MSI GTX1080 Gaming X Review

MSI GTX 1080 Gaming Review


Let’s get the obvious parts out of the way.

Are you in the mood to see how far you can push your games? Does your current graphics card not cut the mustard when it comes to the latest titles? Have you been bitten by the Overwatch bug but need a GPU which will give you the edge over the competition, where fast frame rates equal more kills? Then you need the GTX 1080. As we saw throughout our testing there is barely a hairs breadth between the two partner cards we’ve tested so far, with both of them managing a significant leap over the Founders Edition nVidia offering.

In short, unless you’ve got SLI GTX 980 Tis then you want what the MSI GTX 1080 can bring to the table. It’s blazingly fast, consistent in every title and, thanks to some clever trickery beneath the hood, as quiet as a church mouse in slippers.

With the fact that performance isn’t an issue whichever GTX 1080 you decide to buy, what separates the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming from the ASUS Strix? It’s lots of good, and one slight negative. Allow us to explain.

The Twin Frozr cooler has always been great. Whether it’s the early days – I can remember reviewing the MSI 5770 Hawk that came equipped with the Twin Frozr II – or the most recent version, the Twin Frozr is consistently amongst the finest non-reference coolers around. The sixth version that appears on the GTX 1080 Gaming is unquestionably the best of a fine breed. As we saw in our temperature graph, even under some serious loading everything remains frosty at a mere 69°C. It’s not just the raw load reading that impresses though. The build quality of the card, and thus the cooler, is tremendous with hefty amounts of bracing and heat-spreaders liberally applied to the PCB. Silence is the watchword as the card doesn’t even bother to spin the fans up until it reaches 60°C so in the lighter games, or with some careful graphics setting tweaks, you could run this entirely passively, all the time. When the fans do eventually spin up you can barely hear them. The dual bearings and clever fan design keeping everything quiet, even when your eye-candy is loud.

Slightly less impressive is the lighting element of the card. Everything comes with RGB lighting these days, so perhaps MSI were jumping on the bandwagon a bit late to the party, but the only thing you can adjust is the MSI Gaming logo that takes up less than a square inch of real estate. This would be tolerable except the fins are red, red and only red. Which negates any fancy trickery you wish to pull off with the logo. Even then it’s a bit of a halfway house as the lighting is about as bright as an usherette’s torch i.e not at all. When your GPU is being outshone by the 7 segment display on the motherboard you know that it’s not very bright. This, quixotically, is actually beneficial because it means you’re not locked into a red lighting system. Still, being neither one thing (full RGB) nor another (bright red) it’s a minor mark against the MSI. What we needed was a brightness setting in the MSI Lighting software for the red parts of the card rather than the useless and even pointless RGB aspect that they added.

But if you’re already locked into a world of red and black, if you care more about silence and enormous frame-rates than lighting, then the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming should be high on your want list and wins our OC3D Performance Award. Keep an eye open next week when our SLI review will be live. Yes, you read right. We have two.

MSI GTX 1080 Gaming Review  

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