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

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X Overview

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X features a fully custom card design. There are two things to note here, the Tri Frozr cooling and a beefy PCB design with Military Class components.

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

I have waited since the day the GeForce 10 series arrived on the market for MSI to release a new Lightning graphics card. The wait is finally over as MSI has unveiled the GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z. This power raging graphics card features a 2.5 slot design and a triple fan cooler which looks amazing.

The Lightning Z features the latest revision of MSI’s Tri-Frozr cooling solution that houses triple Torx 2.0 fans with double ball bearings. This cooling shroud features a matte black color with several cut out patterns that MSI calls color highlights. MSI ships the cards with several colors so that user can customized his graphics card for more personalization.

The cooling is provided by dual Torx 2.0 fans that come with dispersion fan blades and double ball bearings. These extend the cooling airflow and deliver low noise output even under intense loads. Furthermore, MSI's ZeroFrozr technology is onboard which means that the fans won't spin unless temperatures hit beyond 60C (Degrees).

The triple MSI TORX 2.0 Fan technology uses the power of teamwork to allow the hefty Tri-Frozr thermal design to achieve new levels of cool. These fans push air towards a very dense aluminum fin based heatsink block. This heatsink is fitted with a total of 10 heatpipes and offers great cooling for the GPU, memory and VRM chips. The heatpipes lead towards are large nickel plated copper base which makes direct contact with the GPU.

MSI also features an anti-bending plate to support the PCB alongside a PCB backplate. The top of the shroud and the backplate comes with LED functionality allowing you to change the colors of MSI logo on the side of the card.

NVIDIA To Fight Gaming GPU Shortage With GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics Card, Increased Supply & Availability Expected in Mid Q2

There's also a separate PCB base plate that is called "Close Quarter heatsink". This delivers better thermal performance to memory, VRM and electrical components and even has its own separate heatpipe cooling. The card's backplate also comes with a thick heatpipe that connects to the back of the PCB and runs almost the entire length of the PCB. This delivers additional heat dissipation on the card.

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning Z Clock Specifications - Not a Card For Kids To Play With

As for clock speeds, the GP102 GPU with 3584 CUDA cores is configured in three modes. The Silent mode runs the card at 1480 MHz base and 1582 MHz boost clocks which is the reference speed. In Gaming mode, the card operates at 1544 MHz base and 1657MHz boost. Finally, we have the best Lightning mode which configures the card to operate at 1569 MHz base and 1683 MHz boost clock. For power delivery, the card features triple 8-pin connectors so we are looking at a very beefy VRM power delivery system.

Memory on the card is 11 GB of GDDR5X VRAM that is clocked at a reference speed of 11000 MHz. With Gaming and Lightning modes, the memory overclocks to 11120 MHz for a good performance boost. The display connectivity on the card includes dual DisplayPort DVI, dual HDMI 2.0 and a single DVI port.

In terms of clock speed, we are looking at three modes which are listed below:

Boost Clock / Base Clock / Memory Frequency

  • 1683 MHz / 1569 MHz / 11124 MHz (Lightning Mode)
  • 1657 MHz / 1544 MHz / 11124 MHz (Gaming Mode)
  • 1582 MHz / 1480 MHz / 11016 MHz (Silent Mode)

Coming to the PCB, we are looking at MSI's best high-performance design to date, featuring MSI's Military Class IV components and 14 DrMOS power phases. High-end components include 60 A, DrMOS MOSFETs, Hi-C CAP, Super Ferrite Chokes and solid state capacitors. There's support for an LN2 model switch which totally unlocks the power, current and thermal limit on the card for max overclocking. It also ensures that you won't face any risk of damaging the card by soldering it or doing hard-mods.

The card uses a pure digital PWM PCB controller that enables accurate control and monitoring of power delivery to specific key parts of the PCB. Fine-tune each area to find for maximum performance and stability during overclocking sessions.


The higher clock speeds are a great addition but users can also manually overclock their cards since this packs a enthusiast class PCB design. The card comes with larger PCB for extra cooling and packs a 8+2 phase PCB that includes Hi-C CAPs, Super Ferrite Chokes and Japanese Solid Caps. The card is powered by dual 8-Pin connectors and would be a great product for high-end builders.

There's also multi-temp monitor sensors on board the PCB which monitor temperatures of various parts such as GPU, Memory, VRM through MSI's AfterBurner application. Finally, the graphics card will be available for retail in July for a cost touching the $800 US mark.

Share on Reddit