• SPECIFICATIONS
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1080
  • Memory: 8GB GDDR5X
  • Clockspeed: 1,683MHz (base), 1,822 MHz (boost)
  • Ports: 1x DVI, 1x HDMI, 3x DisplayPort
  • Slot Size: Dual-Slot
  • Other: 2560 CUDA cores, 256-bit interface, 9 TFLOPS
  • Dimensions: 279 x 140 x 42 mm
  • Pros:
  • Good thermal performance
  • 4K gaming at playable FPS
  • Cons:
  • Limited overclocking
  • Benchmark Results
  • 3D Mark
  • Fire Strike: 19,831 points
  • Fire Strike Extreme: 10,411 points
  • Fire Strike Ultra: 5,359 points
  • Time Spy: 6,574 points

X Marks The Top

AIB cards of the NVIDIA GTX 1080 have started to hit the market in earnest now. So with so many choices out there, how does MSI’s Gaming X GTX 1080 8GB perform?

The MSI Gaming X edition of NVIDIA’s GTX 1080 GPU comes in a familiar looking black and red shroud. Its 11-inches card length might look bulky, but has no problem fitting most casings with ease. For power, an extra six-pin connector was added along with the eight-pin found on the reference design, which should provide some addition power for overclocking. And of course, as this was a GPU in the Gaming X series, a solid backplate was installed to prevent the PCB from flexing.

House within the cooler were two of MSI’s TORX 2.0 fans, with a large aluminium heatsink that has copper heat pipes running through it. Upon closer inspection, we also found two additional metal plates, one over the memory modules and the other over the voltage components, which serve to conduct heat away from those areas.

This dual-slot card has three DisplayPorts, as well as a port for DVI-D and HDMI. In practice, the user can easily opt for a setup with three high-end monitors that support DisplayPort, ensuring support for 1080p resolution at 60FPS and above. However, we would have preferred if MSI included an additional HDMI port instead of so many DisplayPorts.

At a rated TDP of 180W, the Gaming X GTX 1080 proves you don’t need a high-wattage power supply for a powerful rig. When stressed at full load, the card drew a little under 200W in power. After overclocking it as much as we could, it drew an average of 50W more. In other words, a PSU of 550W can easily support the power draw of a full PC system that has this GPU installed.

When idle, the card measured 38-degrees Celsius on average and only goes up to 75-degrees when on load. We felt a lot of heat emitting from the heat sink, particularly near the VRAM as expected, so the fact that it achieved sub-80 degrees temperatures was a testament to the cooler’s performance.

We tested the card on some demanding titles and benchmarks, getting good results from it. The Witcher 3 managed over 100FPS on max settings for 1080p and just over 50FPS at 4K resolutions. Overclocking yielded some improvements in FPS, but in exchange for temperatures that start peaking at 80 plus degrees Celsius, thus risking thermal throttling.

CHIP CONCLUDE: All things considered, this card has what it take to be considered one of the best GTX 1080 partner cards around, especially since it’s a more affordable option

(previously published in issue November 2016)

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