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

Fire-breathing performance, damn cold temperatures.

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Ashes of the Singularity

Ashes of the Singularity, running on Oxide’s custom Nitrous engine, was an early standard-bearer for DirectX 12, and many months later it’s still the premier game for seeing what next-gen graphics technologies have to offer. We test the game using the High graphics setting, as the wildly strenuous Crazy and Extreme presets aren’t reflective of real-world usage scenarios.

aots 4k Brad Chacos/IDG
aots 1440 Brad Chacos/IDG

Here’s where things get really interesting. The EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 sees the biggest performance uptick of all the tests in Ashes, pushing out frames a full 10 percent faster than the Founders Edition at 4K resolution. But look at those 1440p results! They’re virtually identical between the two cards, and remained so after several tests.

That’s because the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 is so fast, Ashes becomes CPU-bound rather than GPU-bound at 1440p/High—the first time we’ve seen a graphics card max out our system’s capabilities. The SC2’s extra oomph pushes it over the edge, as confirmed by checking the game’s deeper metrics, which showed that only about 5 percent of heavy- and medium-batch frames were GPU-bound. To be fair, the 8-core Core i7-5960X in our test system runs at modest 3GHz stock speeds, but it’s still a milestone. We’ll be making some changes soon to prevent it from happening again.

Next page: Synthetic benchmarks

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.


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


    • Shroud design may be divisive
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