Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti review: The monster graphics card 4K gamers have been waiting for

Titan slayer, 4K player.

At a Glance
  • GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition

    PCWorld Rating
    $679.89 MSRP $699.99
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    on Amazon
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Our test system

We tested Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti on PCWorld’s dedicated graphics card benchmark system. Our testbed’s loaded with high-end components to avoid bottlenecks in other parts of the system and show unfettered graphics performance. Key highlights:

  • Intel’s Core i7-5960X with a Corsair Hydro Series H100i closed-loop water cooler ($110 on Amazon for a newer version).
  • An Asus X99 Deluxe motherboard ($230 on Amazon for a newer version).
  • Corsair’s Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory, Obsidian 750D full-tower case ($145 on Amazon), and 1,200-watt AX1200i power supply ($310 on Amazon).
  • A 480GB Intel 730 series SSD ($240 on Amazon).
  • Windows 10 Pro ($158 on Amazon).

To test the GTX 1080 Ti’s mettle, we’re comparing it against its natural competitors: Nvidia’s own GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 Founders Edition cards. Sadly, we never reviewed the Titan X, so that’s not included in the benchmarks. Nor are any AMD cards, as the aging Radeon Fury X delivers GTX 1070-class performance but isn’t widely available anymore. We’re also including EVGA’s custom-cooled, overclocked GTX 1080 FTW to show how the GTX 1080 Ti hangs against an aftermarket GTX 1080.

We benchmark every game using the default graphics settings unless otherwise noted, with all vendor-specific special features—such as Nvidia’s GameWorks effects, AMD’s TressFX, and FreeSync/G-Sync—as well as VSync and frame-rate caps disabled. Based on the target performance of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, we’re testing at higher fidelities at 4K and 2560x1440 resolutions. All graphics cards ran the GTX 1080 Ti’s 378.78 driver, which was provided by Nvidia.

The Division

We kick things off with The Division, a gorgeous third-person shooter/RPG that mixes elements of Destiny and Gears of War, using Ubisoft’s new Snowdrop engine. We test the game in DirectX 11 mode; The Division recently rolled out an update that adds DirectX 12 support, but the performance is virtually identical to the DX11 results.

1080 ti division Brad Chacos

As you can see, the GTX 1080 Ti indeed flirts with 60fps at 4K resolution with everything cranked to 11, and blows past it—and the competition—at 1440p. The GTX 1080 Ti beats the stock GTX 1080 by 21.16 percent at 4K, and 29.16 percent at 1440p.

Simply dropping one or two of the game’s numerous graphics settings down a notch would be enough to easily clear 60fps at 4K.

Next page: Hitman

At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating
    $679.89 MSRP $699.99
    View
    on Amazon

    Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is the most powerful graphics card ever, capable of no-compromises 4K gaming. It's cheaper than expected, too.

    Pros

    • The most powerful graphics card ever released
    • Can power no-compromises 4K gaming
    • No hotter than vanilla GTX 1080 despite big performance boost
    • DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter included in box

    Cons

    • Reference-style cooling isn't as efficient as custom coolers
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