by Rob Williams on March 9, 2017 in Graphics & Displays
If you want to dial your gaming to 11, the ideal GPU has just landed: GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. This card might sport an odd-sized 11GB framebuffer, and memory bandwidth of 11Gbps, but what ultimately matters is that it becomes the most suitable 4K gaming card to date (and not to mention, an amazing ultrawide card.)
For the sake of being complete, we test a range of games both as apples-to-apples (as seen on the previous pages) as well as “Best Playable”, where we tweak the graphics settings in a range of games until that magical 60 FPS average is achieved. In some cases, there’s a bit of lenience: not all games “need” 60 FPS, so if there’s an instance where the image quality needs to be degraded to a point that’s not worth improved FPS performance, a compromise is made.
As mentioned once or twice before, we’re due for a GPU test suite overhaul in the next month, which will see many of the apples-to-apples tests replaced. Some of those games that will do the replacing are found on this page, including Battlefield 1, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and possibly Ghost Recon: Wildlands (more evaluation needs to be done, but the game looks amazing.)
Of the six games featured on this page, half were run in DX11 mode, while the other three were run in DX12 mode. In the case of DX12 games, the in-game benchmarking tool was opted for, while for DX11, Fraps was used for manual recording.
|Battlefield 1 4K (DX11)|
|Battlefield 1 Ultrawide (DX11)|
The GTX 1080 Ti is almost powerful enough to handle Battlefield 1 at max detail, at 4K resolution. Compromises had to be made with the effects, undergrowth, and post-process quality. As the screenshot can attest, the game is beautiful at those settings (just bear in mind this is single-player performance – online play will be harder on both the CPU and GPU).
For ultrawide, users can simply select the overall Ultra profile and get on with their merry warfare.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 4K (DX12)|
|Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Ultrawide (DX12)|
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is one game that’s going to replace a title in our upcoming GPU test suite overhaul, as it’s both great to look at and highly customizable. It also happens to be extremely grueling on today’s hardware, as the performance above can attest.
At 4K, a slew of options must be turned off, but it sure doesn’t diminish the aesthetic of the game too much. For ultrawide, many more Very High and “On” options appear. Even then, there’s a lot more room to turn settings up, so I feel like we’ll be using Mankind Divided as a flagship benchmark for a while after it’s introduced into our suite.
Rise of the Tomb Raider
|Rise of the Tomb Raider 4K (DX12)|
|Rise of the Tomb Raider Ultrawide (DX12)|
At both resolutions, the GTX 1080 Ti can handle RotTR at max detail with ease.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands 4K (DX11)|
|Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Ultrawide (DX11)|
I admit that I know very little about Ghost Recon: Wildlands, but what’s evident from the get-go is that it’s a damn gorgeous game. The screenshots almost don’t do it justice. The built-in benchmark does, as it moves the camera from low ground to high ground and through an explosion or two. Like Mankind Divided, Wildlands will likely make it into our GPU suite overhaul because it looks to be able to feed the next couple generations of GPU testing with ease.
That said, at 4K, the settings couldn’t be maxed, leaving the door open for future high-end GPUs to push the performance higher so that we can increase the detail further. On ultrawide, the game can almost be maxed out. What’s lacking is Very High texture detail, HBAO+ ambient occlusion, and NVIDIA’s Turf Effects. All of my testing this week has been laser-focused on this review, so I’ve yet to evaluate the performance impact of Turf Effects.
Watch Dogs 2
|Watch Dogs 2 4K (DX11)|
|Watch Dogs 2 Ultrawide (DX11)|
Watch Dogs 2 is another one of those games that proves so demanding today, that it feels as though it could be used for the next couple of year’s worth of GPU testing. At 4K, there’s still a fair number of options that are not maxed out, but the resulting detail is still nothing to balk at.
The ultrawide result is a bit strange since it’s lower detail and lower framerate than the 4K version, and it’s not something I could thoroughly tinker with before this article went live. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that if 4K is offering admirable performance on the GTX 1080 Ti, ultrawide isn’t going to be much of an issue.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 4K(DX11)|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Ultrawide (DX11)|
I’m sure this will come as a surprise to no one, but Wild Hunt can be maxed out with the GTX 1080 Ti at both resolutions. Wild Hunt is a game with a rich modding community, so the card’s beefier framebuffer could help those who like to spruce up an already beautiful game with further enhancements.