EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 review: A ferocious graphics card with a radical cooler

Fire-breathing performance, damn cold temperatures.

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Our test system, Division benchmarks

We tested EVGA’s GTX 1080 Ti SC2 on PCWorld’s dedicated graphics card benchmark system. Our testbed’s loaded with high-end components to avoid bottlenecks in other parts of the system and show unfettered graphics performance. At least, theoretically. We’ll get to that later.

  • Intel’s Core i7-5960X with a Corsair Hydro Series H100i closed-loop water cooler ($120 on Amazon).
  • An Asus X99 Deluxe motherboard ($230 on Amazon for an updated version).
  • Corsair’s Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory ($130 on Amazon), and 1,200-watt AX1200i power supply ($310 on Amazon).
  • A 480GB Intel 730 series SSD ($280 on Amazon).
  • Phanteks’ Enthoo Evolv ATX case ($190 on Amazon).
  • Windows 10 Pro ($158 on Amazon).

Naturally, we’re comparing the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 against Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition ($700 on Amazon). We already know that the GTX 1080 Ti stomps all rivals, but we’re also including benchmarks from the Founders Edition GTX 1080 ($500 on Amazon) and GTX 1070 ($380 on Amazon) for reference. AMD hasn’t had a competitive enthusiast-class graphics card since Nvidia’s GTX 10-series launched in mid-2016, and it won’t until Radeon Vega hits the streets sometime before the end of June.

All cards are tested with default fan profiles and out-of-the-box clock speeds.

Each game’s tested using its in-game benchmark at the mentioned graphics presets, with V-sync, frame rate caps, and all GPU vendor-specific technologies—like AMD TressFX, Nvidia GameWorks options, and FreeSync/G-Sync—disabled. This card is so powerful that we’re limiting our testing to 4K and 2560x1440 resolution.

The Division

The Division, a gorgeous third-person shooter/RPG that mixes elements of Destiny and Gears of War, kicks things off with Ubisoft’s new Snowdrop engine. We test the game in DirectX 11 mode; The Division recently rolled out an update that adds DirectX 12 support, but the performance is virtually identical to the DX11 results.

division Brad Chacos/IDG

The EVGA card pushes a few more frames per second than the stock GTX 1080 Ti here, with a wider gap as resolution increases. It pulls ahead by roughly 6.5 percent at 4K, but just 4.5 percent at 1440p.

Next page: Hitman

At a Glance
  • The GTX 1080 Ti SC2 uses EVGA's revolutionary iCX cooling technology to make the most potent consumer graphics card in the world even better. It's cool, quiet, and powerful.

    Pros

    • Incredible gaming performance, even at 4K
    • EVGA's iCX cooling keeps temperatures and noise low
    • Smaller than other custom GTX 1080 Ti cards

    Cons

    • Shroud design may be divisive
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