9.2 tech score The GTX 1080Ti is truly an amazing GPU, destroying anything we have really seen from NVidia in the past (pre-Pascal). Of course, it has to be taken into account that tech moves on and to compare this card to something like the GTX 780Ti, that on release was retailing at the same price (£699) isn't necessarily fair, as 4 years ago UHD resolution wasn't something an average consumer would ever need. The reason for the specifications only receiving a 9.5 is due to the fact that although they are extremely impressive, they aren't THE best, and as I'm talking about the NVidia version of the card, I feel that the aftermarket cards are going to improve on it enough to make this card not a solid 10/10. With the innovation rating only being a 7, this is because although if I was shown this card even 2 years ago it wouldn't have believed it was possible for this price, I have been spoiled by just how amazing Pascal is, and I feel the 1080Ti performs as it should, rather than anything overly-exciting.
The 10 series GeForce GPUs from NVidia have set the new bar in terms of just how powerful a GPU can be (as well as how reasonably priced). NVidia have all but stole the market with their new line of GPUs with the GTX 1050(Ti) being extremely powerful when compared to the budget options of some of NVidia’s GeForce series (although AMD’s RX 470 is still the most powerful ‘budget’ card on the market right now) and their newest addition, the GTX 1080Ti, being undoubtedly the card of choice for high end machines. But at the steep price point of £699, was the 1080Ti worth the wait?
It is common practice for NVidia to release ‘Ti’ versions of their Graphics cards, either at the lower end (750Ti, 660Ti, 1050Ti) as to offer the maximum performance possible at a low price point, or at the high-end (780Ti, 980Ti, 1080Ti) to offer even more powerful cards that the xx80 ‘flagship’ of that generation, and this is great practice at both ends, with the GTX 750Ti being probably the best bang for buck card of its generation, and the GTX 780Ti still being a more than viable option for 1080p gaming, almost 4 years after its release. However, with the powerhouse that is the GTX 1080, can NVidia really squeeze in enough added value to justify a card cost £200* more?
The 1080Ti offers a total of 11GB VRAM (1GB less that the Pascal variant of the GTX Titan) with memory speeds of 11Gbps and an actual boost clock is around 1600Mhz, packing in a total 3854 CUDA Cores (this info is based on NVidias specification, with aftermarket cards being likely higher). These are some serious impressive specs, and are specs that in the past you would only find on very high-end/industry targeted cards, such as the NVidia Titan or Quadro range, and is, in fact, becoming quite popular in the GPU rendering scene, due to its raw power and low price point when compared to Quadro cards. And at £699 it is almost a no-brainer.
When benchmarked the 1080Ti proves that it isn’t just specced for the sake of specs, and truly is the most power consumer-oriented card on the market right now, with it achieving almost double the frame rate of the 1080 on games such as Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Not only this but the 1080Ti even exceeds the performance of the Pascal Titan X (a card retailing at almost £400 more that the 1080Ti’s RRP) in several games. When comparing this card to what this sort of money would have got you 5 years ago, it is absolutely mind-blowing.
Another, albeit niche, benefit of just how powerful this card is is Virtual Reality. In a standard gaming build you may be more inclined, whether it be for budget or aesthetic reasons, to buy a set of cheaper cards and SLI them, however with VR (at least for now) this isn’t the case, due to the fact that VR in its current state is incompatible with SLI (although some special version of Unity and UE4 can, in fact, take advantage of SLI). This means that for an ideal VR set-up we need the most power you can fit into a single card set-up, which at the moment is the GTX 1080Ti.
Overall the GTX 1080Ti is almost definitely the best card you can buy right now and is the first card to really allow for reliable 4K gaming. Of course like anything it has its drawbacks, with a TDP of 250W it’s not going to be kind on your utility bills, and if you’re looking for a budget build, a Radeon may be more up your ally. But for pure performance, the 1080Ti is truly incredible.