MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X Plus Video Card Review: Page 6 of 8

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Posted by Paul Malfy on Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 8:00am

Testing

I do my best to keep the testing environment the same for all reviews. However, with the warmer weather coming that may not always be the case. I prefer the ambient temperature to be around 20°c. The ambient temperature while testing was 21°c or 70°f. I set the GAMING X 1080 PLUS to Gaming Mode in the MSI Gaming App. Gaming mode gives the card a base clock of 1683 MHz and a boost clock of 1822 MHz. From there, all games were tested at the cards stock speeds, in gaming mode. The only exception was in 3D MARK, which were run at both stock speeds and overclocked.

For the synthetic benchmarks, I tested Open GL, DirectX 11 and 12. For the Gaming benchmarks, the games were run in 1920 x 1080p, 2560 x 1440p, and 3840 x 2160p. I have also recently updated one of my monitors to an ultrawide running at 3440 x 1440p, so we now have results for that resolution as well. We use only full release drivers and software, meaning no beta drivers as they are usually not 100% stable. We used Nvidia’s most recent WHQL driver, version 381.65. For the operating system, we use Windows 10 Professional due to it being the most recent operating system, as well as having DX 12 support. All games were run on the highest possible settings, with one exception. The advanced graphics settings for Grand Theft Auto 5 were left alone. This wasn’t because the card couldn’t handle the advanced settings, but to keep the testing methodology the same as it was with other cards. The GPU was set to its stock clocks. However, it was set to Gaming mode in the MSI Gaming APP.

ASIC Quality

What exactly is ASIC Quality and how does it effect a GPU? Application-specific integrated circuit, or ASIC, is a chip customized for a specific use. For example, a GPU is a graphics processing unit. That’s why we equate ASIC quality with GPUs and not CPUs. CPUs are designed to do a wide range of tasks and GPUs handle graphics. As the chips are produced, they are tested to ensure quality, and assigned a rating. The high-quality ASIC is one that achieves the highest clock speed, while consuming the lowest amount of power and producing the least amount of heat. An ideal chip you might say. So what does this have to do with a GPU?

 When applying ASIC quality to a GPU, you take into consideration power consumption and heat production. With less power consumption and lower heat, in theory comes a higher ASIC Quality. This is where the binning process comes into play and why the higher end GPUs like for example the EVGA Kingpin and the MSI lightning should end up with the higher binned, and therefore higher ASIC quality chips. So, what’s a good ASIC score. GPU-Z essentially says if you have a higher ASIC Quality, your card will overclock just fine on AIR, usually 70% +. However, if you have a lower ASIC quality, 60% +, the card is better suited for other means of cooling, such as water or LN2. This is just how Techpowerup interprets ASIC Quality. The MSI GAMING X 1080 PLUS used in this review has an ASIC Quality of -60.2%. However, that has been the ASIC reading on essentially all PASCAL GPUs I’ve tested except for the founder’s edition 1080s and 1070s I’ve tested. So, I’d take this reading with a grain of salt. On a side note, it seems that GPU-Z wouldn’t give an ASIC reading on any card after version 0.8.7.

3DMARK

3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark used to determine the performance of a computer's 3D graphic rendering and CPU workload processing capabilities. It does this through a series of graphics and physics and or CPU tests. I used 3DMarks most popular benchmark, Firestrike as well as their newest DX12 benchmark, Time Spy to test the MSI GAMING X 1080 PLUS. The card was tested at both stock and overclocked to +150 on the core and +275 on the memory. I ran both Firestrike and the new DX12 benchmark, Time Spy. Here are the results.

The MSI GAMING X 1080 PLUS did better in Firestrike than any other 1080 I’ve personally tested. It scored 19456 while overclocked.

The MSI GAMING X 1080 PLUS scored 7797 in Time Spy. This was the best Time Spy score I’ve achieved with any 1080.

Cinebench

Cinebench is a synthetic benchmark evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. It’s based on MAXON's animation software Cinema 4D, which is used by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. I ran all aspects of Cinebench. First was their OpenGL GPU test in which the MSI GAMING X 1080 PLUS scored 157.68 fps. Second was the CPU test. This test maxes the CPU to 100% and tests its rendering capability. On this run, the 7700k clocked at 5.0 ghz scored 1071 cb on the CPU test and 214 cb on the CPU single core score. This is actually my best single core score and one of the best overall scores,

Unigine Heaven

The Heaven Benchmark is a DirectX 11 benchmark designed to stress your GPU under heavy loads. The Heaven Benchmark can be used to determine the stability of a GPU under extremely stressful conditions. I ran the heaven benchmark with the MSI GAMING X 1080  on a custom Preset, Ultra Quality, Extreme Tessellation, AA X8, in 1080p using the DX 11 API. With these settings, the MSI GAMING X 1080 PLUS received and overall score of 2271 with an average FPS of 123.6, a minimum or 39.1 and a maximum if 268.8.

Game Testing

 There were 8 games tested. A mix of newer titles and a few older ones, but no older than 2013.They were tested in 1080p, 1440p, 3440 x 1440 and 4k. All games were played at their max settings except for GTA V, where I didn’t max out the advanced graphics. They were left at their stock settings. Each benchmark run was timed at 120 seconds, ran three times each, then averaged out to get the final results. The games are as listed.

  • Battlefield One
  • Crysis 3
  • Grand Theft Auto 5
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • Shadow of Mordor
  • Thief
  • Watch Dogs 2
  • The Witcher 3

From the results shown, the MSI GAMING X 1080 Plus is overkill for 1080p gaming.

This card did great in 1440p, with every game averaging 60 FPS or higher.

Where only a couple of games stayed above 60 FPS and 4K, they all stayed above 30 FPS and were very playable.

I am very happy with the results using the 3440 x 1440 Ultra-Wide monitor. Only a few games dropped below an average of 60 FPS. But they were all still about 50 with Thief hitting 90 FPS.

I used games that tend to be more graphically demanding, for example Crysis 3. Even though it was released in 2013, it is still to this day, one of the most graphically demanding games on the market. Not to mention, one of the most beautiful games and one of the most popular games to benchmark. Shadow of Mordor is also a gorgeous game. Especially with its 4k textures pack added, this game is still demanding. Grand Theft Auto 5 is one of the most successful games ever. At launch on PC, it was one of the most well optimized games with a massive array of graphics options, including over 25 separate customizable graphics settings. Rise of the Tomb Raider was, is the sequel to the very successful 2013 reboot of the franchise. Thief was yet another excellent reboot to a classis franchise. Thief is one of the best optimized games in my suite. Its steampunk dystopian city is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever explored in a game. Its beauty is only matched by how graphically demanding it is. The Witcher 3 is one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played in and puts a beating on your GPU. Battlefield one is the newest game in the Battlefield franchise and looks amazing. Surprisingly, Watch Dogs 2 was the most demanding game I tested, also one of the newest. These are the games that all my graphics cards will be benchmarked with and I’ll add more as I pick up the newer titles and swap out the older ones.

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