MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G Video Card Review

MSI’s GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G video card ushers in a new line of GAMING video cards from MSI with customized PCB, Twin Froz VI cooling, and enthusiast overclocking potential. We’ll see how it performs out-of-box compared to a Founders Edition and then find out how well this video card overclocks.

Introduction

Today we have MSI’s new MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G video card. In MSI’s previous generation of video card lineup, the "GAMING" series indicated the high-end, gamer focused, enthusiast level video card with customized cooling, PCB and out-of-box factory overclock.

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For this next generation of NVIDIA Pascal GPUs MSI has improved upon and divided up the GAMING series SKU of products. There is the standard "GAMING" series and now a "GAMING X" series and also a new "GAMING Z" series. All of these video cards sport the Twin Frozr VI cooling, customized PCB and out-of-box factory overclocks. The difference is in the out-of-box overclocks, all three have a "Silent" mode, "Gaming" mode and "OC" mode. The "GAMING" series has the lowest clocks on all three, the "GAMING X" has higher overclock settings on all three modes and the "GAMING Z" model has the highest overclocks plus customized RGB LED lighting on the backplate.


MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G

Currently the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G can be had for $699 using the $20 rebate. A free coupon code for Gears of War 4 is included. Amazon has it currently at an even better price of $669 using a post-purchase rebate.

The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G is based on the NVIDIA Pascal GeForce GTX 1080 GPU. The default clock speed on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition is 1607MHz base clock and 1734MHz boost clock with a 10GHz memory clock speed. The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G ships in "Gaming" mode at a base clock of 1683MHz and a boost clock of 1822MHz. Memory runs at 10GHz. There is an optional selectable "OC" mode using MSI software that easily overclocks the card further to a base clock of 1708MHz and a boost clock of 1847MHz as well as 10.1GHz memory overclock. Finally, there is a "Silent" mode which downclocks the video card to standard Founders Edition clock speeds. Naturally we will manually overclock the video card to get the best we can. We will test the out-of-box default experience in the "Gaming" mode which is the shipping clock speed mode.

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One of the big upgrades in the new GAMING X series is the Twin Frozr VI cooling system. The appearance has been updated with a new sleek looking feel and even light up LEDs. MSI claims that Twin Frozr VI runs more silent at the same RPM than the previous Twin Frozr V cooler. 13% more air flow and 22% more air pressure is realized with Twin Frozr VI versus Twin Frozr V using a new TORX 2.0 fan design.

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The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 GAMING X 8G uses an enlarged PCB which allows a larger overall heatsink with customized deflectors to direct air movement. The heatsink uses up to 8mm copper heat pipes and the bottom is squared off in shape to make better contact with the surface. MSI uses a solid nickel-plated copper base plate to connect the GPU to the heatsink. The heat-pipes therefore make direct contact. MSI also uses a premium thermal paste.

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The printed circuit board (PCB) is fully customized with a 10-phase PWM design using MSI’s High Quality Military Class components, Hi-C Cap, Super Ferrite Chokes and Japanese Solid Caps. MSI uses a full memory cooling plate that not only keeps the memory cooler but also adds as extra rigidity. MSI has created a custom heatsink specifically for the PWM portion of the video card to keep all power components cooler. To further rigidity the GAMING X and GAMING Z series use a backplate. The GAMING Z improves up on this further by including a customizable RGB LED on the backplate. The video card measures exactly 279 x 140 x 42 mm and weighs 1100 grams.