MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X Review

Published: Apr 6th 2017, 19:31 GMT

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X

Is GeForce GTX 1080 Ti currently the most powerful card? Should MSI GAMING X be your card of choice? Let’s find out.

I’ve been waiting for this review for a long time. The “Big Chip” from the NVIDIA’s most power efficient architecture is finally available under GeForce brand. The launch of TITAN X eight months ago was a bizarre move from NVIDIA, but it gave early adopters exclusive access to the same processor we are reviewing today, but much much sooner. It’s no secret that both cards offer similar performance, as they share the same CUDA core count, which is the most important aspect when considering GPU performance. The only important difference between the two is memory configuration.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti features 11GB of GDDR5X memory across 352-bit memory bus. The lack of 1GB VRAM and a narrower bus was only dictated by one reason: to differentiate GTX 1080 Ti from TITAN X. This unusual memory configuration also affected raster engine count (ROP), which dropped to 88 from 96.

MSI GAMING X is exactly what you expected in terms of design. It looks quite the same as other Twin Frozr VI-based models, except it’s thicker and occupies two and half slots on a motherboard. We already had a taste of such a bulky Twin Frozr cooler when MSI introduced Radeon R9 390 GAMING series.

The MSI GAMING X has two types of blades on its TORX 2.0 fans. The dispersion plate is steeper curved, which in theory should accelerate the airflow right towards the heat sink.

The backplate has no other purpose than to reinforce the back of the card and serve as an aesthetic element.

Near the SLI-fingers we can see how baseplate is attached to the card. It’s screwed to I/O bracket and a backplate. This part is essential for GAMING X cooling efficiency, as it’s directly attached to memory modules with thermal pads.

MSI GTX 1080 TI GAMING X has two 8-pin power connectors. Note that they are upside down, which means you can’t use gadgets like EVGA Powerlink.

This is where the most of the heat escapes from the cooler.

A visual comparison between GTX 1050 Ti GAMING X, GTX 1080 GAMING X and GTX 1080 TI GAMING X:

MSI GTX 1080 TI GAMING X has two LED illuminated elements: the ‘fin’s on the shroud can only light in red, but the MSI logo on the side has full RGB support. GeForce GTX logo is not LED illuminated.


16nm GP102


11GB GD5X 352b

1544 /  1657 MHz
(Gaming Mode)

The GTX 1080 TI features Pascal GP102-350 graphics processor. This variant does not have all CUDA cores enabled.

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X Specifications
Fabrication Process16nm FinFET16nm FinFET16nm FinFET16nm FinFET
CUDA Cores3584358435843840
ModeSilentGamingOC Mode
Base Clock1480 MHz1480 MHz
1544 MHz 1569 MHz 1417 MHz?
Boost Clock1584 MHz1549 MHz
1658 MHz1683 MHz 1531 MHz1582 MHz
Eff. Mem. Clock11008 MHz11016 MHz
11016 MHz12110 MHz 10008 MHz11400 MHz
Memory Bus352-bit352-bit384-bit384-bit
Power Connector1x 6-pin, 1x 8-pin2x 8-pin1x 6-pin, 1x 8-pin1x 6-pin, 1x 8-pin

GPU Boost 3.0 allows much higher frequencies to be achieved than listed above. It’s hard to pinpoint what frequency should you expect in a real-world scenario (like games), but NVIDIA Inspector has something that should at least give you an indication of what to expect: 1924 MHz, which to be honest is quite accurate for Gaming Mode:

MSI Gaming APP features

The companion tool called GAMING APP is here to give you control over your card. Here you can choose the light animation, colors (for MSI logo), on-screen display support, eye-rest function and my personal favorite: Zero Frozr function. What’s Zero Frozr? This feature will turn the fans off when the card is not under heavy use, making it noiseless. But let me be clear, this feature is not for everyone. If you prefer better temperatures I suggest you turn it off. I will provide a thermal comparison with this function enabled and disabled to give you some idea how it affects the temperature of the card.

Silent / Gaming / OC Modes:

Review Contents
Page 1Overview MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X
Page 2A closer look MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X
Page 3Testing platform & methodology
Page 4Overclocking MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GAMING X
Page 5STABILITY GPU Temperature ● Core Clock ● GPU Usage ● Memory Usage
Page 6Benchmarks 3DMark ● VRMark ● Unigine
Page 7DirectX 12 Battlefield 1
Page 8DirectX 12 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Page 9DirectX 12 The Division
Page 10Vulkan Doom
Page 11DirectX 11 Ghost Recon: Wildlands
Page 12DirectX 12 HITMAN
Page 13DirectX 11 Metro: Last Light
Page 14DirectX 11 Rainbow Six: Siege
Page 15DirectX 12 Rise of the Tomb Raider
Page 16DirectX 12 Sniper Elite 4
Page 17DirectX 12 Total War: Warhammer
Page 18DirectX 11 The Witcher 3
Page 19Conclusion