GeForce GTX 1080: Worth Buying in 2020?


At the center of any intensive task in a computer is a graphics processing unit (GPU), also commonly referred to as a graphics card. This miniature yet powerful device functions to transmit data from the CPU and convert it into pictures. While they are quite similar to a computer’s CPU, graphic cards are specifically designed to perform complex mathematical and geometric calculations required for graphics rendering. To achieve this function, GPUs employ special programming to assist it in analyzing and using data.

Whether you are looking to play the best PC games such as tomb raider or rise of the tomb or use your computer to handle graphics-intensive tasks such as 3D design and video editing, graphic cards are just as crucial as the CPU or the power supply.

Since its inception in 1981, GPUs have undergone massive evolution with modern graphics cards being powerful, reasonably quiet even when handling intensive tasks and functioning to enhance the computer’s overall performance by offloading work from the CPU and system RAM. Talking of a modern, powerful graphics card, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 by NVIDIA can’t go unnoticed. Released in 2018 as the successor to the GTX 980, the GeForce GTX 1080 is pretty powerful and a dream of every gaming enthusiast.

GTX 1080 founders edition offers significantly higher performance thanks to a combination of factors including optimization drive, which allows for clock speeds, making it 30 percent faster than the 900 series. The drive works in conjunction with the 16nm FinFet chip process that allows for 4K gaming. With a high TDP, GTX 1080 is best suited for laptops with high performance efficient cooling systems since excessive heat drastically decreases performance. Here is an in-depth GeForce GTX 1080 review.

About the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

Released in 2016, the GTX 1080 is NVIDIA high-end graphic card designed for VR and 4K gaming. GTX 1080 has been rated as to be high above the Titan X, winning the Graphics Card of the Year in the 2016 Trusted Reviews Awards. While there have been plenty of GPUs released since then, the GTX 1080 is still a powerful graphic card offering exceptional graphics performance. GTX 1080 features some hardware enhancements for better performance.

Regarding the media angle of the GPU, NVIDIA integrated remarkable 4K and next-gen codec support to the GTX1080, enabling it to support 12-bit/1—bit HEVC decode and 10-bit encode for extraordinary media streaming performance. GTX 1080 engine also got a 4.0upgrade allowing it to support a new functionality termed as simultaneous multi-projection.

GTX 1080provides stereo 3D rendering, perspective rectification on surround multi-monitor setups in addition to enhanced performance involving VR applications. The graphic card allows up to16 projections conducted in parallel. In this regard, the graphic card allows a VR title to be projected out an additional flat 2D screen used for streaming. Similarly, multi-projections involving different resolutions coupled be assembled into a single-feed to offer an excellent performance boost.

Another unique feature about GTX 1080 founders edition architecture is that it employs the impressive Pascal architecture-a replacement of Maxwell architecture in previous GPUs. In addition to Pascal architecture, the GPU also integrated CUDA cores arrays that function to increase efficiency in performance- GTX 1080 boosts of an enormous speed of 1866MHz and can overclock to 2.1GHz or more.

Regarding memory, the GPU leveraged Micron’s 10gbps GDDR5X attached to a 256-bit memory bus-an improvement from the 7gbps provided by the GDDR5 modules seen in GTX 980. The new memory offers GTX 1080 a full 320GB/sec of memory bandwidth-43% more than GTX 980.  Overheating being an enormous problem in GPUs, GTX 1080 uses an effective thermal solution to reduce heat emission and keep the graphic card at optimum performance.

On to the physical appearance, the GTX 1080 features a new aluminum shroud, but with the port arrangement remaining unchanged i.e., dual DVIs, three DisplayPorts with an HDMI 2.0 port. On the back, a protective backing plate similar to the one from in GTX 980 is placed. However, the removable portion is increased in size to enhance cooling when two graphic cards are installed in an SLI arrangement.For even better cooling, the GTX 1080 also features a blower-style design which functions to drain heat out of the chassis even when multiple cards are attached for SLI purpose.

GTX 1080 also features a 180W rated TDP. This represents a slight increase from GTX 980,which required. When it comes to the video card specifications, it features a sliding scale that functions to provide unmatched performance with uncompromised cooling capabilities. GTX 1080 has a slightly higher power consumption compared to its predecessors. The increased power consumption is to allow for enhanced performance.

Pascal Architecture

As mentioned earlier, GTX 1080 replaced Maxwell architecture with Pascal architecture, which significantly reduces the manufacturing process (16nanometers versus 28nmm) and power consumption. This architecture involves a newer category of transistor named FinFET. These transistors are embedded in 3D space instead of putting them side-by-side. Stacking the transistors in 3D space enables NVIDIA pack more transistors into a smaller area for enhanced performance-remember, more transistors in a smaller area equals better performance.

The 1080 founders edition has 7.2 billion transistors packed in 3D space compared to GP204 at5.2 billion and GP200, which has 5.2 billion transistors. Despite the incredible number of transistors, the graphics card still manage to keep heat emission low thanks to a low thermal design power (TDP). Pascal Architecture is quite energy-efficient, enabling the GPU to require just one eight-pin PCIExpress power connector from the mains.

The 16nmFinFet transistors increase clock speed to 1.6GHz with a possibility to clock1.73GHz under particular conditions.

NvidiaGeForce GTX 1080 Specs      

CUDACores: 2560

Base Clock: 1607MHz

Boost Clock: 1733MHz

GFLOPS (boost): 8873

Texture Units: 160

Texel Fill-Rate: 277.3Gigatexels/sec

Memory Clock: 10GHz

Memory Bandwidth: 320GB/s

ROPs: 64

L2 Cache Size: 2048KB

TDP: 180W

Transistors: 7.2 billion

Die Size: 314mm2

Process: TSMC 16nm FinFet

Memory capacity: 8GB

Memory bus: 256-bit

GTX 1080 Design

When it comes to the design, the GeForce GTX 1080 is a dual-slot card 10.5 inches in length and precisely the same height, width, and length as the GeForce GTX 980.NVIDIA didn’t change the physical appearance of the GTX 1080. Regarding the design, the most significant change that one quickly notes is the lone eight-pin PCI Express power connector. Prior models required two PCleconnectors.

On the back, the graphic card consists of five outputs, including three DisplayPort connectors that are certified for DisplayPort 1.2, but would later be upgraded to 1.3 and 1.4 to achieve 4K resolutions at 144Hz. This is because DisplayPort1.3 is perfect for supporting a 4K monitor at 120Hz- DisplayPort 1.2 can run a4K monitor but at a lower refresh rate-120Hz. DisplayPort 1.4 can support 8K(7680 x 4320) at 60Hz with HDR, or 4K at 120Hz with HDR.

On to the clock speed, GTX 1080 is designed to provide an extremely high clock speed of1, 600MHZ with a boost clock of 1, 733 MHz. This represents 700MHz higher than its predecessors without really factoring in the overclocking numbers.

GTX 1080 is designed to run cool and calm, even when handling multiple intensive tasks.This is achieved via the 8GB super-fast Micron-made GDDR5X memory- the first one of its kind in the GPU world. The GDDR5X memory replaces the GDDR5 found in the previous generation of NVIDIA GPUs. The card requires a surprisingly low TDP of 180 watts. This represents 70 watts less than previous flagships,including the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X among others. However, GeForce GTX 1080 doesn’t run quite cool, as observed in some GTX 980s flagships.Nonetheless, it still maintains 82 degrees to the low and 91 degrees to the high. You really don’t need to worry about overheating since the card has an extra thermal headroom.

In regards to horsepower, The NVIDIA GeForce GTX is packed with 2, 560 CUDA cores, 160texture units, 64 ROPs, 8GBs of Micron’s recent GDDR5X VRAM, and a GPU boost clock operating at an incredible 1, 733 MHz. GTX 1080 is twice as powerful as its predecessors, notably GTX 980, GTX 980 Ti, and the Titan 7.

GTX 1080 Top Features

Hardware Features

In addition to integrating Pascal architecture to replace Maxwell architecture for enhanced performance, GTX 1080 constitutes new hardware features. Here are the top hardware features in the founders edition.

1.      Enhanced Memory Compression

GTX 1080founder edition has better memory compression thanks to Pascal architecture.The enhanced memory compression makes the card best utilize the available bandwidth. Maxwell 2.0 architecture in previous devices enhanced delta color compression engine, but Pascal has taken it further to 2:1 compression, which is more effective. The improvement in memory compression also makes it possible to achieve the new 4:1 delta color compression and 8:1 delta color compression.

Pascal improves memory compression by over 20% over Maxwell. Therefore, with 320GB/compared to the 980’s 224 GB/s, there is around 70% increase in memory compression effectiveness.

2.      Simultaneous multi-projection

One of the biggest hardware enhancements in the founders edition is simultaneous multi-projection simply referred to as SMP. This feature is achieved via Pascal architecture allows the card to render a scene in 16 different viewpoints(projections)all done in a single pass. This feature comes in handy with stereoscopic rendering and multiple displays, which is quite crucial for VR.

GTX 1080 uses the SMP technology in VR to enable developers to render both projections at the same time-no previous GPU was able to achieve this aspect. There is a whole lot of VR optimizations, including Lens Matched Shading, which supports any given headset without rendering pixels, thus saves computing power.

The SMP technology allows gamers or users alike to share up to two projection centers in a stereoscopic setup. Additionally, the Single Pass Stereo enables the GPU to render a scene in 3D. SMP technology support multi-monitor setups with the outer monitors being at an angle. It’s also possible to achieve Perspective surrounding so that the display on the outer monitors appear less warped.

3.      GPU Preemption and Dynamic Load Balancing

Modern GPUs have greatly evolved to become more programmable and powerful to handle enormous workloads seamlessly. However, modern GPUs lack some capabilities such as workload preemption, which significantly limits its efficacy. NVIDIA tries to solve workload preemption through Pascal.

Unlike Maxwell, which implements preemption at the command level, Pascal achieves preemption at the pixel levels for graphics, thread-level for DX12, and instruction-level for CUDA programs. This allows users to stop the rendering process at an elementary level. When used correctly, preemption achieves actual scheduling of time-sensitive operations under 100 us. For instance, it supports asynchronous time warp in VR.

When it comes to load balancing, Pascal is capable of running graphics plus compute at the same time. Previous NVIDIA GPUs which used Maxwell could only run graphics commands or compute commands in a specific block and at different times. This is because Maxwell used static partitioning, and users were to guess the workload split.

Through Pascal, the founders edition can run both graphics and compute simultaneously.And when one workload is resolved, the rest of the GPU works in unison to finish the remaining tasks more quickly.

4.      HDR output

Modern intensive requires high-end visuals, such as the high dynamic range (HDR)displays. GTX 1080 founders edition supports HDR gaming and video playback Pascal, which can decode HEVC video. Pascal achieves an excellent HDR by supporting 12-bit color, BT.2020 wide color gamut, SMPTE 2084, and HDMIA2.0b/12b for 4K HDR. Pascal supports plenty of new features, including 4K@60Hz10/12b HEVC decode, 4K@60Hz 10b HEVC encode, and DisplayPort 1.4 ready Metadata transport. If you want to reap the benefits of Pascal’s outstanding output, investing in HDR televisions is paramount.

5.      SLI Changes

Both NvidiaGeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 feature 2-way SLI configurations rather than 3-wayor 4-way SLI. NVIDIA states that the 2-way SLI performs better with fewer challenges compared to the fore mentioned configurations. 2-way SLI configuration also increased the bandwidth for SLI mode in GTX 1080/ 1070 and1080 cards. But still, you’ll need to buy a new rigid SLI bridges running at650 MHz to help in 4K and 5K gaming.

Technological Features

In addition to hardware upgrades, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 edition comes with enhanced technological details as below:

1.      Ansel

Arguably the best enhancement on 1080 founders, Ansel, is a new feature named after a famous photographer-Ansel Adams. This feature consists of a free-roaming camera that allows gamers to pause the game and take a high-resolution screenshot without the UI. Ansel allows gamers to spark their inner-creative capabilities when taking in-game screenshots. Before Ansel, games were limited to take creative screenshots due to camera limitations as well as the poor resolution of the images. Ansel’s free-ranging camera can capture a scene at 20xresolution with the resulting file being 3GB in size with 46, 000 pixels across. Gamers can also edit or apply filters to their screenshots to have a more creative appeal.

For better photos, Ansel employs a CUDA-based imaging stitcher, which functions to stitchup to 3600 tiles for a photo that scales up to 4.5 gigapixels. This means that the captured images are actually 1, 000 times sharper than the standard 4Kdisplay. On top of that, Ansel allows users to save 360-degree images and stereoscopic 360-degree images when using VR.

However,this feature is only applicable in games that support it. Best games that support Ansel include: The Witcher 3, The Division, Law Breakers, No Man’s Sky,and Unreal Tournament.

2.      VRWorks Audio

1080founders GPU enhances virtual-reality immersion for a modern VR experience.Despite VR now becoming a reality, the sound is yet to give a lifelike immersive experience. For a more realistic VR audio, sound needs to reverberate off walls with the echo sounding more sensible. GTX 1080 features NVIDIA’s new solution-the VRWorks Audio, which the company claims to be “world’s first real-time acoustics simulator.” This innovative sound technology employs complex physics to determine how audio bounces off virtual environments for more realistic audio feel.

3.      Fast Sync

GTX 1080also features NVIDIA’s innovative GPU/display technology referred to as”Fast Sync.” It’s quite similar to the G-Sync technology but doesn’t require a G-Sync monitor. Fast Sync comes in handy at a high-end performance where GPU is able to render frames faster than the monitor’s refresh rate.Theoretically, Fast Sync allows you to disable V-Sync without having to put up with screen-tearing effects, which can be infuriating.

4.      GPU Boost 3.0

NvidiaGeForce GTX 1080 features GPU Boost 3.0 that functions to allow you easily adjust the per-voltage point frequency offset. This allows us to match the NVIDIA GeForce frequency against the stated voltage accurately. GPU Boost 3.0 is crucial in GPU overclocking.

Verdict and Price

GTX 1080 founder edition is really an exceptional GPU offering outstanding graphic performance. Pascal architecture and 16nm FinFet make this GPU a beast able to handle graphic-intensive tasks seamlessly and still remain cool and silent. On top of supporting 4K gaming, 1080 founders has high gaming benchmark when put up against graphics demanding PC games such as Tomb Raider, The Division, Hitman 47, and Rise of the Tomb among other PC games.

When put up against Tomb Raider, for instance, GTX 1080 supported 3, 840 x 2,160 resolution hitting 60 frames per second at 4K. This was not possible with previous GPU generations. The same goes for Rise of the Tomb with the card posting an amazing 84 fpd at 1440p. Here are some pros and cons of this GPU.


·        Makes4K and VR gaming a reality

·        Quiet and cooler

·        Multipurpose-Excellentall-round performance

·        Hugely power efficient for reduced power consumption

·        Hugely power efficient

·        8GB VRAM


·        Quite expensive.

·        Fans don’t go off when idle.

For the price, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 founders edition retails at $699 with a 4-starperformance.

Closing Words

GPUs are a gamer’s best friend. Four years since its launch, GeForce GTX 1080 founders edition is still causing ripples in the highly competitive in the GPU industry.With excellent 4K and VR capabilities, 1080 founders offer some serious gaming performance. Though launched in the same year, GTX 1080 is much better than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 in regards to performance capabilities. GTX 1080 founder is a perfect choice if you’re looking to game at 4K or higher refresh rates with low power consumption and without breaking the bank.

About the Author: Ben Flynn

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