NVIDIA’s Jen-Hsun Huang covered a lot of ground at his company’s event to launch its newest GeForce cards, but when all was said and done, some questions lingered. One of the most common? “What in the heck is a ‘Founders Edition’ card???” Fortunately, that question was raised to NVIDIA during a private briefing, so the company laid out all of the details.
In the past, the first cards launched of a given series, and the samples given to press, were referred to as being ‘reference design’, a design on which all others are built. But, when the time came to release the first Pascal GPUs, NVIDIA decided to purge the ‘reference’ name for good. The reason is simple: to call a card like the GTX 1080 we’ve all seen a “reference” does it a disservice. It’s hard to disagree with that, because just look at it:
There’s more to the Founders Edition than a premium cooler, though. With this naming, NVIDIA promises that this exact model will be available for the life of the card. That means if you buy one card at launch, you’ll still be able to get the same model before its EOL (for SLI, as an example).
Onto the next confusion: “What’s up with the price gap?” The Founders Edition is going to retail for $699, while the regular edition will settle in at $599, and what that $100 gets you is essentially a premium version of the same product. This is a bit of a strange idea for the GPU market, but there is still a huge desire from people to build better-looking PCs, just as there are those who want to wear fancier watches. NVIDIA repeated the word “craftsmanship” repeatedly when talking about the Founders Edition design.
To reiterate: the Founders Edition isn’t faster, doesn’t use a different PCB design, and doesn’t include exclusive features. Your $100 will be tied entirely to the fancy cooler.
NVIDIA is going to be selling the GTX 1080 on its website on May 27th, for $699. It’s expected that some vendors will have their own take on the GTX 1080 on the same day, or at least over the following days. June is when the GTX 1070 Founders Edition will drop, as well as variants from other vendors.
If you buy a GeForce GTX 1080 from NVIDIA, it will come in the packaging seen above. This box is similar to the ones NVIDIA shipped with its TITAN X and reference 980 Ti. For a closer look at the card, scroll through the slider above.
In case it wasn’t obvious during Jen-Hsun’s presentation last week, the GTX 1080 requires just one 8-pin power connector, as NVIDIA’s Quadro M6000 (TITAN X equivalent) does. At the back of the card, there are five connectors: 5x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI.
|NVIDIA GeForce Series||Cores||Core MHz||Memory||Mem MHz||Mem Bus||TDP|
|GeForce GTX 1080||2560||1607||8192MB||10000||256-bit||180W|
|GeForce GTX TITAN X||3072||1000||12288MB||7000||384-bit||250W|
|GeForce GTX 980 Ti||2816||1000||6144MB||7000||384-bit||250W|
|GeForce GTX 980||2048||1126||4096MB||7000||256-bit||165W|
|GeForce GTX 970||1664||1050||4096MB||7000||256-bit||145W|
|GeForce GTX 960||1024||1126||2048MB||7010||128-bit||120W|
|GeForce GTX 950||768||1024||2048MB||6600||128-bit||90W|
|GeForce GTX 750 Ti||640||1020||2048MB||5400||128-bit||60W|
The takeaway from the specs table above is that the GTX 1080 is faster than the GTX TITAN X with fewer cores, a tighter memory bus, and faster memory, all while shaving 70W off of the TDP.
Does the card live up to all of this hype? Your wait to find out will not be that long.