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MSI GTX 1080 & GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G Review

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MSI GTX 1080 & GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G: Conclusion

After looking at both the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G video cards from MSI, it's easy to see that MSI pulled out all the stops to deliver a pair of cards that bring added performance to the table. NVIDIA's introduction of the Pascal architecture less than a month ago proved to be a game changer in that it drove game FPS results to ever higher levels. Essentially a game changing architecture, to say the least. Getting my hands on a sample even proved that point without a doubt.

Now that I have the first AIB partner samples using an independently designed card with proven technology, the results are even better. Both the GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G and GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G deliver smooth gaming performance at 4K resolutions in all of the AAA titles I tested them in. Smooth is a relative term, but when you can run high or better in-game quality settings at 30+ FPS, the games are enjoyable. In just about every game, MSI's in-house designs performed better than the Founders Edition.

The boost clock speeds of the Pascal GPU from NVIDIA cycle the boost clock speed up or down as you hit power or temperature targets. I saw this with the Founders Edition cards and it happens on the MSI cards as well. The key here is that MSI's Twin Frozr cooling design is more effective at keeping the temperatures low and the clock speeds high to increase gaming FPS performance. It's a strategy that works. Using large Torx 2.0 fans with dispersion blade technology on the ball bearing fans, there is an increase in airflow of 22% over traditional fan blade designs. Couple that with the large heat sink with 6mm and 8mm direct contact heat pipes and you get an excellent cooling design that keeps temperatures in check, even under a heavy 3D load. Both the GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G and GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G showed significant cooling performance gains over the Founders Edition cooling solution, with much less noise. There is no doubt that MSI's Twin Frozr VI technology is a step forward in cooling performance that shows tangible results.

MSI is using a custom PCB with a 10-phase power circuit using Military Class IV technology and components to ensure that the voltage management is top notch using Super Ferrite Chokes, DrMOS, Dark Caps, and Tantalum filled Hi-C caps. The cards feature thick backplates to aid in cooling as well as stiffen the PCB to avoid any flex. More than anything, they just make the card look better. Looking better is not just limited to the back plate and two-slot cooler. Users of MSI's Gaming App not only can tailor the cards performance characteristics via three distinct clock speed profiles, you also can light up the LEDs in the fan shroud and spine of the cards. The LEDs in the shroud are limited to red, but the MSI logo on the spine gets the whole RGB color palette. Tweaking and tuning outside of the OC Mode, Gaming Mode, and Silent Mode present in the Gaming App can be accomplished using MSI's Afterburner utility that supports the GP104 architecture used on both of these cards.

As part of the GP104 line up, you gain access to the full spectrum of the NVIDIA ecosystem as it comes online. These cards are VR ready and support usage models with up to four cards in an SLI configuration, if you want to go that way. You will just need to jump through some hoops to get four cards enabled.

When you look at the whole picture, the GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G and its little brother the GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G are great looking cards that fit nicely into MSI's Gaming strategy by delivering great gaming performance with great build quality, low noise, and pricing indicative of the feature set. The GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G comes in at $719 and the GTX 1070 X 8G is right around the $400 mark for Titan X beating performance. You can't go wrong with either of these cards.

 

Pros:

  • Baseline performance
  • Cooling performance
  • Gaming App
  • 10-phase power design
  • Zero noise under 60 °C
  • NVIDIA tech
  • VR Ready

 

Cons:

  • None
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