Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming makes life in VR easier

— 8:59 AM on June 8, 2016

Gigabyte has officially announced its new top-end GeForce GTX 1080, the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming. The company actually revealed the new card on Twitter during Computex, but now we have some hard info to discuss. The Xtreme Gaming line represents the highest-end of Gigabyte's graphics products, and while the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming certainly seems to be a fine product in its own right, we think the most interesting feature of this packages is Gigabyte's new VR Link peripheral.

With VR Link, Gigabyte took a page from EVGA's playbook and stuck two HDMI ports on the front of the card. Connect these to the included 5.25" front-panel plate, and you now have two front-facing HDMI ports and a pair of USB 3.0 connectors. Having the connections for your VR headset right on the front of the machine should not only give your digital leash a bit more slack, but also make it that much easier to set up and take down.

While using VR-Link, the second and third DisplayPort connections on the back of the card are disabled. Gigabyte does say that enabling or disabling VR-Link requires a system restart, too, though that's likely a small concern for any VR-ready PC. In case you don't have a spare 5.25" bay, Gigabyte helpfully includes a rear panel bracket with the extra HDMI ports, though that arrangement is decidedly less convenient.

Even if VR isn't your thing, the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming is still a pretty impressive piece of kit. It upgrades the GTX 1080's power supply to a pair of 8-pin connectors, and Gigabyte boasts about the card's "Titan X-grade" 12+2-phase power delivery system. A pair of small LEDs by the power connectors will blink if the card isn't receiving clean power. Despite Gigabyte's emphasis on the power delivery, there's no word yet on final clock speeds, although the product page lists a 10MHz overclock on the memory.

The "Windforce Stack 3x" cooler is pretty fancy, too. It has the same custom fan blade design we've seen before on the 1070 G1 Gaming. The "stack" name refers to the partially-overlapping 100-mm fans, a design that keeps the card from getting too long. This design does make the cooler nearly three slots thick, but Gigabyte says the payoff is the company's best cooler yet. Naturally, the cooler includes configurable RGB LEDs.

From this vantage point, the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming may be one of the best options for a dedicated VR setup. The GTX 1080 has several new features (like Simultaneous Multi-Projection) dedicated to improving VR performance, and short of turning your PC backwards, this looks like the easiest way to connect and disconnect a headset.

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