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.

Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

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

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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

No Caption Provided

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.

No Caption Provided

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!
Back To Top
199 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for Speranza318
Speranza318

Single card, that's pretty amazing performance.

I bought two 1080 for SLI, and although if I waited I would have got 2 1080ti in SLI, I am still more than happy with the performance I am getting at 4K or UHD (3440x1440). It's absolutely insane they released the ti for the same price as the 1080 hybrid, but that's the business.

Avatar image for bigblunt537
bigblunt537

@Speranza318: Do you think SLI is still worth it? Was put off when I was reading a lot of devs were releasing titles without SLI support.

Avatar image for lilkwarrior
lilkwarrior

@bigblunt537: Being a 980TI SLI owner for ~2 years, it's definitely worth it for VR gaming (GPU per eye) along with Ultra-wide 1440p & 4K gaming (productivity too; that's primarily the reason I have SLI)

Also DX12 & Vulcan have explicit multi-gpu features; Rise of the Tomb Raider enables 92% GPU scaling at least.

Avatar image for Speranza318
Speranza318

@bigblunt537: It's hard to tell. At this point I agree with the posters below - SLI is not worth it versus a very powerful single card because most games do not code for SLI/ games are not optimized for it.

With that said, Dx12 and new software is supposed to eventually allow for "added VRAM" using SLI. So the 8GBx2 will be 16GB of usable VRAM without the current problems with most games. The companies have to code for this, and we are at the mercy of them. In that case though -yes it will most certainly be worth it.

The games I own where current SLI shines are GTA 5, Witcher 3, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Fallout 4. 4K 60-100 FPS, no problems.

Avatar image for bigblunt537
bigblunt537

@Speranza318: While not as powerful I have 970's in SLI and mos tnew titles didn't gain much of a perofmrance incrase with the exception of The Witcher 3 and Tomb Raider. Forza didn't have any benefit at all. I may update to the new 1080TI, but I also may wait until the next round of cards to release and from here on out just get the best single card option unless they start coding for SLI again.

Avatar image for alexander_mark
Alexander_Mark

@bigblunt537: One really powerful card is probably better. I have 980ti 2-way SLI and while I get similar results at 4k for some games (Witcher 3), other games don't even support SLI - at launch or ever.

One 1080ti and you can comfortably reach 1440p in almost all games with 60fps.

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@bigblunt537: Given a choice of having one really powerful card vs two lesser cards in SLI, I'd opt for the more powerful card most of the time. Some games don't scale well to SLI and some games don't scale at all.

Staff
Avatar image for ftskamins
ftskamins

Launch Date 3/10/2916 a card from the future...

fix the spec chart

*****
...you fixed it!! :)

Avatar image for blkmac
BlkMac

@ftskamins: none of us will b here when this card releases

Avatar image for turok0
turok0

a step closer, but not there yet. I think we won't have really 4K-capable GPUs till 2020

Avatar image for Ravenlore_basic
Ravenlore_basic

@turok0: by then 8k display all the way.

Avatar image for charltonblake1989
charltonblake1989

@turok0: what is your definition of 4k capable?

Avatar image for off3nc3
off3nc3

@charltonblake1989: Simple getting 100 constant FPS with all settings at ultra/max. And that will probably happen next year with VOLTA.

Avatar image for blkmac
BlkMac

@off3nc3: r there 100fps 4k monitors?

Avatar image for off3nc3
off3nc3

@blkmac: are you trying to troll me ? or serious question ?

Avatar image for blkmac
BlkMac

@off3nc3: no seriously, r there?

Avatar image for Renunciation
Renunciation

@blkmac: Roughly speaking: half of all 4k TVs produced are 120fps.

The other half are 60fps.

So, yes: they exist.

Avatar image for blkmac
BlkMac

@Renunciation: i mean...i kno abt those. My 4KTV is 240 but it goes all crazy and screen tears its ass off, which is y i ended up gettin the PG27AQ from Asus. That G-Sync works wonders. I guess monitor-wise 60fps is all we get for now. Eh im ok with it

Avatar image for Renunciation
Renunciation

@blkmac: https://www.cnet.com/news/ultra-hd-4k-tv-refresh-rates/

Quote: Today's Ultra HD 4K TVs are all marketed with "motion," "action" and "clear" numbers that start at 240Hz and go up from there. They're all basically made up. Here's the real story.

Worth a look.

I've had a 55" 4K SUHD TV (240 "Motion Rate", but really 120hz) for months, and haven't had any screen tear issues. Seems as though you're happy with your Asus monitor for now, though.

Avatar image for blkmac
BlkMac

@Renunciation: i know what u mean with all that but my LG 4K straight says 240Hz. I need a Samsung 4KTV in my life tho.

Avatar image for charltonblake1989
charltonblake1989

@off3nc3: ahh okay fair enough. You have a higher standard than most

Avatar image for off3nc3
off3nc3

@charltonblake1989: I guess you can say that but if you truly want to experience the NEXT 4K leap you have to see it all maxxed/fluid :) cheers

Avatar image for asnakeneverdies
ASnakeNeverDies

That's impressive. I haven't updated since 2014, I'm just a dirty GTX980 peasant. Time to take a shower, and update! :')

Avatar image for Metalnoid
Metalnoid

@asnakeneverdies: Huzzah!!

Avatar image for off3nc3
off3nc3

@asnakeneverdies: just do it!

Avatar image for Intocable
Intocable

These comparisons should include Titan XP, that's the real competitor to the 1080ti in terms of specs....

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@Intocable: Nvidia doesn't consider the Titan XP a gaming graphics card, so we never got one to test against these GPUs. From what I've heard and seen online, the Ti is a little faster than the XP.

Staff
Avatar image for Intocable
Intocable

@jimmythang: Yeah maybe, but still the Titan X has been widely benchmarked for gaming and with the hefty price point it really makes a statement that is better to get the 1080ti. The same thing happened with the Maxwell Titan X.

Avatar image for SimplexPL
SimplexPL

@Intocable: But it's 1200$ so it would have to be much faster to be relevant. It makes more sense to compare with a card that previously cost the same amount as 1080Ti costs now - a 1080.

Avatar image for Intocable
Intocable

@SimplexPL: That's exactly my point, because it seems its comparable or even faster than the Titan XP, saw some benchmarks online already, so it should be relevant. It was obvious that it was gonna be faster than the 1080.

Avatar image for rabih55555
rabih55555

53% faster than GTX 1080 at 4K. THats impressive better than what Nvidia claimed

Who cares about 1080p resolution when you buy such video card?! If you play at that resolution then yes it will not be much faster than GTX 1080 (probably because of CPU bottleneck). 1080p should not be tested with this beast.

Avatar image for off3nc3
off3nc3

@rabih55555: Don't believe the HYPE until we see some more benchmarks .

Avatar image for joupena
Joupena

Is it much bigger than a GTX 980 Ti? My 980 Ti just barely fits in my PC case, which is freaking huge to begin with.. xD

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@joupena: For 4K, yes. If you game at 1080p or 1440p, the GTX 980 Ti is still a good card.

Staff
Avatar image for joupena
Joupena

@jimmythang: Well, I meant the actual size of the card itself, like if it's much wider or longer than a 980 Ti. xD

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@joupena: Oh, sorry, it's roughly the same size. I mention the dimensions of the card in my review: 10.5 inches by 4.3 inches.

Staff
Avatar image for joupena
Joupena

@jimmythang: Thanks. Might actually be smaller than the ASUS Strix 980 Ti that I have. Will have to see what kind of versions other companies make with this... factory defaults are always boring. xP

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@joupena: Heh. I hear ya, but the Founders Edition of the card is really fast, and you could always overclock it yourself.

Staff
Avatar image for Cartr1dgeBased
Cartr1dgeBased

wow the first 4k single card solution

Avatar image for SimplexPL
SimplexPL

@Cartr1dgeBased:

Titan X Pascal could be considered such a card, but it was crazily expensive.

Avatar image for Speranza318
Speranza318

@SimplexPL: And I think most of those benchmarks had custom waterblocks to OC the Titan XP for optimal performance.

Avatar image for ello432
ello432

Cool. I still think 11gb is a weird amount of memory.

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@ello432: According to Nvidia, they say it's what you kind of need for 5K. So I suppose it's a bit forward-looking.

Staff
Avatar image for Keitha313
Keitha313

@ello432: Must have their reasons, although I'll be damned If I can think of what it might be.

Avatar image for Daian
Daian

What a beast, for people with deep pockets 4k is now a realistic option.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@Daian: With a single card you mean :). It was still pretty realistic with just a single 1080 though especially overclocked.

Avatar image for jimmythang
jimmythang

@Daian: My thoughts exactly.

Staff
Avatar image for BassMan
BassMan

@jimmythang: Not really. While the average frame rate looks good on a game like BF1 at 4K, that does not represent the constant 60fps+ that people want. You really should start including detailed benchmarks with more of a focus on minimum frame rates, percentiles, and percentage of time above 60fps. Here is a quick article by one of your colleagues for reference:

http://www.pcgamer.com/why-minimum-fps-can-be-misleading/

Other games like The Witcher 3 don't even average 60fps at 4K. So, the 1080 Ti is still not a viable card for maxing games at 4K/60fps. You will have to scale back settings to achieve a good frame rate.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@BassMan: Most people put far too much AA level on 4k anyway.