The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 is the first available graphics card using the 16nm Pascal architecture and is positioned as the top GPU in the high-end range. The 1080 has 8 gigabytes of GDDR5X memory, three DisplayPort 1.4 connections, a single DVI-D port and an input for HDMI 2.0b. The Gaming X model by MSI features a different cooler than the reference Founders Edition.
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Pro Excellent cooler
The cooler used on the Gaming X is the Twin Frozr IV and performs very well. In an idle situation, the chip measured at 36° Celsius in a room temperature of 21° C. That's a bit higher than the reference GTX 1080 - but the fans do not spin at all under 60° C for a completely silent operation. Under full load the chip heats up to 70° Celsius, which is a whopping 12 degree Celsius cooler than a GTX 1080 Founders Edition.
Pro Very quiet operation
The cooler does not spin under a temperature of 60° Celsius, making the card silent in normal situations. When the fans are needed however, the card remains very quiet. Measured from a distance of 75 centimeters from a closed environment, the Gaming X produces 39 dBA of noise. For comparison: that's a little bit more quiet than the noise a refrigerator produces. Irritating sounds such as coil whine are also not present.
Pro Smooth framerates even for 4K gaming on high graphics settings
The MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X 8GB offers great, smooth performance even with the most demanding graphics requirements. Here are some examples of framerates:
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4K (very high details): 49fps
Hitman (2016) UHD (Max. detail): 49fps
Fallout 4 UHD (Ultra detail): 59fps
The Witcher 3 UDH (Max detail): 51fps
While these aren't quite 60fps, they are all very close - and some of the best in-game performance available from any graphics card.
Pro Custom LED lightning
This graphics card by MSI uses LED-lights in its logo, which is adjustable via the driver software. You can adjust the color of the logo to better match your setup.
Con Requires additional 6-pin power connector
The MSI Gaming X version of the GTX 1080 requires an extra 6-pin power connector, for a total of one 6-pin and one 8-pin connector. A reference GTX 1080 only needs a single 8-pin connector, but this MSI card requires the extra connector because of the slightly higher clock speeds. Although the TDP (thermal design point and maximum power consumption) of the MSI Gaming X GTX 1080 has been rated at 180 watts just like the reference card, the TDP is around 198 watts in reality. It only uses 14 more watts than a reference GTX 1080 during full load, but the extra power connector can be inconvenient for cable routing or for power supplies with a limited power capacity and connectors.
Con More expensive than other overclocked GTX 1080 cards
At a recommended retail price of $729.99, the MSI Gaming X card is significantly more expensive than other overclocked GTX 1080 cards with similar or higher clock speeds and similar cooling solutions.