First Thoughts

Wrapping up our preview of the GeForce GTX 1080, I think it’s safe to say that NVIDIA intends to start off the 16nm/14nm generation with a bang. As the first high-end card of this generation the GTX 1080 sets new marks for overall performance and for power efficiency, thanks to the combination of TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process and NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture. Translating this into numbers, at 4K we’re looking at 30% performance gain versus the GTX 980 Ti and a 70% performance gain over the GTX 980, amounting to a very significant jump in efficiency and performance over the Maxwell generation.

Looking at the bigger picture, as the first vendor to launch their 16nm/14nm flagship card, NVIDIA will get to enjoy the first mover’s advantage both with respect to setting performance expectations and with pricing. The GeForce GTX 1080 will keep the performance crown solidly in NVIDIA’s hands, and with it control of the high-end video card market for some time to come.  NVIDIA’s loyal opposition, AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group, has strongly hinted that they’re not going to be releasing comparable high-performance video cards in the near future. Rather the company is looking to make a run at the much larger mainstream market for desktops and laptops with their Polaris architecture, something that GP104 isn’t meant to address.

The lack of competition at the high-end means that for the time being NVIDIA can price the GTX 1080 at what the market will bear, and this is more or less what we’re looking at for NVIDIA’s new card. While the formal MSRP on the GTX 1080 is $599 – $50 over what the GTX 980 launched at – that price is the starting price for custom cards from NVIDIA’s partners. The reference card as we’ve previewed it today – what NVIDIA is calling the Founders Edition card – carries a $100 premium over that, pushing it to $699.

GeForce GTX 1080 Configurations
  Base Founders Edition
Core Clock 1607MHz 1607MHz
Boost Clock 1733MHz 1733MHz
Memory Clock 10Gbps GDDR5X 10Gbps GDDR5X
Cooler Manufacturer Custom
(Typical: 2 or 3 Fan Open Air)
NVIDIA Reference
(Blower w/Vapor Chamber)
Availability Date June 2016? 05/27/2016
Price Starting at $599 $699

While the differences between the reference and custom cards will be a longer subject for our full review, the more immediate ramification is going to be that only the Founders Edition cards are guaranteed to be available at launch. NVIDIA can’t speak definitively for their board partners, but at this point I am not seriously expecting custom cards until June. And this means that if you want one of the first GTX 1080s, then you’re going to have to pay $699 for the Founders Edition card. Which is not to say that it’s a bad card – far from it, it’s probably NVIDIA’s finest reference card to date – however it pushes the card’s price north of 980 Ti territory, some $150 higher than where the GTX 980 launched in 2014. For those who can afford such a card they will not be disappointed, but it’s definitely less affordable than past NVIDIA x80 cards.

Anyhow, we’ll be back later this week with our full review of the GeForce GTX 1080, so be sure to stay tuned.

Spring 2016 GPU Pricing Comparison
  $699 GeForce GTX 1080 FE
Radeon R9 Fury X $609  
  $589 GeForce GTX 980 Ti
  $429 GeForce GTX 980
Radeon R9 390X $399  
Radeon R9 390 $289 GeForce GTX 970
Gaming Performance, Power, Temperature, & Noise
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  • Eleveneleven - Monday, May 23, 2016 - link

    Yeah they took forever to post their SurfaceBook review compared to everyone else. Like really lazily slow.
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    Its not that they can't, its that a full Anandtech review is gigantic. And takes more than 2-3 days.
  • lunarx3dfx - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    I'm with the OP on this one. You guys talk about other sites not having detailed information, but I refer you to PCPer's review. They somehow were able to perform full frame rating analysis on their full test suite, address the 2/3-way SLI concerns, and discuss the architecture in detail. So, holding Anandtech to the fire on this one is justified in my opinion.
  • Margalus - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    The thing is, some of those other reviewers went to launch event and got their cards immediately. It doesn't seem anybody from Anandtech went, so they probably had to wait for a review sample.
  • HOOfan 1 - Thursday, May 19, 2016 - link

    nvidia seemed to invite everyone and their mother to the unveil. There were youtubers there with under 500K subscribers. I'd say if anandtech didn't send anyone to the event...then they missed possibly the biggest Tech reveal of 2016 so far.
  • Beararam - Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - link

    That's garbage. All the other GPU reviews (the flagships) have been done on release day.
  • schizoide - Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - link

    From what I've heard, NV only provided functional drivers wednesday of last week. So all those sites had less than a week to review a major release. Some sites bit down and made it happen anyway, but others had other obligations making that impossible.
  • pikkon39 - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    the NDA lifted today so yes, they can post reviews.
  • bigboxes - Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - link

    It's a paper launch. I expected better from nVidia. Lame.
  • HOOfan 1 - Thursday, May 19, 2016 - link

    I honestly don't understand why people gripe about paper launches. Hopefully the people who gripe about paper launches are not the same ones who are checking wccftech every day for new "leaks" about Tech products. Paper Launch = giving people official specs about a card and allowing informed buying decisions even before the cards come out. What does it matter if they paper launch the card in May and physically launch the card in June, if there is no way they can physically launch until June anyway?

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