The GeForce GTX 1080 was NVIDIA’s flagship gaming GPU before the launch of the GTX 1080Ti, based on the NVIDIA Pascal™ architecture. The latest addition to the ultimate gaming platform, this card is packed with extreme gaming horsepower, next-Gen 10 Gbps GDDR5X memory, and a 8 GB frame buffer.

The GeForce GTX 1080Ti features 2560 Cuda cores spread across 64 ROP and 160 TMUs with memory bandwidth of 320.3GB/s on 256-bit interface and 7.2 billion transistors. It is based on 16nm FinFET lithography with chip size of 314 mm2. We have 6GB of VRAM clocked at 10 Gbps. Chip is clocked at 1607MHz base clock and 1733MHz boost clock with thermal limit of 94C at 180W power.

GIGABYTE was founded in 1986 and is committed to providing top notch solutions that upgrade your life. Gigabyte has continuously brought unique new ways of digital worlds and created marvelous products that empower the users with meaningful and charming experiences. Gigabyte carries a wide range of the product lines including motherboards, graphics cards, PC Chassis, Power Supply Units, Laptops/Notebooks, Peripherals, desktop PCs and what not and currently stands among the few top manufacturers of the PC World.
Aorus is a pinnacle of Gigabyte hardware excellence, to provide a full spectrum of innovative gaming products that deliver the ultimate performance and exemplify PC’s capability of bringing gamers unprecedented delights.

Today, I will be reviewing the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition. The card carries the Gigabyte’s famous and well praised Windforce triple cooling solution. The card is a 2 slot design without any LED gimmicks. The card was put against the competition of the Vega 64 and other cards as a part of the comparison between the Rx Vega series of the cards from the AMD and new 1070Ti from the NVIDIA.

  • Product: GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC
  • Manufacturer: GIGABYTE
  • Price: PKR 65,500/- [At the time of the review]

Specifications

Packaging and Unboxing

The graphics card comes in a standard cardboard box. On the front side, we have the Gigabyte brand name printed on the top left side. The Windforce and OC Edition logos are printed on the bottom left side. The salient features of the Pascal are printed on the bottom right side. The half eye logo picture is printed on the main section of the cover. GEFORCE GTX 1080 is printed under it.

The backside of the packing has the model of the graphics card printed on the top left. The windforce 3X cooling solution has been highlighted in the pictures on the left side. The heat pipes on this cooler make direct contact with the GPU. The fans are 3D active and there is a metallic back plate for extra protection of the PCB. The card features 8+2 power phases. Software allows one click Overclocking of the graphics card without any hassle. Minimum 500W or more PSU is recommended by the manufacturer.

Salient features of the card are printed in the 13 different languages on this side.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 is printed in white and green colors on this side.

The left side has the EAN, UPC, serial no info label printed in the middle. The card’s model is printed on the bottom section. On the far bottom there are two boxes mentioning the 3X fans on the windforce cooler and the 8GB GDDR5X VRAM on the card.

The right side of the packing box has the manufacturer’s brand name printed on the top side. The bottom section follows the same scheme as is on the left side.

There is another container box with the Gigabyte printed on the top side of it. There is an accessory container box placed on the top of the paddings. Remove it to have a first look at the graphics card wrapped inside the anti-static sheet. The card is tucked inside the black color foam padding for protection and safety during the transportation.

 

Accessories

There are not bunch of accessories supplied with this card as this is not their high end solution in the GTX 1080s from the company. There is a quick guide and the Installation CD in the parcel.

Closer Look

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC is a a double slot design with aesthetically pleasing looks and feel to it. There is no LED on its shroud or backplate that explains its lower price. Let’s take a closer look on the card. Due to limitations from the source, I did not open the card to take a look at the PCB and the power delivery system.

This card features the GIGABYTE’s WINDFORCE cooler which is well known among the enthusiasts and the gamers alike for its effective cooling performance yet with silent operations. The WINDFORCE cooling consists of the 3D active fans, two aluminum heat sinks, and three 8mm composite heat pipes. The cooler has three 80mm fans. Each fan has the Gigabyte logo pasted on the motor hub. Fan blades are light weight and are implemented in 3D strike curve. This is helpful in smooth airflow as the airflow is split by the triangle fan edge and is guided through that 3D strike curve on the fan surface. GIGABYTE claims that going this route will generate approximately 23% more airflow than the traditional design. Fans have double ball bearings for better heat endurance.

The semi-passive fans will remain off when the GPU is under a set loading or temperature for low power gaming. The Gigabyte has called this feature as 3D Active Fans. Under 60°C the fans won’t spin. The user can change this behavior of the fans using Aorus Engine utility.

This card has 3 composite heat pipes which combines thermal conductance and phase transition to efficiently manage the transfer of heat between two solid interfaces. GIGABYTE claims that this approach would yield 29% more cooling. There is a hollow pipe at the core which is sintered powder. There are channels for the liquid flow on the exterior section covered by the outer section of the pipe.
The cooler has two fin stacks which are inter connected using the heat pipes. Fin stacks are nickel plated and they are facing the triple 80mm fans directly for effective dissipation.

The heat pipes make direct contact with the GPU for maximum heat dissipation. There is no copper plate as we saw on the Aorus GeForce GTX 1080Ti.
What I like the most in the overall design the shroud design. It is simple yet elegant. The shroud is covering the entire length of the PCB and extends over it. There are orange color stripes that are raised above the shroud surface which really adds the bold looks to the shroud looks. The mid sections between the fans have the textured surface. These mid sections are inset on the shroud. There is a gap between the shroud and the rear IO shield.

On the bottom, we can see the PCIe connector covered in a black color plastic cover for protection. Gray color thermal pads are visible used throughout the PCB on the important points of the contact. The fins are wider as can be seen from this side for better and maximum airflow for effective heat dissipation.

The backside of the card has a beautiful full metal back plate on it. The Gigabyte is printed in the white color in the middle of it. There is an info label with the Serial No towards the rear side. Apparently the back plate is held on the PCB using three screws. There is an LED on the bottom side of the power connector which blinks in the white color to give visual warning that power is unstable.

Let’s take a look at the top side of the card. This card has reference PCB and using single 8-pin power connector. The Gigabyte is embossed on the middle section of the shroud covering this side of the card. It does not have any LED lighting underneath it. The two SLI fingers are covered with the black color plastic covers for extra protection when not in use. Aluminum fins are visible. The shroud is not covering this side in full which is understandable. This is done to ensure airflow for effective heat dissipation.

Let’s take a look at the front side of the card. The shroud extends over the PCB length and covers the front as well to give the symmetrical overall look and feel. We can see three composite heat pipes terminating at the end of the heatsink. The header for the fans’ power is located in this area.

The rear panel has a HDMI, three Display Port and one DVI-D ports which is a standard implementation these days. The Aorus version of the GTX 1080Ti that we reviewed earlier has two HDMI ports for ultimate VR experience.

The PCB features the Ultra Durable technology from the Gigabyte utilizing the 2Oz copper PCB with solid capacitors, metal chokes, Tier 1 memory and the Lower RDS on MOSFET. Compared to founders edition, the 8+2 power phases on the card make the MOSFET working at a lower temperature and provide more stable voltage output.

Test Bench

Following test bench setup was used to test the performance of the graphics card:

  • Intel i7 6850k
  • Asus Rampage V Edition 10
  • Ballistix Elite 4x8GB @ 3000MHz
  • Noctua NH-U12S
  • Corsair AX1200i
  • Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD for OS
  • Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD for Steam Games
  • WD Black 6TB for Origin and Uplay games

The CPU is overclocked to the 4.0GHz to avoid any bottlenecking. The ollowing games have been tested: –

  • Battlefield 1 [DX11, DX12]
  • DOOM [Vulkan]
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Metro Last Light Redux
  • The Witcher 3
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider [DX11, DX12]
  • Mass Effect Andromeda
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • Call of Duty: WWII
  • Wolfenstein II The New Colossus [Vulkan]
  • Ashes of the Singularity – Escalation [DX11, DX12]

Microsoft Windows 10 x64 version 1702 was used. NVIDIA graphics driver version 388.13 were used. FPS were monitored using MSI After Burner 4.40. Game settings were set from within the games not from the GeForce Experience. All the reported frame rates are average.

Following synthetic benchmarks were used:

  • 3dMark
  • Unigine Superposition

Previously Unigine Heaven and Valley were a part of our testing, but they have been dropped and only superposition will be featured from onwards. Let’s take a look on performance graphs.

3dMark

Under the Fire Strike category the Gigabyte Rx Vega 64 has beaten the Gigabyte GTX 1080 WINDFORCE OC edition by as high the margin as 3.86%. The same is not true for the Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme in which the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition has the lead by 4.19%

Ungine Superposition

On the 1080P Extreme bench, the Gigabyte RX Vega 64 has outshined the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition. But in 4K optimized and the 8k optimize benches the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition takes the lead.

Battlefield 1 DX11

The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition has outperformed all the graphics cards tested and even on 4k, FPS were just shy of 2 marks to get to the magic figure of 60 FPS.

Battlefield 1 DX12

As I was expecting, under DX12 the Gigabyte RX Vega 64 take the crown though on 1440P the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition has the lead.

DOOM

DOOM was tested using Vulcan API and Ultra settings using TSSAA 8TX. As expected the Gigabyte Rx Vega 64 has the lead on all the cards.

Metro Last Light Redux

Metro Last Light Redux was tested on maxed out settings. The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition has taken over all the cards, though there is marginal gain on the 1440P and 2160P resolutions against the Gigabyte Rx Vega 64.

Grand Theft Auto – V

Grand Theft Auto – V was tested with maxed out settings on Ultra with 4x MSAA. The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC has smashed the competition.

Mass Effect Andromeda

This game was tested with maxed out settings and the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition has taken the crowd. The Gigabyte RX Vega series cards have struggled in this game. Both cards were tested 3 times each to verify the results.

Call of Duty: WWII

This game was tested with maxed out settings and the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition has taken the crowd. The Gigabyte RX Vega series cards have struggled in this game. Both cards were tested 3 times each to verify the results.

Wolfenstein II The New Colossus

My expectations were high from the Vega on this second Vulkan based game and they did not disappoint. Both Vega cards have the solid lead with the Gigabyte RX Vega 64 smashing the competition.

Rise of the Tomb Raider DX11

The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC Edition has taken the crown in this game.

Rise of the Tomb Raider DX12

My expectation was high from the Vega cards on this second DX12 based card, but both have struggled to perform which is strange but as the DX12 is not yet matured and still buggy this can be expected. Note that the game was tested using the built-in benchmark. Just to verify the results, both the Vega cards were again tested three times each. The same was repeated for the NVIDIA cards.

The Witcher 3


On Ultra settings without Nvidia’s Hairworks, the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce edition has taken the overall lead though it is marginal when it comes to comparing with the Gigabyte RX Vega 64.

Ashes of the Singularity – Escalation DX11

We have reported the average FPS of all the benches which is why the overall frames are looking at lower side. The Nvidia cards have performed very well in the DX11 mode of this game. I was expecting more performance from the Vega cards, but unfortunately this is not the case.

Ashes of the Singularity – Escalation DX12

DX12 is where the Gigabyte RX Vega 56 cards have shined. Though the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC Edition has the overall lead except in 2160P resolution, but the gain is marginal to the extent of the decimal points against the Gigabyte RX Vega 64 which makes both the cards at par.

Watch Dogs 2

The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC Edition has taken the overall lead in this game.

Overclocking

The GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition is a factory overclocked card. In gaming mode, we have 1607MHz base clock. In OC mode the base clock is 1632MHz. In my testing, I managed to get +150MHz on the core clock and +300MHz on the memory clock. These settings were tested on 50%. Card boosted to 1878MHz out of the box. With Overclocking it boosted to 2037MHz stable.

  • Boost Clock on Stock 1878MHz
  • Boost Clock with OC 2037MHz

Here are the results of the synthetic benchmarks and gaming performance with the overclocked graphics card:

Superposition

We gain approximately 5% gain in performance.

Battlefield 1

With overclocking there was a gain of mere 3.5 FPS which is marginal.

Acoustics

Fans were left on the default fan curve. Foneso Digital Sound Level Meter version A0 was used to test the sound level. 41dB is a good figure while under furmark test.

Thermals

Room temp was 20C at the time of the testing. The card was tested on the open air bench setup. 71C was hit under load on the stock clocks whereas 76C was hit with overclocking.

Power Consumption

The Corsair AX1200i is a digital PSU with monitoring enabled on the power consumption. Corsair Link was used to check the power consumption under stock clocks and overclocked clocks. Furmark and AIDA64 were run at the same time to check the combined power consumption of the system. This represents the worst case scenario when it comes to the power consumption.

Software

GIGABYTE has provided simple but effective software to control the various elements of the graphics card. Software is named as GIGABYTE AORUS Graphics Engine. On the front interface, we have OC Mode, Gaming Mode, Silent Mode and User Mode. Default mode is the Gaming mode and in my testing, I have found this mode to be truly optimized for the better gaming experience. There is a marginal gain by going to the OC Mode as it increases the power target of the card.

GPU Boost clock and the Memory clock are mentioned under the profiles section. Top left side shows the part no of the graphics card. Bottom side shows the VGA card(s) and if compatible Motherboard is in use.


Clicking on the Fan Stop/Start would stop or start the fans of the graphics card. It acts a toggle button. Clicking the Monitoring button would open the monitoring window. Clicking on the Edit button on top right side of this window would open the new window in which user can select or deselect parameters subject to the monitoring requirement.

Clicking the Settings button on the bottom right side would open the new window in which user can created custom profile for tweaking the settings of the card. This is helpful when overclocking the graphics card manually instead of using the OC Mode.

Software related settings can be accessed by clicking the settings icon on the top right side.

Conclusion

The GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC edition is the second GTX 1080 on my test bench. The first one was the Asus Strix GTX 1080 A8G. This card is a part of the performance comparison study between the GTX 1070, GTX 1070Ti, Vega 56 and Vega 64. 11 games were selected for this comparison including three DX12 and two Vulkan based games for better comparison. This is the first review of all the cards.

The Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC features the ever popular windforce cooler from the Gigabyte. It has three 80mm 3D Active Fans. These fans don’t spin until the set temperature limit is attained after which they start to spin. These fans have 3D strike curve which is a unique design which is said to enhance the airflow by 23%.

This card has 3 composite heat pipes which combines thermal conductance and phase transition to efficiently manage the transfer of heat between two solid interfaces. GIGABYTE claims that this approach would yield 29% more cooling. There is a hollow pipe at the core which is sintered powder. There are channels for the liquid flow on the exterior section covered by the outer section of the pipe. The cooler has two fin stacks which are inter connected using the heat pipes. Fin stacks are nickel plated. The copper pipes make a direct contact with the GPU for more heat dissipation.

The shroud is stylish and elegant with the orange color stripes pasted on the raised surface for some bold looks. Be careful when gripping the card from the sides of the shroud as it feel cheap from these sides and can be bend easily. There is no LED gimmick on this card. The only LED one would find is the one located on the bottom of the power connector and it only blinks whenever there is unstable power.
This card comes in 3 years local warranty and is available from EaseTec and their authorized dealers.

Value

This card is listed at PKR 65,500/- at the time of the review. It is less expensive than the other GTX 1080s available in the local market though this is still a high price comparing with the prices from NewEgg/Amazon.
Performance

I did not encounter any issue while gaming with this graphics card. It chewed and digested everything that I threw at it. 4k is still a demanding resolution to game at particularly on maxed out settings and I did not see this card to be an exception to that. But, with fewer settings adjustment one can get very good performance on 4k.

So, where does this card stand in the given pool of the cards in our comparative performance study. The Gigabyte RX Vega 64 is currently listed at PKR 81,500/- The Gigabyte RX Vega 56 is listed at PKR 67,500/- whereas the new contender from the Nvidia i.e Gigabyte GTX 1070 Gaming OC is listed at PKR 63,500/- In my testing in most of the games the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC has a commanding position. Vulkan is another story as expected, The RX Vega cards perform exceptionally well in the Vulkan games.

Pros:

  1. Excellent Performance
  2. Better Cooling
  3. Better acoustics
  4. Energy Efficient
  5. Better value per Watt
  6. Better value per Rs.

Cons:

  1. The card has a coil whine and it becomes apparent while the game is loading the textures/shaders.

Given the Performance level this is being offered by the more than a year old Pascal card and the price it is being retailed in the market, there is a clear winner of all these cards which is the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Windforce OC. It costs less than both the Gigabyte Rx Vega cards. It draws less power for this level of the performance. Even the Gigabyte GTX 1070Ti is not the best value card given that it is costing only PKR 2000 less than the GTX 1080. So, why compromise on the sheer performance and buy the costly, yet marginally less expensive GTX 1070Ti!

I am thankful to the EaseTec for giving me the opportunity to review the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Windforce OC.
This card has won our Editor’s Choice award. Keep in mind that this is strictly between the cards that we received for this comparative study.

 

Tech4Gamers Editor's Choice Award