Card Layout and Photos
At first glance, the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition doesn’t look any different than the GTX 1080 Founders Editions did. You get the same all metal enclosure on a blower cooler. It has the same angular shapes, silver and black theme, and the acrylic window that shows the black heatsink behind it. So I forgive you for thinking that Nvidia just slapped the same cooling solution on the new card and carved the extra Ti into the side. That said the Ti does feel a little added on, the GTX 1080 part is still centered where it should have dropped down with the addition of the two letters, they must have been saving a little money on tooling there.
Even working our way around the edges there isn’t anything that looks changed. That said, it does also mean that the GTX 1080 Ti is still a good blower solution, like the previous card with the sealed top and bottom helps push the air out the back of your PC with a little also going out the other end with that small heatsink at the end. This does mean that our painting instructions for the GTX 1080 Founders Editions will still apply to this card, so be the first to customize your new GTX 1080 Ti.
The heatsink still has a curve to its shape to best fit the shape of the card and to take advantage of every possible bit of the surface area for extra cooling. But even still this is actually the same as the GTX 1080, I originally thought it was new but a detailed look through our teardown photos of the 1080 showed it had the same shape as well. They do use a copper baseplate on the heatsink with a vapor chamber to help spread the heat out across the entire heatsink before the blower fan pushes air down across the length of the heatsink. Packing everything into the standard form factor with a blower fan doesn’t leave a lot of room for a heatsink. This is why aftermarket cards see a big jump in cooling when they don’t have to do a blower design and are able to make the card an inch taller to fit huge heatsinks and fans.
Up on the top edge, the card still has the standard backlit GeForce GTX logo with the green finish on it. I’ve been begging for it for a long time, but an RGB solution here would be amazing. Or at least an option to switch to a more neutral color that will fit in builds that green looks bad on. Then, of course, the card has a double SLI post for SLI support. Nvidia is only recommending dual SLI and this is where most of their support will revolve around but like the GTX 1080 you can still use an enthusiast key to unlock 3 and 4 card SLI configurations, but don’t expect much support.
Now power connection is an area where the new GTX 1080 Ti is very different than the GTX 1080. Where one 8-pin was enough to power the GTX 1080 with its 180-watt TDP, the GTX 1080 Ti has an 8-pin and a 6-pin. This helps power the 250-watt TDP. Deeper inside they also changed things. The GTX 1080 had a dual FET power design where the 1080 Ti has double that with a 7-phase 2x dual-FET power design to help push the higher wattage.
The backplate design for the GTX 1080 Ti is the basically the same as the GTX 1080 with the exception of the Ti added on to the product name on it. The name looks upside down for our photos but it will be readable when the card is installed in your normal cases. The backplate is a thick aluminum and it is held in place with all of those tiny screws. The design is split in half to allow anyone who plans on running the cards in SLI up against each other to open up a little breathing room for the fan. This is less of an issue these days with dual SLI normally being the max, but it’s a nice option to have to keep from suffocating your card in a multi-card configuration.
Last but not least we have the PCI slot end of the card where we can see the display connection. This is where Nvidia made the biggest and most controversial choice. They still have the triangle vent design that I still think could be opened up for better ventilation. But they dropped the DVI connection that used to run on the second row to open up all of that airflow. You still have one HDMI port and three DisplayPorts but for a lot of people, myself included there is always that one monitor that needs DVI. In my case, I could get away with using the included DisplayPort to DVI adapter but if that is your main monitor there is a good chance you are going to need a dual-link cable for the additional bandwidth for a high refresh rate (anything over 60) or a higher resolution. A lot of the eBay Korean 1440p monitors for example only support DVI. So while I think that DVI is on its way out and the space was needed for airflow, I do wish the adapter option supported dual-link. Getting a proper adapter for this might end up costing up to $115 so it is something to consider.