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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Overclocking Review

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Overclocked Testing:

Temperature Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920 x 1080 using 8x AA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a twenty-minute cooldown, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.

 

Settings

  • Monitoring with MSI Afterburner
  • Unigine Heaven 4.0 1920 x 1080 8x AA
  • 5-run sequence
  • 20-minute idle duration
  • Temperature measured in degrees Celsius

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

Power Consumption:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A fifteen-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest power usage recorded as the final result. The idle results will be measured after fifteen minutes of inactivity on the system with the lowest recorded power usage as the final result.

Settings

  • Unigine 4.0 Heaven Benchmark
  • 1920x1080 resolution
  • 8x AA
  • 15-minute load test
  • 15-minute idle test
  • Measurement is in watts

 

 

 
 

 

The cooling results show that NVIDIA maintains the thermals in a pretty narrow envelope when you compare the results of the GTX Titan X and GTX 980 Ti to the GTX 1080. The results were not far off of guestimates when you consider the use of vapor chamber cooling and a card that is clocked much higher with the Pascal architecture. It's good to see this kind of continuity in the cooling department. Noise levels are quite impressive using the old ears. The GTX 1080 does ramp up fairly quickly when under load, but the noise commitment is much like that of the GTX Titan X and GTX 980 Ti. Cranking up the fan speeds when overclocked does bring a higher noise commitment, but the results clearly are there when you pay that noise penalty. At 61 °C under load, this card did a little better than the card we saw while at NVIDIA's launch event. Albeit at a slightly lower clock speed.

One of the key targets for NVIDIA over the past few generations has been to reduce the power consumption of its architecture after taking a lot of heat on the Fermi launch for both the power and thermal results. As you can see in the results, NVIDIA has hit the mark through Kepler and Maxwell, and now have knocked power consumption to new lows with Pascal. If you look at the overclocked power consumption results under load, the GTX 1080 delivers a significant power cost savings over even the GTX 970. The idle numbers will be what they are when you crank the voltage and fan speeds up, but even with that being done, the Pascal-based GTX 1080 does well.

Final Thoughts:

When it comes to overclocking, NVIDIA offers up some added flexibility that allows for enhanced overclocking. You can get where you want to go with a combination of manual tuning and using EVGA's Precision tool. It gives you the best of both worlds to find the best performance/voltage curve that works with your card's OC tolerance. In the case of this Founders Edition GTX 1080, I was not able to reach the level of the display sample at the NVIDIA launch event, but came within about 70MHz of that 2144MHz sample, depending on the game and workload presented. This revision of EVGA's overclocking utility is still a work in progress, but is going to get better, so results should scale higher as the tuning curves become more defined.

The best combination of results that I was able to run all of the game tests with came in at a GPU Boost 3.0 clock speed of 2050MHz on the Pascal core. In some game tests 2076MHz to 2088MHz was perfectly stable, but not in all games. This gives the end user about an extra 315MHz of headroom to play with that does indeed drive the performance to another level. Micron's GDDR5X memory also plays well when you start clocking it up. I was able to push the 8GB of GDDR5X memory to a data rate of 11Gbps. This final step again helps with memory bandwidth to get you that last bit of performance out of the GTX 1080. Having good architecture and a great power delivery system help improve performance across the board by allowing stable overclocking at high levels.

The last piece of the puzzle is how well the Founders Edition cooling works when the screws are put to it. Keeping the card somewhere south of 70 °C goes a long way towards helping deliver added performance from overclocking.

At $699 starting May 27th, the Founders Edition card offers that next level and a half performance uptick in gaming performance. It's got style, runs cool and quiet, and it delivers high FPS performance for pretty much any game.




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