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Intro

With 2,560 processing cores and 8 GiB of 10 GHZ GDDR5X video RAM, the GeForce GTX 1080 is the flagship of the Pascal NVIDIA video cards. Let’s test it!

The most recent generation of NVIDIA video cards, based Pascal architecture, was launched in May 2016. At first, were launched the GeForce GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070. Later, they launched the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GiB (which we already tested), the TITAN X (the most high-end of the series), the GTX 1060 3 GiB, and finally the entry models GeForce GTX 1050 e GTX 1050 Ti, also already reviewed at Hardware Secrets.

The GeForce GTX 1080 is based on the GP104 chip, manufactured under 16 nm technology. This is the same chip used on the GTX 1070, with the difference that on the GTX 1080 all the 2,560 cores are enabled, while on the GTX 1070 there are only 1,920 enabled cores.

This chip works with GDDR5 memory running at 8.0 GHz (on the GTX 1070) or with GDDR5X running at 10 GHz (on the GTX 1080), with 256-bit bus in both the cards. The TDP on the GTX 1080 is 180 W.

We tested the GeForce GTX 1080 “Founders Edition”, which is the reference model offered by NVIDIA itself. Video card manufacturers like ASUS, Gigabyte, Zotac, Galax, EVGA, etc, can offer custom models. Curiously, the “Founders Edition” is more expensive than the custom models (USD 699 vs. USD 599 MSRP), even if the technical specs are, in theory, the same: 1,607 MHz clock base, 1,733 MHz turbo clock and 8 GiB of GDDR5X VRAM at 10 GHz with 256 bits bus, presenting a bandwidth of 320 GiB/s. Some custom models can, however, bring higher clocks (and prices).

Just like its less expensive sisters, the GeForce GTX 1080 supports SMP (Simultaneous Multi-Projection) technology, which is useful for Virtual Reality applications, and the Ansel technology, which allows to capture an in-game high-resolution picture with any camera position and even 360 degrees.

The GeForce GTX 1080 supports SLI technology, that combines the processing power of two or more identical video cards.

Figure 1 shows the GeForce GTX 1080 FE video card.

GeForce GTX 1080 reviewFigure 1: the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition

As the GeForce GTX 1080 can be found starting from USD 600, there is no direct competitor from AMD; the most high-end video card based on AMD chips, like the Radeon Fury X, cost around USD 400.

Unfortunately we have not other high-end video cards like the Radeon Fury X or the GeForce GTX 980 Ti on the moment we tested the GTX 1080 to make a direct comparison.

So, we decided to benchmark the GeForce GTX 1080 against the Radeon R9 390 and the GeForce GTX 1060, which are two video cards from the high/mainstream segment, to have an idea of the performance of the GTX 1080. Keep in mind, however, that the cards included in this comparison are not direct competitors to the GTX 1080.

In the table below, we compare the main specs from the video cards we included in this review. Prices were researched at Newegg.com for this article.

Video card

Core clock

Turbo clock

Effective memory clock

Memory bus

Memory bandwidth

Memory

Processing cores

TDP

DirectX

Price

GeForce GTX 1080 FE

1,607 MHz

1,733 MHz

10.0 GHz

256 bit

320 GB/s

8 GiB GDDR5X

2,560

180 W

12.1

USD 600

GeForce GTX 1060 FE

1,506 MHz

1,708 MHz

8.0 GHz

192 bit

192 GB/s

6 GiB GDDR5

1,280

120 W

12.1

USD 250

Radeon R9 390

1,020 MHz

6.0 GHz

512 bit

384 GB/s

8 GiB GDDR5

2,560

275 W

12

USD 250

Now let’s take a closer look to the tested video card.