MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio 11 GB Review 15

MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio 11 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • According to MSI, the European MSRP is €829 including taxes. Shops currently list it as €899. USD pricing is unknown, we expect it to be around $850.
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Excellent temperatures - no throttling
  • Low fan noise
  • Fans turn off in idle
  • RGB illumination looks amazing
  • Backplate included
  • DVI port included
  • HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.4
  • Price not entirely certain, seems a bit high currently
  • Power efficiency reduced
  • Memory not overclocked
  • Very long triple-slot design might not fit all cases
After reviewing the impressive MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z I felt that I would love to see its cooler strapped to a more affordable card that doesn't come with all the overclocker's bells and whistles the majority of regular users won't ever need. It seems MSI had the same idea and released the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio. The card is based on a GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X PCB, using Gaming X clocks, but coming with the fantastic triple-slot cooler of the Lightning Z.

Out of the box, the card has an 8% performance advantage over the reference GTX 1080 Ti, which is similar to other custom designs in this price segment. The Lightning Z got 10%, not a lot more if you consider the price difference. Compared to NVIDIA's GTX 1080, the difference is 32%, and the Radeon Vega 64 is a comfortable 30% behind. With such performance numbers, the GTX 1080 Ti is a good solution for 4K gaming as it can offer decent framerates in nearly all games at maximum details.

MSI's GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio is huge, having three slots, taking up 32 cm in length and 14 cm in height - make sure your case has room for it. As mentioned before, a powerful thermal solution is included, which is the best cooler we've ever seen on a GTX 1080 Ti. Temperatures are excellent even with the overclock out of the box and lower than with most competing cards. At the same time, fan noise also matches the quietest GTX 1080 Tis (33 dBA), which clearly adds up to "best cooler." Personally, I would have dialed down the noise even a little bit further as there is plenty of temperature headroom to do so, but I guess MSI wanted to focus more on temperature. The Gaming X Trio also includes the idle-fan-stop feature that's essential on any modern graphics card, which stops the fans at temperatures below 60°C for the perfect noise-free experience during desktop work, Internet browsing, and light gaming. The card also comes with the best-looking RGB LED lighting design I've seen. Its LED elements are fronted by a diffuser, which gives you a soft glow and smooth color transitions. It looks mesmerizing in a G.Skill Trident Z RGB kind of way.

Power consumption of the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio is higher than with the Founders Edition, but that is the case for every custom design and is due to changes in the VRM circuitry and higher clocks out of the box. Overall efficiency is roughly 15% worse than with the NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition. Some of that is expected due to the overclock out of the box, and around 280 W during gaming should be no problem anyway. The good thing is that this means upgrading the power input configuration from 6+8 to 8+8 was a justified move and is not just for show like we've seen on other cards.

MSI has quoted us €829 for the Gaming X Trio, which is similar to the ASUS STRIX OC and around 50 € more expensive than the normal Gaming X. At that price point, I find the Gaming X Trio a bit expensive; sure, it has the best cooler you can buy, but that additional price increase is a bit harsh since it's €100 more than the cheapest GTX 1080 Ti you can currently find. The majority of gamers won't notice that much of a difference compared to, say, the Gaming X, to objectively make up for the cost. On the other hand, if you are sensitive to noise, then this is the card you want unless you are going for the Lightning (the Lightning X could be a similarly priced alternative). I just hope retail prices of the Gaming X Trio will actually end up at €829 because right now, the card is listed for preorder at €899.
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