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Out-of-the-box performance

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
To see how Shadow of Mordor performed with the GP102 GPU, we used the game's Ultra preset at a variety of resolutions. Click through the graphs below to see how the Aorus card stacks up with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FE at stock speeds.


Thanks to its beefy cooler and factory clock speed boost, the Aorus card takes a small but consistent lead over the Founders Edition GTX 1080 Ti in Shadow of Mordor. Whether for high-refresh-rate gaming at lower resolutions or high-fidelity 4K gaming, the GTX 1080 Ti remains a standout performer in this older title.

Rise of the Tomb Raider
2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider is still one of the more graphically-demanding titles around, and its built-in benchmark offers a handy way to compare performance among graphics cards in a pinch. We tested the game using the following settings at the same trio of resolutions we used for Shadow of Mordor:

Here's how the GTX 1080 Tis dealt with it:


No surprises here, either. The Aorus card runs slightly faster overall in this title than the Founders Edition does. We expect as much from factory-boosted cards.

Overclocked performance
Even though GPU Boost 3.0 is pretty good at wringing most of the potential clock speed headroom out of a given Pascal chip, we can still usually find a little extra speed through manual tweaking. To get there, we used the proprietary Graphics Engine utility provided by Aorus for the GTX 1080 Ti XE 11G. To overclock the Founders Edition card, we used MSI's tried-and-true Afterburner utility.

  GPU
base
clock
(MHz)
GPU
boost
clock
(MHz)
Memory
speed
(MT/s)
Heaven
GPU
voltage
Heaven
GPU
clock
(MHz)
Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 1480 1582 11000 0.943V ~1733-1741
Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G
(gaming mode)
1607 1721 11232 0.962V ~1847-1885
Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G
(OC mode)
1632 1746 11448 0.950V ~1873-1911

Before we began our manual overclocking efforts, we ran the Unigine Heaven benchmark for a few minutes to establish a baseline for each card. As we found in our temperature testing, all three of these cards boost well above their specified clocks under load.

One quirk of the Aorus card is that its stock power limit seems to be set rather low. While monitoring the card's behavior in GPU-Z, I noticed that the Xtreme Edition would occasionally bump against its power limit and clock down a bit before resuming regular operation. This sort of rev-limiter bouncing wasn't something I expected to see given the card's twin eight-pin PCIe inputs and many-phase power-delivery system. Raising the card's power limit in Aorus' Graphics Engine software made this issue go away entirely.

Although raising the power limit alone is technically overclocking, it does suggest that there was a happy medium somewhere between the tune that Aorus' engineers chose and the full range available in the Graphics Engine software. Owners of this card might want to bump the limit up a few percent for more consistent performance.

  GPU
clock
offset
(MHz)
Boost clock
with offset
Memory
speed
(MT/s)
Heaven
GPU
voltage
Heaven
GPU
clock
(MHz)
Heaven
GPU
temp. (°C)
Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition +152 N/A 12078 1.025V 1961 84
GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G (manual OC) +50 1765 12133 1.043V 1987 76

The "GPU clock offset" figure in the table above isn't a real-world clock—it's just the amount we moved the slider in MSI Afterburner or the Aorus Graphics Engine.

To find our final stable clock speeds, we maxed out the cards' power limits in our tweaking utilities before gradually increasing clock speeds and memory speeds. We ran the Unigine Heaven benchmark after each increase to determine stability, and then ran Doom at 4K with Ultra and Nightmare settings to further establish stability and stress each card's memory subsystem. Both cards ended up relatively close to one another in final clocks, but the Aorus card's cooler is much more effective.

Thanks to a fortunate testing goof, I can include a result for the Aorus GTX 1080 Ti with a GPU core clock increase alone, and one with both its core and memory overclocked. That goof lets us get some insight into how overclocking the core clock alone and the core clock plus the memory clock affects performance.


In Shadow of Mordor, goosing the core clock alone doesn't help the Aorus GTX 1080 Ti too much compared to its gaming mode profile. Push the memory to 12.1 GT/s, and both the Founders Edition and this Aorus card get relatively large performance increases. From these results, we can conclude it's critical to overclock the GTX 1080 Ti's memory for the best performance. With a fully-armed-and-operational memory overclock, the Aorus card can produce about 4.8% more frames per second on average than it can at stock speeds. The GTX 1080 Ti FE isn't far behind in performance, though.


Rise of the Tomb Raider seems to care little about core or memory clock speed increases, so the performance benefits from our overclock are more muted in this title. Still, if you're willing to pay the price of extra waste heat and power consumption, the Aorus card delivers slightly higher performance than the Founders Edition when we turn the screws. Let's see just how these cards handle noise levels and cooling now.