GTX 1080 Ti

I suspect a lot of you caught the Nvidia presentation when they introduced the GTX 1080 Ti so I will try to keep this section quick and to the point but I did want to run through the specifications, what's different, and how it fits into Nvidia’s product lineup. But first, if you didn’t check out the presentation, here it is

Nvidia had a lot to announce this year on both the software and hardware sides. I can’t even touch on them all, but one that I really liked was their new Nvidia Aftermath. This is a new tool that is designed to help developers better identify the causes of crashes. A lot of times it isn’t very clear when a crash is CPU or GPU based so they collaborated with Microsoft on this one. Basically, it can be shipped with games and gamers have the option to upload the logs so you don’t have to have any additional privacy concerns. Better logs and ways to identify game crashes is a great thing, though. Hopefully, it helps lead to more stable games.

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Another big introduction was Shadowplay Highlights. Shadowplay has been around for a while now and Nvidia continues to expand on its functionality. Highlights are especially interesting to me, though. I never remember what the commands are to save a video when I think about it and normally I never even think to try to save a cool highlight after it happens. The idea here is to have an SDK where games can automatically tell Shadowplay to save a highlight after an important moment happens in the game. A lot of games already have on screen displays and audio files for things like pentakills, big kill streaks, and other big moments. This could work with that and record a video of them happening for you. Then at the end of the game, you can edit the video down, set the resolution, and upload the video to any of your preferred services.  

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They also had a video showing off Shadowplay Highlights.

Then they had a few hardware announcements as well. The GTX 1080 Ti being the main one of course but two others slipped under the radar for a lot of people. They have opened up the option for card manufacturers to now use the same 11Gbps GDDR5X from the Ti on their GTX 1080’s as well. The same for the GTX 1060’s where they went from 8Gbps GDDR5 to 9Gbps GDDR5. Nvidia themselves aren’t bringing out new Founders Edition models, but this should mean a few refreshed GTX 1080’s and GTX 1060’s in the near future as well giving part of their lineup a bump. With that, they also announced a price drop on the GTX 1080 MSRP down to $499 from the original $599 MSRP. This is of course just the base price but Nvidia did later follow suit and drop the pricing of their GTX 1080 FE on their website down to $549 and the GTX 1070 FE dropped $50 as well down to $399 even though there wasn’t an official MSRP drop for the 1070. It seems they want to lower the price premium for the Founders Edition cards. For the GTX 1080 Ti they also announced that there would be no premium at all for the Founders Edition, given the backlash after the 1080 launch over the price premiums and none of the aftermarket cards coming in at the lower MSRPs, this should make a lot of people happy.

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Speaking of the GTX 1080 Ti, what's that all about. Well, in short, they have basically taken the same GP102 GPU from the Titan X Pascal and used it for the GTX 1080 Ti. They didn’t cut it down at all meaning the Ti get the same 3584 CUDA cores, this is just over 1000 more than the GTX 1080. The number of texture units matches as well with only the ROP (Render Output Unit) count dropping from 96 down to 88. In fact, they even went higher on the GPU clock speeds over the Titan X with the GTX 1080 Ti running at 1480MHz over the Titan X’s 1417MHz for base clocks. The Boost clocks are also similarly higher for the Ti. Those numbers are all crazy but for the past week, nearly everyone's focus has been on the odd vRAM capacity. Where the Titan XP has 12GB the 1080 Ti has 11GB. Nvidia even missed out on all of the Spinal Tap jokes with the GTX 1080 Ti having 11GB in VRAM and 11Gbps in memory clock speed. Here is a look at the numbers from the Titan X, 1080 Ti, 1080, and even the older 980 TI.

Titan X (P)

GTX 1080 Ti

GTX 1080

GTX 980 Ti

CUDA Cores

3584

3584

2560

2816

Texture Units

224

224

160

176

ROPs

96

88

64

96

Core Clock

1417MHz

1480MHz

1607MHz

1000MHz

Boost Clock

1531MHz

1582MHz

1733MHz

1075MHz

Memory Clock

10Gbps

11Gbps

10Gbps

7Gbps

Memory Type

GDDR5X

GDDR5X

GDDR5X

GDDR5

Memory Bus Width

384-bit

352-bit

256-bit

384-bit

VRAM

12GB

11GB

8GB

6GB

TDP

250W

250W

180W

250W

GPU

GP102

GP102

GP104

GM200

Transistor Count

12B

12B

7.2B

8B

Manufacturing Process

16nm FinFET

16nm FinFET

16nm FinFET

28nm

Launch Price

$1200

$699

MSRP: $599

Founders $699

$649

A lot of people might be wondering why they even needed to with that much VRAM, most people aren’t using that right now in games, right? Well, Nvidia touched on that explaining that they see 5K being the next step past 4k resolutions and that with games like Watch Dogs 2 already pushing the limits of the 8GB VRAM of the GTX 1080. At 5k the same games are right up at 11GB in VRAM.

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The additional CUDA cores really show when you take a look at the block diagrams comparing the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1080 Ti.

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The new card also bumps the TDP up to 250 watts where the GTX 1080 only ran at 180 watts. This isn’t a big surprise, typically 250 watts is where the flagship cards land. When we see flagship cards with a lower TDP Nvidia normally seems to have a little extra ready to bring out later on. They did, however, double the number of 2x dualFETs on the power delivery side of the card. With that, they were able to improve the already improved power efficiency of the GTX 1080 that introduced the 2x dualFETs. Nvidia had power curves to show the efficiency as the power usage scales up, obviously ending earlier for the 180-watt TDP of the GTX 1080 but you can see the Ti being more efficient across the board.

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