NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition Review & Benchmark

By Published May 17, 2016 at 9:00 am

Additional Info

  • Component: Video Card
  • Awards: Best of Bench
  • Original MSRP: 700
  • Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Game Test Methodology

We tested using our GPU test bench, detailed in the table below. Our thanks to supporting hardware vendors for supplying some of the test components.

The latest AMD drivers (16.15.2 Doom-ready) were used for testing. NVidia's unreleased 368.14 drivers were used for game (FPS) testing, with 386.12 (no performance change – just unlocked for the beta Precision build) being used for overclocking. Game settings were manually controlled for the DUT. All games were run at presets defined in their respective charts. We disable brand-supported technologies in games, like The Witcher 3's HairWorks and HBAO. All other game settings are defined in respective game benchmarks, which we publish separately from GPU reviews. Our test courses, in the event manual testing is executed, are also uploaded within that content. This allows others to replicate our results by studying our bench courses.

Windows 10-64 build 10586 was used for testing.

Each game was tested for 30 seconds in an identical scenario, then repeated three times for parity. Some games have multiple settings or APIs under test, leaving our test matrix to look something like this:

  Ashes Talos Tomb Raider Division GTA V MLL Mordor BLOPS3 Thermal Power Noise
NVIDIA CARDS
GTX 1080 4K Crazy
4K High
1080 High

Dx12 & Dx11
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p UltraVulkan & Dx11
4K VH
1440p VH
1080p VHDx12 & Dx11
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
4K VHU
1080 VHU
4K HH
1440p VHH
1080p VHH
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p Ultra
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
Yes Yes Yes
GTX 980 Ti 4K Crazy
4K High
1080 High

Dx12 & Dx11
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p UltraVulkan & Dx11
4K VH
1440p VH
1080p VHDx12 & Dx11
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
4K VHU
1080 VHU
4K HH
1440p VHH
1080p VHH
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p Ultra
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
Yes Yes Yes
GTX 980 4K Crazy
4K High
1080 High

Dx12 & Dx11
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p UltraVulkan & Dx11
4K VH
1440p VH
1080p VHDx12 & Dx11
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
4K VHU
1080 VHU
4K HH
1440p VHH
1080p VHH
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p Ultra
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
Yes Yes Yes
AMD CARDS
AMD R9 390X 4K Crazy
4K High
1080 High

Dx12 & Dx11
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p UltraVulkan & Dx11
4K VH
1440p VH
1080p VHDx12 & Dx11
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
4K VHU
1080 VHU
4K HH
1440p VHH
1080p VHH
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p Ultra
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
Yes Yes No
AMD Fury X 4K Crazy
4K High
1080 High

Dx12 & Dx11
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p UltraVulkan & Dx11
4K VH
1440p VH
1080p VHDx12 & Dx11
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
4K VHU
1080 VHU
4K HH
1440p VHH
1080p VHH
4K Ultra
1440p Ultra
1080p Ultra
4K High
1440p High
1080p High
Yes Yes Yes

Average FPS, 1% low, and 0.1% low times are measured. We do not measure maximum or minimum FPS results as we consider these numbers to be pure outliers. Instead, we take an average of the lowest 1% of results (1% low) to show real-world, noticeable dips; we then take an average of the lowest 0.1% of results for severe spikes.

GN Test Bench 2015 Name Courtesy Of Cost
Video Card This is what we're testing! - -
CPU Intel i7-5930K CPU iBUYPOWER 
$580
Memory Corsair Dominator 32GB 3200MHz Corsair $210
Motherboard EVGA X99 Classified GamersNexus $365
Power Supply NZXT 1200W HALE90 V2 NZXT $300
SSD HyperX Savage SSD Kingston Tech. $130
Case Top Deck Tech Station GamersNexus $250
CPU Cooler NZXT Kraken X41 CLC NZXT $110

For Dx12 and Vulkan API testing, we use built-in benchmark tools and rely upon log generation for our metrics. That data is reported at the engine level.

Video Cards Tested

Thermal Test Methodology

We strongly believe that our thermal testing methodology is the best on this side of the tech-media industry. We've validated our testing methodology with thermal chambers and have proven near-perfect accuracy of results.

Conducting thermal tests requires careful measurement of temperatures in the surrounding environment. We control for ambient by constantly measuring temperatures with K-Type thermocouples and infrared readers. We then produce charts using a Delta T(emperature) over Ambient value. This value subtracts the thermo-logged ambient value from the measured diode temperatures, producing a delta report of thermals. AIDA64 is used for logging thermals of silicon components, including the GPU diode. We additionally log core utilization and frequencies to ensure all components are firing as expected. Voltage levels are measured in addition to fan speeds, frequencies, and thermals. GPU-Z is deployed for redundancy and validation against AIDA64.

All open bench fans are configured to their maximum speed and connected straight to the PSU. This ensures minimal variance when testing, as automatically controlled fan speeds will reduce reliability of benchmarking. The CPU fan is set to use a custom fan curve that was devised in-house after a series of testing. We use a custom-built open air bench that mounts the CPU radiator out of the way of the airflow channels influencing the GPU, so the CPU heat is dumped where it will have no measurable impact on GPU temperatures.

We use an AMPROBE multi-diode thermocouple reader to log ambient actively. This ambient measurement is used to monitor fluctuations and is subtracted from absolute GPU diode readings to produce a delta value. For these tests, we configured the thermocouple reader's logging interval to 1s, matching the logging interval of GPU-Z and AIDA64. Data is calculated using a custom, in-house spreadsheet and software solution.

Endurance tests are conducted for new architectures or devices of particular interest, like the GTX 1080, R9 Fury X, or GTX 980 Ti Hybrid from EVGA. These endurance tests report temperature versus frequency (sometimes versus FPS), providing a look at how cards interact in real-world gaming scenarios over extended periods of time. Because benchmarks do not inherently burn-in a card for a reasonable play period, we use this test method as a net to isolate and discover issues of thermal throttling or frequency tolerance to temperature.

Our test starts with a two-minute idle period to gauge non-gaming performance. A script automatically triggers the beginning of a GPU-intensive benchmark running MSI Kombustor – Titan Lakes for 1080s. Because we use an in-house script, we are able to perfectly execute and align our tests between passes.

Noise Testing Methodology

Our noise testing methodology is new and still being revised, but has been kept consistent across all tests contained herein. We test noise in a real-world environment and do not presently use an anechoic chamber. The results align with what consumers will encounter in their own rooms.

We use a REED logging dB meter mounted to a tripod, whose mic is positioned 20” from the face of the GPU (mounted in an open bench). The REED meter is approximately 6” above the bench. All open bench fans are disabled. The Kraken X41 CPU cooling fan is configured to its “silent” mode, minimizing its noise output to be effectively imperceptible.

A noise floor measurement is taken prior to each test's execution to determine ambient without any systems running in the room. We then take an idle measurement (GPU & CPU at idle). Our noise floor has a fluctuation of approximately +/-0.6dB.

Noise levels are logarithmic, and are therefore not as simple to perform delta calculations as thermals or framerates. Noise percent differences are calculated using dB=20*log(V2/V1) (where V is amplitude). You cannot perform a simple percent difference calculation to determine the delta. For an example, a 10dB range (50dB vs. 40dB) is not equal to a 22% delta.

After the noise floor is determined, we log idle fan dB, 50% speed dB, and 100% speed dB (configured in Afterburner). We also measure auto fan dB at an identical stepping for every test; we do this by running Kombustor for exactly 5 minutes prior to beginning dB logging, which is useful for fans which use two push fans. Some dual-push fan cards will only trigger the second fan if the VRM is under load.

Power Testing Methodology

Power consumption is measured at the system level. You can read a full power consumption guide and watt requirements here. When reading power consumption charts, do not read them as a GPU-specific requirements – this is a system-level power draw.

Power draw is measured during the thermal burn-in. We use a logging wall meter that sits between the PSU and the system and logs power consumption over the test period. We select the final 200s of data and average the data points.

We use a different bench platform for power measurements; see below:

GN Z97 Bench Name Courtesy Of Cost
Video Card This is what we're measuring! - -
CPU Intel i7-4790K CPU
CyberPower $340
Memory 32GB 2133MHz HyperX Savage RAM Kingston Tech. $300
Motherboard Gigabyte Z97X Gaming G1 GamersNexus $285
Power Supply Enermax Platimax 1350W Enermax $272
SSD HyperX Predator PCI-e SSD
Samsung 850 Pro 1TB
Kingston Tech.
Samsung
 
Case Top Deck Tech Station GamersNexus $250
CPU Cooler Be Quiet! Dark Rock 3 Be Quiet! ~$60

Continue to the next page for thermal benchmarks, noise, and power!


Last modified on May 17, 2016 at 9:00 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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