Nvidia’s Pascal GPU architecture was on the top of every PC enthusiasts wish list for a year before it finally released. And, with good reason – it was the first time we’d ever seen a manufacturing process smaller than 28nm.
Almost as small as Intel’s 14nm Skylake processors (and the three generations that followed it), Pascal introduced Nvidia’s 15nm FinFET process and the company’s next-generation GPU architecture. And, with that comes improved efficiencies, higher densities of transistors, and vastly greater performance. Enabling us, the players, to enjoy AAA games at higher frame rates, improved VR experiences, and to push greater resolutions than what was previously possible.
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.
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.