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Out-of-the-box performance
If you're looking for an in-depth take on how the GTX 1080 performs in our advanced "Inside the Second" frame-time benchmarks, you should go read our GTX 1080 Founders Edition review. We won't be repeating that fine-grained testing here. Instead, we'll be relying on the scripted benchmarks from Middle-Earth: Shadows of Mordor and Rise of the Tomb Raider to gauge average frame rates at a variety of resolutions. These simple FPS-based tests give us a good idea of just how much more performance the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming is delivering versus the GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming card.

Shadows of Mordor
To put Shadows of Mordor through its paces, we used the game's Ultra preset. Click the buttons below the FPS graphs to see how the GTX 1080 performs versus the GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming.

In this older (yet still demanding) title, the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming delivers about 23% more frames per second than the GTX 980 Ti at 1920x1080. That figure should please folks with 144-Hz, 1080p gaming monitors. Click up the resolution to 2560x1440, and the Xtreme Gaming card still pushes over 100 FPS—great for high-refresh 27" displays like Asus' PG279Q and Acer's Predator XB271HU. Even at 4K, this card pushes over 60 FPS at ultra quality settings. No matter what type of gameplay you enjoy in this title, the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming seems ready for it.

Rise of the Tomb Raider
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a recent, demanding title from our current graphics testing suite. We ran the game on our test suite of cards with the following settings:

Much like it did with Shadows of Mordor, the GTX 1080 performs about 23% better than the GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming at both of the resolutions we tested. For an idea of the value proposition the Xtreme Gaming card provides, the GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming card is $539.99 on Newegg right now, about 30% less expensive than the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming in its Premium Pack guise. That's not a 1:1 increase in performance for every extra dollar spent, but it's pretty close.

Power consumption
We already have a decent idea of the effects a GTX 1080 has on system power consumption from our Founders Edition review, but I sadly don't have that card at hand for direct comparison. We can compare the card to the last-gen GTX 980 Ti, however, and that's just what we're going to do here.

At idle, our test system draws 51 watts with the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming installed. That's pretty close to the 52W we measured with the GTX 1080 FE in our main X99 test rig, so hot-clocking the card doesn't seem to increase one's power bill with the graphics card at rest.

Under load, our system draws 280W, compared to the 265W or so we measured with the GTX 1080 FE. We think that's a fair tradeoff to make given the Xtreme Gaming card's higher clock speeds. Let's see whether that extra power translates to more heat or noise production.

Noise and temperatures
To get a real-world idea of this card's cooling performance and noise levels, I moved the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming off our test bench into my personal PC, which is housed in Cooler Master's excellent MasterCase Maker 5 enclosure.

Since both the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming and the GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming cards turn off their fans at idle, we're really recording the noise floor of the host system rather than any performance characteristic of the graphics cards in question. My personal PC produces about 32 dBA at idle. Crank up Heaven for 10 minutes, though, and the GTX 1080 separates itself nicely from Gigabyte's G1 Gaming cooler. The Xtreme Gaming card only increases system noise to 38 dBA under load, while the G1 Gaming card has to spin its fans faster to cool the bigger, hotter GM200 GPU. That behavior leads to a 42-dBA system noise level.

From a subjective standpoint, neither card is loud, exactly. That said, the G1 Gaming cooler has a distinct whine to its fan noise that'll be noticeable to other people in a room, while the 100-mm fans on the Xtreme Gaming card only produce the slightest whisper. I've found myself double-checking whether this GTX 1080's fans are actually spinning several times during the course of my tests. In fact, the 140-mm fans on my Corsair H105 CPU cooler are more noticeable. The Xtreme Gaming card does produce a noticeable coil whine on my test bench, but that high-pitched screech became next to inaudible in a case.

Overall, Gigabyte's Xtreme Gaming cooler is one of the best I've ever laid ears on for a graphics card. Let's see whether the company traded thermal performance for quiet running by running Unigine Heaven on each card for 10 minutes inside the same case.

Even though its default fan profile is tuned for quiet running, the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming's load temperatures don't suffer for it. At stock clocks, the GPU's temperature didn't exceed 66° C. While it's not really a useful direct comparison, the G1 Gaming card reached 73° C under the same load while producing more noise. Just goes to show that process shrinks are a wonderful thing.

Now that we've seen how the GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming performs out of the box, let's dive into Gigabyte's included software utility to see how the card handles manual overclocking—and the effects of that tweaking on performance.