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The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Detailed Power Consumption Testing

When we started dissecting the power consumption concerns around the Radeon RX 480, that have since been mostly addressed by AMD with a driver fix and new control panel option, I knew this meant a much more strenuous power testing process going forward. 

How do we do it? Simple in theory but surprisingly difficult in practice, we are intercepting the power being sent through the PCI Express bus as well as the ATX power connectors before they go to the graphics card and are directly measuring power draw with a 10 kHz DAQ (data acquisition) device. A huge thanks goes to Allyn for getting the setup up and running. We built a PCI Express bridge that is tapped to measure both 12V and 3.3V power and built some Corsair power cables that measure the 12V coming through those as well.

The result is data that looks like this.

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What you are looking at here is the power measured from the GTX 1080. From time 0 to time 8 seconds or so, the system is idle, from 8 seconds to about 18 seconds Steam is starting up the title. From 18-26 seconds the game is at the menus, we load the game from 26-39 seconds and then we play through our benchmark run after that.

There are four lines drawn in the graph, the 12V and 3.3V results are from the PCI Express bus interface, while the one labeled PCIE is from the PCIE power connection from the power supply to the card. We have the ability to measure two power inputs there but because the GTX 1080 only uses a single 8-pin connector, there is only one shown here. Finally, the blue line is labeled total and is simply that: a total of the other measurements to get combined power draw and usage by the graphics card in question.

From this we can see a couple of interesting data points. First, the idle power of the GTX 1080 Founders Edition is only about 7.5 watts. Second, under a gaming load of Rise of the Tomb Raider, the card is pulling about 165-170 watts on average, though there are plenty of intermittent, spikes. Keep in mind we are sampling the power at 1000/s so this kind of behavior is more or less expected.

Different games and applications impose different loads on the GPU and can cause it to draw drastically different power. Even if a game runs slowly, it may not be drawing maximum power from the card if a certain system on the GPU (memory, shaders, ROPs) is bottlenecking other systems.

First, let’s look at our total power draw numbers.

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The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti runs closer to the 250 watt TDP rating than the Titan X or even the GTX 980 Ti before it in Rise of the Tomb Raider at 2560x1440. The variance takes it above and below that line consistently and repeatedly, with a likely culprit of high clock speeds and faster G5X memory (11 Gbps vs 10 Gbps). That ~35% performance advantage of the GTX 1080 Ti over the GTX 1080 comes at the cost of 38% additional power draw.

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The result is very similar in The Witcher 3 with the GTX 1080 Ti drawing more power than the Titan X before it, despite having the idential TDP rating.  

As for the potential for overdraw from any single source of power, how does the power distribution break down between the motherboard slot and 8-pin/6-pin power connection with the GTX 1080 Ti?

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One of the worst case scenarios for power draw we saw with the Radeon RX 480 was in Metro: Last Light running at 4K. With the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti we see a couple of interesting things: first the power spikes over 250 watts quite a bit in our testing but seems centered just below that point. The 8-pin power connection uses under 150 watts and the 6-pin connection pulls just over 70 watts (but consistently under 80 watts). From the motherboard, the Titan X never goes over 55 watts.

 

For those of you that dive into overclocking, how does that change power draw? I ran the same Metro: Last Light testing at 4K with the Titan X running at a +150 MHz offset.

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Power draw goes from an averageof 250 watts up to 290-300 watts, an increase of 20% or so. The added juice seems to be coming from the 6-pin and motherboard PCI Express connections as those increase to ~85 watts and ~60 watts respectively. The 85 watt draw from the 6-pin connection is slightly over spec but the 60 watts from the motherboard PCIe connection is under the rated 66 watts, where the most danger would lie.


March 9, 2017 | 09:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Small remark on 11 page (Detailed Power Consumption Testing):

Last Light testing at 4K with the Titan X running at a +150 MHz offset (should be 1080 Ti, instead of Titan X).

Other than that - thanks for review.

March 10, 2017 | 02:39 AM - Posted by djotter

Saw that too, copy pasta!

March 9, 2017 | 09:20 AM - Posted by khanmein

interesting power draw from 6-pin & any slow down once we hit peak of 11 GB VRAM?

weird no DOOM, For Honor, Sniper Elite 4 etc benchmark?

March 9, 2017 | 02:36 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Doom isn't much of a stress test for anything, I think thats been demonstrated very well by many testing outlets. For Honor and Sniper Elite 4 are pretty damn new, hard to castigate them for not using them

March 10, 2017 | 04:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Actually running with Vulcan is good for testing CPU OC stability.

March 9, 2017 | 09:26 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

2% faster then GTX1080 in Grand Theft Auto V and Gears of War at 1440p.

Woooooww!

March 9, 2017 | 11:53 AM - Posted by slizzo

Those two titles are heavily CPU dependent.

March 9, 2017 | 02:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Gears of War isn't

March 9, 2017 | 04:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You know it's not GOW4 right?

March 9, 2017 | 06:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Unreal engine isn't cpu dependant

March 9, 2017 | 09:30 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

IB4 Ryzen testing requests.

March 9, 2017 | 09:34 AM - Posted by Geoff Peterson (not verified)

Thanks for the 1400p 980ti benchmark comparisons for those of us thinking of upgrading from that gpu. Looks like a pretty compelling upgrade.

My one question is the reference PCB layout. Is it identical to Titan X pascal? I like to watercool my GPUs to get the most out of them

March 9, 2017 | 09:59 AM - Posted by Jann5s

yes, it is the same PCB, see the pictures here

March 9, 2017 | 09:35 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

250 amps? I'd like to see that power supply!

March 9, 2017 | 10:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

At 3V, 5V, 12V... to name a few! :)

March 9, 2017 | 12:19 PM - Posted by Anonymousmouse (not verified)

Hopefully, it is at 1V or below:) It was mentioned in the launch live stream too, there must be a mix up somewhere.

March 9, 2017 | 11:18 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti is going to be selling for $699 starting today from both NVIDIA and it's partners"

But.. but.. it's not selling today anywhere..

March 9, 2017 | 11:54 AM - Posted by slizzo

Yeah, looks like NDA date was today, actual launch is tomorrow.

March 9, 2017 | 01:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Any word on the 980ti step up to 1080ti?

March 9, 2017 | 01:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

A bigger chip off the GP 102 block, so more performance through more resources. It will be intresting to see what AMD's Vega will offer in performance with all of Vega's new features that are new to the Vega micro-arch relative to the Ti's more amounts of the same with some slightly higher clocks. that $699 price point will not be too difficult for AMD to beat and Vega will have that NCU, HBCC, and other all new features to take into account. So it's the Pascal refresh versus Vega's new features for AMD's latest Flagship offering when Vega is released 2Q of 2017.

AMD does have its more of the same in the mainstream also with the RX 500 series Polaris refresh offerings in April but then Vega will be following. So hopefully by the summer Vega will be here.

I hope that the games are being tuned for Vega in advance unlike some of the games that were/are still not tuned for Ryzen or Ryzen's extra cores for the affordable prices.

March 9, 2017 | 01:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You realize that by the time Vega is out (may), we will be looking at preliminary Volta information, right?

AMD missed this generation entirely on the high-end.

March 9, 2017 | 03:19 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Good more Volta news to force AMD to get its Navi to market on time! But with Zen/Ryzen and Zen/Naples making some mad revenues for AMD there will be no more excuses for AMD to be late with any flagship SKUs! So the competition moves from the two Ps in the mainstream market to the two Vs in the Flagship market. AMD does not have a flagship P SKU but some dual RX 480 prices deals will be had by some when the RX 500 series P refresh get here for AMD’s mainstream P SKUs along with that V flagship from AMD shortly after.

That Ps and Vs competition will lead to some N and whatever comes after competition as always.

March 10, 2017 | 09:04 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Vega is coming to desktop in the next few months. Desktop Volta is now 1H next year. So at minimum it will be *at least* six months behind Vega, and possibly as much as a year.

Also, AMD will be launching Navi next year. So it won't be Vega that Volta finds itself up against.

Hate to break it to you, but it's AMD who are going to leap frog 'Paxwell' with Vega this year, and unless Volta is something really special, Navi will keep them ahead.

I'm not really sure how you managed to get things *completely* the wrong way round, but trust me, you have.

March 9, 2017 | 01:59 PM - Posted by Geforcepat (not verified)

march 2017. amd gives out "vega" tshirts. nvidia releases a new enthusiast card. and drops the price on another. #gofigure

March 9, 2017 | 02:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

you have an error in the summary, "Whether or not they can deliver on those promises has yet to be proven.", should say 'deliver on any promises has never been proven'.

Still very upset about Rysen.

PC Master Race, lets see those breath of wild & horizon zero dawn benches. LOL reviews 2 week's before launch suckas

September 8, 2017 | 12:52 PM - Posted by AnonymousaNUS (not verified)

You have a knack for scrutiny. Prepositions aren't sentunzez. Phreiz is 4 needing, dog cat barf, pooped em' XD

www.whatinthehellisthislinkandwhyisitsolongandwhydidyouactuallyspendthet...

March 9, 2017 | 02:56 PM - Posted by Dark_wizzie

Seems there is a typo in OC page:

'NVIDIA is slightly aggressive with target clock speeds and voltages ath the rated power targets, and that results in the variance that you see here.'

March 9, 2017 | 03:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I think you should do an article on just how much of a lie TDP figures can be.

250W part? Might spike to 20% higher than that rating.

I think this is something that has real consequences. For supercomputers and other systems that have to last and be run at full load with minimal amounts of failures, this is unacceptable because it shortens the bathtub curve somewhat unpredictably.

Consumer GPUs with boost features are made to squeeze every last bit of performance out of them, rather than last long and be reliable. Hopefully theboard makers compensate, and hopefully their EDA, electromigration simulations and emulation when designing the chips treat the TDP as a complete lie as well.

Power virus games with shitty ScaleformUI menus could very well have a gpu like this sitting above its TDP long enough to probably cause some electromigration. Its really no wonder that larger GPU VRMs are a common failure.

March 9, 2017 | 04:28 PM - Posted by superj (not verified)

I think the key to TDP is that it is THERMAL DESIGN POWER. Not Total Input Power. As long as the short term average power stays below the rated TDP, then substantial brief spikes above the TDP are ok since the thermal cooling capability is buffered by the thermal mass and dissipation power of the cooler.

March 9, 2017 | 04:25 PM - Posted by Angelica (not verified)

Why not Doom test?

March 9, 2017 | 04:45 PM - Posted by Jaye1998

awesome

March 9, 2017 | 04:52 PM - Posted by Anonymous Nvidia User (not verified)

108% faster than Fury's in AMD sponsored Hitman 4k. Wow!!!!!

37% better than 1080 in GTA5 4k.

26% faster than 1080 Gears of War 4k.

Performance in 1440 may be the result of both ti and 1080 hitting engine limits not that ti is only 2% faster.

This card is designed for 4k isn't this what AMD users always bragging on.

Anyways I'm looking for a great 4k card and this looks like a winner.

Good review PCPer.

March 9, 2017 | 04:52 PM - Posted by retiredmtngryl07

great review.

March 9, 2017 | 05:03 PM - Posted by Stinky3toes (not verified)

WHY in your testing results do you not show any results for multiple monitors. With all the connectors on the GPU, Why don't you do any testing using them ?

March 9, 2017 | 05:27 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

FCAT incompatibility unfortunately.  We are working on it with vendors, so hopefully we will be able to do this soon as we do want to provide that info in reviews.

March 9, 2017 | 05:07 PM - Posted by Ugiboy

I am very envious, looks amazing

March 9, 2017 | 05:17 PM - Posted by Michael Bertrand Pratte (not verified)

Seems to be the best card ATM! For quality and price, gtx 1080 ti FTW!

March 9, 2017 | 07:46 PM - Posted by ChuckyDiBi (not verified)

That power draw is much smarter when it come to repartition than the mess that was stock RX480 at launch. Still, I'd wait for a dual 8pin version from OEM!

March 10, 2017 | 02:13 AM - Posted by serpico (not verified)

I'm curious how you measure power through PCI-E. Measuring voltage is easy enough, do you use a precision resistor and op-amp to measure the current?

March 12, 2017 | 06:44 PM - Posted by crackshot91 (not verified)

Hey Ryan, just wondering if you could share the exact settings you used for the unigine heaven bench? It says 1440p Ultra, but what about tessellation (I imagine that's maxed out, of course) or more importantly, antialiasing? Only wondering because compared to your 980 score, mine is a few fps lower with 8xAA, though my card is heavily OC'd and scores significantly higher in 3DMark. Just trying to get a perfect-as-possible comparison :)

March 12, 2017 | 10:42 PM - Posted by Brandito (not verified)

Any word on wether that display port adapter is active or passive?

March 14, 2017 | 08:02 AM - Posted by Ninjawithagun

Get a new monitor that has DisplayPort 1.2 or higher. Problem solved. Why would you waste money buying an adapter for an older, inferior monitor?

March 16, 2017 | 11:41 AM - Posted by An extremely concerned reader (not verified)

I have 4 displays, I'd like to use all of them and am wondering whether I'd need to buy another adapter or use the one supplied with the card. What kind of pleb only runs one display? Do you even know how to PC Master Race?

March 14, 2017 | 08:01 AM - Posted by Ninjawithagun

Meh, my Titan X performs a bit better as it will hit 2100Mhz on the GPU. The only real advantage here is the price point. For me, it's a 'no thanks'. I'll wait for Volta to be released this fall ;-)

April 24, 2018 | 11:03 PM - Posted by ment1 (not verified)

I’m running a 8700K at 4.9 ghz + 16 gig ram + ASUS gtx 1080ti Turbo (OC) + 2560x1440 res

Same settings as the review

In game benchmark always stays at around 90 FPS and no more

Any idea why ?

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