NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

Pascal Core Brings Improved Performance for High Resolution Gaming

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founder's Edition Graphics Card

The Bottom Line

May 23 2016 2013 - For those looking to do some serious gaming at high resolutions from either multiple displays or a single 4K display, the latest NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 offers the best overall experience without compromising on image quality. The improvements made with the new chip allow for better performance while producing less noise and heat than previous models. Still, it might be best to wait a while to see what card manufacturers are able to do and how it compares against the more affordable GTX 1070.


  • Fastest Graphics Card Available
  • Great For Those Looking at 4K or VR Gaming
  • Lower Cost Than Previous GeForce GTX 980 Ti


  • Founder's Edition Not Best Deal for Consumers
  • Three and Four Way SLI Not Officially Supported
  • Still More Expensive and Powerful Than Most Gamers Need


  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Processor
  • Base GPU Clock 1607MHz, Boost Clock 1733MHz
  • 8GB GDDR5X Video Memory
  • 256-bit Memory Bus
  • Single Fan Blower Design with Vapor Chamber Heatsink
  • DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b, DVI
  • 10.5-inch Long, Double Wide Card
  • 500 Watt Recommended Power Supply
  • Microsoft DirectX 12 Compatible
  • PCI-Express 3.0 Interface

Preview - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

May 23 2016 - It seems like the graphics card market has been pretty stagnant the past few years. NVIDIA has dominated the market with its 980 and 970 cards when it comes to those looking for high performance. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti in particular is pretty much one of the only choices out there for a solid gaming experience on 4K displays but it still often required that the graphics detail levels be turned down somewhat. The Pascal architecture has been talked about by the company for years and now they have finally revealed the GeForce GTX 1080 flagship card and it is looking very impressive.

Many of the benefits to the new graphics card is the reduction in the size of the processor by moving from 28nm to 16nm traces. This allows them to pack in more transistors into a smaller area while reducing the power requirements and boosting the clock speeds. In terms of raw numbers and specs, it may look like a step back after all the GTX 980 Ti had a 384-bit memory bus and 2816 CUDA cores compared to the new GTX 1080 with 2560 CUDA cores and a 256-bit bus. There have been a huge number of improvements though such that performance is boosted significantly. For instance, the clock speed starts at 1607MHz for the GTX 1080 versus just 1000MHz for the GTX 980 Ti. While clock speeds have been boosted significantly, the power requirements are roughly the same but with a much lower TDP of 180 versus 250 meaning it should be easier to cool than past cards.

So how does this translate into performance? NVIDIA was keen to show off various graphs that showed some significant performance boosts but the average game seems to be roughly between twenty-five to thirty percent faster than the previous cards. This means those looking for 4K gaming now have the option to run a single graphics card and not have to sacrifice on the image quality to keep up solid frame rates. Obviously there are still cases when you may be forced down but this is hands down the best single graphics card for performance right now. In fact, it is probably overkill for most users that are not using 4K displays but instead are using 1440p or 1080p displays. It should still do extremely well for those that want to have multiple lower resolution displays though.

The card also has built into in the latest graphics interfaces including DisplayPort v1.4. This version of the interface offers higher bandwidth and the ability to push maximum display resolutions of up to 7680x4320 and up to 60Hz by using two DisplayPort 1.2 cables. It also supports the latest HDMI 2.0b for improved 4K display support including 4K TVs with HDR support.

For those that like to have the ultimate performance by running multiple graphics cards in an SLI setup, you are essentially restricted to just two cards at this time. Most of the previous generation cards supported three or four card setups but now there are fewer programs that are benefiting from the additional cards and it has been troublesome supporting them. It is possible to still run three or four but it requires special steps with NVIDIA to unlock.

Consumers looking to use VR software with devices like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive will also benefit from the newer GeForce GTX 1080. The added performance and graphics memory should allow the virtual reality software to offer greater detail and smoother operation. After all, the new technology has some step hardware requirements to get the best performance. Of course this is still for a very limited set of users because of the high cost for the peripherals and the hardware necessary to run it.

One big issue with the release is the Founder's Edition. This is in essence a reference card from NVIDIA that is being sold to consumers which it never did with previous cards. This is great for integrators that want to standardize their designs as the card will not change over the life of the graphics processor. The issue is that the card is being priced at $699 over the $599 retail card suggested base price. NVIDIA claims that the cards will have higher quality but frankly many graphics cards companies offer much better cooling solutions that provide either less noise or better performance than the reference or in this case the Founder's Edition. As a result, consumers are best to wait to see what the retail cards have to offer compared to NVIDIA's card.