NVIDIA is shaping up to be the most consistent chipmaker in the industry when it comes to per-generation performance and energy efficiency gains. Over the past three generations, spread across the past four years, the company successfully developed increasingly more energy efficient GPUs, which sees its culmination with the Pascal architecture that powers the GeForce GTX 1080 we are reviewing today.
The GeForce GTX 1080 is based on NVIDIA's "Pascal" architecture. This architecture sees the streaming multiprocessors (SMs), the indivisible subunits of an NVIDIA GPU, get even more dedicated components, which increases their performance. NVIDIA claims to have "meticulously" designed the GPU architecture to be as energy efficient as possible given the silicon fab node and is leveraging the 16 nm FinFET node at TSMC for "Pascal."
The GTX 1080 features more CUDA cores than its predecessor – 2560 vs. 2048. It features even more TMUs (160 vs. 128) and, at 8 GB, double the memory. Memory technology sees a major update with NVIDIA's adoption of the GDDR5X memory standard. The memory is clocked at a staggering 10 GHz effective, which gives the GPU 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth over a 256-bit wide memory interface.
To learn more about the architecture and new GeForce features, check out our launch-day review of the GeForce GTX 1080
In this review, we're taking a close look at the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X, the company's premium air-cooled GTX 1080 graphics card. With this card, MSI is debuting the new TwinFrozr VI cooling solution, which is mated with a custom-designed PCB by the company. The two enable a significant factory overclock for more performance and, hopefully, less noise than the GTX 1080 Founders Edition. This comes at a premium, though.
In our launch review
of the GeForce GTX 1080, we expressed our fears that NVIDIA's decision to go with two MSRPs for the GeForce GTX 1080 could set a potentially dangerous precedent. The company launched the GTX 1080 at an SKU MSRP of $599; however, it set the MSRP of its own reference-design card at $699 and sold it as the "GTX 1080 Founders Edition." We saw the potential for NVIDIA's board partners to see $699 rather than $599 as the base-line pricing for the GTX 1080 to then accordingly price their custom-design boards.
Take, for example, the MSI GeForce GTX 980 Gaming
, which launched at $580, a $31 premium over the $549 SKU MSRP of the GTX 980. The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X, on the other hand, is launching at $719, a $120 premium over the $599 SKU MSRP for the GTX 1080, which is a $20 premium over the GTX 1080 Founders Edition. Over the 4-years since the GTX 600 series, MSI has priced its "Gaming" series products by no more than 5% over the reference. Could this confirm our suspicions? We sure hope not. Hopefully, this is just due to an acute supply issue that will be sorted out soon.
GeForce GTX 1080 Market Segment Analysis
| ||GeForce |
|Radeon R9 |
|Radeon R9 |
GTX 980 Ti
GTX Titan X
|MSI GTX |
1080 Gaming X
|Shader Units||1664||2816||2048||3584||4096||2816||3072||1920||2560||2560||2x 2816|
|Graphics Processor||GM204||Hawaii||GM204||Fiji||Fiji||GM200||GM200||GP104||GP104||GP104||2x Hawaii|
|Memory Size||4 GB||8 GB||4 GB||4 GB||4 GB||6 GB||12 GB||8 GB||8 GB||8 GB||2x 4 GB|
|Memory Bus Width||256 bit||512 bit||256 bit||4096 bit||4096 bit||384 bit||384 bit||256 bit||256 bit||256 bit||2x 512 bit|
|Core Clock||1051 MHz+||1050 MHz||1126 MHz+||1000 MHz||1050 MHz||1000 MHz+||1000 MHz+||1506 MHz+||1607 MHz+||1709 MHz+||1018 MHz|
|Memory Clock||1750 MHz||1500 MHz||1750 MHz||500 MHz||500 MHz||1750 MHz||1750 MHz||2002 MHz||1251 MHz||1264 MHz||1250 MHz|
|Price||$285||$380||$400||$470||$620||$550||$1150||$379 / $449||$599 / $699||$719||$620|