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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review: The most badass graphics card ever created

Brad Chacos | May 18, 2016
Hail to the new king of graphics cards, baby.

The gorgeous Rise of the Tomb Raider scales fairly well across all GPU hardware, though it clearly prefers the Titan X to the Fury X once you reach the upper echelon of graphics cards. But that doesn’t really matter, because the performance gains with the GTX 1080 are insane—especially once you overclock it.

gtx 1080 tomb raider 4k
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gtx 1080 tomb raider 1440
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The GTX 1080 pushes 70.5 percent more frames than the GTX 980 at 4K resolution on the Very High graphics setting (Nvidia’s HBAO+ and AMD’s PureHair technology disabled). The gap increases to a whopping 94.5 percent after overclocking. That’s damn near twice the performance.

Wow. Just wow.

The performance increase over the Titan X is a more modest 29 percent, but that leaps to a full 47 percent overclocked. The Fury and Fury X’s defeat here is likely limited to HBM’s 4GB memory capacity, as the game specifically warns that enabling Very High textures can cause problems on cards with 4GB or less of memory.

We didn’t include performance results from RoTR’s DirectX 12 mode here because running it actually causes average frame rates to drop across the board, but it’s important to note that DX12 also caused minimum frame rates to increase by double-digits across the board. That means playing the game in DX12 results in fewer frames, but less stutter.

Far Cry Primal

Far Cry Primal is another Ubisoft game, but running on the latest version of the long-respected Dunia engine that’s been underpinning the series for years now. We tested these GPUs with the game’s free 4K HD texture pack enabled.

 

gtx 1080 fc 4k
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gtx 1080 fc 1440
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It scales well, though the Fiji GPU’s super-fast high-bandwidth memory gives AMD’s Fury cards an edge at higher resolutions. The tables turn at lower resolutions. At 4K/Ultra, the GTX 1080 offers a 78-percent performance increase over the GTX 980, and a 33-percent increase of the Titan X and Fury X.

Ashes of the Singularity and DX12

We were hoping to test the GTX 1080’s DirectX 12 performance in several games, but Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider’s DX12 implementations left us wanting for the reasons previously discussed. Windows Store-only DirectX 12 games aren’t really usable for benchmarking due to the inherent limitations of Windows Store apps. That left us with a single DX12 game to test: Ashes of the Singularity, running on Oxide’s custom Nitrous engine.

 

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