Best GTX 1080 Graphics Cards (2020)

UPDATE: The GTX series has been discontinued, unless you have a specific reason to  purchase a GTX series card, we recommend you see our review of the best RTX 2080 graphics cards for 2020. However, if you see any good Black Friday graphics card deals in 2019 the GTX is still a great choice for the right price (even though it’s discontinued) that said, it’s far more likely you’ll see non Super RTX cards on Black Friday 2019.

The GTX 1080 represents the latest graphics cards offered by NVidia – who are famous for their cutting-edge tech, especially the GPUs. This GPU comes in at a high price point, but it should be a worthwhile investment if you value and want the best gaming performance. You might think that every GTX 1080 graphics card is the same, but that isn’t the case – numerous variations are available in the market for you to choose. Read on for a roundup of carefully selected, highest-rated GTX 1080 GPU’s that you should consider investing in for that perfect gaming performance.

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Top Pick
MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X SLI DirectX 12 VR Ready Graphics Card (GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G OC)
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Edition, ZT-P10800C-10P, 8GB GDDR5X IceStorm Cooling, Metal Wraparound Carbon ExoArmor exterior, Ultra-wide 100mm Fans Gaming Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC GAMING ACX 3.0, 8GB GDDR5X, LED, DX12 OSD Support (PXOC) Graphics Card 08G-P4-6183-KR (Renewed)
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG Strix Graphics Card (STRIX-GTX1080-A8G-GAMING)
Title
MSI GeForce GTX 1080
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Edition
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX
Prime
GPU Clock Speed
1657 MHz
1683 MHz
1708 MHz
1695 MHz
Boost Clock
1797 MHz
1822 MHz
1847 MHz
1835 MHz
Memory Clock
10010 MHz
10000 MHz
8192 MHz
10010 MHz
IO
DisplayPort x 3 (Version 1.4) / HDMI (Version 2.0) / DL-DVI-D
3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x Dual-link DVI, Quad simultaneous display capable
DVI-D, HDMI, VGA
OpenGL OpenGL 4.5, HDMI 2 x Native HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 2 x Native DisplayPort 1.4, DVI 1 x Native DVI D, Max Resolution 7680 x 4320, Virtual Reality Ready
Top Pick
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MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 1080 8GB GDDR5X SLI DirectX 12 VR Ready Graphics Card (GTX 1080 ARMOR 8G OC)
Title
MSI GeForce GTX 1080
Prime
GPU Clock Speed
1657 MHz
Boost Clock
1797 MHz
Memory Clock
10010 MHz
IO
DisplayPort x 3 (Version 1.4) / HDMI (Version 2.0) / DL-DVI-D
Image
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Edition, ZT-P10800C-10P, 8GB GDDR5X IceStorm Cooling, Metal Wraparound Carbon ExoArmor exterior, Ultra-wide 100mm Fans Gaming Graphics Card
Title
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Edition
Prime
GPU Clock Speed
1683 MHz
Boost Clock
1822 MHz
Memory Clock
10000 MHz
IO
3 x DisplayPort 1.4, 1 x HDMI 2.0b, 1 x Dual-link DVI, Quad simultaneous display capable
Image
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC GAMING ACX 3.0, 8GB GDDR5X, LED, DX12 OSD Support (PXOC) Graphics Card 08G-P4-6183-KR (Renewed)
Title
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080
Prime
GPU Clock Speed
1708 MHz
Boost Clock
1847 MHz
Memory Clock
8192 MHz
IO
DVI-D, HDMI, VGA
Image
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG Strix Graphics Card (STRIX-GTX1080-A8G-GAMING)
Title
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX
Prime
GPU Clock Speed
1695 MHz
Boost Clock
1835 MHz
Memory Clock
10010 MHz
IO
OpenGL OpenGL 4.5, HDMI 2 x Native HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 2 x Native DisplayPort 1.4, DVI 1 x Native DVI D, Max Resolution 7680 x 4320, Virtual Reality Ready

Best MSI GeForce

The MSI cooling system is one of the quietest ones of its kind.

Pros:
  • Cooling
  • Performance
  • Quiet
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Backplate was hard to remove

MSI uses the Twin Frozr cooling system, which is entirely different from what NVidia offers. It features a couple of ball bearings that direct air from above into the big heat sink with 8mm copper pipes. These pipes are essential distributing any heat generated to the GPU’s cooling fins. For increased efficiency, the MSI unit has voltage converters and RAM chips, which come with an additional heat sink. To cater for stability, the MSI graphics card has a big back plate decorated with a piece of dragon art that lights up in the dark. Other parts also light up to add to MSI’s aesthetic value. The dimensions of the graphics card are 279x140x42 mm, and it features three DisplayPort 1.4 ports, a Dual-Link DVI-D port, and an HDMI 2.0 port. Of these five ports, you can use up to four of them simultaneously.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X comes with a trio of varying performance options. You can set up the default Gaming Mode, which allows it to run at 1687 MHz (RAM 10108 MHZ), the OC Mode running at 1708 MHz (RAM 10108 MHz), and the Silent Mode clock speeds of 1607 MHz (RAM 10010). While working in the default mode (Gaming), clock speeds drop to 1 MHz for the RAM and 214 MHz for the core in an idle state to save on energy. The MSI graphics card also records higher than expected frequencies when subjected to more demanding 3-dimensional applications.

The MSI cooling system is one of the quietest ones of its kind. When idle, the fans don’t spin at all, rendering the GPU entirely silent. The fans start kicking in when the temperature reaches 600C, subjecting the card to a load for a prolonged period produces a whooshing sound, which is acceptable. Even at the maximum rotation, the fan noise is still manageable and does not disturb. Occasional high-frequency whines occur during prolonger heavy 3D gaming. The maximum temperature that an MSI GTX 1080 card can reach is 720C, which is not so bad. During testing, the temperature at the back is also not so bad at 500C. The highest temperature occurs in the power supply lines, recording up to 760C.

Like any other Pascal-based graphics card, the MSI’s power consumption is moderate. If you connect to a 4K monitor through the DisplayPort, it should consume just 3 watts more than the Nvidia GTX 1080 Founders Edition, which the company optimised to draw a low amount of power. If you subject the MSI GTX 1080 to some gaming, it will take up an additional 39 watts than Nvidia’s GPU, though it offers slightly higher performance. With these numbers, you will find out that the MSI graphics card gives room for an increase in frame rate of up to 67 percent while taking up 36 percent more power.

Best ZOOTAC GTX 1080

Nevertheless, ZOOTAC stands out as the fastest when pitted against most of the other GTX 1080s.

Pros:
  • ​Elegant design
  • High clock speed
Cons:
  • ​Inefficient cooling system
  • Noisey
  • Best EVGA 1080 GTX

ZOOTAC is not a common name in the computing industry, but they have a partnership with Nvidia. Given their long-standing relationship, ZOOTAC has seven different graphics cards in their name, with differences in the cooling systems that each has. One of these is the GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme. From the outside, ZOOTAC is stunning with minimalistic finishes that include customizable LED lights at the front. It has a triple-fan setup that works alongside an advanced cooling system called Icestorm. This technology consists of a smart heat sink design to facilitate efficient cooling that is also quieter than most graphics cards in the market.

This type of GTX 1080 GPU works more with conductive copper pipes over the heat sinks. The tubes come in different sizes and direct heat away from the GPU, whereas the heat sink made of aluminium distributes the heat with the fans closing the cooling process. ZOOTAC is an excellent option if you are into overclocking because it comes with an OC (overclocking) tool called Firestorm. This tool comes in a great-looking design, which does not compromise any other kind of functionality in the GPU as it works.

The slim design on the ZOOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 comes with some problems. For example, if you pair it up with another graphics card using Scalable Link Interface (SLI), breathing space may be too small between the two. Inadequate breathing space may compromise cooling efficiency and cause problems during overclocking. For some reason, ZOOTAC’s fans fail to keep pace with the GPU and result in a consistent off/on loop that can be annoying to most people. When it comes to overclocking, Firestorm does an excellent job in putting up an impressive performance – though the fans can be loud when pushed to such limits. If noise may present a challenge to you, then you should go for a water-cooled solution, which means spending some extra bucks.

Nevertheless, ZOOTAC stands out as the fastest when pitted against most of the other GTX 1080s. If you always work under load, ZOOTAC may not be the best choice due to its fan problem and other cooling challenges. Things may heat up too fast and cause performance issues.

Best EVGA 1080 GTX

The EVGA GTX 1080 SC Gaming comes with a desirable overclocking capacity right out of the box on top of its medium-range price.

Pros:
  • Performance
  • Cool, quiet
  • ​Low energy consumption
Cons:
  • ​Coil whine
  • Availability issues

The EVGA GTX 1080 SC Gaming comes with a desirable overclocking capacity right out of the box on top of its medium-range price. It features a dual-slot system with impressive cooling capacity despite the fans in the unit going off when the temperature is below 600C. The feature is essential considering the amount of energy it saves. According to EVGA, this graphics card can be as much as 10 percent cooler and 13 percent quieter than Nvidia’s Founder Edition. It comes with one eight-pin power connector and only one BIOS. LED lights are present on the face. At the back, the card has a fully-covering backplate with several meshes to facilitate heat dissipation and air flow.

Available video outputs include one dual-link, DVI output, an HDMI 2.0b connector, and three DisplayPort connectors. Of these five ports, you can only utilize up to four of them simultaneously. One DisplayPort connector can work with 5K screens at 60 Hz and 4K at 120 Hz on a single cable – you can use two wires for 8K displays at 60 Hz. In the idle state, the EVGA GTX 1080 should chill at around 560C and rise to 750C during serious gaming. The cooler has a 0dB fan that only kicks in when the temperature reaches 600C. At load, the fan can reach up to 2300 RPM while running a game. Relative to the Founders Edition graphics card, the ACX 3.0 is a whole 80 cooler at load.

In regards to sound, the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 is quite impressive. It has no choke whine, and the fans are usually quiet. The fans record sounds of below 40dB, which is an uncommon feature in most graphic cards. At peak 4K gaming, power consumption amounts to 342 Watts and 99 Watts when idle. The Founders Edition GPU also records the same numbers when idle and a little bit more while working because of its high clock speeds.

Related:
Best Gaming Graphics Cards 2019

If you want to overclock the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC Gaming ACX 3.0, only one software can help you out as a software utility – EVGA PrecisionX 16. Upon using this overclocking utility, you can raise the power target to as high as 120 percent and a temperature of 920C. While at it, you can push the GPU and Mem Clock offsets higher than usual and still have the card in stable condition during gaming. Not much of an overclock, but it is still something worth noting.

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC Gaming ACX 3.0 is an above-average graphics card considering all its capabilities. It is an upgrade over the Founders Edition, and it is currently selling well. Its GPU cooler is also impressive, mainly due to the 0dB fan design and the low gaming temperatures. It would be a better deal over Nvidia’s Founders Edition since it is cheaper and shows more promise regarding performance.

Best Asus ROG GTX 1080

Aesthetically, the ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX comes with a triple-fan and dual-slot solution.

Pros:
  • High clock speeds
  • Efficient cooling
  • LED lighting
Cons:
  • OC tool is not that good
  • Loud under load

Aesthetically, the ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX comes with a triple-fan and dual-slot solution. It has customizable RGB lighting on the backplate and the cooler. In regards to performance, ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX should be doing a good job. It comes with huge overclocking capabilities given its 1785 MHz and 1251 MHz GPU and memory clock offsets. In terms of cost, the ROG STRIX starts at 679 dollars, which is cheaper than the Nvidia Founders Edition. This price represents the middle of the price range of GeForce GTX 1080 graphics cards.

The display connection options available on the STRIX include a couple of DisplayPorts, two HDMI ports and one DVI port. According to ASUS, the extra HDMI port is for individuals who may want to run a VR headset and a TV at the same time, or a couple of VR headsets together off their GPU. You can run 4K and 5K displays at 120 Hz and 60 Hz respectively, using one DisplayPort cable and 8K at 60 Hz using a couple of wires at the same time. You also get an HDMI sound device for enjoying 3D movies and HD audio.

The structure of the ASUS graphics card features five heat pipes to help in managing temperature. Four of these pipes touch the surface of the GPU. It also has a thermal pad responsible for cooling the voltage regulation circuitry. Beneath the main cooler, there is another metallic bar that cools the memory chips. Around the back of GPU, you will also find a couple of fan connectors that can completely stop if you are not playing games. The GPU has solder OC tweaking points too, but they do not have any markers on them. If you are an overclocker, you will have to figure out what to do by yourself.

Power drawn on these GPUs stacks up to 300 Watts on the eight-pin and six-pin power input configuration. Temperatures are quite good, even when the fans turn off in an idle state. When you are gaming, the GPU should be cooler than most and avoids clock-throttling only when the temperature surpasses 820C. The only things you will have to worry about in this graphics card is the lag or fps drops caused by the OC tool. Besides that, the almost silent fans can become loud if you set the graphics card to work at the highest level possible. You will get the best performance, but the noise might not impress you.

Pros:
Cons:

Conclusion

If you’re buying one of the Best GTX 1080 cards mentioned in this article, you may choose from this roundup, you can be sure that you are not making the wrong choice. The GeForce GTX 1080 is the “best kind” of future-proof for now, and getting one will have you sorted for the top titles for the next few years. If the value for money is the main determinant on which GPU to go for – the EVGA unit should be the best choice. In regards to sheer power, ZOOTAC is a fine choice.

Editor & reviewer of gear from iOS control pad’s to high-end PC gaming hardware. He’s been gaming since the 1980s and mostly plays CS GO & Overwatch.