GIGABYTE AORUS GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition

GIGABYTE has released a brand new All-In-One liquid cooled GeForce GTX 1080 Ti video card with the AORUS Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card. This video card gives the Corsair Hydro GFX liquid cooled video card some competition, with a higher out-of-box clock speed we’ll see how fast this video card is and if there is any room left for overclocking.

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Conclusion

Today we have evaluated GIGABYTE’s new AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card. This $819.99 MSRP video card is one of the more expensive GeForce GTX 1080 Ti based video cards produced.

The price comes down to the custom AIO liquid cooling solution with 120mm radiator and fan. The Waterforce cooling solution not only keeps the GPU cool but also makes direct contact with the VRM,MOSFETs, and VRAM. The video card uses a custom design and components.

One feature that sets this video card apart from other AIO liquid cooled video cards like the Corsair Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti Liquid Cooled video card is the factory overclock. The "Gaming Mode" default factory overclock is set higher and thus operates at higher in-game frequencies while gaming on the GIGABYTE video card. This higher frequency has produced positive gaming results in our experience testing this video card. We experienced performance 8-10% faster than the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition video card with GIGABYTE’s high factory overclock.

Performance

As we stated, performance was very solid on the GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card. We were able to play current games at 4K resolution at near to the highest in-game settings. Typically, we did have to lower the settings down one level from the game’s highest possible setting, but this still allowed a great gaming experience.

A video card based on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti GPU is going to be the only single-GPU video card powerful enough to play games at 4K at "High" settings currently. There really is no competition for 4K gaming at the moment. That puts the GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card in a good position to provide the best gameplay experience at 4K. It looks like though to "max out" games at 4K we will have to wait for the next generation as far as single-GPU gaming performance goes.

The high "Gaming Mode" factory overclock on the GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card allowed us to achieve 8-10% better performance than a Founders Edition GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. At 4K that kind of performance bump is appreciated. This video card is nearly operating near its maximum potential out-of-the-box.

Overclocking

On the plus side this video card is providing gamers with nearly the maximum potential of performance it can muster out of the box. That can also be a downside to hardware enthusiasts however who want to get the most from their video card. There really is very little headroom for overclocking on this video card. Not because it sucks, but simply because GIGABYTE has been so good at selecting hardware that is capable of running at high settings, and already putting it at those settings for us.

We did manage to eek out a little bit more performance, mainly providing a more consistent clock frequency while gaming. By raising the Power Limit primarily, we are able to make the clock speed even out and provide a consistent frequency while gaming. With a slight fan tweak and voltage, we can also increase the frequency a bit up to 2038-2050MHz and maintain 2038MHz consistently. This is not a large bump in frequency, but the important part is that it is consistent, without fluctuation. We learned that with the AIO Waterforce cooling solution temperature is not holding us back as temperatures were very good with and without fan adjustment.

Through manual overclocking we saw between 1-6% performance improvement depending entirely on the game. It does add a bit to the overall performance, but you probably are not going to notice anything by overclocking to be honest. If you are interested in overclocking, it seems that the built in "OC Mode" in the AORUS Gaming Engine software is actually plenty to overclock this video card to its maximum potential. We actually recommend just using that setting for overclocking. It pushes the card to 2025MHz, which is very close to the maximum 2038MHz we achieve manually anyway. This is high enough and will perform similarly.

AIO Waterforce Cooling Solution

This is the first time we’ve evaluated a video card from GIGABYTE using the Waterforce AIO liquid cooling solution. From our experiences with this video card we find this cooling solution to be a robust and well-made unit. It does the job very well and keeps the temperatures very cool on this video card. We noticed no amount of buzzing or whining from the pump, and the fan was also very quiet.

We also like the fact that there is direct contact with the cooling plate on the VRMs and MOSFETs as well as the VRAM. Every important component is cooled in this way. We appreciate that we can adjust the fan speed upward. However, we would like an update that allows us to also lower the fan speed below 33%. This is the one complaint we have read about from many users of this video card researching forum threads and feedback. If you wish to install your own fan on the radiator for a push-pull configuration this can be done.


The Bottom Line

There really is no surprise that we think the GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card is a great video card. One feature we really like is the fact it is factory overclocked so high, it allows near maximum potential of video card performance out-of-the-box. This puts its performance above that of the Corsair Hydro GFX GTX 1080 Ti Liquid Cooled video card prior to overclocking. When both are overclocked though, performance is similar. The GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card has an easy "OC Mode" button in software that allows it to reach its full potential without any messy manual overclocking as well, we honestly just recommend doing that for the best performance.

We are also impressed by the display options the GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition video card has. It has three HDMI and three DisplayPort and even DVI. It allows a wide variety of display options and VR configuration.

We love this video card, but, and yes there has to be a but, it is hard to find, and as of the writing of this article overpriced. There is a big video card inflation happening currently, and not enough supply. We thus have an issue where this video card is out of stock, and when it was in stock was well over the price of its MSRP.

At $819.99 it is already expensive, but we can allow that for the out-of-box performance and extremely well configured cooling solution. At $884-$904-$1104, that is a lot to swallow, however this is in no way Gigabyte's fault.

We do recommend this video card, it would be an awesome video card in any gaming enthusiasts PC. However, we can only recommend it at its MSRP, not priced that far above it. If and when the dust settles, and this video card comes back in-stock, and at a more stable price, then we do suggest giving this one some of your time if looking for the best 4K gaming experience with no hassle.

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GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Waterforce Xtreme Edition

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