September 07, 2016

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G Review

As soon as NVIDIA announced the availability of its GeForce GTX 10 series graphics cards, AIB partners are seen to offer their own custom design of the GPU equipped with custom coolers, custom PCB design, metal backplate, etc. MSI too, as one of the renowned partners of NVIDIA, is offering several different variants of the GPU such as the Gaming series, Sea Hawk series, Aero series and Armor series that comes in different designs, cooling solutions and clock speeds.

We'll be looking at the GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G from MSI today, special thanks to MSI Malaysia for sending over the sample unit for this review. The Pascal GPU based GTX 1080 from MSI come in 3 variant with different clock speed, Gaming, Gaming X and Gaming Z.

(The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G is available at RM3449)

Graphics Processing
GeForce GTX 1080
Core Clock
1847 MHz / 1708 MHz (OC Mode)
1822 MHz / 1683 MHz (Gaming Mode)
1733 MHz / 1607 MHz (Silent Mode)
Memory Clock
10108 MHz (OC Mode)
10010 MHz (Gaming Mode)
10010 MHz (Silent Mode)
Process Technology
16 nm
Memory Size
8 GB
Memory Bus
256 bit
Card Bus
PCI-E 3.0 x 16
Memory Type
PCB Form
Digital max resolution
7680x4320 (requires 2*DP1.3 connectors)
Analog max resolution
Dual-link DVI-D *1
HDMI-2.0b*1 (Max Resolution: 4096x2160 @60 Hz)
Display Port-1.4 *3 (Max Resolution: 7680x4320 @60 Hz)
Recommended PSU
Power Connectors
6 pin*1, 8 pin*1
Card size
H=42 L=279 W=140 mm


The MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G ships in a fancy packaging with the actual card depicted at the front of the box, along with some of its features highlighted in the form of an icon. 

Accessories wise, the GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G is supplied with a drivers CD, Quick User's Guide and stickers only. 

The GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G is equipped with MSI' latest Twin Frozr VI cooler; TORX 2.0 Fan design with double ball bearing that operates silently and capable of generating 22% more air pressure, as well as the SuperSU heatsink that utilizes 6 copper heat pipes with 8mm thickness to maximize the cooling performance. 

LED can be controlled individually by choosing any of the animation effects available in the MSI Gaming App, ranging from responding to your game sounds or music to steady light, breathing and flashing.

While it will run just well with a 500W power supply, MSI, like any other AIB partners with their own custom design requires a 6pin that supplies an additional 75W power for extra overclocking performance, and the main 8pin PCIe power connector to power up its GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G. 

At the back of the card, you'll find a metal backplate with a matte finish, glossy MSI Gaming Dragon printed on. The metal backplate here does pretty much the same as most metal backplate for graphics card, which is to enhance the overall rigidity of the card to prevent PCB sagging that usually occurs on graphic cards with a large heat sink. 

SLI fingers are still available on the card, but as NVIDIA discourages any setup beyond 2-way SLI. NVIDIA and its partners have released a new SLI bridge that is supposed to support only 2-way SLI and improved performance compared to the older version of SLI bridge that used to come along as an accessory with motherboards.

The display output option is pretty common nowadays, 1 x DVI-I connector, 3 x DisplayPort and 1 x HDMI port.

Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Raijintek Triton 240
Intel Core i7 4790K @4.6GHz
ASUS Maximus Hero VII
G.Skill TridentX 2400MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Intel 520 series 240GB
Power Supply
Be Quiet! Straight Power 10 600W
Vector Bench case

We mounted the GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G on our test bench as above and each and every benchmark is conducted in a room of about 30C° ambient temperature.


We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmarks in our possession on a selected settings at 1080p, which is considered as high for much of our test as usual.The final result of each benchmark is presented in the form of the graph below:

Performance Comparison With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
We've done a performance comparison with a Founders Edition of the GeForce GTX 1080 and the result of the clash between the two beasts of a card is as following:

We ran the same graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmark on 1080p with the highest achievable clock speed for both its memory and GPU that is stable enough to be able to complete each benchmark with the following values:
  • 146MHz raise on the GPU core clock
  • 566MHz raise on the memory clock
  • Extra 21% gain on the power
That isn't much due to the card has been highly overclocked by MSI, but we managed to hit a beefy 2136MHz GPU clock speed on boost during our benchmark session. 

Performance Comparison With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition
We've done a performance comparison with a Founders Edition of the GeForce GTX 1080, both overclocked and we're seeing a quite near results as following:

Temperature wise, the TwinFrozr VI cooler is doing its job very well as we've observed a very decent temperature record of 42°C during idle and 70°C on load while running on default clock speed when the card is stressed with the FurMark burn-in test for an hour. Bumping up the GPU core clock with an extra 146 MHz results in a slightly higher temperature of 76°C for the FurMark burn-in test.  

As one of the best looking GTX 1080 around, the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G packs quite a punch too when it comes to its performance. It comes factory overclocked and can easily outperform a GTX 1080 Founders Edition or any of the previous high-end Maxwell GPU powered GTX 980, GTX 980Ti and Titan X with ease. Extra performance can be delivered with ease you need more performance out of the card; we're able to squeeze an extra 148MHz on the GPU clock for a whopping 2136MHz. It can do more of course, with the early version of the custom BIOS already available on the enthusiast's community forum, we're looking forward to seeing the true potential of the Pascal GPU as soon as the stable version of the custom BIOS being released to the public.

The cooling performance can be described as pure awesomeness, with the temperature topped only at 72°C on default clock and 74°C after overclocked without having to ramp the fan up to its maximum speed. Better performance can be achieved with the fans running at 100% without sacrificing too much of its acoustic performance as the TORX 2.0 fan design and the heatsink with 6 pieces of 8mm thick copper heat pipes is doing its job really well.

Price wise, the SRP of RM3449 isn't a friendly price, to begin with, as there are lower cost alternative from other of NVIDIA' AIB partners. Yet, based on what MSI has to offer with its GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G in terms of aesthetics, build quality, as well as both gaming and cooling performance, paying that amount of money can still be considered as a fair deal that is worthy to be recommended.

  • Solid build quality and good aesthetics
  • Good overclocking headroom
  • Excellent cooling performance
  • Near silent operation even when the fan spins at its maximum speed
  • Costly
  • Requires an extra 6pin PCIe power connector