NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition Video Card Review

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Meet The Mighty GeForce GTX 1080 ‘Pascal’ Video Card!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

The highly anticipated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 video card is finally here! Gamers have waited years for NVIDIA to move to the new 16nm FinFET manufacturing processor and we have finally moved away from the 28nm manufacturing process that we’ve been using for nearly half a decade. The move also comes with the introduction of a brand-new architecture code-named Pascal that will replace the Maxwell Architecture that NVIDIA has been releasing video cards with for the past two years as well as new GDDR5X memory. All these changes mean that the GeForce GTX 1080 is by far the most advanced GeForce video card ever and according to NVIDIA it is ready for the latest DX12 game titles and pretty much everything Virtual Reality (VR) can throw at it.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Block Diagram

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Block Diagram

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 uses the GP104 ‘Pascal’ GPU that has 20 Streaming Multiprocessor units enabled in four GPX clusters that process 32-thread warps. Each SM contains 128 CUDA cores, 2556KB of register capacity and a 96KB shared memory unit. If you take the number of SM units and times it by 128, that is how you end up with a total of 2560 CUDA cores that handle the pixel, vertex and geometry shading workloads. The texture filtering is done by 160 texture units and 64 ROPs for a total of 277.3 Gigatextures/sec.  The GP104 GPU has 2MB of shared L2 cache. This is very similar to the GM204 die design that is used by the GeForce GTX 980, but there are obviously more cores and NVIDIA cranked the bloody heck out of the clock speeds. The 2560 CUDA cores on the GeForce GTX 1080 are clocked at 1607MHz base and 1733MHz boost. This is a huge increase in clock speeds as we’ve been stuck in the 800-1100 MHz clock range for the past six years. NVIDIA was able to get clock speeds this high by analyzing and improving each and every path to ensure that everything has been optimized for performance and efficiency. These enhancements along with the move to the 16nm node for the GPU allowed for the high clock speeds. The end result is that the GeFOrce GTX 1080 has 8,873 GFLOPS with regards to compute performance versus just 4,981 GFLOPS in the GeForce GTX 980 that came out less than two years ago! NVIDIA has also implemented new hardware features like Asynchronous Compute and faster V-Sync that they believe will be of growing importance with the release of more DX12 game titles in the years to come.


Lastly, you have 8GB of Micron GDDR5X memory on a 256-bit memory interface running at 5005MHz or 10,000MHz as the effective memory clock. There are eight 32-bit memory controllers on the GP104 GPU. NVIDIA went with the narrower 256-bit bus to save power and lower the transistor count while being able to retain a respectable 320 GB/s of memory bandwidth. GDDR5X runs at 1.35V instead of 1.5V on GDDR5, so you are able to get some power savings by using GDDR5X.

GTX 1080 GTX 980 Ti GTX 980 GTX 780 GTX 680 GTX 580
Microarchitecture Pascal Maxwell Maxwell Kepler Refresh Kepler Fermi
Stream Processors 2560 2816 2048 2304 1536 512
Texture Units 160 176 128 192 128 64
ROPs 64 96 64 48 32 48
Core Clock 1607MHz 1000MHz 1126MHz 863MHz 1006MHz 772MHz
Shader Clock N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1544MHz
Boost Clock 1733MHz 1075MHz 1216MHz 900MHz 1058MHz N/A
GDDR5 Memory Clock 5,005MHz 7,010MHz 7,000MHz 6,008MHz 6,008MHz 4,008MHz
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 384-bit 256-bit 384-bit 256-bit 384-bit
Frame Buffer 8GB 6GB 4GB 3GB 2GB 1.5GB
FP64 1/32 1/32 1/32 FP32 1/24 FP32 1/24 FP32 1/8 FP32
Memory Bandwidth 320 336.5 224 288 192.3 192.4
TFLOPS 8.9 – Base
8.2 – Peak
5.6 5 4 3 1.5
GFLOPS/Watt 49 22 30 15 15 6
TDP 180W 250W 165W 250W 195W 244W
Transistor Count 7.2B 8.0B 5.2B 7.1B 3.5B 3B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 16nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 40nm
Release Date 05/2016 05/2015 09/2014 05/2013 03/2012 11/2010
Launch Price $699 $649 $549 $649 $499 $499

Here is a table that compares the flagship cards for the four most recent architecture on NVIDIA’s flagship graphics cards!

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

Let’s move along and take a look at the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition graphics card!

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  • Nick G.

    I have the amp extreme 980ti, and I really love it. It’s boost clock sits at 1445 constant. Since I knew it would go there, I just disabled the auto boosting and manually overclocked it to 1655 with just a small bump in power (105%). After that, it’s dead even with a 1080. I bought it in January 2016 (This year as of this writing) and been super happy with it. I would say if you have a lower card, then the 1080 is the way to go now, but If everything is fine it’s not worth the jump.

    With all that said, I’m really looking forward to seeing what Zotac does with the 1080Ti, that’s when I’ll jump to the 1080 series, or something newer. I usually upgrade every 2 years or so.

  • Jose Suarez

    Small typo in the overclocking page. “By overclocking the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB reference card we were able to take the score of 17,114 on 3DMark Fire Strike and raise it up to 17911.”

    Nice article legitreviews. Keep up the good work.

  • MoogleStiltzkin

    can you please add the division into the benchmark if possible :{ as well as ashes of singularity as a dx12 async compute test xd.

  • Cordell Hughes

    The Nvidia GTX 1080 vs. the AMD Radeon Pro Duo. I’ve looked on over a dozen reviews sites and the Radeon Pro Duo is nowhere to be found with the GTX 1080 which just came out this week. is there some kind of restraining contract that keeps reviewers benchmarking the two together or what?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      AMD didn’t sample us with an AMD Radeon Pro Duo since it’s really not aimed at gamers. If you know of someone that would let me borrow one for 24 hours I’ll happily benchmark it and overnight mail it back!

  • Dicehunter

    The GP104 isn’t partially disabled as you say in the overclocking section, It’s the full GP104 chip.

  • Ali D

    thanks for the review Nathan.

  • Wookie Groomer

    THANK YOU for reviewing it against the Zotac AMP! Extreme. That’s the card I have and no one seems to use it as a reference card for fastest off the shelf 980ti against the new 1080. I suspected it wouldn’t be too far behind like all the other stock 980ti card reviews I have read. I hope with the new 3rd party cards with “extreme” factory overclocking and better cooling the numbers will skyrocket when used in sli.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      My pleasure… Not sure why more sites didn’t use some of the factory overclocked AIB cards as those were by far the most sold variant for the 980 Ti series!

  • Khaled Mohamed Gharib

    The 1080p Fallout and Tomb Raider Charts has the Average and Minimum Colors swapped, and there is no 1080p chart for GTAV.. Time for me to buy a 4K monitor I guess. J/K

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Fixed the chart colors just now after you pointed out that two had the colors switched. Thanks for pointing that out! The GTAV 1080P numbers will be up after spot checking a odd number!

  • Khaled Mohamed Gharib

    In BF4, Average is Orange. In Fallout 4, Average is Blue. In GTAV, Average is Blue, Again. Tomb Raider: Orange. Too frustrating for me.