Introducing The Combatants, EVGA SuperClocked
As HOT as the GeForce GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition is, we were eager to see what NVIDIA’s board partners would do with the GTX 1080. The GP104 GPU that is the foundation of the GTX 1080 isn’t particularly power hungry, it doesn’t generate a ton of heat, and it proved to be an excellent overclocker. Those three things give NVIDIA’s partners a lot to work with in terms of custom cooling, power budgets, and factory overclocks.
To that end, we reached out to a handful of NVIDIA’s key board partners so that we could evaluate a few custom GeForce GTX 1080 cards, round-up style. A few partners weren’t up for the challenge, but EVGA, Gigabyte, and ASUS chimed in with the cards we’ll be showing you here.
At their core, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Superclocked Edition, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming G1, and ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 STRIX OC, are all GP104-based graphics cards with 8GB of GDDR5X memory. The cards clearly differ in terms of their aesthetics and cooling, however, and their clocks differ as well. Here’s a breakdown of how the cards stack up on-paper...
|GeForce GTX 1080 Founder's Edition||EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC||ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 STRIX OC||Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming|
|Number of Cores||2560||2560||2560||2560|
|Clocks (Base / Boost)||1607 / 1733 MHz||1708 / 1847 MHz||1759 / 1936 MHz||1721 / 1860 MHz|
|Memory Clock||10000 MHz||10000 MHz||10000 MHz||10000 MHz|
|Memory Interface||256-bit G5X||256-bit G5X||256-bit G5X||256-bit G5X|
|Memory Bandwidth||320 GB/s||320 GB/s||320 GB/s||320 GB/s|
|TDP||180 watts||180 watts||180 watts||180 watts|
|Peak Compute||8.2 TFLOPS||8.2 TFLOPS+||8.2 TFLOPS+||8.2 TFLOPS+|
|Process Tech||16nm FinFET||16nm FinFET||16nm FinFET||16nm FinFET|
First up, let's take a look at the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Superclocked. This is probably the most aggressive-looking graphics card we’ve seen out of EVGA in quite a while. Whereas previous-gen EVGA graphics cards sported mostly black fan shrouds and were adorned with relatively small decals to signify branding and model numbers, this card has RGB lighting, bolt-on accents, mesh coverings, and more elaborate overall aesthetic.
Underneath it all, there is a factory overclocked GP104 GPU and 8GB of GDDR5X memory. On top is EVGA’s ACX 3.0 cooling solution, which features dual ball-bearing fans, a huge, dense array of heatsink fins that runs almost the entire length of the card (linked together via heat-pipes), and a full-length backplate, which sports some vented accents. The fan shroud is reminiscent of previous ACX designs, but with bolted-on metal accents and mesh cutouts throughout.
When the card is plugged in and running, white light shines through the front. And along the top, a big “EVGA GeForce GTX 1080” badge also lights-up white by default, though it is customizable via software, while a smaller “SC” badge at the rear of the card has green backlighting.
Outputs on the card are similar to NVIDIA's Founder's Edition, and consist of a DVI output, three full-sized DP outputs, and an HDMI output. And there is a single 8-pin power connector onboard. As you'll see later, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Superclocked was practically silent during testing; under load the fan had a very faint, audible whir when spun up, and temperatures were a non-issue as well. Under load, the GPU temperature hovered in the high 70’C – 80’C range, a few degrees shy of the default 83’C temperature target.