NVIDIA continues to reign supreme in the segment of top graphics solutions. The recently released GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has taken gaming performance to the next level. Non-reference versions have even more to offer with higher frequencies and powerful cooling, which allows you to realize overclocking potential. This article discusses just such a model GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, which belongs to the Gaming product line from MSI. Without further ado and long introductions, let’s get down to the review.
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 11G
The video card comes in a large box, which is made in the same design for Gaming products. The package includes a PCI-E 6-pin/8-pin power adapter and a software disk.
Externally, the video card resembles other MSI Gaming models due to the uniform design of the plastic casing on the cooler. The case combines black and red elements. Two large fans are still used.
The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X is larger than its predecessors. This is the first MSI video adapter that actually occupies three expansion slots. Previously, all Gaming fit into the dimensions of two expansion slots. Card length 29 cm.
On the side of the case is a large GeForce GTX inscription and a dragon-shaped logo.
All top computer products are now equipped with a backlight. It is also present in this video card. Illuminated side dragon logo and red prongs on the case. Below is an illustration from the official site.
The back side of the video card is protected by a metal plate with a perforated zone around the chip, so as not to interfere with hot air convection.
In the corner are two power connectors for eight pins. The configuration is non-standard. If the power supply does not have such a set of cables, a complete adapter will help.
The set of connectors for image output differs from the standard one: two HDMI, two DisplayPort and one DVI, which was abandoned in the reference version.
Let’s take a closer look at the cooling system. When viewed from the side, one could notice a stiffening rib. It is part of a large plate that covers the memory chips.
The power system does not have a separate heatsink. The heat from the transistors is removed by the main radiator, for this there is a special contact pad. We also note that the chokes are covered with a long elastic pad, which can play the role of a thermal interface, although it rests on the edges of the plates, and not on a flat surface.
The design of the main radiator has changed. It is more like a cooler in the MSI Duke series of video cards, only even more so. A similar design is used in the top ASUS Strix.
Heat from the graphics chip is removed through a large plate. Five heat pipes are involved, and one of them has a record diameter of 10 mm. The radiator is assembled from an array of thin plates and consists of two sections. And as mentioned above, the side section has a zone of contact with the power elements of the VRM.
Two thin strips stretch from the front side of the radiator, to which the casing with fans is screwed. This mount creates minimal resistance to airflow.
Fans with a large diameter of 100 mm and are made using Torx 2.0 technology. The special arrangement of the blades and their bending provide increased airflow power and better dispersion, which is good for blowing through a massive radiator.
Custom design printed circuit board with enhanced power supply. High quality Military Class 4 electronic components are used.
The graphics chip is powered by eight phases, the GDDR5X memory is powered by two phases.
The GP102-350-K1-A1 processor operates 3584 CUDA stream processors.
The 11 GB memory is equipped with the same number of GDDR5X chips from Micron (marking 6ZA77 D9VRL).
Operating frequencies are higher than recommended. The base frequency is 1544 MHz with Boost Clock 1658 MHz instead of 1480/1582 MHz for the reference. The effective data exchange frequency of the memory is at the level of 11 GHz.
Real Boost is above the stated average. For example, in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at 4K resolution, the core frequency was kept within 1911-1898 MHz, and in Tom Clancy’s The Division at 1873-1886 MHz in the same 4K format. Short-term peak values up to 1949 MHz.
When testing on an open stand in a room with a temperature of 24–25 ° C, the video card heated up to 70 ° C. Fans spun up to 1400 rpm, creating minimal noise.
The video card supports several operating modes. The initial settings correspond to the Gaming Mode profile. There is also an OC Mode profile with higher core frequencies of 1569/1683 MHz and Silent Mode, in which the frequencies are reduced to the recommended level. Switching is done through the MSI Gaming App.
This program allows you to control other parameters of the video card. So, MSI Gaming completely stops the fans at idle at low temperatures, but this feature can be turned off if necessary.
Additional testing was done in OC Mode. The frequency increase is minimal, for example, in The Division it is 1886-1911 MHz.
It was possible to overclock the video card up to 1659 MHz at the base frequency with peak Boost up to 2076 MHz. The memory worked stably at 12 GHz.
In games, Boost kept within 2025-2050 MHz. And these are the best results among the previously tested GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The reference version showed frequencies of about 2 GHz and below, while the ASUS ROG Strix had Boost frequencies within 2012-2025 MHz.
It was possible to realize the overclocking potential with moderate noise with the fan speed fixed at 1700 rpm. A more significant increase in frequencies led to unstable operation.