GTX 1080 Round-Up – The Best of Computex 2016

By Published June 06, 2016 at 6:42 am
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Rounding-out our Best Of coverage from Computex 2016 – and being written from a plane over the Pacific – we're back to recap some of the major GTX 1080 AIB cards from the show. AMD's RX480 was only just announced at Computex, and so board partner versions are not yet ready (and weren't present), and the GTX 1070 only had one card present. For that reason, we're focusing the recap on GTX 1080 GP104-400 video cards from AIB partners.

Until a point at which all of these cards have been properly in our hands for review in the lab, we'd recommend holding off on purchases – but we're getting there. We've already looked at the GTX 1080 reference card (“Founders Edition,” by new nomenclature) and built our own GTX 1080 Hybrid. The rest will be arriving soon enough.

For now, though, here's a round-up of the EVGA, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI AIB GTX 1080s at Computex. You can read/watch for more individualized info at each of these links:

 

In no particular order, here's the round-up:

EVGA GTX 1080 Classified, Hybrid, Hybrid FTW, & SC

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EVGA's top-down lineup starts with the Classified, a card with TBD pricing and out-the-gate clock speeds. The GTX 1080 Classified hosts a 14+3-phase power design and utilizes an external EVBot header for additional overvoltage tuning, theoretically bypassing some of the VBIOS limitations of the reference card (though we are still unsure on performance scaling; we have seen some asymptotic results with FPS). The card has RGB LEDs – as nearly all these 1080s do – and uses a new faceplate and backplate design from EVGA. We'd expect the Classified would be in the $700+ range, but there's no firm price right now.

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The Classified card uses a custom PCB, custom VRM, and custom VBIOS. Two 8-pin headers are on the card.

After talking to EVGA, the company's official GTX 1080 Hybrid has seen similar cooling performance metrics to our own Franken-hybrid, and should reduce temperatures by around 100% (if not more). Read about our results here. This year's Hybrid model will use the FTW board rather than the reference design. Reference, as is the nature of the card, leaves a lot to be desired. The FTW and Hybrid both have 2x 8-pin power headers, a custom PCB, custom VBIOS, and a 10+2-phase VRM. As with the Classified, price is TBD (should be known shortly) and pre-OC is TBD.

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And then there's the SC, or SuperClocked card. This is the only EVGA model where we've got a price and clock-rate. The GTX 1080 SC ACX will run approximately 100MHz faster than reference (pre-OC), will be priced lower than reference at ~$650, and uses a reference PCB and power design. The only major hardware change is the ACX 3.0 cooler rather than the FE cooler, allowing EVGA to come in at a lower price and with a significantly better thermal solution for most use cases.

ASUS GTX 1080 Strix

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The ASUS Strix GTX 1080 was tucked-away in an external GPU enclosure (the XG Station 2, for what it's worth) in the middle of the Nangang Convention Center. The Strix 1080 uses a DirectCU III cooler for thermal management, which is backlit by “Aura” RGB LEDs. The Strix will start at $620 and scale upwards, depending on the level of pre-overclock applied to ASUS. ASUS staff at Computex told us that the VRM power phase design uses an 8+2 setup (core+memory, as always) and should overclock reasonably.

ASUS seems to be taking a greater focus on affordability and silence/RGB lighting than extreme overclocking, and there may yet be merit to that. If AIB cards are hitting walls at 2.1-2.2GHz resultant of throttles in-place by impassible VBIOS restrictions, then there wouldn't be much point to going beyond 8+2 phases.

Gigabyte Xtreme Gaming & G1 Gaming

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Gigabyte's suite had the least hard information available, so these cards were more fly-by than the previous listings.

Gigabyte's new brand initiative is “Xtreme Gaming” – emphasis on the “X,” as ever – and has been applied to the new GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming Stacked Fan card. The stacked fan cooler uses a bizarre thermal solution, slapping a massive piece of aluminum to the PCB and then sticking a dual-layer fan atop the center. That fan is flanked by two additional, more traditional fans. We'll look into how this solution performs in the near future. The price will be $670-$680. No VRM or pre-OC information is finalized.

The G1 Gaming is a cheaper, more mainstream-targeted video card. We are not yet clear on the design of the G1 Gaming, but know that it'll be priced around $650 – well under reference – and will have a more traditional WindForce cooler.

MSI GTX 1080 Twin Frozr VI Z, X, & Gaming

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We got properly hands-on with the GTX 1080 Z at Computex, attempting a live overclock of the cards at MSI's booth. We ran into issues with the SLI setup and weren't able to disable SLI (it's a booth – we'd already been disruptive enough), but already have models en route for in-lab testing.

We know that the GTX 1080 Gaming X will ship maximally at 1847MHz (boosted, OC mode), but don't have complete, finalized numbers on the Gaming Aero, Gaming Z, and SeaHawk. The SeaHawk is a partnered collaboration with Corsair, who have slapped their H55 CLC onto the GPU as a cooling solution. This is a hybrid approach and uses a VRM blower fan in addition to the CLC.

The Gaming Z will be at the top of the stack. We were told that the Gaming Z runs a 10+1 VRM and is more OC-targeted, including custom VBIOS with additional overvoltage headroom versus the Founders Edition. Learn more on these cards here.

We've got some of the MSI cards at the lab already – it's just a matter of getting back home. Stay tuned.

Editorial: Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke
Video: Keegan “HornetSting” Gallick

Last modified on June 06, 2016 at 6:42 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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