Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 review: The most badass graphics card ever created

Hail to the new king of graphics cards, baby.

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SteamVR benchmark and virtual reality

The biggest bummer for me in this review is that VR benchmarks haven’t been able to keep up with graphics technology.

Nvidia’s biggest claim to performance fame with the GTX 1080 lies in virtual reality. While the traditional performance games are sizeable enough, Nvidia’s loftiest performance claims—faster than two GTX 980s in SLI! 2.7x performance increases!—are firmly tied to VR games that make full use of Nvidia software like simultaneous multi-projection. Unfortunately, the granular VR benchmark tools coming from Crytek and Basemark haven’t hit the streets, and no released VR games support the GTX 1080’s new software features yet. That leaves us with no way to quantify the GTX 1080’s potential performance increase over the competition except for the SteamVR benchmark, which is better for determining whether your rig is capable of VR than direct head-to-head GPU comparisons.

gtx 1080 steamvr

Oh well. In any case, the GTX 1080 is the first graphics card to ever push the PCWorld graphics testbed all the way to 11 in the SteamVR benchmark—though the Titan X and GTX 980 Ti came damn close before.

3DMark Fire Strike and Fire Strike Ultra

We also tested the GTX 1080 using 3DMark’s highly respected Fire Strike and Fire Strike Ultra synthetic benchmarks. Fire Strike runs at 1080p, while Fire Strike Ultra renders the same scene, but with more intense effects, at 4K resolution.

gtx 1080 fire strike
gtx 1080 fire strike ultra

No surprise here after seeing the in-game results: Nvidia’s new card absolutely whomps on all comers, becoming the first graphics card to crack the 5000 score barrier in Fire Strike Ultra. Heck, the Fury X is the only other card to even break 4000, and even then just barely.

Next page: Power and temperature results

At a Glance
  • The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 is the first graphics card built using 16nm technology after GPUs stalled on 28nm for four long years. The performance and power efficiency gains are nothing short of astounding.

    Pros

    • Outrageous performance leap over GTX 980
    • Hugely power efficient
    • Attractive premium design
    • Numerous new features

    Cons

    • Doesn't blow away Radeon cards in heavily AMD-optimized games
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