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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • jasonelmore - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    lol the euro has dropped in value so much its piratically on par with the dollar. Blame your goverment for VAT no currency exchange.
  • vil2 - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    No. 699 $ is 617 euros. Add roughly 20% VAT and it makes 740 €, not 799.
  • JeffFlanagan - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    >Even though this card makes my 970 look pathetic...

    I feel good about that. I have to disable SLI in my dual 970 system for VR, so switching to one powerful card will be a big improvement.
  • Agent_007 - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    "GTX 1080 should be 3x faster than the GTX 980 or Radeon HD 7970"
    980 -> 680
  • Golgatha - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    So the recent sale price for the GTX 980 Ti at $500 is where it should be priced considering the performance and cost of the GTX 1080 is about an equal percentage higher by both metrics. That's personally not what I'd call a good value, but when you have a monopoly at the high end of the graphics card spectrum, that's about what I'd expect in terms of pricing.
  • strafejumper - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    benchmark I was looking at (doom at 1440p @ guru3d) had 1080 21.7% faster than 980 ti
    Newer prices of 980 ti ($500) vs 1080 ($600) are 20% higher
    seems on point
  • mr_yogi - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    Are all the comparison cards using the drivers they were originally reviewed with or using the latestdrivers available?
  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    Latest available. 368.13 for the NVIDIA cards and 16.5.1 for AMD.
  • mr_yogi - Tuesday, May 17, 2016 - link

    Many thanks :)
  • just4U - Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - link

    Which is likely why we see a marked improvement in some cards performances overall. I'd have expected some of those to be further behind than they actually are.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now