MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G Review: Blazing-Fast And Custom Cooled

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MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G - Familiar Look, Peerless Performance

Custom variants of NVIDIA's mighty GeForce GTX 1080 Ti are finally available -- more so than the initial run of the stock clocked Founders Editions. As always, however, fortune favors the prudent buyer or simply those more recently flush with cash. In this custom 1080 Ti offering, MSI marries old form with new function. The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G has just emerged from our gauntlet of a dozen benches with style and grace, but we have to admit, she looks darn familiar.

While other company's are gambling with fancy new fan configurations, RGB lighting and complicated cooling systems, MSI is kicking it old school. The company has stripped down NVIDIA's new flagship GPU-juggernaut and draped it in the very same Twin Frozr IV fan and cooling tech they have used on NVIDIA Maxwell and AMD Radeon Polaris-based cards in the past. It's still pretty swank and who doesn't love a good use of regal crimson? And if you don't mind that she's wearing last year's fashion then you're in for a real treat on the performance end.
MSI 1080 ti gaming x boxed
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G
Specifications & Features
Graphics Processing GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
Core Clock Boost: 1683 MHz / Base: 1569 MHz in OC mode
Boost: 1657 MHz / Base: 1544 MHz in Gaming mode
Boost: 1582 MHz / Base:  1480 MHz in Silent Mode
Memory Clock  11124 MHz
Memory Size 11 GB
Memory Type GDDR5X
Memory Bus 352 bit
Output Dual-link DL-DVI-D *1
HDMI-2.0b*2 (Max Resolution: 4096x2160 @60 Hz)
Display Port-1.4 *2 (Max Resolution: 7680x4320 @60 Hz)
(VR mode: DP*2, HDMI*2)
Digital max resolution 7680x4320 
Card size H=51 L=290 W=140 mm
Recommended PSU 600W
Power Connectors PCIe 8-pin x 2
Pricing $739.99 - Find It At Amazon

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G is custom-cooled and factory overclock. It ships with a Base Clock of 1544MHz in Gaming mode, 1569MHz in OC mode and a lower 1480MHz for its Silent mode. Corresponding Boost Clocks are 1657MHz: Gaming mode, 1683MHz: OC mode and 1582MHz: Silent mode. The different modes are easily selected using the included MSI Gaming App, with Gaming Mode being the default selection. In truth, there is far more performance lurking under the hood here than even the OC mode will give. Our Overclocking section to follow, will cover this more deeply. But first lets take a tour and get to know the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G.

MSI 1080 ti gaming x unboxed
MSI 1080 ti gaming x side

The card is equipped with the company's tried and true Twin Frozr IV heatsink and cooling technology -- same used on their MSI 980 Ti Gaming 6G and more recently on their new AMD Polaris-based cards. Here, 8mm thick copper heatpipes are squared with a smooth surface to help transfer heat more efficiently from the copper baseplate -- where much of the GPU-heat is absorbed. Bolstering that is the Torx 2.0 twin fan design, which uses two different blades. One accelerates airflow while the other pushes the air down over the large heatsink below to increase cooling. That's not just marketing hyperbole either, as we'll see in the pages to follow.

MSI 1080 ti gaming x ports

 MSI has tossed in a good set of connectivity options, albeit not as many as the Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Here we have 2x HDMI v2.0, 2x DisplayPort v1.4 and a single DVI-D port. It's nice to see DVI make a return here as it's not available on NVIDIA's 1080 Ti FE. Regardless, multi-monitor setups are well-accommodated here. However SLI configurations may be a bit trickier for some components and setups, due to the enlarged size of the card. It sits 55mm high when laid flat, which easily takes up 3-slots. If you've got SLI-gaming in your head then go for ATX or E-ATX motherboards and cases with ample PCIe slots and chassis space.  

MSI 1080 ti gaming x power

To get this card up and running, we need two 8-pin PCIe power connections. MSI says users should expect 250W power consumption, though we'll get more into this later. Nonetheless, builders should shoot for a 650W PSU minimum for single card builds and an 850W - 1000W power supply for SLI setups. 

MSI 1080 ti gaming x backplate

To complete the Twin Frozr design MSI has reinforced the GPU with an all-metal backplate featuring their company logo. It's also etched with their customary dragon iconography to match their patented Dragon Eye streaming and game management application. The application and MSI gaming app are included on a CD within the product package, along with stickers a poster, case badge, fold-out user guide and more. 

Now lets quickly checkout our new test environment used to benchmark the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X 11G and then its on to the graphs, performance results and overclocking.

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