Nvidia’s GeForce 1080 Ti Raises Graphical Chip Bar Yet Again

The first reviews of the newly released Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti came out on Thursday, and by all accounts this card has performed beyond expectations.

Nvidia’s new GPU can perform 35 percent faster than its GTX 1080, the company has claimed.

Based on Nvidia’s Pascal architecture, this flagship gaming GPU includes next-gen 11-Gbps GDDR5X memory, and an 11-GB frame buffer.

The GTX 1080 Ti, which will be available soon for US$699, is even faster and more powerful than the more expensive Titan X Pascal, reviewers have noted. Released two years ago, the Tital X Pascal is priced at $1,100 or more online.

The Founders Edition of the new GTX 1080 Ti card is crafted with premium materials and components that include a die-cast aluminum body and 7-phase dual FET power supply. To keep this high-speed card cool, there’s a radial fan along with an advanced vapor chamber designed to provide consistent performance even in what Nvidia describes as “thermally challenging” environments.

The GTX 1080 Ti features Nvidia Ansel, which allows gamers to capture as well as create in-game screenshots that can be viewed in 360 degrees.

Power to the Gamer

With a price point of nearly $700, the GTX 1080 Ti is clearly aimed at the power gamer, and it will give those who invest in this hardware serious gaming power, according to the reviews.

“Nvidia’s new card offers over a thousand more CUDA cores than its cousin — 3,584 versus 2,560 — as well as 24 additional ROPs and 40 percent more texture units,” wrote Brad Chacos for PCWorld.

“The vanilla GTX 1080 was the most badass graphics card ever created when it launched less than a year ago and the GTX 1080 Ti blows it away on paper,” he added.

The card also delivers — mostly — in actual performance, but doesn’t quite meet the hype of the specs, reported GameSpot’s Jimmy Thang.

“The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti performs 30 percent better than the GTX 1080 in this synthetic DirectX 11 test,” Thang noted in his review.

“While this represents the largest lead that the Ti has over the GTX 1080 at 1080p, it falls short of Nvidia’s 35 percent improvement claim,” he pointed out.

The Gee-Whiz Factor

The reviews generally seem positive, but early testers discovered a few issues.

“In all but memory capacity, which sits at an odd 11GB, the GTX 1080 Ti is a carbon copy of the Titan XP with a slightly higher clock speed,” wrote reviewer Mark Walton for Ars Technica.

While the card is indeed faster and more powerful, it hasn’t advanced graphics power by leaps or bounds, game testing also revealed — and the testing did include games in which characters do plenty of leaping.

“In the Tomb Raider benchmark at 1080p, the Ti outperforms the GTX 1080 by three percent, which is underwhelming,” wrote Gamespot’s Thang.

However, Nvidia could emerge as the winner of the graphics war with rival AMD — at least, for now — and this card actually is less expensive, so it could benefit gamers who want to take graphics to the next level.

“With competition at this end of the market some months away — AMD has pencilled in a Q2 2017 release for Vega — there’s little to stop Nvidia continuing to charge a premium for its top-of-the-range graphics cards,” added Ars’ Walton.

The Fast and the Affordable

What could be a bigger factor for the success of the GTX 1080 Ti than its slight improvement in performance is the fact that it is a lot more affordable — and thus potentially accessible to a larger market than the previous flagship card.

“These days, when you have virtually unlimited choice in graphic cards, aggressive prices can be a key differentiator as customers are increasingly value-minded,” said Scott Steinberg, principal analyst at TechSavvy Global.

“There is a segment of the gaming market that will always step up to pay premium, but far and away the trend is getting the best value for the dollar,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“The really good thing about the GTX 1080 Ti is that it improves on the Titan X performance and yet is a fraction of the cost,” noted Roger Entner, principal analyst at Recon Analytics.

“This moves the price point down significantly — and while it is not yet a mainstream product, it’s positioning top end cards to be more accessible,” he told TechNewsWorld.

“It makes everyone who paid a premium for the Titan X to look silly, as now [GTX 1080 Ti users] have more capability and at less money,” Entner explained. “The pace of advances and falling price point is accelerating and is actually becoming staggering.”

High Speed Ahead

It seems likely that GPUs could be the next segment of the computer ecosystem to follow with improved performance at ever-lower price points, in part as a way to reach more mainstream audiences. There likely will remain a high end, but the trickle down to the mass market GPUs could accelerate.

The question will be whether Nvidia will be able to get enough of these premium cards out to meet demand, as the Titan X was in relatively short supply until recently, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.

The lower price and supply could be as crucial as a jump in performance, since few games actually demand the highest-end hardware. Yet even as advanced features in the hardware are becoming commonplace, this card could be a solid way to future-proof a high-end gaming machine.

“Most of the cards in this generation handle 4K, so that isn’t really a differentiator anymore. It is pure performance — and up until now, the very expensive Titan X was king,” Enderle told TechNewsWorld.

“Well, the king is dead. We have a new more affordable king — at least until they refresh the Titan X,” he added. “This card would be a great way to get ahead of the performance curve and ensure your new gaming rig doesn’t go obsolete prematurely.”

Peter Suciu has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2012. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile phones, displays, streaming media, pay TV and autonomous vehicles. He has written and edited for numerous publications and websites, including Newsweek, Wired and Peter.

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