MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X OC 11 GB Review – The Thunderous GeForce Gaming Graphics Card



MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X

June 2017
Type Graphics Card
Price $839.99 US

Conclusion - MSI's 1080 Ti Lightning X Is The God of Thunder For GeForce Users

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti has dominated the enthusiast graphics market for a whole quarter and it looks like it will keep on doing so. The graphics card is the fastest that gamers can purchase right now and even after AMD's Radeon RX Vega launch, nothing has changed for this card. Compared to the competition, the GTX 1080 Ti still feels like miles ahead and it just keeps on getting better. MSI gave me the opportunity to test one of their mightiest production card to date, the GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X and this one truly is a powerful card.

The GTX 1080 Ti replaced the GTX 1080 as the fastest consumer graphics card at the same price of $699 US. The card I tested today goes for $839 US and that's a big premium you are paying for this overclocked model. The Lightning Z costs even more at $869 US but features higher clock speeds. Truth be speaking, the Lightning Z clock speeds are great but nothing that can't be achieved with a small manual overclock on the Lightning X. There are some thing to note about the GTX 1080 Ti in terms of clock speeds. All cards max out around 2050-2100 MHz with the default voltage. NVIDIA is not opening voltage control any time soon but the Lightning cards manage to cross some barriers.

A Glimpse of RDNA 3 Graphics Architecture Based GPUs & APUs, AMD Patents Active Bridge Chiplet With Integrated Cache For Multi-Chiplet Designs

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X makes every other card seem like a generation old already even though it's utilizing the same Pascal architecture that is featured on the GTX 1080, GTX 1070 and Titan X. It offers a massive uplift to game performance and has three different profiles for gamers who want silent card operation, good gaming performance and enthusiast caliber OC performance.

But that's not it, this card allowed me to see the full potential of the Pascal GP102 chip. When I was testing games, I saw clocks north of 2050 MHz with ease and also mighty stable compared to other 1080 Ti's that I had tested. But even with a manual OC, I can only utilize a fraction of the facilities in the Lightning X. This card is meant to be overclocked and that too by a professional one with ample supply of liquid nitrogen at hand. I unfortunately don't have the kind of tools or a big supply of LN2 to push this to the limits like world record holders do.

As for the cooling solution, it's big, it's bulky and it's heavy. But in return, it provides the best cooling performance of all other thermal solutions for the 1080 Ti that I have tested. It even bests MSI's own Twin Frozr VI heatsink which is known to be a great performer and ASUS's DirectCU III. With just 60C in gaming and 66C when hitting the highest overclock, the Tri Frozr heatsink proved tremendously well in the cooling results.

As for power consumption, the 1080 Ti Lightning X has a lower power draw than the 980 Ti Lightning X while delivering almost twice the performance out put. The card is a fantastic and a true enthusiast product but it comes at a very high cost. It's one of the most aggressive heatsink designs that I have seen to date but it also performs really well and the clocks this beast can hit are amazing. I would say that the MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X is an enthusiasts choice with a high-end PCB design, tremendous overclocking potential and tons of gaming performance packed inside its belly.


The MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X is an enthusiasts choice with a high-end PCB design, tremendous overclocking potential and tons of gaming performance packed inside its belly.

Design & Aesthetics9.5


  • Great performance at 4K resolution
  • Factory Overclocked Out of Box. Ships with 3 profiles (Silent/Gaming/OC)
  • Tri Frozr heatsink cooling performance is great
  • ZeroFrozr Technology Included on Torx 2.0 fans
  • Close quarter heatsink design promises optimal VRM, MOSFET, VRAM temps
  • Great overclocking potential, full tuning options with MSI Afterburner app
  • Memory modules on the Lightning X can hit more than 500 GB/s bandwidth
  • Backplate includes heatpipe solution for increased heat dissipation
  • RGB Lighting support on the shroud and backplate are a plus
  • Included stickers for personalization on the front of the shroud
  • Good driver support for GeForce products, compatibility with DX11, DX12, Vulkan, OpenGL titles
  • Performance per watt is great on Pascal graphics cards
  • Lot's of display connectivity, great for VR and multi-display PCs.


  • High Price ($839.99 US)
  • Requires Three 8 Pin connectors
  • Triple Slot Design, May not fit in small cases
  • Overclocking limited unless using custom vMods
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