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William George (Puget Labs Technician)

GeForce GTX 1080 & 1070 Frequently Asked Questions

Written on May 10, 2016 by William George
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NVIDIA announced their next-generation Pascal graphics processing unit architecture at GTC in April, and debuted the first GeForce video cards based on Pascal GPUs this past Friday. If NVIDIA’s claims hold true, the GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 will provide a tremendous improvement in performance over the current models - indeed, one of the largest generational performance increases we’ve ever seen in video cards. This has a lot of folks excited, and I’ve responded to several questions from customers over the last few days regarding these cards. In an effort to help a wider audience who probably have similar questions, I’ve put together some of what we know at this point about the upcoming GTX 1080 and 1080 graphics cards. I’ll start with what is by far the most common query I’ve had:

When will Puget be offering the GTX 1080 and 1070 video cards in your systems?

During the debut event on May 6th, NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said that the GTX 1080 will be launching on May 27th. That is when we expect to be able to begin offering them for sale, but we do not yet know what product availability will be like. Sometimes there is plentiful supply of new hardware at launch, other times there is a limited amount with additional parts trickling in over the following weeks or months. We will know more when the 27th draws closer, but if you want to be the first to get a system with one of these cards it would be good to plan on ordering on or very soon after the 27th.

At the same event, the GTX 1070 was said to launch on June 10th. The same caveat about actual supply applies, of course.

What is the performance of these cards like compared to the GTX 970 / 980 / 980 Ti / Titan X?

We don’t yet have engineering samples on hand from NVIDIA, so I cannot give a definitive answer. During the live presentation about the GTX 1080, though, NVIDIA claimed “2 times the performance and 3 times the energy efficiency vs the Titan X”. That appears to be a cherry-picked data point, specifically related to virtual reality usage. Looking at the charts that were shown in the background during the presentation, it appears that they put the 1080 at least 60% faster than the 980 in games and even higher in VR. Setting aside the VR results, that would make it about 20% faster than the 980 Ti and Titan X, while using less power than either of those and having more video RAM than the 980 Ti (though less than the Titan X).

UPDATE: There are now performance reviews online from several reputable websites, and it looks like the GTX 1080 is closer to 70-80% faster than the 980 in games, and 30-40% faster than the 980 Ti / Titan X.

The GTX 1070 had fewer details provided, but NVIDIA’s CEO did say it is “faster than a Titan X”. I suspect this is, again, specific to VR applications - but based on the few details released it looks to be about 75% of the speed of the 1080. That will put it comfortably ahead of the 970 and 980 cards, and in the same performance ballpark as the 980 Ti and Titan X. Like the 1080 it has more video memory than the 980 Ti, and price-wise is far below the 980, 980 Ti, and Titan X. It is worth noting that the launch price will be higher than the current 970, though, potentially leaving room for that card to remain relevant until other models in the 1000-series come out.

So gaming and VR performance will be great, but what about compute performance?

Again, without actual samples on hand to test I cannot answer this for certain - but I can draw conclusions from what we know of the Pascal architecture and previous generations of GeForce video cards. In terms of single-precision (FP32) performance, the GTX 1080 and 1070 should be amazing. GeForce cards have historically done well in this area, with performance curves that closely match gaming / 3D results when comparing between different GPUs. The increased amount of VRAM also helps, of course, though the Titan X still holds a lead there which may keep it the best choice for some applications.

Double-precision (FP64) performance on the Pascal architecture as a whole is much improved compared to the current Maxwell based video cards, and even the Kepler generation, but here we may possibly see GTX 1080 and 1070 cards artificially handicapped. In the past, GeForce cards have often had only a fraction of the FP64 performance of Quadro and Tesla cards within the same generation / architecture - and I worry a similar limit may exist on the 1080 and 1070. If this level of compute work is what you do, you may want to wait for Pascal to work its way into the other GPU lines that NVIDIA produces... but for molecular dynamics and machine learning code, which are mostly single-precision, performance on the 1080 and 1070 should be great.

What are the “Founders Edition” variants NVIDIA mentioned?

This was a bit of a mystery, but the fine folks over at Gamers Nexus have shed light on it. Traditionally, NVIDIA would make a standard video card and cooling (heatsink & fan) layout for each of their models - which became known as the ‘reference design’. Companies that actually manufacture video cards, like Asus and EVGA, would offer models using the reference style cooling as well as alternate versions with their own in-house cooling solutions. These customized cooling setups tended to focus on improving cooling and / or reducing noise, but often at the cost of venting the video card’s heat back into the system instead of out of the computer like reference coolers tended to.

With the GTX 1080 and 1070, it appears that NVIDIA is going to offer GeForce cards for sale directly to customers. These will use their reference design cooler for this generation, which visually looks like a more angular version of the cooler that has been used on the 980- and Titan-series cards. This is what they are calling the “Founders Edition”, and they are pricing them toward the middle of what they expect the overall range of cards to be. This will keep them from undercutting their manufacturing partners, but beyond that I am not clear on what benefit this provides to either NVIDIA or customers… or indeed why NVIDIA chose to go this route, rather than just leaving the manufacturing and sale of video cards to their partners as they have in the past.

Will the GTX 1080 / 1070 work in the computer I want to purchase? (or an existing computer)

Physically, the Founders / reference style 1080 and 1070 cards should be almost exactly the same size as the cards they are replacing in the 900 series. In terms of power draw, the 1080 looks to pull slightly more power than the 980 but less than the 980 Ti / Titan X; I am unsure about the requirements of the 1070 at this point. Overall, though, I see no reason why any system currently housing, powering, and cooling a 980 or higher would have any trouble with one of the new models. There may be some edge cases where a computer that is at its limit powering a 970 might not be able to step up to a 1070 safely, but no configurations we offer here at Puget Systems are so close to their limits. I cannot speak for other system builders or home-built computers, though.

Finally, for those who want a recap of the May 6th debut, NVIDIA Gaming Network has put out a condensed, 3-minute version of the hour-long live stream. This is definitely worth watching to get a feel for the vibe NVIDIA is putting out about these new cards, as well as brief coverage of some of the new graphics technologies they are introducing with this generation:

Tags: NVIDIA, GeForce, GTX, 1080, 1070, video, graphics, card, GPU, virtual, reality, VR, Pascal, FAQ

The claimed performance of these graphics cards is pretty incredible. I am excited to see what real world benchmarks show. I am wondering what AMD plans on putting out this year with their new cards. They have the upper hand on lithography with their plans to release 14nm transistor technology vs Nvidia's 16nm. The big questions that come to mind is how will the new architecture compare in performance and will they use HBM2, or GDDR5X, or GDDR5. Another question I have is what will the reliability rate of the AMD cards be? Sadly patience is the only answer for those questions :P It will be an exciting year for graphics and VR to be sure!

Posted on 2016-05-11 22:43:46
Martin Emmerset

We have real world benchmarks now. And it seems to be 38% faster than a Titan X in most titles.

Talk to us about new processors by Intel, are any due out this year? When should we upgrade if we are thinking about it?

Posted on 2016-05-18 14:18:56

I have updated some of the text in the blog now that there is real-world benchmark data available.

As for processors, Intel just recently updated their dual-processor Xeons (E5 2600 v3 -> v4). The single processor Xeon E5 chips (1600 series) and corresponding Core i7 enthusiast-class processors are supposed to be getting updated as well in the very near future. The more mainstream processors probably won't see an update this year, but should around the beginning of next year (or maybe the tail end of this year).

Posted on 2016-05-18 15:38:43
Martin Emmerset

Would the processors next year be a generation change? meaning if you purchase now you will be stuck in the "last" generation?

Really for anyone looking to purchase the end of this year or next year is too long to wait unless those processors are a vast improvement like the Nvidia 1080 :-)

Posted on 2016-05-20 14:12:18

CPU generations tend to change every 1 - 1.5 years, and about half the time a new CPU socket is introduced which means you can't put the new CPUs in a previous-generation motherboard. I don't know if the next generation of mainstream processors from Intel will be like that or not. The enthusiast-class processors coming out in the near future, and the Xeons just released, were an example of new chips that fit on the existing CPU socket and work with current motherboards (provided a BIOS update to recognize them).

Computer hardware moves pretty quickly overall, though. If you wait 6-9 months for new CPUs, then by that time there will be some other new thing around the corner... and the cycle continues. You just sort of have to decide when you need a new computer, and get the best that you can within what is available at the time.

Posted on 2016-05-20 15:58:20

Does it really move quickly on the desktop? I mean an overclocked years old Sandy bridge i7 2700k isn't that slower than a brand new overclocked Skylake i7. Both max out at about the same frequencies, the core/thread counts are still the same. Neither supports ecc memory (come on now this should have been a standard long ago), memory speads have increased a bit but nothing dramatic, neither has enough pcie lanes.... sure the Skylake has avx2 (support for which is still lacking), a better gpu (which is still too slow for gaming and the one in Sandy bridge is fast enough for everything else), power consumption has gone down but again the difference isn't huge especially not at full load on an overclocked chip, the new chipsets have more features but the number of usb 3 ports is still too low (just give it 16 usb3 ports and be done with it), sata is still too slow and the number of ports is still too low (double the speed and give us 16 ports), there still no integrated 10gbit ethernet support, the gpu and cpu still haven't been properly integrated, ....... drop the igpu, double the number of cores (so 8c/16t), add more l3 cache, double the number of pcie lanes, add mandatory ecc support. support 128GB ram, increase the turbo clocks to whatever an overclocked cpu can do (so ~5GHz), 16 usb3 ports, 16 sata 3.2...... and call it an i9

Posted on 2016-07-12 23:22:53
Guest

http://www.geforce.com/hard...

150W TDP, pretty much identical to GTX 970's 145W TDP.

Posted on 2016-05-29 06:37:24

Yup, power / heat should be around the level of the GTX 970 - and performance around that of the 980 Ti! A pretty amazing combo :)

Posted on 2016-05-30 00:07:04
godisafairytale

I'm very eager too see video editing/rendering performance of the new cards. Tons of gaming benchmarks so far and really zero for editing that I've found.

Posted on 2016-06-01 14:28:26
Degenerete

Just bought a new gtx 1080 i previously had a 670 my computer wont boot into my system it keeps saying loading operating system and then it restarts in a loop i am thinking it might be the powersuppy, i have a 750 watt power supply, anyone else having the same issue?

Posted on 2016-06-27 18:51:20

I would assume that is right when Windows is loading your graphics driver which is a common symptom. Try going into safe mode with networking and downloading the latest driver from geforce.com/drivers You will want to choose a custom installation and check that box that says perform a clean installation. After that, reboot and hopefully it works as normal! Alternatively, you could just remove the existing graphics driver from device manger and boot into Windows and then perform the driver install. If this is a Puget Systems computer, feel free to contact our support department if you need further help :)

Posted on 2016-06-27 19:06:08

When are we going to see some cheaper pascals? Obviously not as fast as these ones but a card for ~200 eur with low power consumption (aka quiet (ideally silent while doing things that don't load the gpu heavily (so everything except games and a few rare gpgpu applications) and not another source of heat during the summer... it's hot enough already), good performance (capable of running 2d/video at 4k on at least one, preferably two displays and games at 1080p on one), good linux support (none of this half of the features don't work at launch and will maybe work after 6 months bullshit... just release the code for the drivers and get it in the kernel main line), hw h265 encode/decode support (with working linux drivers and sw). I mean gpu prices have been creeping up since forever..... I remember buying an Ati Radeon 4850 which was a high end card when it was released for ~170 eur....... there were a few faster cards available but all were still cheaper than a high end card today. And Linux support from both Amd and Nvidia is a bit meh since some features aren't supported or are only supported with the closed source drivers. So you basically have two options a) use the open source drivers which are usually slower and don't support all the hw features or b) use the closed source drivers which don't work with all kernels/xorg replacements/....... and neither company really supports hw video encode/decode as well as on Windows. And please get rid of all artificial caps... if a feature is on the card then it should be enabled. Gpu virtualization would be another nice thing to have, so you could basically share one gpu with different operating systems and get relatively good performance on all of them (just like you can do with cpus).

Posted on 2016-07-12 21:49:48

I'm not sure what pricing in Euros will be like, but the GTX 1060 is rumored to be coming later this month (July) at $249-299 MSRP. It should perform on par with the outgoing GTX 980, while having 50% more video memory (6GB vs 4). I would expect it to handle the level of performance you described wanting, and in terms of noise level there are even GTX 1070 and 1080 cards which are silent at low power draw (EVGA's ACX line, for example). Even the Founders Edition GTX 1080 I have at home is inaudible over the rest of my system when idle.

Posted on 2016-07-12 22:00:47

probably over 300 if we go by previous experience.... even if you adjust for the fact european prices almost always include taxes and american don't we still get screwed hard on hw

Posted on 2016-07-12 23:28:37