Review: Nvidia 1080Ti, A 4k Gamers Delight

Who doesn’t love upgrading their graphics card? It’s one of those purchases that if done right, can significantly boost your gaming experience on your PC but if done wrong, can result in an over-spending for marginal performance gains.

But for those who are into custom gaming rigs, overspending is a way of life to squeak out a few extra frames per second and I clearly fall into the latter category. If you are looking for the best bang for the buck, the 1080Ti isn’t the card for you but if you want a top-end consumer-grade performance, this is your card.

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With 3584 CUDA Cores, a core clock of 1481MHz, 11.3TFLOPs and 11 GB of VRAM, the 1080Ti Founders Edition is no slouch. And with an impressive 12 billion transistors on a 471mm2 die, NVIDIA continues to crank up the performance capabilities of its cards for high-end gamers.

For the comparison of this review, I put this card up against my current GPU the EVGA 980Ti FTW Edition to see how much one generation can change in terms of graphical performance. Also, the machine used to test these cards is an i7-6700k, 16GB of RAM with Samsung 840 EVO SSD that is running on top of an MSI Z170A KRAIT GAMING motherboard.

The graphs speak for themselves, the card is significantly better than the 980Ti in all areas and that shouldn’t come as a major surprise as it’s a new generation piece of hardware. The only area where the two cards are tied is when it comes to thermals as I was averaging 79C when running at higher res for both cards and about 75.3C when running at the lower resolution.

The other item to consider when choosing a card is the noise output and there are three types of cards, blowers (this 1080Ti), a traditional fan design (which is how my 980Ti is designed) and water cooled as well. As for these cards, the sound output a bit mixed.

At idle, both cards are nearly silent but during gaming, the 1080Ti is definitely louder as the blower design exhausts air out the back of the case. With the 980Ti FTW two-fan design, the noise is lower than the 1080tT but the hot air is not vented out the back and is instead circulated in the case. Which design is better is up to you is a personal choice as some prefer a quieter operation and others want to get all the hot air out of the case; either design works well as long as you are prepared to work with the tradeoffs of each design.

For those curious, I did play quite a bit of PUBG with both cards and know that the 1080Ti is much better but comparing FPS isn’t straightforward as the game is still in heavy development with version 1.0 being released tomorrow.

What you really need to know about the 1080Ti is that it makes 4k gaming possible without sacrificing on the settings to get a stable high FPS. While the cards are not cheap, with starting prices around $750 from various vendors, you do get a serious amount of performance.

From my own personal opinion, I tend to buy third-party cards from the likes of EVGA or Gigabyte as you can obtain a little bit better performance and cooling without spending too much more than the base 1080Ti. When you are already spending $700+ on a card, tossing another $50 to get exactly what you want is worth the additional expense.

For gamers, they know that the GPU is king and that the CPU is now second-rate when it comes to high-end gaming. Yes, the better the CPU the better your performance will be but when I’m spending money on a new rig, I prioritize the GPU over the CPU these days.

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Conversation 11 comments

  • NarcoSleepy

    20 December, 2017 - 11:46 am

    <p>The only reason I would want a PC anymore is for streaming content from my XBox One. I haven't gone very far down that rabbit hole yet, but I think you can take advantage of high performance graphics cards to help take the load off the CPU with streaming software.</p>

    • stevedemena

      Premium Member
      20 December, 2017 - 12:42 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#229387"><em>In reply to NarcoSleepy:</em></a></blockquote><p>I use OBS for streaming. The Nvidia card isn’t good for streaming encoding. Most people do the x.264 encoding in software. It’s ok for recording 1080p60 at say 15000 bitrate. </p>

  • wshwe

    20 December, 2017 - 2:03 pm

    <p>Don't forget the Bitcoin miners. They will gobble up most of the available supply.</p>

    • Brad Sams

      Premium Member
      20 December, 2017 - 3:31 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#229464"><em>In reply to wshwe:</em></a></blockquote><p>The have ruined buying an AMD card D:</p>

  • donaldhall3

    20 December, 2017 - 4:11 pm

    <p>Brad, thanks for the review. Question: what's the iceberg screen saver you have running in the background? </p>

    • Brad Sams

      Premium Member
      20 December, 2017 - 5:08 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#229520"><em>In reply to donaldhall3:</em></a></blockquote><p>It's actually the Apple TV screensaver…you can find how to rip it on the web (or more than likely the download). </p>

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