Final Words

Bringing this review to a close, the launch of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition gives NVIDIA a chance to set their pace and tone for the rest of 2017. After a fantastic 2016 powered by Pascal, NVIDIA is looking to repeat that success this year. And that success starts with a very strong launch of what is NVIDIA’s new flagship GeForce card.

Because the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founder’s Edition isn’t NVIDIA’s first GP102-based product – even if it is their first GeForce product – I don’t think anything we’ve seen today is going to catch anyone by surprise. In fact as the third time now that they’ve released a 250 Watt Ti refresher at the high-end, I don’t think any of this should be surprising. At this point NVIDIA has their GeForce launches down to an art, and that ability to execute so well on these kinds of launches is part of the reason that 2016 was such a banner year for the company.

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti: Average Performance Gains
Card 4K 1440p
vs. GTX 1080
vs. GTX 980 Ti
vs. GTX 780 Ti

Taking a look at the numbers, as a mid-generation refresh of their high-end products, the GTX 1080 Ti delivers around 32% better performance than the GTX 1080 at 4K, and 28% better performance at 1440p. NVIDIA said they were going to get a 35% improvement over the GTX 1080 with the GTX 1080 Ti, and while our numbers don’t quite match that, they are close to the mark.

For GTX 980 Ti and GTX 780 Ti owners then, who are the most likely groups to be in the market for a $699 video card and looking to upgrade, the GTX 1080 Ti should prove a suitable card. Relative to the last-generation GTX 980 Ti, the GTX 1080 Ti offers 74% better performance at 4K and 68% better performance at 1440p. This is very similar to the kinds of gains we saw in the GTX 1080 over the GTX 980 last year, and in fact is a bit better than what the GTX 980 Ti did to its predecessors.

Speaking of which, it’s now been three-and-a-half years since the GTX 780 Ti launch, and GTX 1080 Ti’s performance shows it. At both 4K and 1440p, NVIDIA’s card offers just over 2.5 times the performance of their Kepler-based powerhouse. Internally, NVIDIA tends to plan for a two to four year upgrade cadence on their video cards, and 2017 is going to be the year they push remaining GTX 700 series owners to upgrade through a combination of product launches like the GTX 1080 Ti and better pricing. If you didn’t already upgrade to a Pascal card last year, then your benefit for waiting a year is 32% better performance for the same price.

Relative performance aside, in terms of absolute performance I feel like NVIDIA is finally reaching the point where they can offer no-compromises 4K gaming. While both NVIDIA and AMD pushed 4K hard on their 28nm generation of products, even parts like the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon Fury X weren’t quite fast enough for the task. 4K gaming in 2015 meant making compromises between image quality and framerates. GTX 1080 Ti on the other hand is the first card to crack 60fps at 4K in a few of our games, and it comes very close to doing so in a few others. While performance requirements for video games are always a moving target (and always moving up, at that), I think with the FinFET generation we’re finally at the point where 4K gaming is practical. And that’s in an “all the frames, all the quality” sense, not by using checkerboarding and other image scaling techniques being used by the game consoles to stretch into 4K.

Overall then, the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is another well-executed launch by NVIDIA. The $699 card isn’t for the faint of wallet, but if you can afford to spend that much money on the hobby, then the GTX 1080 Ti is unrivaled in performance.

Finally, looking at the big picture, this launch further solidifies NVIDIA’s dominance of the high-end video card market. The GTX 1080 has gone unchallenged in the last 10 months, and with the GTX 1080 Ti NVIDIA is extending that performance lead even farther. As I mentioned towards the start of this article, the launch of the GTX 1080 Ti is both a chance for NVIDIA to take a victory lap for 2016 and to set the stage for the rest of the year. For now it puts them that much farther ahead of AMD and gives them a chance to start 2017 on a high note. But GTX 1080 Ti won’t go unanswered forever, and later on this year we’re going to get a chance to see where AMD’s Vega fits into the big picture. I for one am hoping for an exciting year.

Power, Temperature, & Noise


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  • theuglyman0war - Sunday, March 12, 2017 - link

    Geez developers can't catch a break...
    I been a registered developer with ATI/AMD and NVIDIA both for years...
    Besides the research and papers and tools they invest to further the interest of game development. I have never had to do anything but reap the rewards and say thank you. Maybe there are secret meetings and koolaid I am missing?

    Not sure what the actual correct scenario is tell you the truth?

    Either triple AAA dev is hamstringing everyone's PC experience because development is all Console centric ( Which means tweaking FOR an "AMD owned architecture landscape" for two solid console cycles where "this console cycle alone sees both BOBCAT and PUMA being supported"! )
    Or the Industry is in Nvidia's back pocket because of what? the overwhelming PhysX support? There is an option to turn on Hair in a game? Their driver support is an evil conspiracy?

    Whatever... If there is some koolaid I wanna know where that line is? Gimme! I want me some green Koolaid!
  • theuglyman0war - Sunday, March 12, 2017 - link

    Turns out your right! There is a monopoly in game development Software optimization supporting only one hardware platform! Alert the press!
  • HomeworldFound - Thursday, March 9, 2017 - link

    Underhanded deals are part of the industry. Have you ever wondered about the prices even when price fixing is disallowed and supposedly abolished?

    These deals are always happening, look at the public terms of the deal NVIDIA and Intel.
    Nvidia gets:
    1.5 Billion Dollars, Over six Years.
    6 Year Extension of C2D/AGTL+ Bus License
    Access To Unspecified Intel Microprocessor Patents. Denver?

    NVIDIA Doesn't Get:
    DMI/QPI Bus License; Nehalem/Sandy Bridge Chipsets
    x86 License, Including Rights To Make an x86 Emulator

    For a company that was supposed to be headed into x86 wouldn't you say that's anti-competitive?
  • eddman - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    Prices, I don't know. Isn't it a combination of market demand, (lack of) competition and shortages.

    What does that deal has to do with this? Not giving certain licenses, publicly, is not the same as actively preventing devs from optimizing for the competition in shadows.
  • theuglyman0war - Sunday, March 12, 2017 - link

    Well there was/is a lot of litigation it seems like admittedly! Reply
  • close - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    It would not be illegal, it's called "having the market by its bawles". Have you ever actually talked to someone who does this or do you like assuming it's illegal and conspiracy theory (@eddman)?

    You're thinking about GameWorks and GW is offered to developers under NDA with the agreement prohibiting them from changing the GW libraries in any way or "optimizing" for AMD. And by the time AMD gets their hands on the proper optimizations to put in their drivers it's pretty much too late. Also GW targets all the weaknesses of AMD GPUs like excessive use of tessellation.
    But since everywhere you throw a game at you're going to find an Nvidia user (75% market share), game developers realize it's good for business and don't make too much noise.

    Nothing is illegal, it's certainly not a conspiracy theory, it may very well be immoral but it's business. And it happens every day, all around you.
  • eddman - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    I'm not talking about GPU-bound GW effects that can be disabled in game, and I do know that they are closed-source and cannot be optimized for AMD.

    I'm talking about whole game codes. Nvidia cannot legally prevent a developer from optimizing the non-GW code of a game (which is the main part) for AMD.

    Besides, a lot of GW effects are CPU-only, so it doesn't matter what brand you use in such cases.
  • ddriver - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    It cannot legally prevent devs from optimizing for amd, but it can legally cut their generous support.

    There isn't that much difference between:

    "If you optimize for AMD we will stop giving you money" and
    "If you optimize for AMD we will stop paying people to help you".

    It is practically a combination of bribe and extortion. Both very much illegal.

    And that's at studio level, at individual level nvidia can make it pretty much impossible to have a job at a good game studio.

    Intel didn't exactly bribe anyone directly either, they just offered discounts. But they were found guilty.

    Although if you ask me, intel being found guilty on all continents didn't really serve the purpose of punishing them for their crimes. It was more of a way to allow them to cheaply legalize their monopoly.

    An actually punitive action would be fining them the full amount of money they made on their illegal practices, and cutting the company down to its pre-monopoly size. Instead the fines were pretty much modest, even laughably low, a tiny fraction of the money they made on their illegal business practices, and they got to keep the monopoly they build on them as well.

    So yeah, some people made some money, the damage done by intel was not undone by any means, and their monopoly built through illegal practices has been washed clean and legal. Now that monopolist is as pure as the driven snow. And it took less than a quarter's worth of average net profit to wipe clean years of abuse.
  • ddriver - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    amd was not in the position to make discounts, intel was, so they abused that on exclussive terms for monetary gains

    amd is not in the position to sponsor software developers, nvidia is, so they abuse that on exclussive terms for monetary gains

    I don't really see a difference between the two. No one was exactly forced to take intel's exclussive discounts either, much like with nvidia's exclusive support and visits to strip clubs and such.

    So, by citing intel as precedent, I'd say what nvidia does is VERY MUCH ILLEGAL.
  • eddman - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    Then why nothing has happened all these years, for something that seems to be open knowledge among game publishers, developers and GPU manufacturers?

    A dev asking nvidia for help optimizing a game is not illegal. It is a service. AMD is free to do the same.

    What about those games where AMD helped the devs to optimize for their hardware? Was that illegal too? It's either illegal for both or none.

    If they've been doing it openly for years and even put their logos in games' loading screens, then it's safe to say it's not illegal at all.

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