Home / Computing / PC Component / Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review

By

Updated:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

1 of 22

GTX 1080 review
  • GTX 1080 review
  • GTX 1080 hero
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 2
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 3
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 1
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 4
  • Oculus Rift
  • GTX 1080 performance graphs
  • GTX 1080 performance graphs 1
  • GTX 1080 performance graphs 2
  • GTX 1080 performance graphs 3
  • GTX 1080 performance graphs 4
  • GTX 1080 performance graphs 5
  • GTX 1080 performance graphs 6
  • GTA V 1080 performance
  • MSI GTX 1080
  • MSI GTX 1080 Sea Hawk
  • Zotac GTX 1080 Amp Extreme
  • Zotac GTX 1080 backplate
  • Inno3D GTX 1080
  • Asus ROG XG Station 2

Summary

Our Score:

9

Pros

  • Fantastic performance
  • Great design
  • Highly overclockable

Cons

  • Doesn't hit 60fps in our 4K benchmarks
  • More expensive than previous generations

Best Deals for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

  • amazon
  • ebay

Key Features

  • New Pascal architecture
  • 8GB GDDR5X memory
  • 2560 CUDA cores
  • 1607MHz base clock speed
  • 320GB/s memory bandwidth
  • Manufacturer: Nvidia
  • Review Price: £620.00

What is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080?

The GTX 1080 is Nvidia's latest top-end graphics card, ready to take on this year's two-pronged assault of VR and 4K gaming. Its performance this year makes it by far the most powerful consumer level graphics card (ignoring the outrageous Titan X), and netted it our Graphics Card of the Year award at our 2016 Trusted Reviews Awards ceremony. Read on to find out how it achieved this.

If you’re wondering why Nvidia's made such an enormous song and dance out of a consumer graphics card launch, it’s because the company spent ‘billions’ on getting its new architecture to market and now has to make the numbers add up. Both financially and in GPU performance.

Since my original review of the GTX 1080, a lot’s changed. Nvidia has launched two more GPUs in the form of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1060, fully fleshing out its range of graphics cards.

While the performance of the GTX 1080 isn’t in doubt – and it’s still by far the most powerful consumer card on the market – you definitely don’t need to spend the £600+ on it if your ambitions for playing games don’t extend to the world of 4K and VR.

The 8GB, £400 GTX 1070 now offers the best compromise of performance and price if you’re after 1440p gameplay, and is also a handy performer with VR.

Meanwhile, the GTX 1060 is the lowest-priced Nvidia GPU you can buy if you want to get into the world of VR, although I’d still recommend you don’t drop below the 1070 to ensure future titles will play nicely.

My original review of the GTX 1080 continues below.

Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review

Related: Best graphics cards to buy in 2016

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 – Specs & Technology Explained

To explain why the new GTX 1080 is supposed to be so powerful, we have to talk tech and the GTX 1080 specs for a few paragraphs. If that’s not to your tastes, you can skip to our benchmarking tests on page two of this review.

Still with me? Good. Here comes the tech...

To boost performance and efficiency on the hardware side, Nvidia has moved on from its previous architecture, Maxwell, and introduced a new technique called Pascal. The key feature of Pascal is that it uses a smaller manufacturing process (16 nanometres versus 28nm), which means a greater number of transistors on any given piece of silicon.

Doing so increases performance with a much smaller effect on power consumption (and therefore heat and noise) than by simply increasing the number of transistors by using a larger piece of silicon.Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 4A diagram of the layout of the 1080 GPU. Count the CUDA cores

For you and me, where this really matters is that it allows for an increase in the number of CUDA cores, which do the bulk of the work. In the case of the GTX 1080, there are 2,560 of them, around a quarter more than the 2,048 on the GTX 980. Clock speeds are higher, too, with the number of clocks per second up from 1,126MHz to 1,607MHz. All this comes with a peak power draw increase of just 15W (from 165W to 180W) over the GTX 980.

Buy Now: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 at Amazon.co.uk (£619) | Amazon.com ($809.99)

Peak power draw for our entire test system was 286W, compared to 270W and 336W on the GTX 980 and GTX 980Ti respectively, and peak temperatures never went beyond 75 degrees on Nvidia’s fairly conservative low fanspeed preset.

Related: The best gaming PC specs you can build yourself

Even those used to big technological leaps can’t fail to be just a little impressed.

It’s not just the processing power that’s improved; we also finally see a new development when it comes to memory. The GTX 1080 uses GDDR5X memory – like the RAM in your PC or laptop, but much faster and more expensive – replacing the GDDR5 found in the previous generation of Nvidia GPUs.Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 2

With 8GB of memory versus 4GB in the GTX 980, a higher memory clock of 10,000MHz versus 7,000MHz, the GTX 1080 has 43% more memory bandwidth than the GTX 980. This means there’s more capacity for graphical data and that all of that data can move at a higher speed.

We now come to the physical hardware of the GTX 1080 itself. The Founders Edition card on review here is, let’s face it, probably not the product you’ll end up buying, and by the time you read this review there will probably be several third-party alternative GTX 1080s from the likes of Asus, MSI and EVGA available for less cash.

Still, if you pick up a Founders Edition card, you won’t be disappointed by its design. One member of the Trusted team commented that it looked like a ‘Decepticon disguised as a graphics card’. The sharp metal edges and angular design are certainly attractive and give the GTX 1080 a real sense of occasion. If that’s your sort of thing, you’ll be glad to have it in your rig.

Related: Meet Vulkan, the future of gaming

It’s quiet, too. The single fan might as well be silent – buried in your PC case, there will be plenty of other components noisier than your GTX 1080, although if you choose to overclock (more on that later), you’ll definitely hear it kicking up a fuss if you push too far. During normal use, though, even when running intensive VR titles for extended periods, I barely heard a peep out of it.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

In terms of ports, the GTX 1080 is fairly future proof. There's a single DVI port, an HDMI port and three DisplayPort connectors. The latter is where the future-proofing lies: whatever the final specification of DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 are, the GTX 1080 is ready, and will be able to push 4K content at 120Hz, 5K at 60Hz and 8K (yes, really) at 60Hz using two connectors.

The HDMI connector is version 2.0b, which can produce content in 4K at 60Hz.

The GTX 1080 will also support HDR gaming and video playback thanks to its ability to decode HEVC video.

On the software side, Nvidia has come on leaps and bounds when it comes to multi-monitor and VR support. Much of the new tech won’t make a difference to visuals or performance immediately, but once developers begin creating games that support Nvidia’s features, you'll notice a difference.

Related: Everything you need to know about Intel Core i processors

For example, there’s a form of what’s called asynchronous compute, which is a technology GPU fans have been talking about for the last few years. It’s something AMD has used to good effect in its last few generations of GPUs.

Async compute lets a GPU work on graphics and computing tasks simultaneously, effectively increasing performance by dint of both tasks, which need to be completed together, finishing sooner. Nvidia’s version is called ‘pre-emption’, which is slightly different, and instead of allowing tasks to be done simultaneously, it lets the GPU choose, at a more granular level, which tasks to prioritise.

Nvidia says that we won’t really feel the difference with most current games, but we’ll start seeing a difference when the new DirectX 12 standard becomes more common.

Watch: Your graphics card questions answered – #AskTrusted

There’s also a whole host of optimisations for VR, including Lens Matched Shading, which takes into account any given VR headset and doesn’t render pixels that won’t ever be seen by the user, saving computing power. There's also Simultaneous Multi Projection, which allows the GPU to render a scene in 16 different viewpoints. This is useful for a fair few pieces of Nvidia tech, including Single Pass Stereo which allows the GPU to render a scene in 3D just once, and then shift it slightly using one of the Simultaneous Multi Projection views it's already rendered.

This technique also helps with multi-monitor setups where the outer monitors are at an angle. Instead of the on-screen image appearing warped (because games assume three monitors are all in a straight line), developers can enable Perspective surround, so the outer monitors get a less warped-looking image.

Best Deals for Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080

  • amazon
  • ebay

Christopher Wortman

May 27, 2016, 4:43 pm

Nvidia had better step up it's game. As well as Intel. AMD is going to fire off some new Zen related stuff, and a new video card featuring HBM, while I am no fanboy and I have an Intel setup, I can see AMD taking back it's crown. Only the consumers win I guess.

Darrel

May 27, 2016, 11:14 pm

AMD hasn't had a "crown" in years, and it likely never will again. By the time they release their new line then the fact that they are still on DDR3 and PCIE 2.0 will bottleneck the systems, and as always AMD will be 3 steps behind Intel and Nvidia. Additionally the processors from AMD are hardly worth looking at considering it takes a 240w 8 core space heater(Which is the best they have) to even compare to a quad core i7 6700k. To insinuate that HBM will put them ahead of Nvidia is ridiculous considering they do not even have the hardware capabilities to take advantage of it.

Christopher Wortman

May 28, 2016, 4:20 am

too bad the new AMD chipsets support ddr4

shadowhedgehogz

May 28, 2016, 8:42 am

Considering the 980Ti is close to stock 1080 there really isn't much in it when you OC the 980Ti compared to the 1080, the pricing is extremely stupid on the 1080.. you can buy a used 980Ti for over 200 cheaper than a 1080 that is only 10-20% slower overall when both are oced.

Nvidia really ripping people off, i think when the 1080Ti comes prices will be a bit better because of the competition from AMD with Vega.

paalo sordoni

May 28, 2016, 5:58 pm

Future-proof always makes me laugh.

Wow Really?

May 28, 2016, 6:34 pm

Back when I was in High School 15-ish years ago. AMD was the way to go their processors were cheaper and in some cases performed really well. Alot of things have changed since 2000-2001 AMD processors are great for low budgets systems and perform admirably well but cant compete with Intel on most levels.

As far as graphics go in 2006 ATI saw the writing on the wall they just couldnt compete with the GTX line. So they sold the company to AMD and its really been mediocre since then. Its been at least 10 years since AMD or ATI could say they had the better product.

I'd say wait for both to see how it goes, however if you want to game now go with NVIDIA you wont be sad that you did. The chances that AMD will be better are very slim and even if its close AMD will cost more as they usually do.

Starman3482

May 28, 2016, 8:02 pm

Having played all of the major Vive games I can say I'm going to hold out upgrading my 980 Ti Zotac until the next card after the 1080, not really feeling any performance problems in any games with that and an i7 6700. I'm tempted but I'm just not having any performance issues yet.

Sandscourge Skarner

May 29, 2016, 12:44 am

What at the end of the year with Vega? After the market has been picked clean for months at an enthusiast level? Sounds like a great business plan.

Granted they could be amazing GPUs when released however the crown is already going out the door.

Personally I'd love to see Nvidia lose a bit of market share to get competition heated back up, however at this point it's been consistently sliding out of AMD's grasp for a good few years.

Munchy

May 29, 2016, 1:11 pm

if amd go buy the last 12 years I used them then these cards will be super hot and super loud, that's the main reason I moved to NVidia, low power very quiet 970 g1 running awesome sause. I no longer just got for the higherst fps but it helps lol.

Munchy

May 29, 2016, 1:13 pm

haha nice, duron and thunderbird days lol, I was amd cpu for years but when I went back to intel with a 6600 quad go step I felt the difference in reliability straight away, ive been and probably will be intel for ever now.

Buddydudeguy

May 29, 2016, 9:29 pm

You do what, till it turns WHAT color? For how many jelly beans??

mike dar

May 30, 2016, 1:29 pm

Not near the improvement I hoped for going into the 1080 series with only 256 bus and 25** Cudas.
Might even have to wait for a new MB needed modeling for GPUs before justifying changing out my TitanXs.
While this 1080 is a step up for gamers, a little, I don't see the associated consumers from rendering getting much excitement with the 1080, I know I'm not feeling any buzz.
Well, maybe for a 1080X that significantly picks up the pace with Cuda counts and bandwidth.

jq747

May 31, 2016, 2:40 am

I hope you're right. The only thing worse than a duopoly is a monopoly.

Eric Wi

May 31, 2016, 6:55 pm

AMD was the first to release a product using HBM unfortunately still not faster.

Jack Awf

May 31, 2016, 9:36 pm

Typical response from someone who owns TitanX's in SLI. Definitely no bias there.
Fact of the matter is, the 1080 is generating stupid amounts of interest and founders edition cards are now backordered for months. You know why? because people who are interested are upgrading from older cards and didnt buy excessively expensive cards at the end of their architecture life, then compare it to the base model of a brand new architecture to justify it.

adryyy

June 1, 2016, 10:33 am

You forget TDP

David Wilson

June 1, 2016, 11:22 am

Will these " video cards" eventually replace eCards?

mike dar

June 1, 2016, 11:36 am

Jack, so Typical , the 'stupid amounts of interest' originated in believing a larger bus and cuda count was coming.
This card is just another small step forward.. without a bus or cuda as expected.. maybe an "X" variant will come with those solved..
till then, play with your video game and maybe the standard of the "x' always being towards the end of a series development will come true.
The next set that doesn't use DDr5 might be something helpful and seems to be the lynchpin..
Any way, disappointed... and SLI isn't needed for me.. hence bus and cuda needed.

Nabi

June 1, 2016, 4:48 pm

Coming from a G1 980 TI, the 1080 doesn't seem a worthwhile upgrade. If the price was more reasonable, maybe.. Don't screw previous gen users by sending out faulty drivers to force them to buy the newer cards Nvidia.

FrankVVV

June 1, 2016, 9:20 pm

But, it will be future proof for a few months :)

FourEyedGeek

June 2, 2016, 10:04 am

Not all bad, I'm still rocking 2 x 7950's. On release they matched NVIDIA 580's, after AMD improved their drivers or NVIDIA drivers hampered performance, they are now equal to 680s. Still very playable in gaming and a great choice at the time.

Alex Walsh

June 2, 2016, 10:24 am

The 1080 is only high end in terms of relative performance against the old range. Yes, it's faster than a 980Ti and a Titan X, but considering there is inevitably going to be a 1080Ti and a Titan equivalent down the line, it's perhaps more useful to compare the 1080 to the card it directly replaces- the 980. At some point, the 1080 will be the bottom rung in the enthusiast top tier, if that makes sense.

980s were £500 at launch and while you can pick up some of the third party 1080s for £560 (I've seen some aggressive pre order prices on HUKD), by and large the 1080s are around the £600 mark. That's a 20% price jump at launch over the previous generation,and that is disappointing.

spawntohell

June 2, 2016, 11:31 am

I tottaly agree i was in my 20's then duron and athlon 3200 where great, i had ati till it got joined with amd got bought or whatever and ever since i coukd not jump back to the red team as price per buck got crap. Amd ati used to be the way to go price performance, few fps but literally half the price of intel or nvidia, that segment used to be entusiast area... Where profesionals who could use intels power as amd was mainstream and gaming... I still hope in a come back with zen and vega tho...

janon

June 4, 2016, 5:46 pm

Yeah I totally agree. These reviews keep saying "HUGE GAIN" 20% higher gps at 4k and STILL not hitting 60 fps isn't "huge" anything for 700 relative to a 980ti

Sure for people still sitting on a 580 it's great, but 980ti owners should wait

janon

June 4, 2016, 5:47 pm

Typical response to a typical response.

It's 20% faster than a 980ti and still can't manage 60 fps in 4k. That is NOT that great, sorry.

This comment is idiotic too because the people you're talking about are waiting to over pay for a mid range reference card years later and are proud of themselves for having skipped an entire generation or more of performance by avoiding ACTUAL high end cards.

If the goal was to pat yourself on the back for waiting for "commodity 4k" then you're an idiot because this card clearly ain't that. There is always pent up demand from morons who reward scalpers for every stupidly hyped release. People paid 1500 for PS4s. And?

comments powered by Disqus