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

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Angled

Date: March 9, 2017
Author(s): Rob Williams

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.)



Introduction, About The GTX 1080 Ti & Testing Notes

We’re not quite sure when AMD’s next-generation Vega GPUs are going to drop, except that it’ll be “soon”, but it seems NVIDIA didn’t want to have us grow bored in the meantime. So, it’s just launched a new GPU that becomes the GTX 1080 replacement. It’s called the GTX 1080 Ti (that’s “tie”), and it doesn’t just handily beat out the GTX 1080, it also manages to best the second-gen TITAN X. As a GPU that “goes to 11” should, I suppose.

When NVIDIA unveiled its GTX 1080 Ti last week, I found it humorous that so few people grasped the fact that we were looking at a GPU with an 11GB framebuffer. The 11Gbps memory bandwidth was well understood, but 11GB? It’s such an odd number, but it gets the job done.

If I had to guess, NVIDIA didn’t want to give the Ti 12GB and take away one of the last remaining perks of the TITAN X, which admittedly is more focused at compute than gaming (hence its lack of a GeForce moniker). Nonetheless, what results is a GPU more powerful than the TITAN X for a lot less dough: $699 USD.

Behold: a GPU unlike any you’ve ever seen before:

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Top Angle

OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, considering NVIDIA has been using this style cooler for a couple of years now. It looks great, cools decent, and supports SLI with the help of a removable backplate. There is one notable change, though, and it’s found at the back:

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Video Ports

The GTX 1080 and 1070 Founders Edition had DVI ports that clogged up the back panel; that’s now gone, improving the airflow. Clock-for-clock, this means that this style cooler will drop temperatures by up to 5°C, but because of the improved performance of the Ti, the top-end temperatures are going to be the same as the GTX 1080. In effect, the card delivers higher performance but at the same temperature.

In the slider above, the bare card with its 11 GDDR5X (or G5X, as NVIDIA calls it) chips exposed can be seen. Another shot shows the customized backplate for SLI use; in effect, half of the plate is removed to improve airflow ever-so-slightly between two cards. Ideally, you’d space the cards apart further if you can, but that’s not always possible. If one card hits 84°C in our tests, two sandwiched together will need some good airflow.

Like the GTX 1080, the Ti still features a 250W TDP, although it will draw a bit more from the wall, as its beefier specs would suggest. Also worth noting: while the GTX 1080 has a single 8-pin power connector, NVIDIA’s added an extra 6-pin connector, which should aide in overclocking.

NVIDIA GeForce SeriesCoresCore MHzMemoryMem MHzMem BusTDP
GeForce GTX 1080 Ti3584148011264MB11000352-bit250W
TITAN X3584141712288MB10000384-bit250W
GeForce GTX 1080256016078192MB10000256-bit180W
GeForce GTX 1070192015068192MB8000256-bit150W
GeForce GTX 10601280≤17006144MB8000192-bit120W
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti768≤13924096MB7000128-bit75W
GeForce GTX 1050640≤14552048MB7000128-bit75W

It might seem odd that a GTX 1080 Ti could beat out the TITAN X second-gen, and that’s because it kind of is. But the TITAN X, in typical TITAN fashion, is hard to find in stock, making it an almost impossible option for most people anyway (even Jen-Hsun mentioned its scarcity at his Ti keynote last week). In that way, it’s almost a special edition card to begin with, whereas the GTX 1080 Ti will be easily found for purchase.

It’s interesting to note that despite having a smaller memory bus (32-bit x 11 = 352-bit) compared to the TITAN X, its bandwidth is 10% better thanks to the 11Gbps G5X. Even so, the TITAN X does have two perks: the 12GB framebuffer, and 8 more ROPs. Minor differences in the grand scheme.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPU Diagram

In the diagram above, we can get a feel for the chip’s layout. The difference over the GTX 1080 is that the Ti includes two additional GPC clusters with four SMs inside each (versus five in others). NVIDIA’s Quadro P6000, which we took a look at last month, features six identical GPCs with 5 SMs in each, giving it 3840 CUDA cores. Despite those additional cores, the clock speeds are kept a bit more modest, which means the Ti could still come out ahead in overall performance. Not that the two cards are comparable, of course, but it is worthy of note that NVIDIA does have room for even more cores under that silvery shroud.

Speaking of such comparisons, but not including the aforementioned P6000, here’s another specs look at the Ti in comparison to the other top-end GPUs in NVIDIA’s Pascal gaming lineup:

TITAN X (Pascal)GeForce GTX 1080 TiGeForce GTX 1080
Cores358435842560
ROPs968864
Texture Units224224160
Memory Bandwidth480 GB/s484 GB/s320 GB/s
Single Precision~10.1 TFLOPS~10.6 TFLOPS~8.2 TFLOPS
Price$1200$699$500

It goes without saying that the GTX 1080 Ti is the better value against the TITAN X, but that’ll come as a surprise to no one. Heck, it’s not just the prospective TITAN X buyers who stand to gain by waiting for the GTX 1080 Ti – those who’ve held off on the GTX 1080 can now enjoy it for $150 less.

Before diving into performance, here’s a quick overview of what to expect from any one of NVIDIA’s current GPUs:

1080p1440p3440×14404K
GeForce GTX 1080 TiOverkillOverkillExcellentGreat
TITAN XOverkillOverkillExcellentGreat
GeForce GTX 1080OverkillExcellentGreatGood
GeForce GTX 1070ExcellentGreatGoodPoor
GeForce GTX 1060GreatGoodPoorPoor
GeForce GTX 1050 TiGoodPoorPoorPoor
GeForce GTX 1050PoorPoorPoorPoor
Overkill: 60 FPS? More like 100 FPS. As future-proofed as it gets.
Excellent: Surpass 60 FPS at high quality settings with ease.
Great: Hit 60 FPS with high quality settings.
Good: Nothing too impressive; it gets the job done (60 FPS will require tweaking).
Poor: Expect real headaches from the awful performance.

Six months ago, I had put the GTX 1080 as an “Excellent” ultrawide card, but with some of the recent releases really proving quite demanding, I dropped it to “Great” to be safe. The GTX 1080 Ti replaces that card with Excellent performance at 3440×1440, and Great at 4K.

Testing Notes

When we need to build a test PC for performance testing, “no bottleneck” is the name of the game. While we admit that few of our readers are going to be equipped with an Intel 8-core processor clocked to 4GHz, we opt for it to make sure our GPU testing is as apples-to-apples as possible, with as little variation as possible. Ultimately, the only thing that matters here is the performance from the GPUs, so the more we can rule out a bottleneck, the better.

That all said, our test PC:

Graphics Card Test System
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-5960X (8-core) @ 4.0GHz
MotherboardASUS X99 DELUXE
MemoryKingston HyperX Beast 32GB (4x8GB) – DDR4-2133 11-12-11
GraphicsAMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB – Catalyst 16.5.3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB – GeForce 365.22
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB (Maxwell) – GeForce 365.22
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB – GeForce 368.19 (Beta)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB – GeForce 368.25
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB – GeForce 378.78
AudioOnboard
StorageKingston SSDNow V310 1TB SSD
Power SupplyCooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
ChassisCooler Master Storm Trooper Full-Tower
CoolingThermaltake WATER3.0 Extreme Liquid Cooler
DisplaysAcer Predator X34 34″ Ultra-wide
Acer XB280HK 28″ 4K G-SYNC
Et ceteraWindows 10 Pro (10586) 64-bit

Framerate information for all tests – with the exception of certain time demos and DirectX 12 tests – are recorded with the help of Fraps. For tests where Fraps use is not ideal, I use the game’s built-in test (the only option for DX12 titles right now). In the past, I’ve tweaked the Windows OS as much as possible to rule out test variations, but over time, such optimizations have proven pointless. As a result, the Windows 10 installation I use is about as stock as possible, with minor modifications to suit personal preferences.

In all, I use 9 different games for regular game testing, and 3 for DirectX 12 testing. That’s in addition to the use of three synthetic benchmarks. Because some games are sponsored, the list below helps oust potential bias in our testing.

(AMD) – Ashes of the Singularity (DirectX 12)
(AMD) – Battlefield 4
(AMD) – Crysis 3
(AMD) – Hitman (DirectX 12)
(NVIDIA) – Metro: Last Light Redux
(NVIDIA) – Rise Of The Tomb Raider (incl. DirectX 12)
(NVIDIA) – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(Neutral) – DOOM
(Neutral) – Grand Theft Auto V
(Neutral) – Total War: ATTILA

If you’re interested in benchmarking your own configuration to compare to our results, you can download this file (10MB) and make sure you’re using the exact same graphics settings. I’ll lightly explain how I benchmark each test before I get into each game’s performance results.

Games: Battlefield 4, Crysis 3, DOOM & Grand Theft Auto V

Battlefield 4

Thanks to the fact that DICE cares more about PC gaming than most developers, the Battlefield series continues to give us titles that are well-worth benchmarking. While Battlefield 4 is growing a little long in the tooth, it’s still a great test at high resolutions. As Battlefield 1 is now out, it’ll be replacing this iteration very shortly.

Testing: The game’s Singapore level is chosen for testing, as it provides a lot of action that can greatly affect the framerate. The saved game we use starts us off on an airboat that we must steer towards shore, at which point a huge firefight commences. After the accompanying tank gets past a hump in the middle of the beach, the test is stopped.

Battlefield 4
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Battlefield 4 (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Battlefield 4 (3440x1440)

BF4 isn’t as demanding as the new BF1 (which will be part of our GPU test suite overhaul, due next month), but the GTX 1080 Ti becomes the first graphics card to power it at 4K, at max detail, and breach 60 FPS. As the GTX 1080 was tested a while ago, I’m sure driver updates could push that card even closer to the 60 FPS mark, but the Ti simply blows right on past that landmark, keeping close to 60 FPS at the minimum.

It is important to note, though, that online play is likely to introduce many more variables and graphically demanding situations, so this performance isn’t representative of that. It should take very little effort to attain 60 FPS at 4K on this GPU even still, with anti-aliasing being a great first choice to whittle down, as well as ambient occlusion, effects, and post-process.

For ultrawide, the GTX 1080 Ti can eat this game for breakfast. That’s still a hip term, right?

Crysis 3

Like Battlefield 4, Crysis 3 is getting a little up there in years. Fortunately, though, that doesn’t matter, because the game is still more intensive than most current titles. Even though the game came out in 2013, if you’re able to equip Very High settings at your resolution of choice, you’re in a great spot.

Testing: The game’s Red Star Rising level is chosen for benchmarking here, with the lowest difficulty level chosen (dying during a benchmarking run is a little infuriating!) The level starts us out in a broken-down building and leads us down to a river, where we need to activate an alien device. Once this is done, the player is run back underneath a nearby roof, at which point the benchmark ends.

Crysis 3
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Crysis 3 (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Crysis 3 (3440x1440)

While the GTX 1080 Ti exceeded 60 FPS at 4K in Battlefield 4, Crysis 3 proved a wee bit too demanding. Still, 51 FPS is admirable, for a game as demanding as this one. Not long after this game came out, I tested it at 4K / Very High, and it was downright painful. Today, the GTX 1080 Ti handles those settings without issue. 51 FPS is no 60 FPS, but it’s still what I’d consider “great”.

On the ultrawide side, the GTX 1080 can handle this game no problem. The Ti simply smooths things over even more, exceeding 60 FPS on the minimum.

DOOM

DOOM 3 was released a couple of months before Techgage launched (March 1, 2005, for the record), and it was a game featured in our GPU testing right from the get-go. For this reason, this latest DOOM feels a bit special, even though it follows DOOM 3 up eleven years later. As we hoped, the game proves to be more than suitable for GPU benchmarking.

Testing: Our test location starts us off at the bottom of a short set of stairs early on in the game, where we must climb them, open up a door, and then go to a big room where demons are taken care of and the benchmark is stopped.

DOOM
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - DOOM (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - DOOM (3440x1440)

These results are quite impressive. I wish I was able to afford time before this review was published to test the GTX 1080 in DOOM again, as I feel like NVIDIA made some major strides in its driver since the GTX 1080 launch for certain titles. However, DOOM isn’t the only title that exhibits large gains, as you’ll see over the next few pages.

I should note that DOOM was tested at High, rather than Very High, so that higher profile will bring the FPS down a bit, but it seems safe to say that the 1080 Ti is the ultimate GPU for DOOM at either 4K or 3440×1440.

Grand Theft Auto V

Does a game like this even need an introduction? Any Grand Theft Auto game on the PC is a ‘console port’, proven by the fact that it always comes to the PC long after the consoles, but Rockstar has at least done PC gamers a favor here by offering them an almost overwhelming number of graphical options to fine-tune, helping to make it suitable for benchmarking, especially at high resolutions.

Testing: The mission Repossession is chosen for testing here, with the benchmark starting as soon as our character makes his way to an unsuspecting car. The benchmark ends after a not-so-leisurely drive to a parking garage, right before a cutscene kicks in.

Grand Theft Auto V
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Grand Theft Auto V (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Grand Theft Auto V (3440x1440)

Let’s face it: GTA V isn’t the most demanding game, but it’s still a hard test on our graphics cards at these resolutions. Given that, the GTX 1080 Ti is overkill for this game, with even the GTX 1070 performing admirably. At 3440×1440, the GTX 1070 even breaks fast 60 FPS.

Games: Metro LL Redux, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Witcher 3 & Total War: ATTILA

Metro Last Light Redux

Like a couple of other games in our stable, Metro Last Light might seem like an odd choice give its age. After all, the original version of the game came out in 2013, and its Redux version came out in late 2014. None of that matters, though, as the game is about as hardcore as it can get when it comes to GPU punishment.

Testing: The game’s built-in timedemo is used for testing here, which lasts 2m 40s. While the game can spit out its own results file, it’s horribly inaccurate, so Fraps is still used here.

Metro Last Light Redux
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Metro Last Light Redux (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Metro Last Light Redux (3440x1440)

I should note that this benchmark isn’t representative of the actual game, but due to issues I’ve experienced trying to manually benchmark the game in the past, I still stick to the time-demo. The game’s Trolly Combat level is a good example of one that will be harsher on the GPU than the timedemo.

That said, even with that kind of lenience, the game’s graphics can top out at brutal levels, as the 30 FPS in the 4K graph can attest. Ultrawide fares a lot better, hitting 52 FPS, which for many would likely prove “good enough”.

Rise Of The Tomb Raider

Lara Croft has sure come a long way. The latest Tomb Raider iteration becomes one of the first titles on the market to support DirectX 12, but even without it, the game looks phenomenal at high detail settings (as the below screenshot can attest).

Testing: Geothermal Valley is the location chosen for testing with this title, as it features a lot shadows and a ton of foliage. From the start of our saved game, we merely walk down a fixed path for just over a minute and stop the benchmark once we reach a broken down bridge (the shot below is from the benchmarked area).

Rise of the Tomb Raider
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Rise Of The Tomb Raider (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Rise Of The Tomb Raider (3440x1440)

For 4K gamers looking to pick up the 1080 Ti, Rise of the Tomb Raider would be a great title to add to your collection. 59 FPS at 4K is excellent, especially when the minimum isn’t too far behind.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Since the original The Witcher title came out in 2007, the series has become one of the best RPGs going. Each one of the titles in the series offers deep gameplay, amazing locales, and comprehensive lore. Wild Hunt, the series’ third game, also happens to be one of the best-looking games out there and requires a beefy PC to take great advantage of.

Testing: Our saved game starts us just outside Hierarch Square, where we begin a manual runthrough (literally – the run button is held down as much as possible) through and around the town, to wind up back at a bridge near a watermill (pictured below). The entire runthrough takes about 90 seconds. Please note that while ‘Ultra’ detail is used, NVIDIA’s HairWorks is not.

The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt (3440x1440)

As gorgeous as Wild Hunt may be, it doesn’t require the highest-end PC to deliver incredible graphics. If you want to top things out with this GPU, you’ll be able to do so at both 4K and 3440×1440. And, if you want to mod the game to your heart’s content, the 1080 Ti’s huge framebuffer might be able to help.

Total War: ATTILA

For strategy fans, the Total War series needs no introduction. ATTILA is the latest in the series, which will remain true for only the next week, as Warhammer is due to launch. Thankfully, any recent Total War game is suitable for benchmarking, and our results are going to prove that.

Testing: ATTILA includes a built-in benchmark, so again, I’ve decided to use that. However, as I do with Metro, I stick to Fraps for framerate capturing as the game’s results page isn’t too convenient.

Total War ATTILA
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Total War ATTILA (3840x2160)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Total War ATTILA (3440x1440)

ATTILA might not look like the most graphically impressive game, but it sure is one of the most graphically demanding. I should stress that max detail in this game is almost entering “overkill” territory, so you won’t have to degrade your image quality too much to hit 60 FPS.

Synthetics: Futuremark 3DMark, Unigine Heaven & Catzilla

Futuremark 3DMark

I don’t like to overdo “time demos”, but I do love running some hands-off benchmarks that you at home can run as well (provided you have a license) so that you can accurately compare your performance to ours. It goes without saying that any synthetic testing would have to include Futuremark, and in particular for high-end cards, 3DMark’s Fire Strike test.

3DMark includes a number of different game tests, but today’s graphics cards are so powerful, the Fire Strike test is really the only one that makes sense. At 1080p, even modest GPUs can deliver decent performance. A great thing about Fire Strike is that the official tests encompass three different resolutions, including 4K, making it perfect for our testing.

Futuremark 3DMark
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Futuremark 3DMark

With two GTX 1080 Ti’s in SLI, that magical 10K Ultra score could just happen. Based on these results, the GTX 1080 Ti is about 29% faster than the GTX 1080, which is fairly close to the 20% projected based on each card’s single-precision performance (10.6 TFLOPS vs. 8.8 TFLOPS).

Unigine Heaven

It’s hard to tell at this point if Heaven is ever going to see a new update, as it’s been quite a while since the last one, but what we have today is still a fantastic benchmark to run. That’s thanks to the fact that it’s free, an also because it can still prove so demanding on today’s highest-end GPUs. It’s also a great test for tessellation performance, as it lets you increase or decrease its intensity. For testing, I stick with ‘Normal’ tessellation.

Unigine Heaven
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Unigine Heaven

Unigine’s Heaven exhibits even greater gains than seen in 3DMark, although I can’t help but feel like driver improvements have helped boost this delta a bit.

Catzilla

Meow hear this: there’s a new benchmark in town that promises to be purrfect for testing 4K resolutions. So, that’s just what I’ve used it for. The test consists of a cat innocently roaming a street until chaos ensues. Before long, this feline is mowing down buildings with its laser eyes, destroying GPU performance at the same time.

Catzilla
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Catzilla 4K

Wouldn’t ya meow it? The GTX 1080 Ti bursts right on past the GTX 1080, and comes oh-so-close to 10K. It seems likely with a little driver polish, 10K will be a cinch on this GPU.

DirectX 12: Ashes Of The Singularity, Hitman & Rise Of The Tomb Raider

DirectX 12 Testing

Considering the fact that we’ve been hearing about DirectX 12 for what feels like forever, it’s a little surprising that the number of DX12 titles out there remain relatively few – although the situation is improving at a faster rate than a year ago. In our next GPU suite overhaul (due next month), we’ll be evaluating more DX12 titles to include.

Of all the DirectX 12 games out there, Ashes of the Singularity takes some of the best advantage of its low-level API capabilities. As a strategy game, there could be an enormous number of AI bots on the screen at once, and in those cases, both the CPU and GPU can be used for computation.

I should be clear about one thing: low-level graphics APIs are designed to benefit low-end hardware better, but when we’re dealing with GPUs that cost over $500, that rules that kind of test useless. For that reason, I’ve chosen to benchmark these three games as normal; the results might not be specific to low-level DX12 enhancements, but they’re still fair for comparisons against other high-end graphics cards.

Ashes of the Singularity
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Ashes Of The Singularity (DirectX 12)
Rise of the Tomb Raider
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Rise Of The Tomb Raider (DirectX 12)
Hitman (2016)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Hitman (DirectX 12)

These results back up most of our others: the GTX 1080 Ti doesn’t just reign supreme, it even leaps well beyond the GTX 1080 – NVIDIA’s flagship up until this point.

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.

Power, Temperatures, Overclocking & Final Thoughts

To test graphics cards for both their power consumption and temperature at load, I utilize a couple of different tools. On the hardware side, I rely on a Kill-a-Watt power monitor, which the PC plugs into directly. For software, I use GPU-Z to monitor the core temperature, and 3DMark’s Fire Strike 4K test to push the GPU hard.

To test, the floor area behind the (shut down) PC is tested with a temperature gun, with the average temperature recorded as the room temperature. Once that’s established, the PC is turned on and left to sit idle for ten minutes. It’s at this point when the idle wattage is noted, and 3DMark is run. It’s during the ‘Graphics Test 2’ that the max load wattage is recorded.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Power Consumption
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 - Temperatures

The GTX 1080 Ti is one powerful GPU, but it’s also a power-hungry GPU. Even so, consider this: the GTX 1080 Ti still uses less power than the original TITAN X. In a battle of ~11 TFLOPs vs. 6 TFLOPs, a single generation almost doubled the performance, but improved power draw. You’ve gotta love that.

On the temperature front, while the DVI-less back undoubtedly helps with temperatures, the card can still run quite hot. At stock speeds, it won’t be an issue (though good airflow is important), but when overclocking, you’ll definitely want to manually increase the fan speed.

Overclocking & Final Thoughts

On the overclocking front, I was able to add an additional 150MHz to the core (2037MHz peak, from 1873MHz) and 350MHz (1464MHz peak, from 1377MHz) to the memory. This configuration remained stable through a battery of tests, including some that fail quite easily with seemingly stable overclocks (Sky Diver in 3DMark is a great example).

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Overclock

I wanted to hit 7,500 in 3DMark’s Ultra test so bad, but I just couldn’t. Anything more than +150MHz was unstable (even +155), and the same goes for the memory: after +350MHz, it might have seemed stable, but the score didn’t improve at all. If anything, it began to drop.

Nonetheless, this super-fast card can have its performance pushed even further through simple overclocking, so I’m glad I don’t have to write a caveat. You will have to manually increase the fan speed, though, as even at stock the card can get quite toasty under stress. I can’t wait to see what kind of overclocking can be done when vendor coolers are brought in (a la ASUS STRIX and EVGA ICX).

A card like the GTX 1080 Ti isn’t hard to draw a conclusion for. It becomes NVIDIA’s most powerful gaming GPU, and it doesn’t cost over $1,000 like the TITAN series does. Instead, it costs $699, which is a $50 premium over the GTX 1080, released last May. If the prices were kept in tact, the GTX 1080 Ti would add 5GB of VRAM, at least 2 TFLOPs of performance, and 1Gbps of memory bandwidth – not bad for $50.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Angled

To throw some gamers a bone, and to help separate the Ti from the non-Ti a bit more, the GTX 1080 has experienced a price drop to $500, which makes the purchase of a new high-end GPU a bit easier. If you’re not sure whether you ultimately need a GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti, I’d encourage you to look at our performance matrix on the first page.

For 4K and 3440×1440 gaming, the GTX 1080 Ti is the best choice, as it can deliver 60 FPS at great detail with minimal effort. I wouldn’t go as far to call the Ti a “future-proof” 4K gaming card, though, but there’s none that does it better. Right now, it performs like a true beast at 3440×1440, leaving some breathing room for more advanced future titles.

If you don’t want to commit $700 to the 1080 Ti, the $500 GTX 1080 remains an awesome choice for those looking for “Great” 3440×1440 performance, or “Excellent” 1440p performance. The GPU can still handle 4K with relative ease, but you’ll have to get used to spending some effort on graphics tweaking (GeForce Experience does help here).

The GTX 1080 Ti isn’t just the fastest GeForce GPU NVIDIA’s ever created, it’s the fastest gaming GPU, period. It helps bring TITAN X-level performance to more a more affordable price-point, and even if someone didn’t want to splurge $700 on a new GPU, the new $500 price-point of the GTX 1080 is quite attractive. It’s a great time to be a PC gamer.

Pros

Cons

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti - Techgage Editor's Choice
NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

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