MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X OC 11 GB Review – The Thunderous GeForce Gaming Graphics Card
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning XJune 2017
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X Unboxing
MSI's Tri Frozr heatsink is one of the biggest heatsink cooling solution that I have ever tested. It's even bigger and beefy than the one featured on the GTX 980 Ti Lightning. It measures 320mm (length) x 140mm (width) x 61mm (height). The cooling extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation.
It is recommended that a case with 3 slot space is required for proper functioning of cooling on this card. The card also weighs in at 1707 grams which is a whole lot of stress for the PCI-Express slot. But all that heft load means that the card packs a good bunch of components with an emphasis on quality.
In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Tri Frozr heatsink which is now in its third variation. The first variation started off with the GTX 780 Ti Lightning, second was the 980 Ti Lightning and now we have the 1080 Ti Lightning. The new heatsink looks absolutely phenomenal with a white and black design and full use of RGB to display its prowess.
The card has three fans on the front, of which two are 100mm and one is 90mm. The card comes with MSI's patented Torx 2.0 fan design that offers 22% more air pressure, allowing for increased air flow and cooler operation of the card itself.
On the back of the card, we spot an extremely good looking and full coverage backplate. The whole plate is made of solid metal and adds to the durability of this card. The matte black finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic and has the RGB Lighting support for full personification.. There are cut outs in screw placements to easily reach the points on the graphics card. There are open vents for the hot air to move out from the back too.
Coming back to the fans, the card actually features two different fan designs based on the Torx 2.0 system. The two fans on the sides use a dispersion fan blade technology that has a steeper curved blade that accelerates airflow and as such increases effectiveness in keeping the GPU cool. The middle fan is more of a traditional one which pushes down a steady build of airflow to keep the heatsink cool. All fans deploy double ball bearing design and can last a longer time while operating silently.
MSI also features their Zero Frozr technology on the Tri Frozr heatsink. This feature won't spin the fans on the card unless the reach a certain threshold. In the case of the Tri Frozr heatsink, that limit is set to 60C. If the card is operating under 60C, the fans won't spin which means no extra noise would be generated.
The GTX 1080 Ti GPU comes with two SLI gold fingers which technically mean that the card supports 4-Way SLI but that has changed in the GeForce 10 series. While 4-Way SLI support is physically present, there are little applications that can even scale well on 4 or even 3-Way SLI. NVIDIA recommends the use of 2-Way SLI with the new high-bandwidth SLI bridge for the best scaling and SLI performance in games that support Multi-GPU. For those who are still interested in 3 or 4 Way SLI can register at NVIDIA’s site for a SLI key to enable support on their cards.
Display connectivity on the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X includes two Display Port 1.4 (4K @ 120 Hz), two HDMI 2.0b (4K @ 60 Hz) and a single DL-DVI which means that it is capable to support all next-gen displays with new standards such as HDR, VR and multi-res / multi-screen panels.
The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X features a custom PCB which means the power circuitry is entirely non-reference. Power is provided through a dual 8-Pin connector configuration which means we are looking at a maximum power input of 300W. The card has a official TDP of 250W but the premium components make sure that every bit of juice gets supplied to core, memory and VRMs when overclocked.
MSI has fused the Tri Frozr heatsink with very aggressive accents. These black color shroud looks monstrous and the card emits RGB LED lighting which can be configured them through the MSI Gaming App. These are part of the MSI Mystic LED system that is incorporated within a wide range of their gaming products.
The MSI Lightning is featured in the center of the side shroud and has a large strip of LED Lighting which can be configured through MSI's Gaming App. The labels are inverted so when you plug the graphics card inside your PC, they will show up straight rather than upside down.
There's a large "GeForce GTX" label on the side of the shroud. It does look great but doesn't come with any backlit LED lighting. It's not that big of a deal but it should have looked even better since you are paying a good sum for this graphics card.
As far as cooling is concerned, the fans do their job well but the real heat is handled by the might heat sink block inside the MSI Graphics card. The Tri Frozr heatsink is based on five 8mm thick copper heat pipes that offer direct contact to the GPU when running through the copper base plate. The GPU base plate is a solid nickel-plate copper design with loads of surface area for efficiency dissipating heat load. MSI says that they are using a premium thermal compound on their GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X cards so we will see if they do a better job than the other 1080 Ti we tested.
MSI adds extra protection to their impressive PCB by including a rugged anti-bending plate. This also acts as a memory and MOSFET cooling plate while the PWM heatsink with micro fins keeps the VRM cool under stressful conditions. MSI makes use of a 14 phase PWM design that includes their Military Class 4 components such as Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Chokes and Japanese Solid Caps.