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Our testing methods
This review marks a change in the way we test Nvidia graphics cards outside of initial reviews of a new chip. While manufacturers can claim meaningful increases over the clocks of Nvidia's Founders Edition cards, the company's GPU Boost 3.0 algorithm mostly eliminates the differences in delivered clocks between custom cards. Our tests have shown that the resulting differences in clocks between hot-rodded GeForces are often within 50 MHz of one another, if not even closer still. Those differences of a couple dozen MHz simply aren't meaningful in evaluating real-world performance. We already know that the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition delivers a high bar for both performance potential (as measured by average FPS) and smoothness (as measured with our Inside the Second frame-time methods), so anything extra is just icing on the cake.

We'll still observe the GPU and memory speeds these cards can deliver in both stock and overclocked configurations, of course, but we aren't going to waste precious time seeing how those tiny differences translate into a couple more average FPS here or there. Noise levels, cooling performance, and power consumption tell us a lot more about living with one of these graphics cards than raw performance numbers do, so that's where we're choosing to spend most of our limited testing time.

As always, we did our best to deliver clean test numbers. Our test system was configured as follows:

Processor Intel Core i9-7900X
Motherboard Asus Prime X299-Deluxe
Chipset Intel Z270
Memory size 32GB
Memory type G.Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4-3600
Memory timings 16-16-16-36 2T
Hard drive Samsung 850 Pro 512GB
2x Corsair Neutron XT 480GB SSDs
1x Kingston HyperX 480GB SSD
Power supply Seasonic Prime Platinum 1000W
OS Windows 10 Pro with Creators Update

We used the following settings on each graphics card to evaluate real-world performance at stock speeds:

GPU base
core clock
GPU boost
rate (GT/s)
Corsair Hydro GFX GeForce GTX 1080 Ti (gaming mode) GeForce
1544 1657 11.016 11264
Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G (gaming mode) 1632 1721 11.232
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition 1480 1582 11

Our thanks to Intel, G.Skill, Gigabyte, HyperX, and Corsair for helping us outfit our testing rigs with some of the finest hardware available. Along with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition, we're also including the formidable Gigabyte Aorus GTX 1080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11G in these tests to put the Hydro GFX's performance in perspective.

Our testing methods are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have any questions or comments regarding our test approach, feel free to join us in the comments thread on this article or in our forums to discuss them.