NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Review: A Look At 4K & Ultra-wide Gaming

Print
by Rob Williams on May 17, 2016 in Graphics & Displays

NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture brings a lot of goodness to the table, and its GeForce GTX 1080 encapsulates it all. This card isn’t just faster than the TITAN X, it can sometimes even beat out SLI’d GTX 980s. There’s a lot more than just performance boosts with this card, though, so let’s dive in and tackle all of what makes it so great.

Tests: Battlefield 4, Crysis 3 & DOOM

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. Once Battlefield 1 drops, we’re sure to replace BF4.

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)

While it’s not a focus of this review, it’s worth pointing out something that might not have been too obvious: 3440×1440 is much easier on the GPU than 4K is. This is one of the reasons I prefer it; the other is that more of the game world is exposed, thanks to its 21:9 aspect ratio (4K is 16:9, just like 1080p). Want gaming examples of 16:9 versus 21:9? Look no further.

When the GTX 1080 was first unveiled, Jen-Hsun said that it was faster than the TITAN X and dual 980s in SLI. The first is true in every single case, but the second is only true sometimes. The biggest reason the GTX 1080 will come out ahead is if a game doesn’t take much or any advantage of SLI. If that’s disappointing, consider the fact that a single GTX 1080 just about matches 980 x 2 but uses 185W less.

At 4K, the GTX 1080 is 32% faster than the TITAN X, while at 3440×1440, it’s 36% faster.

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)

The fact that NVIDIA’s latest and greatest hits 60 FPS at 4K in Crysis 3 really proves how powerful the card is. It also proves just how hardcore the game can be, too, as all testing is done with High detail, not Very High. 4K Very High @ 60 FPS? You’ll want more than one GPU. Not bad for a three-year-old game, huh?

If you want to go the ultra-wide route, running the game at Very High is a no-brainer.

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: Due to time constraints, an ideal level could not be chosen for benchmarking. Instead, 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)

Yet again, the GTX 1080 struts its stuff at the ultra-wide resolution, well surpassing a 60 FPS target. At 4K, it’s not much of a slouch, either, hitting 52 FPS on average. Based on the performance seen, it’s clear that DOOM supports SLI just fine, but the dual 980s didn’t manage to surpass the performance of the GTX 1080.

It’s worth noting that AMD released a new driver a day before publication time that boosts DOOM‘s performance, so take the R9 Nano result with a grain of salt.

Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

twitter icon facebook icon googleplus icon instagram icon