Get excited: GTX 1080 benchmarks are here, and better than expected

gtx 1080 review roundup kv 1462594232 900x600 edited 1
Nvidia
Nvidia’s latest and greatest has finally landed, and expectations are high, to say the least. The GTX 1080 moves to a smaller architecture and ups the ante on performance, but it faces tough competition in the form of the incredibly popular GTX 970 and importantly, the 980 Ti.

We haven’t been able to spend time with the card yet, but we’ve scoured the web for benchmarks, features, and design impressions so you don’t have to.

What’s old is new again

Like most new GPUs, the first example of the GTX 1080 is the Nvidia produced reference design, or “Founders Edition,” as the company has dubbed it. This time around, the introductory version of the card actually packs some special features, though. For one, the previous heat pipe and blower construction has been improved with the return of the vapor chamber from the original Titan introduction, and the power supply has been upgraded to a five-phase unit.

Its redesigned shroud is also much more exciting and dangerous looking than the previous blower. Whether the jagged edges and tessellated appearance fit in with your build is up to personal taste, but its efficiency can’t be argued with. The reviewers that measured temperatures found the card’s power efficiency and temperatures have both improved a bit over last year, despite the performance increase.

The GTX 1080 boasts improved connectivity too, even if it doesn’t appear to from the outside. The trio of DisplayPorts are now 1.4 instead of 1.2m for up to 8K at 60Hz or 4K at 120Hz, and the HDMI port is now 2.0B, for 4K at 60Hz with High Dynamic Range, a feature the GTX 1080 now supports.

Take a picture

Basically every feature and specification on the GTX 1080 has improved over the GTX 980. There are more stream processors, more CUDA cores, improved memory bandwidth, and a shrunken architecture, but we’ll get to what exactly that means for performance. First, we’ll take a look at a couple of features that reviewers mentioned specifically having tried out.

One of the more important additions, especially considering the high framerates the GTX 1080 achieved, is the new Fast Sync technology. Like a G-Sync for framerates that fly past your monitor’s refresh rate, Fast Sync lets your GPU render frames as fast as it wants, and then the card decides which frames to show. That means dropped frames, but most reviewers pointed out that this feature works quite well for games like Dota 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive where speed is everything, and quality isn’t the goal.

There’s also the new Ansel feature, which allows users to take incredibly detailed in-game screenshots in 2D or 360-degree for VR. It’s a driver utility that has to be enabled by each game’s developer, but doing so in The Witness only required 40 lines of extra code, according to the PCWorld review. The result is a free-floating camera that stitches together up to 3,600 individual, high-resolution shots, with special filters and effects to improve your photography.

Although Nvidia makes no claims about the GTX 1080’s overclocking potential, its unlocked cores and improved tuning are sure to grab gaming enthusiasts’ attention. One of them is GPU Boost 3.0, which allows users to set different overclocking settings depending on the card’s current voltage.

King of the hill

The result of these new features and generational improvements is impressive, but the benchmarks speak for themselves, especially at lower resolutions. We could share 1080p results, but with even mid-range components backing it up, expect the GTX 1080 to stay well above 60 frames per second in basically any modern game.

As the resolution rises, so does the GTX 1080’s lead over comparable cards. With the exception of SLI or CrossFire setups, and DirectX 12 games where AMD currently has an advantage, the GTX 1080 doesn’t lose a benchmark to a single GPU setup in any of the reviews we checked. In a fifteen game average, the GTX 1080 ties or beats two GTX 980s in SLI, trouncing every other card in the competition, according to PCGamer’s review. That kind of overwhelming, unambiguous victory is a rarity in the PC gaming market.

Overall, the GTX 1080 is tough to compare to the GTX 980 because it’s so much faster – about a 70 percent jump, according to Anandtech. Instead, it’s a more direct comparison to the 980 Ti, at least in terms of price. Even then, the GTX 1080 is over 30 percent faster than the 980 Ti, and it carries a slightly higher margin of victory over AMD’s Fury X.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the new GTX 1080 is a vast improvement over last year’s cards, and even beats out two GTX 980s in SLI on a good day. It also quickly claimed the title of fastest single graphics card setup for consumers in the gaming space, at a price that comes in well below cards like the Titan X that it beats.

Reference cards haven’t always been gamers’ first choice, and this one carries a larger premium than ever. It’s more likely than ever that PC builders will chase down a overclocked version of their favorite third-party cooler if they want to upgrade to the 1080, and save some cash in the process.

We’ll wait until we have the GTX 1080 in hand to settle on a formal score or recommendation, but it’s clear the newest generation of Nvidia cards are geared up for a successful summer, especially once the non-reference designs roll out.

Computing

Nvidia’s flagship RTX 2080 Ti graphics cards are failing. Or are they?

Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition may be the main cause for the worst problems associated with the new-generation high-end cards. All evidence suggests that partner cards aren't experiencing any common issues.
Computing

We tested Nvidia’s RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti. Are they a worthy upgrade?

We finally have Nvidia's newest graphics cards, the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti, and put them through our standard suite of benchmarks and game tests to see how they performed in a standard play of Battlefield 1 and Fornite. How do they compare to…
Gaming

Tweak these ‘Fortnite’ game settings for a split-second edge

Fortnite is a very forgiving game, and it can run on just about any PC. How well it runs depends on your system, so we put Fortnite through its paces to see how you can get the most out of your machine.
Computing

Nvidia’s ‘binning’ practice could mean the best RTX 2070s are third-party cards

Nvidia's RTX 2070s are being binned, giving third-party manufacturers access to the better chips for increased clocks and overclocking potential. The binned GPUs even have their own serial number designation.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts in the process.
Computing

After a month of bugs, the Windows 10 October 2018 Update is finally here

After more thoroughly investigating and resolving all bugs and related issues, Microsoft is announcing the Windows 10 October 2018 is again rolling out to consumers starting today, November 13. 
Computing

Changing file associations in Windows 10 is quick and easy with these steps

Learning how to change file associations can make editing certain file types much quicker than manually selecting your preferred application every time you open them. Just follow these short steps and you'll be on your way in no time.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Computing

Great PC speakers don't need to break the bank. These are our favorites

Not sure which PC speakers work best with your computer? Here are the best computer speakers on the market, whether you're working with a tight budget or looking to rattle your workstation with top-of-the-line audio components.
Computing

Printing to PDF in Windows is easy, no matter which method you use

Microsoft's latest operating system makes it easier than ever to print to PDF in Windows, but there are alternative methods for doing so, even if you want to forgo Adobe Acrobat. Here's how.
Computing

These are the 5 best free antivirus apps to protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as picking from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.
Computing

These laptop bags will keep your notebook secure wherever you go

Choosing the right laptop bag is no easy feat -- after all, no one likes to second-guess themselves. Here are some of the best laptop bags on the market, from backpacks to sleeves, so you can get it right the first time around.