EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING Review: The Best Dual Slot 1080 Ti Flavor Around

Introduction

The graphics card we have for review today is one that has been in the pipeline for over 5 months and is something we have been incredibly excited about. EVGA cards are finally part of our review roster and we are kicking it off with the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING. With GTX 1080 Ti prices reaching an all time high, it seems like a good time to re-visit the gaming potential of the cards. The sample was provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.

The EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 features a compact dual slot design.

High end graphics cards were already considered on the edge of affordability before the cryptocurrency boom, but the cost of a 1080 Ti nowadays has given a brand new definition to “high end” graphics card with pretty much every variant retailing upwards of $1000 and the best versions anywhere from $1400 to $2000 depending on demand.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has been hovering around $1300 on Amazon and is currently priced at around $1399. So the obvious next question then becomes whether this price is going to be coming down – as to that, it’s anyone’s guess. Everyday more and more crypto-currencies are popping up on the map and the vast majority are mineable on GPUs, which basically means that unless the entire crypto market flatlines, the demand for GPU mining isn’t going anywhere.

With that backdrop in mind, we can finally begin the review of one of the more impressive GTX 1080 Ti flavors out there. A point to note before we begin is that this is the 11 GHz version, there is an even higher clocked version out there (12 GHz) called the FTW3 Elite for anyone willing to shell out the extra cash, although its worth noting that you can overclock this version to approach that level of performance quite easily.

With Pascal, NVIDIA launched a new generation of GeForce cards, the GeForce 10 series. The GeForce 10 series comprises of Pascal based GeForce GTX 1080, GTX 1070, GTX 1060, GTX 1050 and now the GTX 1080 Ti. All cards feature the same Pascal DNA and aim at the entire top-to-bottom segment of the gaming market.

NVIDIA also launched the Titan X (Pascal) last year and the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has a lot of resemblance to that card, except the latter comes at a lower price and features a better tuned core design for increased gaming performance.

NVIDIA GeForce 10 Pascal Family:

Graphics Card Name NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 5 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 NVIDIA Titan X NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti NVIDIA Titan Xp
Graphics Core GP107 GP107 GP107 GP106 / GP104 GP106 GP106 / GP104 GP104 GP104 GP104 GP102 GP102 GP102
Process Node 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET 14nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET 16nm FinFET
Die Size 132mm2 132mm2 132mm2 200mm2 200mm2 200mm2 314mm2 314mm2 314mm2 471mm2 471mm2 471mm2
Transistors 3.3 Billion 3.3 Billion 3.3 Billion 4.4 Billion 4.4 Billion 4.4 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 7.2 Billion 12 Billion 12 Billion 12 Billion
CUDA Cores 640 CUDA Cores 768 CUDA Cores 768 CUDA Cores 1152 CUDA Cores 1280 CUDA Cores 1280 CUDA Cores 1920 CUDA Cores 2432 CUDA Cores 2560 CUDA Cores 3584 CUDA Cores 3584 CUDA Cores 3840 CUDA Cores
Base Clock 1354 MHz 1392 MHz 1290 MHz 1506 MHz 1506 MHz 1506 MHz 1506 MHz 1607 MHz 1607 MHz 1417 MHz 1480 MHz 1480 MHz
Boost Clock 1455 MHz 1518 MHz 1392 MHz 1708 MHz 1708 MHz 1708 MHz 1683 MHz 1683 MHz 1733 MHz 1530 MHz 1583 MHz 1582
FP32 Compute 1.8 TFLOPs 2,3 TFLOPs 2.1 TFLOPs 4.0 TFLOPs 4.4 TFLOPs 4.4 TFLOPs 6.5 TFLOPs 8.1 TFLOPs 9.0 TFLOPs 11 TFLOPs 11.5 TFLOPs 12.5 TFLOPs
VRAM 2 GB GDDR5 3 GB GDDR5 4 GB GDDR5 3 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 6 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5 8 GB GDDR5X 12 GB GDDR5X 11 GB GDDR5X 12 GB GDDR5X
Memory Speed 7 Gbps 7 Gbps 7 Gbps 8 Gbps 8 Gbps 9 Gbps 8 Gbps 8 Gbps 11 Gbps 10 Gbps 11 Gbps 11.4 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth 112 GB/s 84 GB/s 112 GB/s 192 GB/s 160 GB/s 224 GB/s 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 352 GB/s 480 GB/s 484 GB/s 547 GB/s
Bus Interface 128-bit bus 96-bit bus 128-bit bus 192-bit bus 160-bit bus 192-bit bus 256-bit bus 256-bit bus 256-bit bus 384-bit bus 352-bit bus 384-bit bus
Power Connector None None None Single 6-Pin Power Single 6-Pin Power Single 6-Pin Power Single 8-Pin Power Single 8-Pin Power Single 8-Pin Power 8+6 Pin Power 8+6 Pin Power 8+6 Pin Power
TDP 75W 75W 75W 120W 120W 120W 150W 180W 180W 250W 250W 250W
Display Outputs 1x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
1x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
1x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DVI
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
3x Display Port 1.4
1x HDMI 2.0b
Launch Date October 2016 May 2018 October 2016 September 2016 TBD 13th July 2016 10th June 2016 26th October 2017 27th May 2016 2nd August 2016 10th March 2017 6th April 2017
Launch Price $109 US $119 US-$129 US $139 US $199 US TBD $249 US $349 US $449 US $499 US $1200 US $699 US $1200 US

The Pascal GPUs were designed to deliver a generational leap in performance over its predecessors by embracing the latest FinFET process. The increasing demand of graphics performance in high-end gaming PCs and also the emergence of the Virtual Reality market have caused graphics manufacturers to focus on next generation of DirectX 12 and Vulkan graphics while delivering increased performance to drive high-resolution, HDR capable displays.

Using the TSMC 16nm FinFET process, the Pascal GP102 GPU was crafted for GeForce gamers and offered in two products that stand a class apart from their predecessors like the 980 Ti and GTX Titan X. Right now, we are going to give you a run through of the entire GP102 GPU which is the heart of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card.

NVIDIA GP102 GPU Dissected – A Tamer Version of NVIDIA’s Flagship GP100 GPU

NVIDIA has gone all out with the specifications of their grandest graphics card to date. The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti features the same Pascal GP102 GPU featured on the NVIDIA Titan X, but is better than that in all ways possible. The NVIDIA GP102 Pascal GPU packs 12 Billion transistors and has 6 graphics processing clusters of which two are disabled. This adds up to a total of 28 SM units with 128 cores each. The card is geared to power compute and memory hungry gaming applications at higher resolutions with tons of texture and geometry processing power.

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti features 3584 CUDA Cores, 224 Texture Mapping Units and 88 ROPs. These are clocked at a base clock of 1480 MHz and boost clock of 1582 MHz which can go as high as 2 GHz with overclocking. The Pascal cards are built to overclock like crazy and custom models will further boost the clock rates on availability day.

The Pascal FinFET architecture allows significant increases in clock frequency. The reference GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is clocked at 1506 MHz base and 1683 MHz boost clock. The model ASUS sent us is clocked much higher thanks to their factory overclocked specs.

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti delivers 12 TFLOPs of compute performance in its stock configuration. All of this circuitry is housed in a 471mm2 die size which is impressive. As for performance, you would be delighted to hear that the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is 35% faster on average and up to 40% faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 in gaming benchmarks. The GTX 1080 Ti’s blazing fast performance even comes at the same price of the original GTX 1080, at just $699 US.

The card also features a 11 GB GDDR5X VRAM that runs across a 352-bit bus interface. NVIDIA has shipped their flagship with the fastest G5X solution to date. The Titan X (P) used 10 GB/s models while the 1080 Ti makes use of the new 11 GB/s memory chips which results in a cumulative bandwidth of 484 GB/s that’s going to be on par with SK Hynix’s HBM2 memory launching in Q2 2017. The card is powered by a 8+8 pin power configuration and has a rated TDP of 250 Watts.

For those who are wondering what to do with the massive 11 GB frame buffer? Well, NVIDIA is touting this card as a 5K ready frame buffer so you can enjoy your favorite games at even higher resolutions than was ever possible before.

With the new compression and tiled caching system, the bandwidth on GTX 1080 Ti can be boosted up to 1200 GB/s which is more than what’s achievable with HBM2 as of right now.

In addition to better performance, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is also packing new technology features such as compression and tiled caching boost bandwidth, tiled rendering, DirectX 12 Flex and Flow, NVIDIA Aftermath (a new tool to identify the causes of GPU crashes) and ShadowPlay Highlights which will further boost gamer experiences running GeForce hardware.

Faster clocked GDDR5 memory still offers great performance and loads of bandwidth to the card. There are tons of features enabled on the Pascal cards such as compute preemption, memory compression, simultaneous multi-projection which you can read in our detailed post here. Also, NVIDIA has launched the full fat configuration of the GP102 GPU on the latest NVIDIA Titan Xp graphics card which was launched last April.

NVIDIA GeForce 10 Pascal Feature Slides


So with the overview of NVIDIA’s architecture out of the way, let’s talk a bit about EVGA’s 1080 Ti. There are various 1080 TI’s on the market and if you don’t already have a brand preference, it can be a confusing choice while trying to make that decision. Fortunately, EVGA provides easy to read marketing material to help you make that decision.

The first thing that you should know about the FTW3 is that unlike most of its competitors, the card is a strictly 2 slot affair. Why should you care about this you ask? Well, if you are someone who is looking to SLI, card clearance even of the few cm variety can lead to a night and day difference in temperatures. Secondly, it simply helps provide a better fit in most cases.

The GPU also has a rather interesting cooling design: a 3 fan design with each fan capable of not only spinning to zero, but moving independently from the others. EVGA is a brand that’s well known for simply exceptional build qualities and their cooling design is no different. Thermal pads are present on any surface that can radiate heat and the fan and pipe design is done so there is no uncontrolled heat output.


This is where the asynchronous fan control comes in. The new tech allows the fans to cool the GPU and the vRAM separately, which is a testament to the thoughtful design which will not allow any component of the card to get hot. This also includes the VRMs by the way, which means that you are looking at a graphics card where almost all heat produced is capable of being pushed out.


Finally, we have the one thing that has probably become an iconic feature of high end EVGA cards: the 9 iCX temperature sensors scattered across the GPU so you can see not only the temperature of the core but of various sections of the card as well. I mean, talk about how confident the company is of their heat dissipation design.


The card itself comes in the standard cardboard box with the elegant design printed on the face. The card is housed inside the anti-static shield which itself is housed inside foam packaging with the words EVGA carved elegantly into the foam piece.

The box contains:

It is clear that EVGA features an elegant, minimalist approach to package contents and the braided cables are definitely a most welcome addition. The graphics card itself is packaged securely and should be able to survive most courier mishandling that comes its way.

The EVGA 1080 Ti FTW3 features a frilled grey design which facilitates airflow as well as 3 EVGA labelled black fans. The work that has gone into making sure this is a high quality product is immediately apparent from the minute you take it out of the box. The heatsink and the heatpipes are clearly visible and add to the visual aesthetic of the card.

The GPU itself comes with pretty much everything covered in stickers that its brand new owner would love to peel off. All ports and connectors are covered with shields and will require to be taken off before installation. Keep something on and you might end up with warped plastic stuck to your card.

The EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING itself is a very sexy looking thing and is definitely a looker. Perhaps our favorite feature is the entire nomenclature written in clear bold NVIDIA font across the side, which will be visible from any transparent side panel. The card has a single 1x HDMI cable, 3x DisplayPorts and 1x DVI port.

We are using an NZXT H440 New Edition case for our testing and the card fit snugly without any hassle and just as promised, occupies only two slots. RGB fans will be pleased to know that the card features a fully configurable RGB LED support (accessible from within the EVGA Precision XOC tool) as well as 3 tach leds that are designed to give a visual readout of important stats of the graphics card. The card fits pretty well with our Kraken and HUE+ setup.


We are finally at the part that most of you have been waiting for. Let’s go over our testing approach first. We tested the EVGA variant against the other 1080 Tis we had on hand (of the 11 GHz variety) and tried out both the stock and an overclocked setting. We tested each title in 1440p and 4k resolution, which is what we believe to be the relevant resolutions for this tier of GPU. Most of the games tested have their own benchmarking tool. The GTX 1080 Ti claims to be a 4k-capable GPU and we aim to put this to the test.

Our test configuration is as follows:

Our OC configuration was as follows:

Without any further ado, here are the testing results:


First up we have Battlefield 1, where the 1080 Ti FTW3 instantly establishes its lead as the leader of the pack (with the OC profile dialed in). Frametimes were very smooth across the board (we use a secret sauce technique that we will be sharing with you guys in an upcoming feature) and well go over them in detail soon.


Next up we have the love it or hate it piece of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Once again the GPU was able to set itself firmly at the top. This is in itself not surprising considering the GPU was able to sustain very high clock speeds throughout the run.


GTA V is one of the few titles where we saw the EVGA FTW3 drop behind the ASUS STRIX and its not immediately clear why the difference is there considering everything is pretty much consistent.

Doom is a special title in our testing, particularly because it runs on OpenGL and we have seen some very interesting things happen on this API with early drivers giving a large performance lead to AMD parts. In this particular title as well, we see the ASUS variant draw just a little bit ahead of the OC profile we set for the FTW3, but not by a lot.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is one of the more popular DX12 titles to test and consists of a lot of eye-candy visuals. The EVGA 1080 Ti FTW3 absolutely eats through the game and can deliver solid performance which, with the OC profile added, easily topped our charts.

Up next we have The Witcher 3, one of our time tested titles for graphical prowess. No surprises here, the EVGA 1080 Ti FTW3 leads the pack.


Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is the second last title we tested and the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 comes out on top here as well.

Finally, we have the Rise of the Tomb Raider, which has become one of the few titles that you will find in pretty much every review. Unsurprisingly, the EVGA FTW3 tops the charts here as well. So out of the 8 titles we benchmarked, the EVGA FTW3 secured the top position for 6, quite easily making it the best performing GPU of the dual slot variety.  Another important variable for any graphics card is the temperatures (and the power consumption). The EVGA FTW3 was not the coolest of the bunch, but it came pretty damn close. Considering we are dealing with a dual slot design, this is already pretty impressive. If you take a look you will see that the card stays at a very chilly 69c even with our custom OC profile.

The power consumption of the graphics card at load is around 300 watt.

It’s worth noting here that this is not the same power consumption that you will see if you were to use this card for mining. This is strictly a gaming-only power draw and this is the draw recorded directly from the wall. Considering most power supply units are rated at an 80% efficiency, you are actually looking at a real power draw of around 240-250 watts – which is pretty decent.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING is one hell of a card, and quite easily the best variant in the dual slot (11 GHz) category. The build quality is superb and the thermal design is incredible, not to mention it houses 9 temperature sensors to help you accurately monitor pretty much all hotspots. This level of sensory detail and craftsmanship is the reason behind the EVGA brand being preferred by a vast majority of our readers (by our 2017 poll, it came in a close second after ASUS).

At the MSRP of $799, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 GAMING by EVGA is a steal. At the current retail pricing of $1399 however, it becomes a harder sell. At roughly twice the price of the original retail price you are going to be looking at a pretty significant massive drop as retailers price in mining profitability. EVGA has been making sure that supply stays up so this is something that is due to the result of market forces and not something in their control.

While we do not expect the prices to come down anytime soon, we can safely recommend this card. In fact, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti wins the editor’s choice award. You can buy the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti from Amazon for $1349 or from Newegg for $1399 (ethics disclaimer: These are affiliate links and we will receive a commission from Amazon/Newegg).

9.1

The best dual slot GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (11 GHz) flavor out there on the market and one that we can freely recommend to anyone: provided they can snag it near the manufacturer's suggested retail price of $799

Performance9.8
Value8
Design & Aesthetics9.5
Features9.0

Pros

  • World class gaming performance
  • Fits snugly into 2 slots
  • Asynchronous fan cooling
  • Great thermal monitoring
  • Excellent thermals
  • Extremely well built

Cons

  • Massive price difference between the MSRP and market pricing due to mining demand
  • EVGA Precision XOC UI isn't the best designed out there
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