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
+32%
+28%
vs. GTX 980 Ti
+74%
+68%
vs. GTX 780 Ti
+154%
+154%

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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  • ddriver - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    Yeah, also amd was free to offer discounts to those who didn't sell intel products. They helped make two games, and gave Larry who only sells amd systems a free amd t-shirt as a reward. Because that's what amd can afford, after years of being sandbagged by intel and Hecktor made it buy ati for 3 times what it was worth so it can go bankrupt so it will be forced to sell its fabs to Hecktor's arab boyfriends. Reply
  • eddman - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    You did not answer the question.

    Being known in the industry for many years, yet nothing has happened.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    What nvidia does is the same thing as lobying. It is legalized bribe. You cannot give a briefcase of money to a politician and tell him to do what you want him to. But you can spend a briefcase of money to make a politician do what you want him to do. And it is not illegal, politicians have legalized it, and as far as they and the lobbyists are concerned, that is a good thing, a political contribution.

    The same kind of advantage that allows nvidia to do that is what would give them the upper hand in court. It could be proven to be a crime, if only amd had enough money to out-sue nvidia. Which they don't. And if they did, they'd be able to support game developers, so it wouldn't even come to that. nvidia is friends with the big boys, amd is a perpetual underdog. In such scenarios, even if a lawsuit was to take place, it would be mostly a show for the public, and if found guilty, the punishment would be a symbolic and gentle slap on the wrist.

    Now, with your question answered, do you feel better?
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    There is high likelihood that we will see such a case against nvidia, but not until they have completely cemented their dominance position, and that case would only serve to wipe nvidia clean, so they can enjoy their dominance without being haunted by their past of sleazy illegal practices, giving them a clean slate at a very desirable price. Reply
  • eddman - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    So it is not illegal to help devs doing optimizations? Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    It can be as legal or illegal as killing people. What nvidia does is most certainly unfair business practices and abuse of its position.

    The legal system is rarely about what is right or wrong. What nvidia does is certainly wrong. If they can get away with it, it is legal. If someone kills your entire family and then walks free because the legal system found him to be innocent, would you be as OK and defending his innocence as you are doing for nvidia?
    Reply
  • eddman - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    That comparison isn't even remotely relevant.

    Companies work with devs in the entire computing industry all the time to make sure software works best with hardware. It has never been illegal.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Friday, March 10, 2017 - link

    Are you by a chance on the spectrum? There is nothing wrong with helping to optimize software. For the last time - what is wrong is offering that help on implied exclusive terms. I don't know people who have been offered support by amd in exchange of sandbagging nvidia. But I know people who eventually optimized for amd and as a result lost the support nvidia offered prior to that. And the revenge didn't end there either, subsequent driver releases significantly worsened the performance of the already nvidia optimized code.

    nvidia doesn't help out of the kindness of their hearts or awesomeness, they do not even help to make the best out of their hardware, they only help if that would get them an unfair advantage, so it is implied that their help is only available to those who leave the amd rendering pipeline deliberately unoptimized.
    Reply
  • eddman - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - link

    ...and some other people tell otherwise. Who to believe. Can you provide anything solid to back that up?

    "subsequent driver releases significantly worsened the performance of the already nvidia optimized code"

    Which games? Which drivers? This one can be tested.

    Why would nvidia reduce the performance of a game on their own cards, which is going to hurt them? The whole purpose of this was to make the game work best and sell cards based on that.
    Reply
  • eddman - Saturday, March 11, 2017 - link

    What about you? Are you on the spectrum? Reply

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