During their live-stream event in Austin, Texas, NVIDIA announced their latest flagship graphics card, based on their next-generation Pascal Architecture. The GeForce GTX 1080 marks the beginning of the much awaited move away from 28nm in the graphics industry. The card features NVIDIA’s GP104 chip built on TSMC’s 16nm FinFET node, and shows off some impressive performance per watt figures made possible by the move to the new process. The GTX 1080 will also be the first graphics card to feature Micron’s GDDR5X memory, which allows for much higher memory bandwidth than standard GDDR5. It will retail on May 27th for $599, with the reference “Founders Edition” costing $699.
GTX 1080 is “Faster than 980 SLI”
During the event NVIDIA detailed the performance of the GTX 1080, stating that the card is ‘faster than GTX 980 SLI’. The card only requires a single 8-pin power connector to achieve this performance which is one of the advantages of the node shrink. Until the reviews go live in a few weeks, we will have to wait to see if the numbers back up this claim.
Looking deeper at the actual specifications of the GTX 1080, the GP104 GPU powering the card features 2,560 CUDA cores and some pretty hefty clock speeds. With a base clock of 1607 MHz and a boost clock of 1733 MHz; this makes the GTX 1080 the highest clocked graphics card to date; even besting the double-pumped shader clock of the 400 and 500 series’ Fermi architecture. It is likely that this enormous increase in frequency is what allows the 1080 to best even the TITAN X’s GM200 chip, despite having fewer CUDA cores.
GTX 1080 sees the distinctive NVIDIA reference cooler redesigned
With the introduction of the GTX 1080, NVIDIA have updated the distinctive cooler shroud featured on their reference design cards since the GTX 690. The updated design features an aggressive polygonal look which sets it apart from other cards, making it a signature of the new series. Just like the previous iteration, the new cooler is a blower configuration which will exhaust hot air outside of the case. It will be interesting to see if NVIDIA has made any improvements to the acoustics of the new design.
In addition to the new cooler design, NVIDIA has also updated the SLI specification to “SLI HB”. Which, according to NVIDIA, doubles the available bandwidth between the cards allowing these higher performance GPUs to communicate quicker – which should result in improved scaling.
GTX 1080 overclocked to 2114 MHz
During the event, the card was shown to be running at a staggering 2114 MHz core frequency on an Unreal 4 engine demo. The card was able to achieve this on air cooling at a temperature of only 67 C, which demonstrates the capabilities of the new architecture. This should also come as good news to overclockers; who may have worried that the card was already being pushed to its limit from stock.