MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ARMOR Review

Published: 4th May 2017, 19:25 GMT


I decided to give you a short comparison between GAMING X and ARMOR OC. The fans and PCB design are the same. The heat-sink is much thicker on GAMING with fin arrays pointing in a different direction.

GAMING card does not only have a thicker heat sink, but also it features a backplate. The absence of he backplate on ARMOR is probably the most important change for this model compared to more expensive solutions.

Another difference is hidden under the cooler. The heat sink on GAMING X has direct contact with VRM section through a thermal pad, whereas the plate on ARMOR covers the whole area, acting as heat spreader fo a VRM. Four out of then memory modules are not directly cooled by the plate on ARMOR, they are, however, cooled by heat pipes through a thermal pad.

GAMING X plate:

ARMOR OC plate:


The MSI ARMOR GTX 1080 Ti has Micron D9VRL memory modules, the same as on GAMING X. The D9VRL part stands for 11 Gbps chips.

Thermal compound

The compound on ARMOR more solid than GAMING’s. The quality of the paste is very important for this card. I’ve tested it with a premium compound and a very cheap one. It’s very easy to reach a thermal limit with the latter. For the best experience, I recommend a high-quality compound.

The board

The only visible difference between GAMING X and ARMOR OC PCB is a lack of two pin headers (both for LED lighting). Apart from that both cards are essentially using the exact same board.

MSI ARMOR GTX 1080 Ti has 8+2 phase power design. Voltage controllers are hidden under the plate.

This is what most users will be looking at when the card is installed. I think backplate would make a big difference for overall aesthetics, however, it might have been removed to provide better airflow as backplates tend to gets really hot and they often act like radiators keeping heat trapped. Check our thermal test later in this review for actual temperature of this side of the card.

Cooling Solution

Let’s have a closer look at the fans. Just like Twin Frozr VI cooler we have TORX fans with two different blades (dispersion and traditional). Unlike most mid-range ARMOR cards those fans are using double ball bearings, a better solution compared to sleeve bearings, considering the life span of the fans.

Compared to GAMING X we have two heat pipes fewer on ARMOR (6 vs 4). Heat pipes have direct contact with the GPU, there is no copper base plate for the GPU (which is present in TF VI cooler).


  • WIDTH: 29.0 cm
  • LENGTH: 14.3 cm
  • HEIGHT: 2.0-slot (40 mm)
  • WEIGHT: 0.9 kg


  • Dual-fan ARMOR 2X cooler with TORX 2.0 fans.



  • 2x DisplayPort 1.4
  • 2x HDMI 2.0
  • 1x DVI-D DL



  • 10 Phase power design
  • 2x 8-Pin power connector


  • PCI-Express 3.0 x16


  • Micron D9VRL (GDDR5X 11 Gbps)

 Packaging & Bundle

The card comes with a 6 to 8-pin power adapter, quick installation guide, Dragon Lucky comic guide, CD with the drivers and two stickers.

Review Contents
Page 1Overview MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ARMOR OC
Page 2A closer look MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti ARMOR OC
Page 3Testing platform & methodology
Page 4GAME Battlefield 1
Page 5GAME Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Page 6GAME The Division
Page 7GAME Doom
Page 9GAME Metro: Last Light
Page 10GAME Rise of the Tomb Raider
Page 11GAME Sniper Elite 4
Page 12GAME The Witcher 3
Page 14BENCHMARKS 3DMark Fire Strike ● Time Spy ● VRMark ● Unigine Superposition
Page 15THERMAL EXAMINATION GPU Temperature ● FLIR Photos
Page 16STABILITY Core Clock ● GPU Usage ● Memory Usage ● Power Consumption
Page 17Conclusion