the latter parts and these crucial components. That's quite a large heat sink to tap on, and is definitely a plus for the Aorus card. One nice design decision is the inclusion of flattened areas to help increase the total contact area, which should make heat transfer more efficient in theory. 

This may also be the card to get if you have a VR headset, and it comes with a total of three HDMI ports, one of which sits at the front of the card. If you also run your monitor off HDMI and want to do VR, this could turn out quite useful.

Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G

You'll only be able to use either the DVI-D or HDMI2 port at any one time.

However, while Aorus is claiming a total of 12 phases for the GPU, there are just six real phases, and we once again see the use of phase doublers to create 12 control circuits. Two 8-pin connectors power the card, the same as almost everyone else.

The Fan Stop indicator on the side lights up when the fans stop spinning during less demanding tasks.

At S$1,290, the Aorus sits right in the middle of the pack in terms of pricing, and it manages to not ask for too much while still offering a compelling blend of valuable features.

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