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MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G RGB Review

Rating: 9.0.

In recent weeks we have analysed GTX 1080 partner cards from ASUS and GIGABYTE, and today we look at the Gaming X 8G model from MSI. This graphics card is supplied with a beautiful looking custom dual fan cooler and is overclocked out of the box. How does it hold up against the Gigabyte and Asus models ?


It is interesting to see that MSI are the only one of the three big Nvidia partners (MSI, Gigabyte and ASUS) who have opted for a dual fan cooler. Gigabyte and ASUS have felt the move to a triple fan configuration was worthwhile. I still feel that this MSI design is the most attractive of all graphics cards available on the market today however – I have said it before, but I will say it again – this really is the Cameron Diaz of graphics cards.

Like all the other GTX1080 cards we have reviewed in recent weeks, MSI have adopted an RGB lighting system. It certainly seems the feature everyone wants right now.

GPU Geforce GTX970 GeForce GTX980
Geforce GTX 980 Ti Geforce GTX Titan X Geforce GTX 1080 Geforce GTX 1070
Streaming Multiprocessors 13 16 22 24 20 15
CUDA Cores 1664 2048 2816 3072 2560 1920
Base Clock 1050 mhz 1126 mhz 1000 mhz 1000 mhz 1607 mhz 1506 mhz
GPU Boost Clock 1178 mhz 1216 mhz 1075 mhz 1076 mhz 1733 mhz 1683 mhz
Total Video memory 4GB 4GB 6GB 12GB 8GB 8GB
Texture Units 104 128 176 192 160 120
Texture fill-rate 109.2 Gigatexels/Sec 144.1 Gigatexels/Sec 176 Gigatexels/Sec 192 Gigatexels/Sec 257.1 Gigatexels/Sec 180.7 GigaTexels/sec
Memory Clock 7000 mhz 7000 mhz 7000 mhz 7000 mhz 1250mhz 2002mhz
Memory Bandwidth 224 GB/s 224 GB/sec 336.5 GB/sec 336.5 GB/sec 320GB/s 256GB/s
Bus Width 256bit 256bit 384bit 384bit 256bit 256 bit
ROPs 56 64 96 96 64 64
Manufacturing Process 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 16nm 16nm
TDP 145 watts 165 watts 250 watts 250 watts 180 watts 150 watts

The Nvidia GTX1080 ships with 2560 CUDA cores and 20 SM units. The 8GB of GDDR5X memory is connected via a 256 bit memory interface. This new G5X memory offers a huge step up in bandwidth, when compared against the older GDDR5 standard. It runs at a data rate of 10Gbps, giving 43% more bandwidth than the GTX980 GPU.

msi app oc mode

The MSI card ships at 1,683mhz with a boost of 1,823mhz – the company call this GAMING MODE. The 8GB of GDDR5 memory is set at 1,251mhz.

There is an OC mode in software which offers a slight increase in clock speeds. In OC MODE the core increases to 1,709mhz with a 1,849mhz boost, and the memory increases to 1,264mhz. The MSI website (HERE) shows the three available settings, including ‘silent mode' which downclocks the card to 1607mhz while reducing fan speeds. Unless you are running your system in a hot climate, have poor case airflow, or just loathe fan noise, then we can't imagine too many people using ‘Silent Mode'. The Gaming X 8G is actually a fairly quiet card under general conditions, but more on that later.

We test the card in the fastest OC Mode as we are pretty confident that most users buying this card will install the software on the disc and push the ‘OC Mode' button, shown above. We have also tested the Gigabyte and Asus cards at their fastest software rated profile settings, so this keeps everything on an even footing.

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