ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 ArcticStorm Review

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Introduction

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 ArcticStorm Edition
The GTX 1080 On Water

In this review we check out a GeForce GTX 1080 that you will be able to hook up to your custom liquid cooling loop, it is the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 ArcticStorm. We'll check out the 8 GB GDDR5X beast with some sincerely lovely looks. 

We check out the new 8 GB beast with that funky full-version water-block, extra RGB LED functionality and a tiny boost in clock frequencies as well. The GPU industry has been on hold, waiting for a smaller GPU fabrication process to become viable. Last generation GPUs were based on a 28 nm fabrication, an intermediate move to 20 nm was supposed to be the answer for today’s GPUs, but it was a problematic technology. Aside from some smaller ASICs the 20 nm node has been a fail. Therefore the industry had to wait until an ever newer and smaller fabrication process was available in order to shrink the die which allows for less voltage usage in the chips, less transistor gate leakage and, obviously, more transistors in a GPU. The answer was to be found in the recent 14/15/16 nm fabrication processors and processes with the now all too familiar FinFET + VLSI technology (basically wings on a transistor). Intel has been using it for a while, and now both Nvidia and AMD are moving towards such nodes as well. Nvidia is the first to announce their new products based on a TSMC 16 nm process fab by introducing Pascal GPU architecture, named after the mathematician much like Kepler, Maxwell and Fermi. That stage has now passed, the GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 have been announced with the 1070 and 1080 cards slowly becoming available in stores as we speak. Both models are equally impressive in its product positioning, though I do feel the 1070 will be the more attractive product due to its price level, the 1080 cards really is what everybody want (but perhaps can't afford). The good news though is that the board partner cards will offer SKUs for less opposed to the Nvidia reference / Founder edition cards. Obviously the higher-end all customized SKUs will likely level with that founders edition card price level again, but I am pretty certain you'd rather spend your money on a fully customized AIB card that is already factory tweaked a bit opposed the the reference one. 

The card as tested today has the liquid cooling block mounted already, you of course will need to add it into an exsisting liquid cooling loop, so this is not an AIO kit. That block is pure copper with 0.3mm micro-channels (full coverage so the VRM and memory is cooled as well). The graphics card has clock frequencies of 1,772 MHz (boost) / 1,633 (base) MHz, a bit shy but we do expect good tweaking potential. The GDDR5X memory is left at a default clock frequency, 10 GHz (effective data-rate). The ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 ArcticStorm is fitted with dual 8-pin PCIe power connectors but also has been fitted with their Spectra LED lighting. Right, we have enough to talk about and to show, let's head on-wards in the review.



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