Featured Video Cards

The EVGA GTX 1080 FTW vs. the Founder’s Edition & vs. the Fury X

Intro

Five weeks ago, Nvidia released its Pascal flagship, the GTX 1080 reference Founders Edition video card which decisively took the performance crown from Nvidia’s TITAN X and from the GTX 980 Ti as well as easily beating AMD’s flagship, the Fury X.  BTR has recently received an EVGA GTX 1080 FTW which is factory overclocked by EVGA right out of the box.  We have put it through its paces with what is probably the largest PC game benchmark suite in the English language, 26 games.  We compare the FTW’s performance – at EVGA’s factory overclock and further overclocked by us – with the Founders Edition and also with the Fury X .  Since all three cards retail for over $600, they make for a natural comparison, and we will use 3 resolutions up to 4K to determine the overall value/performance winner.

DSCN1376 We have already benchmarked the reference Founders Edition of the GTX 1080 and also overclocked it, and found it is generally more than 30% faster than the TITAN X and the GTX 980 Ti.  For this review we have updated our benchmark suite to Nvidia’s latest WHQL 368.39 GeForce drivers, and for Fury X, we used the latest 16.6.1 Crimson Hotfix beta drivers.

We will not recap Nvidia’s Pascal architecture here as with our GTX 1080 Founders Edition launch article, but will instead focus on the performance of the new EVGA GTX 1080 FTW versus the Founder’s Edition and against the Fury X.

This evaluation is focused on each card’s performance, primarily comparing the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW against the Founders Edition of the GTX 1080, and we will try to answer the question, which card should you buy?  We will then place this evaluation into our larger context of 13 video card configurations which we call “The Big Picture” to see if you should consider an upgrade or not.

Let’s briefly look at the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW to see what it brings compared with the GTX 1080 Founders Edition.

The EVGA GTX 1080 FTW ACX 3.0+

The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 featuring EVGA ACX 3.0 cooling has arrived with a retail price of $679, or $20 less than the Founders Edition of the GTX 1080 which is priced at $699.

This EVGA GTX 1080 FTW is clocked the highest of any of the currently available air-cooled EVGA cards which also feature EVGA ACX 3.0 cooling technology. EVGA ACX 3.0 once again brings new features to the award winning EVGA ACX cooling technology and is a step up over the GTX 980 Ti ACX 2.0 cooling which we reviewed in May of last year. EVGA gives increased heatpipes and copper contact area for cooler operation, and optimized fan curve for even quieter gaming than the earlier version. ACX3Select EVGA ACX 3.0 models including the FTW will even feature a 10CM fan and RGB LED, allowing complete control over the color from EVGA’s PrecisionX OC.It looks very nice installed in our PC.
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The GTX 1080 FTW card features EVGA’s ACX 3.0 cooling technology which improves on the current Maxwell EVGA ACX 2.0+ cooling technology. According to EVGA, a memory MOSFET Cooling Plate reduces MOSFET temperatures up to 13%, and optimized Straight Heat Pipes additionally reduce GPU temperature by 10C. ACX 3.0 coolers also feature optimized swept fan blades, double ball bearings and an extremely low-power motor.  What this means is that this card is kept cool while being very quiet.  The GDDRX memory, the fastest available, is also kept up to 13% cooler, while overall noise is reduced by up to 15%; the fan will even shut down when the card is not under load.

Exclusive Features for EVGA’s GeForce GTX 1080 ACX 3.0 including the FTW:

  • DirectX 12 OSD Support – See the on screen display on DirectX 12 games.
  • EVGA OC ScannerX Integration – Automatically find your optimal voltage/frequency curve!
  • K-Boost Function – Maximize your clocks with this exclusive feature.
  • RGB LED control (on EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW)

You can find out much more here. As a recap, here are the specifications for the reference GTX 980 Ti:

Here are the specifications and key features for the EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+.EVGA SpecsThe EVGA FTW’s card’s base clock is 1721MHz, up 114MHz over the reference Founders Edition base clock, and the EVGA boost clock is 1860MHz, 127MHz higher than Nvidia’s guaranteed minimum reference boost of 1733MHz.  We will show the boost and base clocks that we actually got compared with our sample of the Founders Edition, and we will also compare both cards clocked as far as we could stably push them without adding any extra voltage or adjusting the fan profiles.

Notice that the GDDR5X memory is not further overclocked by EVGA.  There is a really good reason for this which we shall detail in our overclocking section.

From what we can see, the specifications of the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW are impressive, and it clocked significantly higher than the reference Founders Edition version, and with a quieter cooler.  You are also covered by EVGA’s 3-year warranty with a further warranty extension available upon registration within 90 days of purchase. The GTX 1080 reference Founders Edition versions are generally chosen for multi-GPU configurations, while the FTW is usually best chosen for a single card.

WYSIWYG

Our EVGA GTX 1080 FTW ACX 3.0 came from EVGA via TechofTomorrow.  EVGA wants to make it very clear that what they sent is the same as what you can buy from any etailer.  EVGA sent out this press release two days ago:

EVGA was one of the first graphics card companies to offer overclocked graphics cards, and since day one EVGA always delivered the exact same products to reviewers as well as customers. EVGA does not “fake” reviews or send out products with “tweaked” clockspeeds to reviewers. With EVGA Superclocked, FTW and Classified graphics cards, what you see is what you get.

Learn more at http://www.evga.com/articles/01022/evga-wysiwyg/

Our Big Picture Testbed of Competing Cards

Our testbed of competing cards tests 26 games and 1 synthetics using Core i7-4790K turbo locked to 4.4GHz by the motherboard’s BIOS, ASUS Z97+ motherboard and 16GB of Kingston “Beast” 2133MHz HyperX DDR3.DSCN1357

This evaluation will pit the stock and overclocked EVGA GTX 1080 FTW against the reference Founders Edition of the GTX 1080, and also against the Fury X.  Our bigger picture will show the other top cards, the GeForce TITAN X, and the GTX 980 Ti, and the GTX 980, as well as the GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti SLI, plus our PowerColor reference design R9 290X at locked-on boost speeds (1000MHz), as well as with the VisionTek R9 290X in CrossFire.  We also show the GALAX GTX 970 EXOC and the PowerColor 280X for a comparison.  We are using 26 modern games and 1 synthetic benchmark at 1920×1080, 2560×1440, and at 3480×2160 resolutions.

How does the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW compare with its rival, AMD’s top single GPU, the Fury X?

DSCN1356

Well, it simply doesn’t.  The Fury X is completely outclassed and outperformed in every single benchmark by the Founders Edition of the GTX 1080 and it barely matches the $379/429 GTX 1070 even though it still regularly sells for over $600.

Let’s take a closer look at the new EVGA GTX 1080 FTW ACX 3.0.

  • adobepro

    Thanks for the review, quick question though regarding power consumption. I got this card because it was the only non-FE card available and my concern is that I didn’t realize the higher power consumption due to the overclock on the card. Is there a way via PrecisionX that you can set a power consumption target so that it doesn’t exceed the TDP of the FE version? Basically, I don’t need nor want an extra 2-4 FPS at the expense of the electrical bill cost esp when it’s near 18 cents per kilowatt hour (power+delivery charge+taxes+state/city fees), which it looks like it cost over 55 Watts for an extra 2-4 FPS in certain cases. Is that possible?

    • apoppin

      You’re welcome!

      You can set your own clocks in PrecisionX to whatever you like – i.e. underclock it to match the Founders Edition clocks, or even lower. You can also lower the Power Target. You can find your own “sweet spot” for clocks versus gaming performance with a little experimentation.

      Here’s a suggestion for a very useful tool that may be able to save you money since you are in an area with high electricity costs:

      http://www.p3international.com/products/p4400.html

      They often go on sale for under $25, and you can see exactly how much electricity you are using.

      • adobepro

        Great, thank you for the info — I also contacted EVGA and they said to set the power target to 90% to reach a max TDP of 180 Watts.

  • Marco Aurelio Santini

    Good test, exactly what i was looking for, thanks

  • Erick Dillard

    I did a quick review here and was wondering if you tested these graphics cards with a 4K tv?

    • apoppin

      No. We test our cards using a 28″ Monoprice 3840×2160 display at 60Hz.