Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review

Pascal breaks the pixel barrier

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Our Verdict

The Nvidia GTX 1080 offers exceptional graphics performance, rocketing straight to the top of the single GPU world. If you're looking to game at 4K or higher refresh rates this card is an excellent choice. Yet the price of the Founder's Edition just doesn't sit well with us.

For

  • Great all round performance
  • Makes 4K gaming viable
  • Classy design
  • Quiet Cooler

Against

  • Expensive launch price
  • Aftermarket cards will be better specced for less

Update: We've updated our hands on impressions of the Nvidia GTX 1080 with a full review and benchmarks. Also see the difference between the Nvidia GTX 1080 vs GTX 1070 now!

Nvidia's latest Pascal GPU architecture has been on the tip of every PC enthusiast's tongue for more than a year. And with good reason, this is the first time we've ever seen an architecture based around a manufacturing process smaller than 28nm.

Almost as small as Intel's new 14nm Skylake processors, Pascal introduces Nvidia's 16nm FinFET process and the company's next generation GPU architecture. And with that comes improved efficiencies, higher densities of transistors, and increased performance. Enabling us, the players, to enjoy AAA games at higher frame rates, improved VR experiences and to push greater resolutions ever possible before.

Or at least that's the theory.

Nvidia GTX 1080

Power up

At last I finally have my hands on Nvidia's latest and greatest GPU, the GeForce GTX 1080. Coming jam packed with 2,560 CUDA cores, 160 texture units, 64 ROPs, 8GBs of Micron's latest GDDR5X VRAM, and a GPU boost clock running in at a comfortable 1,733 MHz, is there any wonder why the PC enthusiast community is so abuzz?

For those less savvy with the technical jargon, the best way to compare these cards is simply by looking at how many TFLOPs they can produce. The GTX 980, manages a respectable 5.5 TFLOPs, the 980 Ti, 6.5, the Titan 7.

And the GTX 1080? 9 teraflops.

Yep, in essence it should be almost twice as powerful as its predecessor, and in nearly every scenario, it is. At least in our testing. So let's get to it.

Nvidia GTX 1080

Design and cooling

Overall it's a cool card. Not as cool as some of the GTX 980s we saw two years ago, but it still remains at a chilly 82 degrees C, or 91 if you bump the power limiter up, and let GPU Boost have access to that extra headroom. Overall it falls well within operating parameters.

What is interesting about this card in particularly, is the inclusion of the DisplayPort 1.4 connection standard. The biggest limiting factor currently with 4K gaming, is the lack of higher refresh rate monitors. DisplayPort 1.2 is limited to pumping out 3840x2160 at 60 Hz, meaning the buttery smoothness of 144Hz gaming panels has been unobtainable on higher pixel density screens.

Although there's no 4K 120 Hz panels out on the market just yet, Nvidia claims two 1080's in SLI will be able to push 4K resolutions at 144 Hz. DisplayPort 1.4 also supports resolutions as high as 8K (7680x4320) at 60 Hz with HDR, or 4K at 120 Hz with HDR.

It won't be long until all of our high-end monitor dreams are satisfied.