The new king, now in royal garb
When we reviewed Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, we hailed the GPU as the new king of PC gaming (at least until the inevitable GTX 1080 Ti hits). The card delivered a 70-plus percent leap in performance over the older GTX 980—an utterly monstrous jump for a single GPU generation—while veritably sipping power and running about as quiet as any air-cooled reference card we’d ever laid ears on. Moving on from 28nm GPUs is every bit as wonderful as gamers had hoped, and the GTX 1080 is everything Nvidia promised and more.
Our only major lament was the lack of customer partner cards at launch. The Founders Edition commands a steep price premium, and who knew what Nvidia’s 16nm Pascal GPU would be capable of with fancy coolers, premium features, and hefty overclocks applied?
Now we know.
The GTX 1080 is the most powerful graphics card ever created, and EVGA’s GTX 1080 FTW is superior to Nvidia’s Founders Edition in every possible way. It’s faster, it’s quieter, it’s cooler, it’s gorgeous, and heck, it’s even cheaper than Nvidia’s card (though more basic GTX 1080 variants start at around $600). Nvidia’s flagship GPU shines brighter in EVGA’s capable hands.
Sure, the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW demands slightly more power than the Founders Edition, but it uses the same 500W recommended power supply, and the handful of extra pennies you’ll pay on your monthly energy bill is worth it for everything you get in exchange.
The GTX 1080 family still isn’t for everyone. Current GTX 980 Ti and Titan X owners probably shouldn’t upgrade for any rational reason unless you’re eligible for EVGA’s killer Step-Up Program. While it comes close, the GTX 1080 won’t quite hit 60 fps at 4K with all the bells and whistles enabled in every game. And it’s clearly overkill for gaming on a 1080p monitor—you should keep an eye out for reviews of AMD’s $200 Radeon RX 480 instead, which is launching on June 29.
But forget all that. As I said in my original Founders Edition review, the GTX 1080 is badass incarnate. EVGA’s GTX 1080 FTW is that badass incarnate on steroids. If you’re on the market for a killer custom version of PC gaming’s freshly crowned GPU champion, the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW ($680 on Newegg) comes highly, highly, highly recommended—if you can find one in stock. These things are selling like hotcakes when you can even find them available, and rightfully so.