NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review: A Look At 4K & Ultrawide Gaming

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Angled
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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.)

Best Playable at 4K & Ultrawide: BF1, Deus Ex: MD, RotTR, Ghost Recon: Wildlands & Witcher 3

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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Battlefield 1 (Best Playable 4K)
Battlefield 1 4K (DX11)
MinimumAverage
5264
Resolution:3840 x 2160Texture Quality:Ultra
Texture Filtering:UltraLighting Quality:Ultra
Effects Quality:HighPost Process Quality:High
Mesh Quality:UltraTerrain Quality:Ultra
Undergrowth Quality:HighAntialiasing Post:TAA
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Battlefield 1 (Best Playable 3440x1440)
Battlefield 1 Ultrawide (DX11)
MinimumAverage
6776
Resolution:3440 x 1440Texture Quality:Ultra
Texture Filtering:UltraLighting Quality:Ultra
Effects Quality:UltraPost Process Quality:Ultra
Mesh Quality:UltraTerrain Quality:Ultra
Undergrowth Quality:UltraAntialiasing Post:TAA
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO

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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Deus Ex Mankind Divided (Best Playable 4K)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 4K (DX12)
MinimumAverage
4962
Resolution:3840 x 2160Anti-Aliasing:Off
Texture Quality:HighAnisotropic Filter:16x
Shadow Quality:HighAmbient Occlusion:Off
CH Shadows:OffParallax Occlusion:Off
Depth of Field:OffLevel of Detail:High
Volumetric LightingOffSS Reflections:Off
Temporal AA:OnMotion Blur:Off
Sharpen:OffBloom:On
Lens Flares:OffCloth Physics:Off
Subsurface Scattering:OffChromatic Aberration:On
Tessellation:On
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Deus Ex Mankind Divided (Best Playable 3440x1440)
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Ultrawide (DX12)
MinimumAverage
5163
Resolution:3440 x 1440Anti-Aliasing:Off
Texture Quality:UltraAnisotropic Filter:16x
Shadow Quality:Very HighAmbient Occlusion:Very High
CH Shadows:OffParallax Occlusion:High
Depth of Field:OnLevel of Detail:Very High
Volumetric LightingUltraSS Reflections:Ultra
Temporal AA:OnMotion Blur:Off
Sharpen:OffBloom:On
Lens Flares:OnCloth Physics:Off
Subsurface Scattering:OffChromatic Aberration:On
Tessellation:On

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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Rise of the Tomb Raider (Best Playable 4K)
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4K (DX12)
MinimumAverage
4361
Resolution:3840 x 2160Anti-Aliasing:FXAA
Texture Quality:Very HighAnisotropic Filter:16x
Shadow Quality:Very HighSun Soft Shadows:Very High
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+Depth of Field:Very High
Level of Detail:Very HighTessellation:On
SS Reflections:OnSpecular Reflection:Very High
Dynamic Foliage:HighBloom:On
Vignette Blur:OnMotion Blur:On
Purehair:Very HighLens Flares:On
Screen Effects:OnFilm Grain:On
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Rise of the Tomb Raider (Best Playable 3440x1440)
Rise of the Tomb Raider Ultrawide (DX12)
MinimumAverage
4890
Resolution:3440 x 1440Anti-Aliasing:FXAA
Texture Quality:Very HighAnisotropic Filter:16x
Shadow Quality:Very HighSun Soft Shadows:Very High
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+Depth of Field:Very High
Level of Detail:Very HighTessellation:On
SS Reflections:OnSpecular Reflection:Very High
Dynamic Foliage:HighBloom:On
Vignette Blur:OnMotion Blur:On
Purehair:Very HighLens Flares:On
Screen Effects:OnFilm Grain:On

At both resolutions, the GTX 1080 Ti can handle RotTR at max detail with ease.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Ghost Recon Wildlands (Best Playable 4K)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands 4K (DX11)
MinimumAverage
4560
Resolution:3840 x 2160Anti-Aliasing:Temporal AA
Ambient Occlusion:SSBCDraw Distance:High
Level of Detail:HighTexture Quality:Ultra
Anisotropic Filtering:16xShadow Quality:High
Terrain Quality:HighVegetation Quality:High
Turf Effects:OffMotion Blur:On
Iron Sights DOF:OnHigh Quality DOF:On
Bloom:OnGod Rays:On
Subsurface Scattering:OffLens Flare:On
Long Range Shadows:Off
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Ghost Recon Wildlands (Best Playable 3440x1440)
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Ultrawide (DX11)
MinimumAverage
5564
Resolution:3440 x 1440Anti-Aliasing:Temporal AA
Ambient Occlusion:SSBCDraw Distance:Very High
Level of Detail:UltraTexture Quality:High
Anisotropic Filtering:8xShadow Quality:Very High
Terrain Quality:Very HighVegetation Quality:Very High
Turf Effects:OffMotion Blur:On
Iron Sights DOF:OnHigh Quality DOF:On
Bloom:OnGod Rays:On
Subsurface Scattering:OnLens Flare:On
Long Range Shadows:On

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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Watch Dogs 2 (Best Playable 4K)
Watch Dogs 2 4K (DX11)
MinimumAverage
5564
Resolution:3840 x 2160Geometry:Ultra
Extra Details:25%Terrain:Ultra
Vegetation:UltraTexture Resolution:High
Texture Filtering:UltraShadows:HFTS
Headlight Shadows:4 CarsWater:High
Reflections:HighScreenspace Reflections:Ultra
San Francisco Fog:OffDepth of Field:On
Motion Blur:OnBloom:On
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+Temporal Filtering:On
Multisample AA:MSAA 2xPost-Process AA:SMAA
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Watch Dogs 2 (Best Playable 3440x1440)
Watch Dogs 2 Ultrawide (DX11)
MinimumAverage
5161
Resolution:3440 x 1440Geometry:Ultra
Extra Details:25%Terrain:Ultra
Vegetation:UltraTexture Resolution:High
Texture Filtering:UltraShadows:HFTS
Headlight Shadows:4 CarsWater:High
Reflections:HighScreenspace Reflections:Ultra
San Francisco Fog:OffDepth of Field:On
Motion Blur:OnBloom:On
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+Temporal Filtering:Off
Multisample AA:OffPost-Process AA:SMAA

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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (Best Playable 4K)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 4K(DX11)
MinimumAverage
5259
Resolution:3840 x 2160Anti-Aliasing:On
Blur:OnBloom:On
Sharpening:HighAmbient Occlusion:HBAO+
Depth of Field:OnChromatic Aberration:On
Vignetting:OnLight Shafts:On
NVIDIA Hairworks:OnHairworks AA:4
Hairworks Preset:HighNumber of BG Chars:Ultra
Shadow Quality:HighWater Quality:Ultra
Grass Quality:UltraTexture Quality:Ultra
Terrain Quality:UltraFoliage Visibility:High
Detail Level:Ultra
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (Best Playable 3440x1440)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Ultrawide (DX11)
MinimumAverage
7078
Resolution:3440 x 1440Anti-Aliasing:On
Blur:OnBloom:On
Sharpening:HighAmbient Occlusion:HBAO+
Depth of Field:OnChromatic Aberration:On
Vignetting:OnLight Shafts:On
NVIDIA Hairworks:OnHairworks AA:8
Hairworks Preset:HighNumber of BG Chars:Ultra
Shadow Quality:UltraWater Quality:Ultra
Grass Quality:UltraTexture Quality:Ultra
Terrain Quality:UltraFoliage Visibility:Ultra
Detail Level:Ultra

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.