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Pros: The so-called "professional reviewers" would have you believe that a card like this is too powerful for 1080p gaming, and that the factory overclock on the FTW doesn't make a serious difference over a cheaper card that's closer to Nvidia's reference design.
Don't believe them.
At 1080p the GTX 1080 blasts through the most poorly optimized PC games with absolute ease, crushing badly ported modern titles from supposedly triple A developers and humble independent offerings alike. It pushes 144 Hz computer screens extremely well, providing a staggeringly high level of smoothness for the cream of the crop G-Sync compatible pro-gaming computer monitors that are currently available on the market. The card also leverages GPU Boost 3.0 to automatically push its clock speeds higher during more difficult workloads while also intelligently dialing back clock speeds when frame-rate caps are exceeded to improve your computer's power efficiency when the full capabilities of the GPU aren't actually needed.
Then there's the EVGA specific technologies on offer with this model: Full range RGB lighting across almost the entirety of the card looks great , the new ACX 3.0 cooler offers excellent performance with strong industrial styling, the fans actually stop spinning at idle to conserve that much more power, and the entire board has been customized with a superior 10 + 2 power phase design fed by two eight pin connectors offering twice as many power phases as the reference Founders Edition card. Add to that EVGA's conservative factory overclock, which can actually make a noticeable difference at 1080p with high refresh rate displays, and what's specifically on offer here becomes quite incredible for a price that's actually cheaper than the reference card.
This all comes together to make a killer package that can definitely take almost anything you could possibly throw at it. Be it high refresh rate displays, 21:9 ultra wide, 4K, or the mythical realm of virtual reality, this card can actually do it all. That and with DirectX 12, Vulkan, and Nvidia's Simultaneous Multi-Projection potentially offering serious performance boosts to future applications, this card might just be able to do it all for years to come.
Cons: Unfortunately, there are some downsides.
Customizable RGB lighting is great in theory, but less than perfect in practice. Nvidia's drivers don't directly control it and every GPU manufacturer has their own implementation with its own proprietary software suite to drive it. For EVGA, this means downloading the entire PrecisionX OC software overclocking suite just to get your GPU to glow in a color that matches with your build. This is an acceptable if inelegant solution for those that don't necessarily want to mess with overclocking but want their RGB lighting to be properly customized. It's worth noting, however, that this solution doesn't work for people that avoid using windows as their primary OS. Really, Nvidia's Drivers or GeForce Experience software should have these RGB customization options built right in. Having per-application settings would probably be ideal.
Edit: After this review was released, EVGA rolled out an update to PrecisionX OC that addressed a point I had raised in the previous paragraph about RGB color information not being saved to firmware. I've edited that section out of my review to reflect the fact that this issue has been properly addressed. Thanks to EVGA for taking suggestions and listening to feedback!
Otherwise, Nvidia's driver support is becoming notorious for breaking things and causing issues. They add features with every generation, rarely keep them in good working order, and slowly abandon them after painfully clinging to them in marketing for years. Any Nvidia 3D Vision kit owner could tell you as much, but this card marks the start of Nvidia giving up on exotic SLI multi-card configurations as well. Worse, their actual driver suite, The Nvidia Control Panel, looks and feels like a piece of software from the bad side of the Windows 95 era of programming. It takes forever to open on any machine, has horribly laid out menus that scream of decades of feature bloat, is impressively unresponsive, lacks a lot of basic functionality, is somehow filled with glitches, commonly forgets or misremembers your settings, and is horribly outclassed by third party utilities like Nvidia Inspector and even their direct competition's stunningly elegant Radeon Settings Crimson Edition application. Considering how many programmers Nvidia hires, the state of their software is entirely and utterly unacceptable. If it wasn't so painful to witness and use, I would laugh.
Finally, the price is just too high. The $499 GTX 480 launched in 2010 as the world's single fastest GPU and was Nvidia's flagship product of the generation. In 2016, after years of process improvements and manufacturing cost reductions, a $699 GTX 1080 plays second fiddle to the $1200 flagship "New Titan X". I don't think I'm entirely okay with that, for a whole host of reasons, but I still bought one anyway.
Other Thoughts: Overall, every single one of the cons that I listed can be buried by a single word: performance.
This card crushes every graphically intensive program I've thrown at it. It doesn't care about the combination of settings or the amount of super sampling, it just decimates. GTA V, Doom, Metro Redux, Fallout 4, Elite Dangerous, Rainbow Six Siege, it's not bothered by any of them.
Only breaking out the old 3D Vision kit for GTA V or staring down from the rooftops of Fallout 4's downtown Boston makes this thing sweat, and that's mostly just incredibly poorly optimized code.
My old GTX 680 never quite felt this impressively unstoppable. The GTX 1080 is a beast with no equal, and I'm not sure if there's anything it can't do that 30% or 50% more power in a "New Titan X" would actually help it to overcome. It's just the current pinnacle, the best of the best, and this version of it looks fantastic in my rig.
To those with the means and the will to acquire it, I highly recommend it.
Pros: - It does the job.
- Burns and reads rather quietly and quickly.
Cons: - It doesn't play Blu-rays? Don't laugh, this is a problem if your case doesn't have a surplus of drive bays.
Other Thoughts: I don't have much to say about this. It's a perfectly typical multi-format burner drive. If you need a DVD drive in your machine, it's an excellent choice.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: - It works.
- It works really well.
- It's not conductive.
- It's as advertized.
Cons: - I just personally think it's a little expensive but, hey, if it works then it's worth it.
Other Thoughts: There's really not much to say, but what did you expect? It's thermal paste people, it's not the most complex thing in the world. That said, this stuff works very well. So if you think you need the best, go ahead and buy it. I certainly don't regret it, and I don't think my 3770k does either.READ FULL REVIEW