The biggest performance jump for a Ti card ever
It’s been almost a year since Nvidia’s Pascal GPU was launched, and in that time there have been several iterations, from the top-end discrete GTX 1080 and GTX 1070, mid and budget range GTX 1050 and 1060 – along with a tweaked 1050 TI. In the mobile space Pascal has been a raging success as it offers the same performance in a mobile GPU as you get in the desktop card, and that’s been used by gaming laptop manufacturers to produce truly exciting products that leverage its power, mostly in the form of very high resolution (up to and including 4k) screens, and/or very high refresh rate screens.
The king of the Pascal pack was the Titan X, which has the full suite of processing units onboard (see table), and sold for a hefty premium over the standard Ti N w for the second time in a row, people who bought a Titan have seen the Ti version equal or exceed Titan performance at a far lower price.
All because this particular Ti card is an absolute ripsnorter, delivering the biggest jump in performance over a standard GPU that Nvidia has ever achieved. Nvidia claim approximately 35% greater performance for the new GTX 1080 Ti over the regular 1080, and our testing bears that out.
An absolute ripsnorter, delivering the biggest jump in performance over a standard GPU Nvidia has achieved
This means different things to different people. For gamers it’s a card that can smoothly drive gaming on a 4k monitor, and for computer applications the 1080 Ti represents far better value than the Titan X, which costs hundreds of dollars more, and can’t match it for processing power.
It gets there by two means. First, the Pascal GPU used in the 1080 Ti (which GPU is designated GP102-350-A1) is near enough identical to the Titan X’s GPU (GP102-400-A1), and packs in the full meat tray of shader units and texture units, and almost the maximum render units. As you can see on the table it’s quite a jump from the standard 1080’s 2560 shaders to the 3584 used on the 1080 Ti (and Titan X). Texture mapping units are also increased considerably over the regular 1080, with 224 vs 160 (again, equal to the Titan). The Titan X only holds a lead for render output units,
but the difference is slight, and largely inconsequential.
Also inconsequential are the differences between the clock speeds. Yes, the standard 1080 has a higher base core clock (1607MHz vs 1480MHz), but thanks in part to a better stock cooling solution and presumably refined manufacturing of the GPU itself, it boosts during gaming to frequencies equal or better than a stock 1080.
Better yet – the 1080 Ti appears to welcome aggressive overclocking, which pushes its performance even higher. Our review sample held steady at a lofty 2025MHz, while the memory was easily stable at 1501MHz over the default 1376MHz speed. Temps were solid at 86 degrees while overclocked near the limit, though Nvidia’s reference cooler, revving along at 3300rpm (70% of maximum), put out annoyingly high levels noise and heat. In real world use we would definitely wind back the overclock for that reason, knowing that exceptional performance was still on tap, but more bearably.
It’s the memory that gives the Ti its second major advantage. Working with memory partner Micron, Nvidia has been able to bump throughput to 11,000 megatransfers per second (MT/s). That’s a 10% increase over the standard 1080, and matches the Titan X. But that’s not the whole story. Nvidia has also doubled the number of power controlling FETs to deliver more stable performance at higher frequencies. The Titan X still has 1GB more memory in total (12GB vs 11GB), but again, that’s not going to make a big difference, and the 11GB onboard the 1080 Ti is sufficient to handle the large textures 4k gaming demands -which further reinforces this card’s abilities as a 4k monster.
Incidentally, this new GDDR5x memory and the new Micron controller will be used in all new standard GTX 1080 cards manufactured from now on.
The biggest Ti power jump to date and another reason for Titan X owners to feel cheated
- Smooth 4k performance
- Decently priced
- 35% faster than 1080
- Still expensive
- Loud when overlocked