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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.

gtx 1080 steamvr
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Oh well. In any case, the GTX 1080 is the first graphics card to ever push the PCWorld graphics testbed all the way to 11 in the SteamVR benchmark—though the Titan X and GTX 980 Ti came damn close before.

3DMark Fire Strike and Fire Strike Ultra

We also tested the GTX 1080 using 3DMark’s highly respected Fire Strike and Fire Strike Ultra synthetic benchmarks. Fire Strike runs at 1080p, while Fire Strike Ultra renders the same scene, but with more intense effects, at 4K resolution.

gtx 1080 fire strike
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gtx 1080 fire strike ultra
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No surprise here after seeing the in-game results: Nvidia’s new card absolutely whomps on all comers, becoming the first graphics card to crack the 5000 score barrier in Fire Strike Ultra. Heck, the Fury X is the only other card to even break 4000, and even then just barely.

Power and heat

Finally, let’s take a look at the GTX 1080’s power and thermal results.

gtx 1080 power use
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All of AMD’s recent graphics cards use vastly more power than their Nvidia counterparts, full stop. The GTX 1080 only uses 20 watts more power under extreme load than the GTX 980, and considerably less power than a hot-and-bothered Titan X, even though it pushes out significantly more performance. The Pascal architecture is indeed incredibly power-efficient, in other words.

Power is measured by plugging the entire system into a Watts Up meter, then running a stress test with Furmark for 15 minutes. It’s basically a worst-case scenario, pushing graphics cards to their limits.

gtx 1080 temps
(Click for larger image). 

On the flip side of the coin, the GTX 1080 runs slightly hotter than the GTX 980 under a Furmark load, hitting temperatures on a par with the Titan X. (The water-cooled Fury X is the outlier in the results.) Furmark truly is a worst-case scenario here, though—temperatures during actual gameplay tended to hover around 70 to 75 degrees Celsius—and the cooling system on reference cards are never as efficient as custom third-party solutions. Look for temperatures to drop significantly in custom versions of the card.

A new king

So we’re back to where we started: Nvidia’s first long-awaited Pascal-based graphics card truly is a beast in every sense of the word, smashing performance records while veritably sipping on power.

 

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