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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition Graphic Card Review

  1. Introduction, Packaging and Specifications
  2. Closer Look
  3. Test Bench and Testing Methodology
  4. Futuremark Benchmark
  5. OpenGL Benchmarks
  6. Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
  7. Rise of the Tomb Raider
  8. Hitman
  9. DOOM
  10. GPU Computation Benchmark
  11. Folding at Home and LuxMark OpenCL Benchmark
  12. Overclocking Impressions
  13. Conclusion
  14. Online Purchase Links
  15. View All

Disclosure: The GeForce GTX 1080 review unit is provided by Nvidia

I finally got my hands on the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphic card. The first of the Pascal gaming-grade graphic card.

Nvidia pulled a big show to build a very strong hype around the card at an event in Austin Texas. Many were flown in by Nvidia to write or make videos about the event and what they did before the event (horsey ride, yay!!!). It was good enough to overwhelm, confuse or intimidate even the most experienced of reviewers and make their jaws drop, literally. In that environment, who wouldn’t be? Judging by multiple videos I’ve seen from multiple vloggers is that the only thing  probably missing is to make the GTX 1080 take ‘the long walk’ with six armed policemen with Bill Goldberg’s entrance.

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang talked about its first gaming-grade Pascal card with a promise of delivering two times the performance and three times the efficiency of Titan X. In all fairness, a comparison with the GTX 980 and GTX 980Ti would have made a lot more sense to have a balanced perspective. There’s no better feeling than showing significant enough changes compared to its predecessor.

And that’s how review sites started making a new punchline- “Hail the new king! GTX 1080”. Which would be a bit awkward when the alleged GTX 1080Ti will come out and becomes the new king. While certain parts of the gaming community may not be able to buy the GTX 1080 while its hot for the insane pricing at the time of launch, the details of which is what keeps it promising enough to see what’s new. In a time where easily-and-properly accessible curved widescreen displays or 4K displays with higher-than-60Hz is available, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 is a new card that comes with a promise to keep with all of those options- and Virtual Reality.

This card also introduces 8K resolution support, Micron GDDR5X memory and the first based on 16nm FinFET process. What really got my attention was the lack of information along with an operating temperature of 67 degrees Celcius on a GTX 1080 which was running at more than 2000 MHz. Actual frequency, setup and ambient temperatures are some of the important influential factors.

The GP104-based Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 has more CUDA cores compared to GTX 980 (2560 Vs. 2048), more texture fill rate (257 GT/s Vs. 172 GT/s) and boosted memory clock thanks to GDDR5X (10 Gbps Vs. 7 Gbps) and 2GB more. But what’s interesting is that memory interface (256-bit Vs. 384-bit) and memory bandwidth is lesser (320 GB/s Vs. 336.5 GB/s). Differences don’t matter as long as the end result means a justifiable performance boost over the GTX 980 and the GTX 980Ti,  the previous generation DX12 cards.

These are the paper spec comparison:

GTX 1080 GTX Titan X GTX 980Ti GTX 980
Core GP104 GM200 GM200-310 GM204
CUDA Cores 2560 3072 2816 2048
Base Clock (MHz) 1607 1000 MHz 1000 1126
Boost Clock (MHz) 1733 MHz 1075 MHz 1075 1216
Texture Fill Rate 257 GT/s 192 GT/s 176GT/s 172 GT/s
Memory Specs
Memory Clock 10 Gbps 7.0 Gbps
Memory 8 GB 12 GB 6 GB 4 GB
Memory Interface GDDR5X GDDR5
Memory Interface 256-bit 384-bit 384-bit 256-bit
Memory Bandwidth 320 GB/s 336.5 GB/sec 336.5 224 GB/sec
Technology Support
SLI Ready Yes (4-way)
G-Sync-Ready Yes
GameStream-Ready Yes
ShadowPlay Yes
GPU Boost 3.0 2.0
NVIDIA GameWorks Yes
Microsoft DirectX 12 API 12 API with Feature Level 12.1 12 API with Feature Level 12.1 12 API
OpenGL 4.5 4.5 4.4
Bus Support PCI Express 3.0
OS Certification Win 8 & 8.1, Win 7, Win Vista, Linux, FreeBSD x86
Display Support
Max Digital Resolution 7680×4320@60Hz 5120×3200 (via dual DisplayPort)
Max VGA Resolution NA 2048 x 1536
Display Connectors DP 1.42, HDMI 2.0b, DL-DVI Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, 3x DisplayPort 1.2
Multi Monitor YES 4 displays
HDCP 2.2 Yes
Audio Input for HDMI Internal
GPU Dimensions:
Height 4.376 inches
Length 10.5 inches
Width Dual-slot
Thermal and Power Specs:
Maximum GPU Temperature (in C) 94 C 91 C 92 C 98 C
Graphics Card Power (W) 180 W 250 W 250 W 165 W
Minimum System Power Requirement (W) 500 W 600 W 500 W 500 W
Supplementary Power Connectors 8-pin PCIe 6-pin + 8-pin PCIe 6-pin + 8-pin PCIe 2x 6-pin PCIe

The GPU cooling shroud is a little bit different from the outside compared to the past reference edition GPUs. Aesthetically, it’s a minor change. Many of you have noticed users changing the colour of the silver portion to match the colour scheme of their system. The diamond cuts and the fake air scoop(I don’t know what else to call it?) makes a decent difference to the design. The outer section of the GPU shroud can be easily dismantled with two Torx screw bits.

It should be noted that this high-end pascal graphic card has the same dimensions compared to its predecessor variants. I would like to see mid-to-ultra high-end cards with lesser length. Not many manufacturers talk about it, but GPU sagging is an issue. It’s even worse when non-native variants are longer and heavier.

There are three DisplayPorts, an HDMI and a dual-link DVI-I video output. The graphic card’s maximum resolution is bumped from 5K to 8K (7680×4320) via DisplayPort 1.42b. You can run 8K resolution 60Hz RGB 8-bit colour only with dual DP, while running it with a single DP 1.3 will run 8K @ 60Hz with YUV420 8-bit.

The actual cooling design inside is pretty much the same lateral-blower type like previous generation models- one fan ‘scooping’ the air and pushing through the alloy heatsink array and out through the rear I/O to cool off the VRM, the video card memory, the core and the power phase. Note that the founder edition GTX 1080 has a maximum temperature threshold of 94 degrees Celsius, a minor 2 degrees Celsius lesser than GTX 980Ti.

Dismantling it from the backplate to remove the cooling shroud entirely was met with an obstacle. Once the two-piece plastic backplate was removed, Nvidia used a hex-type screwdriver to mount the cooling unit whose head in a way acted at its standoff. Those who are planning to buy a reference version to install a waterblock should take note. Those who have more experience may end up using a plier but always look for the right tool for the right job. Unfortunately, I did not have one and cannot confirm the inner PCB layout and to know the type of surface used for GPU core’s heat dissipation. A couple of chips has a thermal pad on them as well.

Hardware BBQ gets very minimum support from hardware manufacturers since we have a no-strings-attached policy and ended up blacklisting even tier 1 brands for improper misconduct. But thanks to a handful of companies who value the importance and benefits of providing components for the test bench, we do what we’re good at with the resources at hand. I would like to thank:

  • Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT Rev 1.0 motherboard
  • WD India for providing 4x WD Red 3TB NAS drives
  • Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply
Test Setup for: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
CPU+ CPU Cooler Intel i7 4790K + Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT Motherboard
Memory Kingston 8GB 1600MHz DDRIII
Primary OS drive SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD + WD Red 3TB WD30EFRX
Power Supply Corsair TX750
Chassis Lian Li A70F Full Tower PC Case

Driver Version: 368.39 WHQL. Overclock benchmarks are used with 368.25 WHQL driver.

The fan speed is kept at auto for stock benchmark and on 75% when overclocked.

Futuremark Benchmarks

  • 3DMark: Sky Diver, Fire Strike, Fire Strike Extreme and Fire Strike Presets
3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your PC and mobile devices in one app. Whether you’re gaming on a smartphone, tablet, notebook, or a desktop gaming PC, 3DMark includes a benchmark designed specifically for your hardware.

With more tests coming soon, we’ve given 3DMark a new interface that’s faster, more flexible and easier to use. What’s more, you can now get faster downloads and save storage space by choosing to install only the tests you need.

  • 3DMark 11: Xtreme Preset
3DMark 11 is a DirectX 11 video card benchmark test for measuring your PC’s gaming performance. 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of DirectX 11 features including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 consistently and reliably tests your PC’s DirectX 11 performance under game-like loads.

OpenGL Benchmarks: Cinebench 11.5 and Cinebench R15

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software Cinema 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

Game Benchmarks

  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor DX 11 with 3 presets
Fight through Mordor and uncover the truth of the spirit that compels you, discover the origins of the Rings of Power, build your legend and ultimately confront the evil of Sauron in this new chronicle of Middle-earth.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider DX 11 and  DX 12 with  3 presets each
Featuring epic, high-octane action moments set in the most beautiful hostile environments on earth, Rise of the Tomb Raider delivers a cinematic survival action adventure where you will join Lara Croft on her first tomb raiding expedition as she seeks to discover the secret of immortality.
  • Hitman (2016) DX 11 and DX 12 with 3 presets each
As Agent 47, you perform contract hits on high-profile targets in exotic locations around the world. With the Full Experience, you will have access to all episodes as they release periodically throughout 2016, starting April 2016.
  • DOOM OpenGL 4.5 with 3 presets each
DOOM returns as a brutally fun and challenging modern-day shooter experience. Relentless demons, impossibly destructive guns, and fast, fluid movement provide the foundation for intense, first-person combat.

Buy game licenses for cheap!

For measuring GPU computation, I’ve included Compubench benchmark workloads.

  • Face Detection and TV-L1 Optical Flow Test
  • Ocean Surface Simulation Test
  • Particle Simulation-64K Test
  • Computation Benchmark- Graphics and Video Composition
  • Bitcoin Mining

OpenCL Benchmarks

  • Folding at Home Benchmark
  • LuxMark OpenCL Benchmark
Note that we do not keep review units with us, and since the testing workload and driver are updated, we did not add the older information on these graphs. For those who still want to check out the older card reviews, can see the last maxwell review here.

3DMark 11 Benchmark

Extreme Preset

3DMark Benchmarks

Sky Diver

Fire Strike

Fire Strike Extreme

Fire Strike Ultra

Cinebench 11.5

NV GTX 1080 Cinebench 11.5 OpenGL

Cinebench R15

NV GTX 1080 Cinebench R15 OpenGL

Presets List

Preset 1 Preset 2 Preset 3
Lighting Quality High High Ultra
Mesh Quality High Ultra High
Motion Blur Camera and Objects Camera and Objects Camera and Objects
Shadow Quality High High Ultra
Texture Filtering High Ultra Ultra
Texture Quality Medium High Ultra
Ambient Occlusion Medium Medium High
Vegetation Range High Ultra Ultra
Depth of Field Yes Yes Yes
Order Independent Transparency Yes Yes Yes
Tessellation Yes Yes Yes

DX 11 Test

NV GTX 1080 Shadow of Mordor DX11

Presets List

Preset 1 Preset 2 Preset 3
Texture Quality Medium High Very High
Anisotropic Filter 2x 4x 16x
Shadow Quality Medium High High
Sun Soft Shadows Off On High
Depth of Field On On Very High
Level of Detail High High Very High
Dynamic Foliage Medium Medium High
Ambient Occlusion On On HBAO+
PureHair On On On
Specular Reflection Quality Normal Normal Normal
Vignette Blur Yes Yes Yes
Motion Blur Yes Yes Yes
Bloom Yes Yes Yes
Tessellation Yes Yes
Screen Space Reflections Yes Yes Yes
Lens Flares Yes Yes Yes
Screen Effects Yes Yes Yes
Film Grain

DX 11 Test

DX 12 Test

Setting the texture quality on high, more anisotropic filter, sun soft shadows, depth  of field and tessellation on the second preset, this means little to no difference with DX11 and DX12 API, but it did with the third preset. Still, you can enjoy ROTR play very comfortably.

Presets List

Preset 1 Preset 2 Preset 3
Super Sampling 1 1.5 2
Level of Detail Low Medium Ultra
Anti-Aliasing Off FXAA SMAA
Texture Quality Low Medium High
Texture Filter Trilinear 8x 16x
SSAO Off On On
Shadow Maps Low Medium Ultra
Shadow Resolution Low Medium High

DX 11 Test

DX 12 Test

Presets List

Medium High Ultra
Lights Quality Medium High Ultra
Shadows Quality Medium High Ultra
Player Self Shadow Off On On
Directional Occlusion Quality Medium High High
Decal Quality Medium High Ultra
Decal Filtering 2x 4x 8x
Virtual Texturing Page Size Medium High Ultra
Reflections Quality Medium High Ultra
Particles Quality Medium High Ultra
Compute Shaders Off On On
Motion Blur Quality Medium High Ultra
Depth of Field Off On On
Depth of Field Antialiasing Off On On
HDR Bloom Off On On
Lens Flare Off On On
Lens Dirt Off On On
Rendering Mode Default Default Default
Sharpening Amount 2.0 2.0 2.0
Film Grain 1.0 1.0 1.0
UI Opacity 70% 70% 70%
Show Performance Metrics Off Off Off

 OpenGL Test


Playing DOOM is absolute fun, and one of the few games that I will personally prefer playing on a higher refresh rate panel to enjoy the performance it gives out to satisfy a PC gamer. Even with the noticeable difference between the presets, the ultra settings’ framerates is producing enough performance and detail. The card has good performance with the OpenGL, but it’s a shame we don’t have previous generation cards from both AMD and Nvidia to point out the difference.

  • Face Detection Test
    Face detector based on the Viola-Jones algorithm which used for biometrics and digital image processing to identify locations and sizes of faces in images.

    TV-L1 Optical Flow Test
    Based on dense motion vector calculation using the variational method. Used wisely in video compression and video quality enhancement for driver assistance systems and motion detection.
    NV GTX 1080 Computational BC 1

  • Graphics Test “T-Rex”
    A path tracer featuring dynamically updated acceleration structure and global illumination

    Video Composition Test
    A composition of videos using various effects such as pixelation, masking, mix and blur.
    NV GTX 1080 Computational BC 2

  • Ocean Surface Simulation
    FTT (Fast Fourier Transform) algorithm test using ocean wave simulation.
    NV GTX 1080 Ocean Simulation

  • Particle Simulation-64K
    Particle Simulation using discrete element method with OpenGL
    NV GTX 1080 Particle Sim 64k

Bitcoin Mining
The popular Bitcoin algorithm that tests the integer performance of the GPU.
NV GTX 1080 Bitcoin Mining

FAHBench is the official Folding@Home GPU benchmark. It measures the compute performance of GPUs for Folding@Home. In addition, by use of a loadable DLL system, it provides vendors and skilled hackers with a method make customized plugins and test their results

The single precision implicit model most closely relates to current folding performance. Nvidia GPU will involve tests involving CUDA and OpenCL while AMD Radeon is limited to OpenCL tests.

NV GTX 1080 FAH OpenCL

LuxMark is a OpenCL cross-platform benchmark tool. The idea for the program was conceived in 2009 by Jean-Francois ‘Jromang’ Romang. It was intended as a promotional tool for LuxRender (to quote original Jromang’s words: “LuxRender propaganda with OpenCL”). The idea was quite simple, wrap SLG inside an easy to use graphical user interface and use it as a benchmark for OpenCL.

NV GTX 1080 Luxmark OpenCL

Unfortunately, the review unit of the founder’s edition  blocks out the ASIC quality rating.

ASIC Quality

After a couple of trial and error, I was able to achieve the following numbers good enough to be stable on load and without crossing the maximum temperature threshold of 94 degrees celsius. The overclocked base clock is now 10.08%, from 1607 MHz to 1769 MHz. The boost clock of the overclocked profile is up to 1869 MHz, a 9.34% boost. A 162MHz base clock bump is pretty good.


I tried to memory overclock by giving it a boost of +170MHz but it didn’t reflect on the GPU-Z. Strange!

The results are as follows:

3DMark Benchmark

Game Benchmarks- DX 12/OpenGL 4.5 Highest presets

The 10% base clock OC resulted in good enough boost in performance in DOOM and The Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Remember 9800 GT? Good times, eh??

The Nvidia GTX 970 is what I regard as a proper mid-end card. You can max out on many games available at the time and even now for 1080p 60 FPS. In a country like India, its still a rare sight to see anyone buying monitors beyond 1080p because even with 1440p panels, it’s a hard to reach. This applies even to people who buy mid-end performance components- from processors to SSDs, power supplies, cases.

We’re still waiting to see 21:9 and expecting to be easily available locally. A 2560 x 1080 display never really pick up at the time when it was relevant (but now you do), and the current standard 3440 x 1440 isn’t something that’s encouraged here. Most who want widescreen here will end up buying 2-3 panels and putting it together, enjoying the gameplay with bezels in the middle. It may not affect those who play racing sim since they can look like a roll-cage.

Those who have larger resolution 4K or ultra-wide 3440 x 1440 panels will consider this card for SLI. It’s simply made for such userbase. Two-way SLI users would also appreciate this card, though I wonder if GTX1070 would be considered as the best choice for SLI. Those with 1440p or  2560 x 1080 resolution panels will max out any games now and in the future for a long time, but I doubt those with GTX 980 and GTX 980Ti would be keen on making the jump. They have what they want for now.

The cooling performance is something I am not very happy about. With Hitman’s highest setting on DX12, the card did touch 80-82 degrees celsius on load. This is without the overclocking. Nvidia should consider better air cooling options.

Then there’s the issue of the price tag. Oh my God! Look at the Indian price tag!

The cheapest GTX 1080 founder’s edition is from PNY, which costs $834.99– this translates to Rs. 55,679.18/-. In India, the cheapest is from Zotac for Rs. 68,300/- which translates to a jaw-dropping US $1,024.26. That’s the price where people will riot at Amazon. Oh wait, that did happen with EVGA at the time of launch. That’s a difference of Rs. 12,620!! You can buy a good 240GB SSD and still save cash!

Yes! Taxes and custom duties play a role. But it’s cheaper for an individual to get a single unit from there- or buy it during vacation. It’s bragging time for those who have relatives in the US!

Which is why a lot of people will be keen on waiting for newer generation Radeon cards. Those are even waiting for GTX 1070 may even end up delaying their purchase decision at least until June 29th when the Radeon RX 480 will be officially launched. You already get fast cards from mid-to-high end cards. People want to see cheaper cost cards now. A good number of GTX 970-to-980Ti users will chill out and wait for the storm to pass over.

One of the three things will happen after AMD Radeon 4xx series launch and reviews that show the reality of things- either Nvidia drops the price or people would consider the shift to RX 480 and wouldn’t mind the difference in performance between two cards, assuming it’s not that bad. The third would be Nvidia pushing GTX 1060 launch as quick as possible. In the midst of all this, GTX 1080Ti will descend from Nvidia land!

In either case, AMD’s show-off of RX 480 Vs. GTX 1080 Ashes of Singularity is confusing to understand, though there have been convenient benchmark chart leaks. But it does give some benefit of the doubt. What could you possibly lose in waiting for a month, yeah??

Many would claim foul on Intel and Nvidia for selling their products at a premium due to lack of competition in CPU and GPU. But if tables were turned, AMD would do the same. At the end of the day, it’s business. Which is why it’s important for AMD and Nvidia (AMD and Intel for CPUs) to have head-to-head competition both in performance and value. Better the competition, better it is for the gamers! Nvidia GTX 1080 is a good card, but I hope AMD RX 480 does some magic to make itself look good and make Nvidia look GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 ever better with lesser pricing.

  • Performance boost post overclock.
  • Ideal for certain ultrawidescreen setup.
  • Excellent OpenGL 4.5 performance for DOOM.
  • Minimal performance difference between DX11 and DX12 API.
  • Temperature under load.
  • Price tag due to the lack of competition (for now).
  • Still a long way to go for 4K with 60 min FPS with a single card.

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