Feature Article

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the fastest graphics card we’ve ever tested.

When Nvidia released its GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card last May, it blew me away. It was by far the fastest GPU I’d ever tested. It outperformed 2015’s $1,000 Titan X and often eclipsed two GeForce GTX 980s in SLI. With the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, Nvidia asserts that its new graphics card performs 35 percent faster than the GTX 1080. This would make it the biggest performance leap a Ti card has offered over its base model. It’s a lofty claim that I’ll test in this review.

Nvidia asserts that its new graphics card performs 35 percent faster than the GTX 1080.

Design

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti uses the same external chassis as the GTX 1080 before it. It’s still a two-slot card that’s 10.5 inches long and 4.3 inches tall. The Founders Edition of the card, which I’m reviewing here, still uses a radial cooler. Like the GTX 1080, you can remove a portion of the back plate to improve airflow in compact SLI setups. Nvidia did remove the DVI port this time around to provide more cooling surface area for the GPU. This leaves you with three DisplayPort connections and one HDMI port. The box does come with a DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter, however.

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The GTX 1080 Ti has a much higher 250-watt TDP than the GTX 1080’s 180-watt equivalent. As a result, the Ti features a six-pin and eight-pin power connector. Nvidia recommends a 600-watt PSU to power the card.

Specs

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is like a souped-up version of the GTX 1080. It’s still based on a 16nm FinFET production process and is based around Nvidia’s power-efficient Pascal micro-architecture, but has more of almost everything. It has more CUDA cores, texture units, and video RAM. The only area where it lags behind is in core and boost clock speeds. See comparative spec chart below.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 TiNvidia GeForce GTX 1080Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060AMD Radeon RX 480
CUDA Cores/Stream Processors35842560192012802304
Texture Units22416012080144
ROPs8864644832
Core Clock1480MHz1607MHz1506MHz1506MHz1120MHz
Boost Clock1582MHz1733MHz1683MHz1708MHz1266 MHz
Memory Clock11Gbps GDDR5X10Gbps GDDR5X8Gbps GDDR58Gbps GDDR57/8Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width352-bit256-bit256-bit192-bit256-bit
VRAM11GB8GB8GB6GB4/8 GB
Transistor Count12B7.2B7.2B4.4B5.7B
Teraflops11.348.96.53.85.8
TDP250W180W150W120W150W
Manufacturing Process16nm FinFET16nm FinFET16nm FinFET16nm FinFET14nm FinFet
ArchitecturePascalPascalPascalPascalGCN 2.0
GPUGP102GP104GP104GP106Polaris 10
Launch Date3/10/20175/27/20166/10/20167/19/201606/29/16
Launch Price$699$599/$699$379/$449$249/$299$200/$240

Note: These are the cards I’ll be testing the GTX 1080 Ti against. Specs like stream processors, CUDA cores, and core clocks, etc. should only be used as a frame of reference against other cards within the same GPU family for any apples-to-apples comparisons.

Here's a photo of the GTX 1080 Ti's exposed GPU and PCB.
Here's a photo of the GTX 1080 Ti's exposed GPU and PCB.

Arguably the biggest bump Nvidia has added to the Ti is the extra 3GB of GDDR5X video RAM, which brings the total VRAM to 11GB. The company also incorporated equalization and optimization techniques to boost the video memory frequency from the GTX 1080’s 10Gbps solution to 11Gbps for the Ti. Coupled with this larger frame buffer, the GTX 1080 Ti has a beefier 352-bit memory interface, which allows peak memory bandwidth to top out at 484GB/s.

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is like a souped-up version of the GTX 1080.

Benchmarks

To ensure benchmarking consistency, I’m using the same system that I used to review the GTX 1080, 1070, 1060, and RX 480. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i7-5930K Haswell-E CPU clocked at 3.9GHz, coupled with 16GB of DDR4 RAM clocked at 2133MHz running in quad-channel mode.

To provide the widest data set possible, I’m going to test the card against all the aforementioned graphics cards using the same suite of synthetic, VR, and game benchmarks. These tests encompass three resolutions (1080p, 1440p, and 4K). I also ran each benchmark at their respective max settings to really put the cards through their paces.

I’ve also added a chart for newer titles or games that don’t have built-in benchmarks at the tail end of each section below. These segments aren’t meant to compare the GTX 1080 Ti against other cards, but to give you a real-world snapshot of how the GPU handles an assortment of newer games. I used FRAPS to record average frames-per-second data whenever a built-in benchmark was not available.

1080p Benchmarks

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Starting things off, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti performs 30 percent better than the GTX 1080 in this synthetic DirectX 11 test. While this represents the largest lead that the Ti has over the GTX 1080 at 1080p, it falls short of Nvidia’s 35 percent improvement claim. But, *spoiler warning* you’ll notice the Ti pull ahead more at higher, more graphically demanding resolutions.

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In the Unigine Valley synthetic graphics benchmark, the Ti outperforms the GTX 1080 by 11 percent. While that’s a definitive win for the Ti, it represents a more modest gain.

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In the Tomb Raider benchmark at 1080p, the Ti outperforms the GTX 1080 by three percent, which is underwhelming. If there’s any consolation prize, it’s that the card still got an incredibly high 175 average FPS, which is higher than most high-refresh rate monitors.

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Surprisingly, the GTX 1080 outperformed the Ti by 3.8 percent here. This is the only test in my suite of benchmarks where the GTX 1080 was able to beat the Ti. That’s not a huge loss, and the Ti was still able to produce an incredibly high 154.5 average FPS, but it’s still a loss. At this relatively low resolution, it’s possible that this Unreal Engine game simply isn’t graphically grueling enough to bring the best out of the Ti, which allows the GTX 1080's slightly higher clock speeds squeak out the win. You’ll notice the tide start to change at higher resolutions.

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Shadow of Mordor is slightly more graphically demanding than BioShock Infinite. At 1080p, the Ti was able to beat the GTX 1080 by 20.2 percent.

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Metro Last Light is the most graphically taxing benchmark in our stable. Regardless, it approached nearly 100 average FPS here, which gives it a 22.6 percent lead over the GTX 1080.

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As you can see from the results, the GTX 1080 Ti has no issues running some of the latest and most graphically demanding games at 90 FPS average and above.

1080p Conclusion

While the Ti greatly falls short of Nvidia’s lofty claims for the card at 1080p, my results ultimately show that the card is still grossly overkill for standard HD panels. The DX12 version of Rise of the Tomb Raider represented its stiffest test, but even with everything maxed out, it was still able to run at over 90 average FPS.

1440p Benchmarks

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In Unigine Valley, the Ti increased its lead over the GTX 1080 from 30 percent at 1080p to 34.8 at 1440p. This puts it inline with Nvidia’s assertion of 35-percent performance improvement over the non-Ti version.

No Caption Provided

Whereas the Ti only beat the GTX 1080 by three percent in Tomb Raider at 1080p, at 1440p, the Ti was able to increase its lead to 21.8 percent.

No Caption Provided

As you may recall, the GTX 1080 narrowly beat the Ti at 1080p. The tables turn at 1440p, however, with the Ti taking a 10.5 percent lead. That’s still not a huge performance jump, but it’s indicative that the Ti needs to be pushed to show its true potential.

No Caption Provided

With a 143.3 average FPS, the Ti outperforms the GTX 1080 by 35.7 percent. This puts it right inline with Nvidia’s performance claim.

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Metro Last Light at 1440p gives the Ti its biggest performance lead yet with a 38.8 percent advantage over the GTX 1080. This allows the GPU to produce a higher-than-60 average FPS.

No Caption Provided

The Ti was able to run every single game here above an average 60 FPS with the highest settings enabled, with the exception of Rise of the Tomb Raider. There, it averaged frame rates in the mid to high 50s, which is still highly playable.

1440p Conclusion

Unless you’re running a high-refresh rate monitor, the GTX 1080 Ti is largely overkill for 1440p. The extra performance headroom shows that the card is better suited for even higher resolutions. At 2560x1440, it should be able to max out every single game you throw at it with smooth frame rates.

Unless you’re running a high-refresh rate monitor, the GTX 1080 Ti is largely overkill for 1440p.

4K Benchmarks

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Moving up to 4K (3840x2160p), the Ti’s potential really comes into view with its 47.5 percent lead over the GTX 1080 in Tomb Raider. This is a lead we haven’t seen at lower resolutions.

No Caption Provided

BioShock Infinite gave the GTX 1080 Ti its stiffest test at 1080p and 1440p, and while that’s still the case at 4K, with its 36.9 percent advantage over the 1080, it’s inline with Nvidia’s performance assertion for the card.

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Whereas the GTX 1080 slightly missed the 60 FPS average threshold, the GTX 1080 Ti had no issues averaging above 80 FPS. This represents a 39.8 percent win for the Ti.

No Caption Provided

Up until now, no GPU has been able to garner an above 30 FPS average in the graphically-demanding Metro Last Light benchmark at 4K. The GTX 1080 Ti is the first card to break this barrier. With its 36.3 average FPS, it outperforms the GTX 1080 by 88 percent. It took me several runs to accept this fact. It’s possible the that Ti’s larger, faster frame buffer may have removed a performance bottleneck and allowed the GPU to leapfrog the competition. To add more perspective, the Ti was 118 percent faster than the GTX 1070, which is incredibly fast in its own right. It was also over 200 percent faster than the GTX 1060, and was 290 percent as fast as AMD’s RX 480. That’s crazy.

Up until now, no GPU has been able to garner an above 30 FPS average in the graphically-demanding Metro Last Light benchmark at 4K. The GTX 1080 Ti is the first card to break this barrier.

No Caption Provided

The GTX 1080 Ti is able to max out Battlefield 1 at 4K with above 60 average FPS. Rise of the Tomb Raider is the only game to make its average FPS dip below 30, though it did get relatively close in what is a not-very-well-optimized port.

4K Conclusion

4K really allows the GTX 1080 Ti to flex its muscles. Other than unoptimized ports, it should be able to max out the most graphically-demanding games with playable frame rates. This is an incredible accomplishment for a single graphics card.

VR Test

No Caption Provided

In Valve’s SteamVR Performance Test, the GTX 1080 Ti produced a 20462 score. This is the highest score I’ve ever seen in this benchmark. The Ti beats the GTX 1080 by 47 percent here, which was the best VR card that I’ve tested up until this point.

GTX 1080 Ti Temperatures, Noise, and Overclocking

Running the Unigine Valley benchmark at 1440p, the GTX 1080 Ti stayed super quiet, though its temperatures did get moderately warm hitting 84 degrees Celsius. This is six degrees C shy of the card’s thermal limit.

In terms of overclocking, Nvidia asserts that the card’s core clock can reach over 2GHz. On stage at GDC 2017, company CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed the card hitting a 2038MHz core clock, a 5603MHz core clock with a 66 degree C GPU temperature. I attempted to recreate those results.

To do this, I cranked the card’s fan to 100 percent. While that makes the card blisteringly loud, I wanted to mitigate any thermal bottlenecks. Using EVGA’s Precision X overclocking software, I also set power voltage to 120 percent and added an additional 20 percent of over voltage for added stability. With these metrics, I was able to reach the exact same clock speed and temperatures running Unigine’s Valley benchmark.

While it did increase my average frame rate, it only boosted performance by 2.4 percent. Your mileage may vary depending on the game/application. In general, your overclocking results will vary as all GPUs, even those within the same SKU, overclock differently.

Conclusion

When I take the average of my 16 benchmarks, the GTX 1080 Ti performs 30.2 percent better than the GTX 1080. That’s lower than Nvidia’s lofty 35 percent claim, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is a card that’s geared for higher resolutions, like 3840x2160p. At 4K, the Ti beat the GTX 1080 by a stunning 53 percent in my tests.

No Caption Provided

The GTX 1080 Ti shattered nearly every benchmark I threw at it while being a very quiet card. At $699, it isn’t cheap, but it’s still a great value given the performance.

The GTX 1080 Ti should be able to max out the most graphically-demanding games at 4K with playable frame rates.

If you told me last year that we’d get a card this fast by now, I would have called you crazy. As I noted in my GTX 1080 review in 2016, I thought it wouldn’t be until Nvidia’s Volta GPU micro-architecture that we’d get a card that could truly handle 4K this well. The GTX 1080 Ti proved me wrong. It’s that good.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

jimmythang

Jimmy Thang

Hi! I'm Jimmy Thang and I'm GameSpot's Tech Editor!
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mlauber

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So is my GTX 980 considered trash now?

It was cutting edge just a year ago. Man technology moves fast.

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wr3ckloose_

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@mlauber: does it still play your games to your liking?

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mlauber

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@wr3ckloose_: well, call me crazy, but I mainly play on my PS4 and Xbox at the moment. I will occasionally play Forza Horizon 6 in the computer room on the PC. But something about playing on the big screen and comfort of the living room.

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wr3ckloose_

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@mlauber: i know what you mean. I have a htpc and play games with my son on a 200 inch screen (projector) now that im older, its kind of a dream come true. Stuff i wished for when i was a kid but couldn't buy. But i only do that for fighting games and side Scrollers. Some fps games. But games with fast movement and accuracy, im on my high tech rig on a monitor with the good ol mouse and keyboard.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@mlauber: I still have one new in the box, just never got around to using it :) . Have a 980ti at the moment. Been looking at 1080ti but still undecided as i only have a 1440p Gsync display not 4k for PC.

Plus just not in the mood to spend money upgrading a pc when i am hopefully buying a new car at the end of the year. My car will only be 18 months old but i like this new one alot at least based on the motor show.

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lilkwarrior

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@deviltaz35: Being a 980TI SLi owner, 1080TI is the way to go for 1440p *ultra-wide* owners at least; it'll maximize their hardware until 4K/5K ultrawide monitors begin to show up.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@lilkwarrior: Good point. I couldn't get into ultrawide though personally. Just takes up too much desk real estate.

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lilkwarrior

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@deviltaz35: Respectfully understand; I'm personally a 34", 100hz G-Sync 1440p Ultra-wide monitor user.

I can't go back from it (I'll only update for 4K/5K ultrawide w/ HDMI 2.1 & Dolby HDR) but it definitely takes a lot of space.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@lilkwarrior: Would be good if i had the space :)

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xCREEP1NGDEATH

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@mlauber: still a great 1080p, 1440p card. But the 1080 was out last year, so not sure how 980 was considered that a year ago.

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mlauber

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@xcreep1ngdeath: yeah, you're probably right. I may be getting my timing messed up. I just remember buying my computer 13 months ago and not even hearing about the 1080 until a couple of months after I bought it.

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devilmaycryyyy

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Definitely a great gpu, but as much as I really wanna buy it, something is telling me to wait for Vega. It's just a few months from now!!!

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naryanrobinson

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Edited By naryanrobinson

I'm happy enough with 144fps at 1080p.

Still not ready to shelve my GTX 970 though. When there's a card out that's 50% better than this at $400. That's probably when. I don't mind waiting a few years.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@naryanrobinson: 970 is not bad it's really just the lack of memory for high res textures that is a bummer with that card.

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deactivated-5bda06edf37ee

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@naryanrobinson: fyi; you're not even supposed to hit the framerate cap on gsync monitors. The 144hz basically means the maximum value until the gsync stops working.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@jwadecali85: lol you won't need SLI with this card unless you are insane and need over 60 fps in every single game at 4k . At least not yet there is good news. 120hz 4k is not far away complete with HDR . That would be incredible but it might take the next range of cards to reach anywhere near that goal.

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lilkwarrior

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Edited By lilkwarrior

@deviltaz35: You still need SLI for Ultrawide 1440p+ w/ high frame rates for great.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@jwadecali85: lol i dunno just not all that excited about PC cards anymore as there are just far too many of them in too short a time frame yet graphically without mods barely anything is worth spending that much money on.

I'll probably just keep my 980ti for a while longer yet.

I like looking at benchmark results etc but i found that was pretty much what i spent most of my time doing with the 980ti . Mostly just game on console.

I got it to go with my 144hz 1440p display and with gsync it is very smooth but then i found most PC games i was playing were point and click adventures anyway.

Rise of the Tombraider is probably the one standout title that recently i played on PC.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@jwadecali85: Cool, did you decide on which one yet?

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dragonix

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The real question remains : CAN IT RUN CRYSIS ?

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DaVillain-

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@dragonix: LOL this joke never get's old but it's always fun to say, will it run Crysis.

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Reuwsaat

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@dragonix: I'd love to see a Crysis benchmark with this card!

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@Reuwsaat: I am happy enough with 980ti for crysis lol.

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slickwilly06

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Ugh GameSpot take AA off on the 4k benches and repeat. Rise of the Tomb Raider is getting over 60 fps at 4k if that's ALL you do. Last Light is up there as well.

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jimmythang

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jimmythang  Staff

@slickwilly06: Contrary to popular belief, you can still spot jaggies at 4K. Users should feel free to tweak settings as they please, but I really wanted to push these cards to represent a worst-case scenario, so I used the maximum preset in each game whenever possible.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@jimmythang: Not with 8xMSAA you shouldn't :). It does depend on the engine though to be fair. Some are far worse than others.

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soheil_nassri

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Edited By soheil_nassri

@jimmythang: Exactly. The mistake these guys are making is that they sit in front of their 20 inches monitors and they claim there is no need for AA in 4K gaming. But when I play on my 48 inches TV it will definetly gives a better picture.

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TitanG1

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@soheil_nassri: True, but I never go for the max AA. I turn it on but I usually leave it at x2 or the lowest setting.

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toan8781

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Will it play Windows' Solitaire in 4k @ 60FPS?

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jimmythang

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jimmythang  Staff

@toan8781: Yes, but the frame rate dips whenever face cards show up on screen.

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mariokart64fan

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@jimmythang: and the ace of spade takes allot of horsepower lol

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csthomas888

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But can it run Fallout 4 in Boston at over 30 fps?

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Fedor

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@csthomas888: yes, plenty of GPUs can and do.

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csthomas888

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@fedor: Damn tell me which ones! My 980ti can't.

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Fedor

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@csthomas888: In fallout it's more than likely your CPU or your ram speed holding you back.

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csthomas888

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@fedor: I have an 5930k and Ripjaws IV Ram... My GPU is the only thing to reach 100% power output in Fallout 4, or ever actually.

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Fedor

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@csthomas888: Then I have no clue what's going on. You shouldn't drop below 60 at 1080p/1440p with those specs. What MHz is your RAM running at?

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csthomas888

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@fedor: To be honest I have no clue, I really hadn't thought to check RAM as I have 64GB and swore that couldn't be the problem.

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ASneakyPoptart

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Those 4K benchmarks makes me REALLY happy. I have a 1440p monitor and won't be making the jump to a 4K monitor until we can do stable 4K 120 fps gaming. We might get there by the time the 1180 Ti comes out.

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DEVILTAZ35

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Edited By DEVILTAZ35

@asneakypoptart: The monitors will be capable long before the single card is that is for sure :)

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Reuwsaat

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Launch Date3/10/2916

It seems it might take a little while to get this card lmao

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monkeyman22xx

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Edited By monkeyman22xx

@Reuwsaat: lol, they fixed it but it's still wrong.

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jimmythang

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jimmythang  Staff

@Reuwsaat: D'oh! It's that back ordered? :P

JK, I fixed it. Thanks.

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monkeyman22xx

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@jimmythang: The year is still wrong, lol. 2017

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rtehrani

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@Reuwsaat: one of the first things I noticed, also. Lol. No wonder it's so much faster!!

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cugabuh

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What's crazy is that this shows just how much they inflate the price of the Titan line. That or they are losing a boat load of money on the sale of each of these 1080ti cards.

It just shows based on the memory alone. Why the hell would they do 11gb of ram other than to make the Titan better in some way? Is an extra gb of memory really worth that much money? Simple answer: no.

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jimmythang

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jimmythang  Staff

@cugabuh: The Titan X is really geared more for compute tasks. I have a friend who does complex statistical work, and he says the Titan X is a crazy killer deal compared to the much more expensive Quadro GPUs.

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DEVILTAZ35

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@jimmythang: I have heard that but the new Titan X has that switched off doesn't it? The old one was a beast.

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cugabuh

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Knew I should have skipped my purchase of the GTX1080, but the open box price I got was just too good to pass up at the time ($550).

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Troll_Elite

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Edited By Troll_Elite

I wonder how Vega 10 is going measure up against this? Hopefully AMD reveals their specs soon, I'll need one of these flagships (either GTX 1080 TI, or Vega 10) to power my Vive.

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off3nc3

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Edited By off3nc3

I ain't buying this , 4K ready will happen next year MAYBE it's still too demanding and lowering/tweaking some settings still ain't worth. 1440p/MAXXED - 144hz MASTER RACE !

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jimmythang

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jimmythang  Staff

@off3nc3: Haha. I also value having a high frame rate above resolution.