Teaser - GTX 1080's Tested in SLI - EVGA SC ACX 3.0

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 27, 2016 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: sli, review, led, HB, gtx, evga, Bridge, ACX 3.0, 3dmark, 1080

...so the time where we manage to get multiple GTX 1080's in the office here would, of course, be when Ryan is on the other side of the planet. We are also missing some other semi-required items, like the new 'SLI HB 'bridge, but we should be able to test on an older LED bridge at 2560x1440 (under the resolution where the newer style is absolutely necessary to avoid a sub-optimal experience). That said, surely the storage guy can squeeze out a quick run of 3DMark to check out the SLI scaling, right?

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For this testing, I spent just a few minutes with EVGA's OC Scanner to take advantage of GPU Boost 3.0. I cranked the power limits and fans on both cards, ending up at a stable overclock hovering at right around 2 GHz on the pair. I'm leaving out the details of the second GPU we got in for testing as it may be under NDA and I can't confirm that as all of the people to ask are in an opposite time zone, so I'm leaving out that for now (pfft - it has an aftermarket cooler). Then I simply ran Firestrike (25x14) with SLI disabled:

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...and then with it enabled:

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That works out to a 92% gain in 3DMark score, with the FPS figures jumping by almost exactly 2x. Now remember, this is by no means a controlled test, and the boss will be cranking out a much more detailed piece with frame rated results galore in the future, but for now I just wanted to get some quick figures out to the masses for consumption and confirmation that 1080 SLI is a doable thing, even on an older bridge.

*edit* here's another teaser:

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Aftermarket coolers are a good thing as evidenced by the 47c of that second GPU, but the Founders Edition blower-style cooler is still able to get past 2GHz just fine. Both cards had their fans at max speed in this example.

*edit again*

I was able to confirm we are not under NDA on the additional card we received. Behold:

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This is the EVGA Superclocked edition with their ACX 3.0 cooler.

More to follow (yes, again)!

Video News

May 27, 2016 | 03:27 PM - Posted by skysaberx8x

Hi Allyn, Thanks a lot for the article, can't wait for the Evga calssified to be released :D

I have a question about storage (Archiving storage to be specific):

1-Obviously LTO tapes is out of reach for consumers. But what about low budget SSD's (OCZ TRION 150) or even high-end SATA SSD's (Samsung 850 evo & pro), do they have similar or longer shelf life than HDD's? As far as I know and researched old SSD's (32nm nand) have terrible shelf life, but nothing about any current modern SDD's, your thoughts please??

2-If SSD's are not the appropriate solution, what WD model and size was tested for Archiving and longevity of their shelf life?

I really need some help to archive my current HHD. I have over 2 TB of family photos and videos and I'm very worried that my current HDD will die.


May 27, 2016 | 03:34 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The thing about SSD endurance ratings is that those ratings are at the *end of life* of the flash, meaning that the standard states once an SSD hits its rated total amount of writes, *then* it must be able to retain that data for 52 weeks at 30c. This means that if you take a brand new SSD and only cycle its flash just a few times (for backup, etc), then it is likely to retain that data for far longer than 52 weeks. The basis of these specs doesn't quote 'brand new' endurance ratings, but if the active temp of a wear-exhausted SSD was 55c, it will retain for 4x as long, and if it was stored colder at 25c, it would retain for 8x as long (404 weeks).

This means that if you took a brand new SSD, wrote to it only a few times, and stored it in a cool place, the data would probably still be readable a decade or so later at a minimum.

Data archivists typically migrate their data across mediums over time. The key is multiple copies on different mediums and periodic checking / refreshing of the data. If you're really concerned, I'd have a local live copy on SSD and an archive backup on HDD, just to keep things mixed up.

May 27, 2016 | 07:09 PM - Posted by skysaberx8x

Thank you for replying so fast, you thoughts on which WD model works best? Also I read one time that the smaller the HDD (500-1TB works best), the less likely for it to fail.

May 27, 2016 | 08:07 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

For WD I'd go with Reds.

I haven't seen anything to back that up really. There are less platters, so less heads, but I would just get the capacity you need without worrying about that. Spreading your data over intentionally smaller drives just adds more complication.

May 28, 2016 | 02:39 AM - Posted by skysaberx8x

I guess that the best solution for me is to use both kinds of storage medias (HDd's & SSD's). It'll cost a lot, but here's my plan:
1-two 960GB-1TB SSD's
2-two 1TB HDD's
3-Four 500GB HDD's

Thanks a lot for helping

May 28, 2016 | 03:15 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't think SSD worth the extra cost to backup data (if not for the system performances) but anybody put his money where he thinks this could be relevant...

May 28, 2016 | 07:49 AM - Posted by skysaberx8x

The reason why I'll back to SSD's is because where I live (I'm far away from the U.S.). Being picky about the HDD's model means that I'll have to buy them online which adds the potential of the drives to be ruined even before the time I receive them.

May 28, 2016 | 10:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

An SSD may be more robust to shocks but the data retention is bad compared to an HDD.

If you live in EU you should be aware about garantees concerning online shopping.


If you don't live in EU you should find information about these garantees specific to your country in case of bad delivery for example.

If your country don't provide any garantee for online shopping, you may take some risks (relatively to the seller's origin, crossborder to oversea seller) or switch to a product available to your local market at the best price.

May 28, 2016 | 12:15 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

This 'data retention bad on an SSD' is a misnomer. I have SSDs here >5 years old that read their files just fine when fired up. The spec is 1-year but that assumes the SSD has reached *the end* of its rated write cycling. SSDs used for backup don't see this amount of writing.

May 28, 2016 | 01:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

A half-truth is also a half-lie...

Why did you remove "compared to an HDD"?

Did the full-truth hit your faith in SSD? :o)

Even if the data retention of SSD could be (in your mind conception) the same as HDD, the cost per Gigabyte couldn't.

Consequently, an SSD is a bad solution for backups!

May 27, 2016 | 03:41 PM - Posted by Michael Scrip

-- "I have over 2 TB of family photos and videos and I'm very worried that my current HDD will die." --

For about $80 you can buy another 2TB hard drive. Copy all your data to it. That's your first step.

That would give you two copies of your data. That's the minimum. Keep one in a fireproof safe.

The next step is to buy a third hard drive and keep it offsite... maybe at a family member's home.

The key is to have multiple copies of your data in case one hard drive goes bad. Any hard drive can fail. Even SSDs. But the chances of TWO hard drives failing AT THE SAME TIME is very slim.

As for longevity... you'll want to check the hard drives and maybe replace them every few years or so. They won't last forever. But it's easy to copy one hard drive to another hard drive. Just start copying and walk away.

2TB isn't a lot of data to manage. You've got it easy. I've got about 8TB of data on a few sets (pairs/trios) of hard drives.

May 27, 2016 | 06:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Mutiplying copies of bad drives is not enough.

Your backup source could still fail before saving data.

It is best to have a good hygiene instead of frequently consulting your doctor.

Similarly, you should be careful with your data instead of relying on backups to keep your mind quiet.

Once more, it is best to buy reliable storage media and HDD is a pretty good technology to do so like engraving words into rocks.

I would advise to prefer 4 HDD of 500 Go with a unique platter and r/w head instead of only one 2 To HDD with multiple platters and r/w heads which multiply the probability of failures in operation. As the adage say "don't put all your eggs in one basket".

One can argue the fact it rise the total cost of backups but if data are very important, this is far less expensive than paying for a professionnal recovery of your data.

Actually the risk of fire, flood, steal, etc should be evaluated before moving your eggs in the continuum of space-time. :o)

May 27, 2016 | 07:08 PM - Posted by Michael Scrip

-- "Mutiplying copies of bad drives is not enough."

His single drive isn't enough either. That's the problem we're trying to solve.

-- "Your backup source could still fail before saving data."

Which is why he needs to make a 2nd copy as soon as possible.

Look... I think we agree on the main point: have multiple copies.

There's another old adage: Two is one... one is none.

Right now he only has one copy... and that's unacceptable. He needs at least two copies... including offsite.

I like your idea of splitting the 2TB over four 500GB drives. Spread it out.

May 27, 2016 | 08:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You should try Second life... :o)

May 27, 2016 | 08:09 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

If you insist on spreading across drives, at least do so in a RAID-5 or 6 so that you are fault tolerant for that copy of everything. Performance goes up as well as you are reading from all drives in parallel. You can do this with something like a Drobo, which can handle being shut down and a set of drives swapped for another set.

May 27, 2016 | 08:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Do you think that wearing gloves is safer than using one finger to switch on a circular saw? :o)

May 27, 2016 | 07:15 PM - Posted by skysaberx8x

Could you please provide a name of a model that you had experience with?

May 27, 2016 | 07:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The main problem with backup drive is that you can't advise any new model for being reliable on the long term because good backup drives are old enough for no longer being available on the market. :o)

Currently, based on specifications I would buy for myself a WD5003AZEX (1 platter, 1 head, good speed and density on paper).


For yourself you should consider your budget and make a trade-off balancing the failure risk.

Life is risky, you may die one day!

IMHO it is better to split data over drives thus limiting the use of any drive to only the one that stores the information you need.

Keep in mind that backup drives are less in operation mode than system or software drives.

You shouldn't be so worry about your data on drive for less than 15 years (unplugged). You could read the SMART data (specially the running time and failures) to sleep quiet.

My last system HDD died after 8 years running at least 12 hours a day, so I assume my backup drive would die after 15 years or more.

I like my risky life so I only have one backup drive which turns out to be an old system drive.

From my POV paronoïa and hypochondria is very expensive! ;-)

May 28, 2016 | 02:42 AM - Posted by skysaberx8x

thanks a lot for helping me :D

May 27, 2016 | 07:12 PM - Posted by skysaberx8x

Wow 8TB, good luck backing that up. Well I always heard of the 1.2.3. back system that is what I'm planning on doing.

May 27, 2016 | 03:39 PM - Posted by Robbie (not verified)

I can't find a solid answer regarding how the HB bridge actually works (AKA is it really necessary) and your video with Tom Petersen glosses over the LED Bridge bit really fast.

So can you use an older PCB/LED 3-Way SLI Bridge connecting just two 1080s? Well you can, but what performance gains does it provide vs the HB bridge? Does it run at the higher clock speed, does it double the bandwidth because it's using both connectors, or does it do both and just can't handle 5K+?

May 27, 2016 | 04:13 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

The LED/PCB bridge does not physically connect both ports of two adjacent cards simultaneously, so it won't double. I can't confirm if the single side connected will run at 400 or 650, but I suspect that for at least 3 and 4 way it will be 400 MHz. Going by their own slide from their preso, if you have a single panel no higher than 2560x1440x120Hz or 4k60, there will be enough bandwidth for the frames to pass over a 'single' LED bridge. Any higher than that and frame data must traverse PCIe instead, potentially introducing microstutter.

May 27, 2016 | 05:12 PM - Posted by Robbie (not verified)

PCWorld also reported...

"Running the Enthusiast Key on your machine will unlock 3- and 4-way SLI functionality, as well as crank the LED SLI bridge’s clocks up to the same 650MHz as the new SLI HB bridges."

May 27, 2016 | 07:51 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

That conflicts with some info that we had here, so I'd say it needs confirmation either way (which we're working on).

May 27, 2016 | 06:17 PM - Posted by BleedingEdgeYes...

Great article Allyn, thanks as always. Looking at these stats, I really do wonder what the frame times will look like with two aftermarket coolers and the HB bridge. Time will tell, but it's exciting to watch unfold.

May 27, 2016 | 09:21 PM - Posted by bburnham37 (not verified)

Speaking of SLI and SLI-HB bridges, there is a question that I have not heard anyone ask so far (that I know of).

The 1080/1070 cards are capable of utilizing both available SLI connectors to communicate with a single additional card, assuming that a bridge is used that has 4 connectors (two for each card).
Is is possible to use 2 standard SLI bridges to connect a pair of 1080 cards?
Even if the communication does run at 400Mhz rather than the new 650Mhz rate you'd see on the -HB bridge it should provide additional bandwidth.

Is that capability (communication through both SLI fingers) restricted to the 1080/1070 by hardware? or is it a driver imposed limit?
Will the 900 series cards (or older) be able to utilize this feature?

It's not just 1000 series card owners that also run higher res display solutions (5760 x 1080 at 120Hz anyone?)

May 28, 2016 | 12:48 PM - Posted by Jann5s

The related bit in the interview with Tom Peterson: https://youtu.be/xtely2GDxhU?t=5790

He says:
- both the led and the HB bridge can run at 650 on Pascal.
- The software detects the bridge type and configures accordingly

That still doesn't answer your questions though. Maybe Allyn can try with two led bridges see if it improves anything.

May 28, 2016 | 12:53 PM - Posted by bburnham37 (not verified)

Actually, he doesn't touch on any of the questions that I asked in the post above.
The only mention of previous gen cards was a brief GTX 980 question/statement about 4k with 980 SLI and one standard (non-HB) bridge. They state that some communication will go over the PCIe bus in that case.
That's not my question.

Again, to reiterate:

Can 2 (non-HB) bridges be used to improve performance?

Will prior gen cards be able to use the new HB bridge to improve SLI performance? Or is that feature exclusive to Pascal due to hardware or software limitation?

None of those questions were answered in that video.

May 27, 2016 | 11:32 PM - Posted by Regan (not verified)

Do we have any indication of when the HB SLI bridge will release?

May 28, 2016 | 12:19 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How long does it take for the market to settle down, if there is stock avalable? I see some listings on Amazon, but they start at $900 and go up to $2000.

May 28, 2016 | 02:13 AM - Posted by arbiter

those listings on amazon are 3rd part sellers using amazon.

May 28, 2016 | 02:10 AM - Posted by khanmein

@Allyn Malventano need yr help. thanks.

"The stub received bad data"

i often get this error popping out randomly whenever i open any application for the 1st time, run task manager, open cmd etc

sfc /scannow, restorehealth, adwcleaner, malwarebytes, win def, rkill, tdsskiller etc. stated no issue

my ssd or hdd showing sign to me or???

May 28, 2016 | 02:21 AM - Posted by Lithium

So far only ASUS have 2 HDMI ports.

In general, are those DisplayPorts on GTX 1080 Dual-mode DisplayPorts (DisplayPort++) ?

May 28, 2016 | 05:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hi Allyn,

are there any chances you could you confirm if EVGA's product dimensions of the GTX 1080 ACX 3.0 SC are correct if that's mot part of the embargo? From EVGA's catalogue, they're listed as 5.9" by 10.5" dual slot.

That's super tall considering the reference card's 4.376 inches and that the SC is based on the reference board..

May 28, 2016 | 04:23 PM - Posted by arbiter

that 5.9inch might be the FTW card if FE is 4.37 cause you can see in the picture they are same size. the FTW cards is def a bit taller due to extra power circuits it has one over ref.

May 28, 2016 | 10:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, good spot on the SLI pic. They look similar in height but actual measurements would be nice hehe.

From the pictures, I'm keeping my hopes up that the card will fit my mATX Corsair Air 240 case.

May 28, 2016 | 08:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I almost choked rounders 72c with 100% but then saw pic of it being sandwiched

May 28, 2016 | 01:00 PM - Posted by Jann5s

Allyn, would you mind measuring the length of the EVGA card? my case is kinda tight length wise.

edit: nevermind, i've found it on the site: Length: 10.5in - 266.7mm

May 29, 2016 | 12:46 AM - Posted by Axiumone (not verified)

Allyn, quick question for you. Are you using 368.25 drivers or something that's not publicly available? If you're able to answer that.

May 31, 2016 | 06:55 PM - Posted by Genova84

The SLI benchmark is about a 19% increase over my 980ti sli setup and therefore, not a big enough gain for me to consider upgrading at this time. It would seem that these 1080s would still fall short of 60 fps in titles like the witcher 3 and gta v. I will "suffer" with my 40ish fps until the 1080tis or even the 1180s release.

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