What Does The GTX 1080 Brought To The Table?
Last week, Nvidia invited us to Thailand, witnessing for ourselves the marvels of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, and to experience first hand how its architecture works – which is partly what we are going to talk about here in a second. The GTX 1080 features the Pascal Micro Architecture, which is Nvidia’s latest utilizing a 16nm FinFet+ fabrication node with 7.2 Billion Transistors – a lot smaller than the Maxwell’s 28nm technology, and 800 Million less transistors. This turn is also accompanied by a rather smart set of features, enabling the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1070 (presumably) to gain a considerable amount of performance increase over the older Maxwell based graphics.
Performance increasing features are a must, but Nvidia also included tons of end user geared features such as the Nvidia ANSEL and EXR technology, which will be discussed later together with the GTX 1080’s other key features that sets it apart from the norm and its predecessors.
GDDR5X and GDDR5 Compatibility
The GTX 1080 is the very first consumer graphics card to feature GDDR5X, and it’s the only one to feature the said memory technology as of today. Featuring a 10 GHz speed, it’s way faster than your conventional GDDR5. The Pascal Micro Architecture is also backward compatible with the older technology, hence the GTX 1070’s GDDR5 memory specifications. Lower end Pascal cards will most likely use GDDR5 too.
Faster memory means better high resolution performance, together with other memory intensive graphics settings such as render based anti-aliasing technologies and the likes.
Better DELTA Color Compression
Pascal also saw gains when it comes to memory compression over Maxwell, and this means that you’ll get the most out of your VRAM’s performance. Simply put, memory compression is a way to help the VRAM to continue feeding the GPU with textures, without the need to increase the actual memory bandwidth in the first place. Delta Color Compression is loss-less, and with Pascal’s improved compression algorithm, it takes less bandwidth to compress and render textures.
Bandwidth reduction is a huge thing, and Pascal has 1.7x total effective bandwidth over Maxwell (GTX 1080 vs 980). This means that the card has more effective bandwidth at its disposal, ultimately bringing better performance / efficiency from applications that requires an intensive graphics memory usage.
Simultaneous Multi-Projection is A Game Changer
What you see is what you get on a conventional display, and the same can be said on multiple display configurations and VR environment. With Nvidia’s SMP technology, they are aiming to change the way users see a rendered 3D environment by mimicking the presentation of the environment to match our perspective. Put it this way – a conventional triple monitor gaming setup might appear skewed, but with SMP – they are introducing what you would most likely see in real world. Meaning that if you position a certain display, say the 2 monitors next to your main monitor, then it will display the environment accurately. This requires user setup according to Nvidia.
SMP also features performance improvements at VR, and this is abig one. By eliminating dead spots, AKA the spots or environment that you would normally be unable to see on a VR display, SMP could preserve the pixel throughput, and feature less geometry work load across VR devices. This is simple yet a very important performance improvement for VR gaming and with this technology, we can see how the GTX 1080 beats the crap out of the older generation graphics.
Fast Sync: Great Alternative To No VSYNC At All
VSYNC sucks big time for competitive gaming as it features latency to keep screen tearing at bay. Turning the feature off will result in tearing, but there’s no extra latency as an upside. GSYNC, Adaptive SYNC, and Free SYNC alleviates tearing, and even VSYNC with Triple Buffering seems to be a good intermediate choice if tearing gets the life out of you.
This time, Nvidia is upping the ante’ with the Fast SYNC – which basically enables the card to render as much frames as it can, ultimately displaying the last one to alleviate tearing. VSYNC with Triple Buffering “almost” works the same way, except that it displays all the frames rendered from the buffer, introducing latency.
The Nvidia ANSEL is a glorified screen capture utility – and by glorified, we mean jam packed with features. With ANSEL supporting games, such as the latest Witcher 3 build, gamers can freely roam the environment with a free camera and use filters, plus add other effects into the fray for that perfect screenshot of yours. Best of all, it also features the Super Resolution, which basically enables you to take a screenshot of a game using a custom resolution – higher than that of your display. Think of it like the Nvidia DSR, but for screen capture.
Nvidia High Bandwidth SLI Bridge
Nvidia also talked about the HB SLI Bridge at the event, addressing one of the most grudged technological issues of today’s PC gaming, and that’s frame stuttering. With the HB SLI, which is basically a dual SLI Bridge slapped inside a fancy shroud – it should enable better frame times, by maximizing the dual SLI fingers of the GTX 1080, and possibly other Pascal graphics in the near future with dual SLI fingers.
HB SLI can be achieved with Two normal SLI bridges, but Nvidia said that the standard bridges may vary in bandwidth so for the best possible SLI config for the GTX 1080, the proprietary HB SLI bridge is a must.
GPU Boost 3.0
The GTX 1080 features a 1733 MHz Turbo Boost, and that’s for the Founders Edition alone. Based on early reviews, the card can hit 2025 MHz Boost Clock, which is considered really high with today’s standards. The GPU Boost 3.0 is to blame here, and this is what probably most of you will be interested the most when the AIB Partner cards started to flood the market with a better cooling compared to Founders Edition card.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 is a fantastic card nonetheless, featuring great software set, and significant architectural advantages over its predecessor. We cannot wait to get our hands on one this coming June so stay tuned for more information about the card from our experience.