Performance Continued – Temperatures/Audibility

The second thing I noticed after installing the MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC (right after noticing how sexy it looked in my case), was how cool and quite this card was.  Like my old card (MSI Geforce GTX 980 TI Gaming 6G), the new card has a 0DB mode.  In 0DB mode, the fans remain idle, ensuring complete silence whenever the card operates at less than 60° C.  Under load, the fans are super quiet. Much more so than my previous GPU.  Even at 100%, which I had manually set via MSI afterburner, the fans are only just audible.  Here are a few readings I took over an intense hour of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

Idle Temperature 36° C
1 Hour Gaming Stable Temperature 71° C Fan Speed – 0%
Minimum Gaming Temperature 65° C Fan Speed – 42%
Maximum Gaming Temperature 75° C Fan Speed – 73%

When comparing these temperatures to my old card, I was really impressed.  The prior card (though a year old), would max out at around 83 Degrees in some games.  It would stabilize at around 79-80 Degrees, and unless the fan curve was manually adjusted, it would get there pretty quickly.  The MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC, with its massive heatsink, cooling plate, and giant torx fans, seems to dissipate heat very well.  All the while, the card remained nearly silent while operating.  I am sincerely impressed.

That glorious, massive heatsink along with the super large fans cool the GP204 chip very well!

That glorious, massive heatsink along with the super large fans cool the GP104 chip very well!

Performance Continued – This Sample

On paper, the MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC looks like this:

Core/Memory

  • Boost Clock / Base Clock
    1797 MHz / 1657 MHz
  • 8192 MB GDDR5X / 10010 MHz Memory

 

In reality, my sample looks like this:

Core/Memory

  • Boost Clock / Base Clock
    1924 MHz / 1658 MHz
  • 8192 MB GDDR5X / 10014 MHz Memory

So out of the box, my GPU is already operating above its paper spec.  This was another welcome surprise.  Core-clock speeds seem to level out at around 1873 MHz while gaming, occasionally reaching 1924.  The memory is a tad bit higher than it should be on paper as well, though I can’t imagine a few MHz making much of a difference here.  Much to my happiness, I’ve never noticed this GPU throttle down to anywhere near its base clock while the GPU was under load.  A few other point to note:

Max Fan Revolutions Per Minute 1688 RPM
Maximum VDDC Voltage 1.0620 V

So all and all, a pretty impressive sample indeed.  I approve.

Performance Continued – Overclocking

Continuing the performance review, I enthusiastically segue into the Overclocking.  The Power of 10 launch event demonstrated many capabilities of the Pascal architecture.  One of the capabilities being its overclockability.  Pascal was to clock much higher than any GPU before it.  With an already impressive Factory Overclock right out of the box, how much higher could the MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC actually go?  Well… not that much higher, but a nice little bit. When compared to my older 980 TI (which was able to stabilize at 1500 MHz), the newer 1080 is a bit less impressive.

My sample was able to boost to a relatively stable 2.105 MHz.  The driver would not crash at this speed while gaming and/or benchmarking nor would it produce any artifacts.  This is with no adjustments to the core voltage.  Out of habit, I manually set my fan to 100% and power limit set to 120. During very heavy loads (specifically in Ashes of the Singularity), the core clock would throttle down to the low 1900s.  The GDDR5X vram was able to clock all-the-way up to 10710 and remain stable.  I admit, it may even go higher, but in all reality, I’d never use even these settings for every day gaming.  Once I establishing these baselines, I re-ran a few of my benchmarks.

Well, the numbers are a bit higher. Meh.

Well, this graph is rather deceptive. Sorry about that. Anyway, more gains here. Pretty nice, but not as nice as the gains I used to get with the 980 Ti.

Seeing some pretty good gains here. This looks promising!

Seeing some pretty good gains here. Really nice in fact for this title.

Some more pretty good gains on the next DX12 game. Sweet!

A few frames here and there never hurt anyone.

The gains in The Witcher 3 are less noticeable. Almost within margin of error IMO.

Another few frames.

So following up on the above benchmarks, it’s apparent that the MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC still has some room to overclock.  Had I adjusted the voltage (which I didn’t want to do), I could have probably got it even higher.  Though when looking through a typical GP104 overclock results, I may be close to card’s limits.  My average temperature during these benchmarks hovered only around 75° C. The maximum temperature, which was achieved while benchmarking Deus Ex, was 79° C.

The Conclusion of MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC Review

To sum it all up, I’m left feeling satisfied with the upgrade.  Generally much better next-gen API performance, faster at everything, and cooler/quieter than my previous card. I would very confidently recommend this card to anyone who is considering playing any games with all detail settings cranked up to max at 1080p (144hz) or 1440p.  4k is achievable with this card, sans AA and possibly using a mixture of ultra/high settings (for very demanding games).

In my opinion, the MSRP of the Geforce GTX 1080 is too high to begin with.  But considering the MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC comes in at just around $40 higher than the $599 MSRP of the 1080,  it’s not nearly as expensive as some other models.  Cheaper than the Reference card (Founders Edition) even. I must say, I love this card’s aesthetics. It should look good in any case/board, but will look especially good in a black/white themed build.

If someone were to ask me “Hey! Is the MSI Geforce GTX 1080 Armor 8G OC a good upgrade for me?” I’d say yes, but that will be based on a few things.

FuryX – More VRAM is very nice, but it still remains uncertain just how next-gen APIs will pan out for the Fiji chip.  If you want the performance now, and $600+ is not a big deal, you could see some very nice gains with this 1080.

980 ti – Only if you don’t mind spending $600+ for up to 27%(ish) performance boost depending on which GPU you currently have.

Anyone other card on the market, (including Titan X Maxwell if you could sell it a nice clip), should consider this as a very nice upgrade.

MSI Armor Geforce GTX 1080 8G OC Review
MSI is onto something with their mostly barebones GTX 1080 Armor OC. The cooler is more than sufficient and it runs very cool. It performs like a champ and even has room to OC even more if you so choose. Not a bad choice if it weren't for the relatively high price for a barebones package.
Physical Deign90%
Aesthetics95%
Performance90%
Value85%
What's Right
  • Physically Beautiful
  • Cool and Quiet
  • High Factory OC
Whats Wrong
  • No Backplate
  • Priced Kinda High
90%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (83 Votes)
50%