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Our testing methods
As always, we did our best to deliver clean benchmarking results. Our test system was configured as follows:

Processor Intel Core i7-6700K
Motherboard ASRock Z170 Extreme7+
Chipset Intel Z170
Memory size 16GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type G.Skill Trident Z DDR4-3000
Memory timings 16-18-18-38
Chipset drivers Intel Management Engine 11.0.0.1155
Intel Rapid Storage Technology V 14.5.0.1081
Audio Integrated Z170/Realtek ALC1150
Realtek 6.0.1.7525 drivers
Hard drive OCZ Vector 180 480GB
Power supply Seasonic Platinum SS660-XP2
OS Windows 10 Pro

 

  Driver revision GPU base
core clock
(MHz)
GPU boost
clock
(MHz)
Memory
clock
(MHz)
Memory
size
(MB)
Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming GeForce 368.81 1152 1241 1753 8192
Gigabyte GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming GeForce 368.81 1759 1898 2553 8192

Like many graphics cards on the market today, the Xtreme Gaming GTX 1080 comes with multiple clock profiles that one can enable in its companion software. Gigabyte ships the card in "Gaming Mode," which lets it run at 1759 MHz base and 1898 MHz boost speeds. Since most people will be using this card without its companion software, we left the card in Gaming Mode for our testing.

You'll note that we're relying on a Z170 motherboard and a Core i7-6700K CPU to power the GTX 1080 in this review, rather than the X99 and Core i7-5960X combo we use in our main graphics-testing rig. That's because that monster rig is across the country from me. The Core i7-6700K is more than a match for the GTX 1080, though, going by our review of that chip. If anything, it might be a better gaming CPU than the Core i7-5960X in some cases. Either way, we shouldn't be bottlenecking the GTX 1080 with our testing system.

Because of the scarcity of GTX 1080s right now, we don't have another custom card in the lab to compare the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming against yet. We do have an ample supply of hot-clocked GeForce GTX 980 Tis to choose from, though, so we can at least give you an idea of the generational advance a hot-rodded GTX 1080 provides over similarly hopped-up GTX 980 Tis. With time, we should be able to get more custom GTX 1080s in the lab and provide a broader picture of the approaches Nvidia's board partners are taking to hot-rod the card. For now, though, we're relying on Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming. This card is among the fastest 980 Tis around, so it should be a worthy opponent for the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming.