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Best GTX 1080 for the Money in 2018

Short Answer: The difference between all of the best GTX 1080 graphics cards is minimal in terms of gaming performance. You should buy based on which connectivity options, brand preference and the model you like the look of, You could also simply buy the cheapest available at the time your buying.

Best Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics Cards

ModelDetailsConnectivity 
Gigabyte Geforce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming
[Editors Choice]
Base Speed: 1721MHz
Boost Speed: 1860MHz
VRAM: 8GB GDDR5X
1 x HDMI
1 x DVI
3 x DisplayPort
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIXBase Speed: 1683 MHz
Boost Speed: 1822 MHz
VRAM: 8GB GDDR5X
2 x HDMI
1 x DVI
2 x DisplayPort
EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 SC GAMINGBase Speed: 1708 MHz
Boost Speed: 1847 MHz
VRAM: 8GB GDDR5X
1 x HDMI
1 x DVI
3 x DisplayPort
MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming XBase Speed: 1607 MHz
Boost Speed: 1847 MHz
VRAM: 8GB GDDR5X
1 x HDMI
1 x DVI
3 x DisplayPort
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme
[Avoid]
Base Speed: 1771 MHz
Boost Speed: 1911 MHz
VRAM: 8GB GDDR5X
1 x HDMI
1 x DVI
3 x DisplayPort

The GTX 1080 is the top “main stream” graphics card in the 10 series, before getting to the GTX 1080 Ti which really is a top premium graphics card. This graphics card though is still one of the best graphics card around and it comes at a hefty price too, although the performance of the card is up there with the best.

So, you have decided that you a want to buy a new graphics card and your looking to buy the best GTX 1080 for the your money. So, is there a difference between all of the different models? Well, yeah, kinda. Does it REALLY matter which GTX 1080 you buy? – No.

I know right, controversial! Seriously though, there are a lot of other websites and vloggers that state you need to by the most expensive one to get the best performance, because you know PC Master Race! Absolute, Bullshit, the difference between each is unnoticeable in game. The difference from one to another will be less than 5FPS based on all the benchmarks I have come across. Only you can decide if an extra 5FPS is worth an extra $100 to $200, there is something other than FPS to consider though.

We all have our favourite brands and many of us have gaming PCs that have a specific colour scheme or look to them. So my advice is to buy the one that fits your budget or the one that looks coolest to you, other than those two points nothing else really matters too much. I personally bought the Gigabyte GTX 1080 Gaming G1 and I love the damn thing – photo to the right for proof! For me I really like the look of the card but the main selling point was when I bought it the price was $90 cheaper than most of the others. This won’t always be the case, the prices fluctuate daily so buy which ever model you want at a price you feel comfortable with.

What Should be avoided? In my opinion you would be best to avoid reference models and single fan (compact) graphics cards simply as they can get a little too hot and loud when under load. Other than though, pick what ever you want!

My Top Picks For Best GTX 1080

Now that I have covered the fact that there is no really advantage between each of the GTX 1080s, we will now go through what I consider to be the top 5 GTX 1080s. This list is literally the models I was considering buying when I bought my Gaming G1.

Something to keep in mind is that prices fluctuate. Check the graphics card prices here on Amazon.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming – Editors Choice

Best GTX 1080 - Gigabyte GTX 1080 Gaming G1 Like I have mentioned this is the GTX 1080 that I use. Why did I pick this one specifically? There were two reasons.

I knew these cards got a little hot under the collar when playing GPU intensive games and really wanted a card from a manufacturer that had a history of decent cooling. This meant I was looking at any of the 3 fan graphics cards, which this is. Of late I haven’t bench marked my temps but the last time I checked after a hard session on PUBG I was getting 69C – Perfect temp! I might do some benchmarks over the next week or so and upload them here for you all to see.

The second reason was price. I bought just before the crypto currency boom which sent GPU prices soaring so I got my G1 Gaming for just over $500, I have seen it drop below $500 a couple of times on sale but generally your looking at around $550 to $620 based on daily fluctuations.

Note: Any time you find one under $500, then you can consider that the best on the market that day! Yep, its pretty rare to find.

Overclocking

Personally I don’t overclock my card all that much. Although I have tested it overclocked to a tad over 2GHz and it seemed to work great with temps not increasing too drastically. The G1 does come out of box pre-overclocked a little which will give you an edge over some other models, but again its barely worth mentioning with 1 to 2 frames at most being the likely advantage.

ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX – Best GTX 1080 For VR

ASUS GTX 1080 STRIX Graphics CardThe ASUS GeForce 8GB ROG STRIX has double HDMI which makes it the best GTX 1080 for VR (Virtual Reality). It will give you the option to have your VR headset connected as well as an additional gaming monitor, doesn’t sound like a big deal but I do envy this one feature. All in all the ASUS GeForce 8GB ROG STRIX is a great graphics card and does come with great RGB options. The card can also be sync’d with the Aura lighting system, which will make any other ASUS STRIX hardware synchronise their case lighting. This can be very nice assuming you choose all of the correct hardware such as the ASUS Strix Z370 motherboard or AM4 Ryzen motherboards.

As with most ASUS Strix hardware the price is a little higher than the competing models. This graphics card can be found for a little more than the average price.

Overclocking

In terms of overclocking all all of the models will hit roughly the same speeds but the STRIX does come with a small boost out of the box, enough to mention but not ground breaking. Based on game benchmarks it can equate to an extra 1 to 2 frames from the base Founder Edition.

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Extreme

Note: I would personally avoid this one right now until the fan revving issue is fixed – read my warning below. 

Straight out of the box the AMP! Extreme will provide the most performance across all of the compared models with its boost clock of 1911MHz. Something to bear in mind though is that all of the other models can be overclocked to this level and above in many cases – My Gaming G1 does over 2Ghz without a problem. There are some reports that the APM! Extreme can get as high as 2130Mhz on a manual overclock which is around 10Mhz to 30Mhz faster than other models. In real world tests with actual games it means very little, actually it means nothing

Warning: There are wide spread reports that the AMP! Extreme has issues where the fans on the card will be forced to rev when the GPU isn’t under load. Doesn’t sound like a problem (pardon the pun), but the issues comes from a technical issue where the fans are unable to sustain any speed at lower RPMs (suggested to be around 800 to 900RPM) and will force the fan to actually stop. Some reviewers have confused this with an actual fanstop feature. This results in the card increasing it’s temp, forcing the fans to come on at a higher RPM and then tailing off again until it hits around the 900RPM range when the fan stops again – until its heats right back up again.

What this does is cause an audible rev noise from your system which may or may not bug the crap out of you!

Unfortunately during my research I have found many unhappy Zotac AMP! Extreme owners who are complaining of the fan issue and lack of support and updates from customer service. The last update I have been able to find from Zotac was in 2016. One person has complained that his 980Ti had the exact same issue! You can read comments from some upset owners here.

Which One Should You Buy?

So, after all of the above you should now be more equipped to answer which GTX 1080 is best for you. Just buy the specific card you want at a price your happy with, your golden with that advice.

Needless to say this question is asked a lot as well all want to make sure our gaming PCs are running the best hardware we can afford, especially when building for 4K or VR. No matter which model you choose you are sorted for both VR and 4K. Well actually for 4K I would suggest the looking through my GTX 1080 Ti guide, as the Ti model will boss almost any game at 4K in 2018.

As always be sure to let me know which one you have bought and the price you bought for. Also, if you see any deals be sure to shout them out in the comments below for fellow buyers.

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