NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti review: This is the card you want for 4K gaming
A closer look at the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
This is GP102
Although its name suggests that it is simply a more powerful version of the GeForce GTX 1080, NVIDIA’s latest card actually has more in common with 2016’s Titan X. It is based on the same GP102 Pascal GPU and ships with very similar specifications – 3,584 CUDA cores, 28 Streaming Multiprocessors (SMs), and 224 texture mapping units.
But while the Titan X featured a 384-bit memory bus width thanks to 12 32-bit memory controllers, NVIDIA has gone with just 11 of these 32-bit controllers, giving a narrower 352-bit bus width for the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Why not go with the full 12? That's likely due to the need to differentiate the card from the Titan X from a business standpoint. However, the interesting thing is that the 1080 Ti still has a marginally higher memory bandwidth than the Titan X – 484GB/s versus 480GB/s – because of its more aggressively clocked memory. NVIDIA has cranked the card to 11, quite literally, and there’s 11GB of 11,000MHz GDDR5X memory on board. This is second-generation GDDR5X memory from Micron, and the refined design allows for the higher memory clocks.
According to NVIDIA, modern games at 4K resolutions are already starting to test the limits of current generation GPUs with 8GB of memory, so the extra dollop of memory will also help the new card hold its own at higher resolutions.
The new card boasts higher clock speeds over the Titan X as well, to the tune of a 1,480MHz base clock and 1,582 boost clock, although the card is actually capable of going above the latter figure in demanding scenarios.
However, because each 32-bit memory controller is also bound to eight render output units (ROPs), the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has 88 ROPs compared to the Titan X’s 96.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the card’s specifications (the number of TMUs and ROPs don't appear to be accurately reflected yet):
Meet the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition
Like most of its other 10-series cards, NVIDIA is introducing a Founders Edition (the missing apostrophe makes a non-appearance again) model of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti that shows off the familiar faceted design found on other Founders Edition cards.
For all the bells and whistles that come with custom cards from NVIDIA’s partners, there’s no denying that the Founders Edition models are perhaps the best looking of them all. Its diecast aluminum body feels impeccably crafted, and a metal backplate protects the PCB. The backplate itself also has a removable section that NVIDIA says helps improve airflow in an SLI configuration by widening the gap between the two cards.
The card relies on a copper vapor chamber and a large dual-slot aluminum heatsink for cooling. The blower-style fan exhausts hot air out the back of the card, so heat won’t be dumped back into your case. Apparently, the tweaked cooler is also quieter and cooler (up to 5 degrees Celsius) than a GeForce GTX 1080 for the same power load. We'll see how this pans out in our tests later.
However, compared to the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, NVIDIA has also made some tweaks to the card’s design to accommodate the more power-hungry GP102 GPU. Its power supply now features a 7-phase dual FET design for a total of 14 high-efficiency dual FETs capable of delivering up to 250A of power to the GPU. In the way of power connectors, you'll need one 8-pin and one 6-pin PCIe connector.
Another change is the display connector bracket, where NVIDIA removed the DVI connector usually located below the DisplayPort and HDMI connectors. This has allowed it create a larger exhaust for hot air to be expelled. To make up for the loss of the dual-link DVI connector, NVIDIA has included a DVI to DisplayPort adapter so you don’t have to worry about buying a new cable.
The remaining display connectors are pretty standard, comprising three DisplayPort 1.4 ports and a HDMI 2.0b connector.