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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 benchmarks: good for 4K, great for high-fps 1440p

Yesterday's GPU king is still a great performer.

The GeForce GTX 1080 was the first Pascal generation Nvidia card to hit the market, offering a significant performance boost over the previous Maxwell era along with a host of new features and technologies. Today, it remains one of the stronger graphics cards for PC gaming at high resolutions, particularly 1440p and 4K, and also does well with high refresh rate monitors and VR.

However, the old GPU king does cost more than the GTX 1070 Ti - if you can find either card at retail this long after launch - and the GTX 1080 Ti, RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti all offer more raw performance. The RTX 2070 is perhaps the GTX 1080's closest contemporary competitor, given that the new Turing graphics card offers RTX and DLSS features and slightly better levels of performance - all for a lower price in many regions.

We'll be looking at benchmark results from nine recent games in order to give you a good idea of what sort of performance you should expect when the GTX 1080 is paired with a suitable processor at very high or ultra graphical settings. We don't tend to recommend anything faster than a GTX 1070 for 1080p gaming, as the CPU becomes the bottleneck and you're leaving GPU performance on the table here. But if you are gaming at 1080p with a GTX 1080 on a high refresh rate display, we'd recommend you pair it with an Intel Core i7 8700K or better to get the highest frame-rates possible.

Which GPUs are worth buying? We've made our picks for the best graphics cards available, updated with the latest graphics cards as they're released. As well as an overall performance champ, we name the best value graphics card and best cheap graphics card to guide your next upgrade.

For this benchmark roundup, we'll compare the GTX 1080 to the new RTX 2070, RTX 2080 and the old GTX 1080 Ti; we'll also throw in AMD's top-end Vega 64 GPU. Towards the end of the page, we'll also show you how the GTX 1080 compares to past generations of Nvidia cards and the entire Nvidia GeForce 10-series series, including the lower-end models, so you can get a better sense of the power on display here.

Our GTX 1080 benchmarks are based on the Founders Edition pictured here. Third party versions with meatier coolers are often equipped with factory overclocks, which can raise performance by around five to seven per cent.
GPU cores Boost clock TFLOPS Memory Memory Bandwidth
GTX 1080 2560 1733MHz 8.9 8GB 320GB/s
GTX 1080 Ti 3584 1582MHz 11.3 11GB 484GB/s
RTX 2070 2304 1620MHz 7.5 8GB 448GB/s
RTX 2080 2944 1710MHz 10.1 8GB 448GB/s
Vega 64 4096 1546MHz 12.7 8GB 484GB/s

Each game benchmark uses our in-house system, comprised of a YouTube video with synchronised telemetry below. Click on the video to start playback, and you can watch how each card handles the scene in real-time. You can add or remove different cards from the comparison, as well as change between 1440p and 4K resolutions to match your needs. (This is only available on the desktop version of Eurogamer at present; apologies to mobile users.)

For example, if you had a 4K monitor you could choose to only select the 4K results, whereas if you had the GTX 1080 already and were thinking about a monitor, you could see how performance differs between 1440p and 4K. As well as the live stats, there's also a summary further down of how each card does on average throughout the scene.

As well as the average frame-rate, you can also mouse over different cards of the graph to see best and worst results - the best one per cent, the best five percent, the worst five per cent, the worst one per cent - which can be helpful to see how the cards handle the easiest or toughest parts of each scene. As well as seeing the frame-rates for each of these figures, you can also click on the barchart to swap between frame-rates and relative performance - and the latter may well prove more useful in comparing performance.

This benchmarking system is unique to Digital Foundry and offers as much or as little data as you want. For more information, you can see how the Digital Foundry benchmarking system works right here. Now that we've covered the preamble, let's fire up some benchmarks!

Assassin's Creed Odyssey

We begin with Assassin's Creed Odyssey, the most recent game to be built on Ubisoft's AnvilNext 2.0 engine. The game's wide vistas are challenging even at 1080p, with the GTX 1080 just scraping a 60fps average result - significantly ahead of the Vega 64, which struggles, but significantly behind the GTX 1080 Ti, RTX 2070 and RTX 2080. At 1440p, the GTX 1080 is 25 per cent behind the GTX 1080 Ti and 15 per cent behind the RTX 2070. The RTX 2080 is the fastest card in the field, with a nearly 30 per cent lead at the same resolution. At 4K, the GTX 1080 still manages a cinematic 30fps average with the Vega 64 close behind.

AC Odyssey: Ultra High, TAA

Assassin's Creed Unity

Next up we have Assassin's Creed Unity, a 2014 title that shows off the grandeur and chaos of Revolution-era Paris. The GTX 1080 is 15 per cent ahead of AMD's best card, the Vega 64, at 1440p. However, the GTX 1080 Ti shows its dominance with a result that's 19 per cent ahead of the GTX 1080 and 14 per cent ahead of the RTX 2070. At 4K, the GTX 1080 delivers 35fps, suggesting that a G-Sync display may be required for a suitably smooth experience. Also note the wide performance variance with AMD - Radeon hardware struggles whenever the game's depth of field effect is rendered.

AC Unity: Ultra High, FXAA

Battlefield 1

Next up in our alphabetical tour of modern video games comes Battlefield 1 from 2016. The game lacks a built-in benchmark feature, so we're using a tank driving scene that sports a small amount of close-range explosions that momentarily tank performance. That means that the frame-time spikes can be safely disregarded, but it still gives us a good idea of the performance you can expect. The Vega 64 barely leads the GTX 1080 here, by around two per cent at 1440p and 4K. Regardless, the 61 frames per second that the GTX 1080 gets at 4K is totally playable and ties the performance of the RTX 2070. If you're curious about Battlefield 5 results, expect to get about two-thirds of the frame-rate in the newer title, so around 40fps at 4K.

Battlefield 1: Ultra, TAA

Crysis 3

Crysis 3 from 2013 is our oldest benchmark, but far from our easiest. As we go through the train-bound benchmark at each resolution, the GTX 1080 leads the Vega 64 by around 13 per cent. However, only the GTX 1080 Ti and RTX 2080 are able to turn in a near-60fps result at 4K, with an average frame-rate of just 54fps. For a GPU capable of running Crysis flawlessly at ultra HD, you'll need to turn to Nvidia's flagship RTX 2080 Ti card which hits 68fps average.

Crysis 3: very high, SMAA T2X

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5's use of rapid-packed math (double-rate FP16) allows AMD hardware to perform better than usual, with the Vega 64 tying the GTX 1080 at 1080p and edging barely ahead at higher resolutions. In Nvidia land, the GTX 1080 is outperformed by the newer RTX 2070 at all resolutions, with the RTX 2080 taking the overall performance crown.

Far Cry 5: Ultra, TAA

Ghost Recon Wildlands

Now we've reached the most challenging (and most recent) section of our benchmark suite. Ghost Recon Wildlands offers an extreme workload at its ultra preset, and you can see even the GTX 1080 Ti barely manages to hit 60 frames per second at 1440p. The GTX 1080 sits 18 per cent behind the 1080 Ti at 1440p, but a few frames ahead of the Vega 64. At 4K, performance regresses to a console level at just 30 frames per second for the GTX 1080. We recommend turning down some settings if you're gaming at 4K, or investing in a G-Sync monitor to smooth out any frame-rate variation.

Ghost Recon Wildlands: Ultra, TAA

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Action hero Lara Croft continued her origin story in 2016 game Rise of the Tomb Raider, which includes a cool three-part integrated benchmark in its settings menu. We're using the DX12 render path here and the game runs a little better on Nvidia hardware, with the GTX 1080 leading the Vega 64 by two per cent at 1440p and just one per cent at 4K. At almost 50 frames per second, the game is quite playable at 4K without sacrificing too many detail settings.

Rise of the Tomb Raider: Very High, SMAA

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The GTX 1080 faces a harder task in 2018 follow-up Shadow of the Tomb Raider, barely managing to deliver 34 frames per second at 4K resolution. That's a little slower than AMD's top graphics card and nearly 20 per cent behind the GTX 1080 Ti. The new RTX cards also impress here at 4K, with scores 10 per cent and 25 per cent faster than the GTX 1080.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Highest, TAA

The Witcher 3

Our penultimate test is 2015 title The Witcher 3, one of the most popular games of its time. The GTX 1080 leads the Vega 64 at 1080p, but the two cards are roughly equivalent at 4K - although the AMD card does exhibit some slowdown not experienced by its GeForce equivalent. The GTX 1080 Ti opens up a convincing 44 per cent lead over the GTX 1080 at 4K to win the group.

The Witcher 3: Ultra, Post-AA, No Hairworks

Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus

Due to incompatibilities between this game and our video capture software, performance for the Vega 64 isn't available on Wolfenstein. However, that gives us the space to bring in the RTX 2060, which shows an interesting point of comparison with the GTX 1080 in this newer game. All measurements here are taken with the variable rating shading technology disabled and even without it, the RTX 2060 is faster than the GTX 1080 in all but 4K resolutions. VRS at its most aggressive setting provides 15 per cent of extra performance on the RTX 2060 too, which is pretty darn impressive.

Wolfenstein 2 Vulkan: Uber, TSSAA 8X

Cross-generational comparison

In this special benchmark, we've got the GTX 1080 stacked up against its historical predecessors, all the way back to the 700 series which debuted in 2013. It's worth noting that we've replaced the usual resolution controls to the right of the video with generational controls, allowing you to compare within or between the Pascal, Maxwell and Kepler cards included here.

Assassin's Creed Unity: 1080p, Ultra High, FXAA

Generational comparison

We'll conclude with a comparison of the entire Nvidia Pascal lineup, where the GTX 1080 is closer in performance to the GTX 1070 Ti than the GTX 1080 Ti.

Assassin's Creed Unity: 1080p, Ultra High, FXAA

With that, we've completed our tour of the GTX 1080's benchmark results. We hope you've found this article helpful!

In the meantime, why not check out our full review of the GTX 1080.

Now that you've seen the benchmarks for one card, why not check out see which PC hardware we recommend to our friends and family? Here are the DF picks for the overall best graphics cards and for the best gaming monitors on the market.

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About the Author
Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.