It feels as if it were only yesterday that Nvidia’s Pascal GPUs were the latest and greatest that the leading GPU manufacturer had to offer, and the GTX 1080 was on top of that hierarchy. Today, not only had it already been superseded by the GTX 1080 Ti the year following its release but now the new Turing-based RTX cards are ready to take the crown.

Now, while it may no longer be the very best, the GTX 1080 is still a viable choice in 2018, even with the GTX 1070 Ti and 1080 Ti in the equation. It is more than capable of taking on 1440p, and can even handle 4K in most cases.

The 4 Best GTX 1080 Graphics Cards For 2018

Without further ado, here are several of the very best GTX 1080 models that you can get in 2018!

ModelCoolingConnectivity 
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 MiniDual-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x DVI
ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! EditionDual-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x DVI
MSI Armor GeForce GTX 1080Dual-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x DVI
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 GamingTriple-fan3x DP
1x HDMI
1x DVI

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 Mini

best gtx 1080 2019

About the Graphics Card

As usual, we start this list off with a card from Zotac, and if you thought that there was a card which they wouldn’t have a compact variant of, you’d be wrong. They have successfully packed the mighty GTX 1080 into a modest frame, the result being the Zotac GTX 1080 Mini.

Usually, cards designed for Mini ITX cases tend to be a bit cheaper than their full-sized counterparts and they also tend to utilize only one fan. Neither is the case with this one, though – the GTX 1080 Mini is not significantly cheaper than other models, and it utilizes two fans. This is not very surprising, of course, considering that this was 2016’s flagship GPU.

best 1080

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1620 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1759 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x Dual-Link DVI-D

TDP180W
Recommended PSU500W

Our Thoughts

At first glance, this Zotac GTX 1080 doesn’t look bad at all, no surprise there. The exterior is quite basic, which is to be expected since manufacturers tend to cut some corners here with the small form factor graphics cards. However, this is still a premium-quality card, and it comes complete with a sleek metal backplate.

Performance-wise, the card doesn’t lag too much behind its full-sized counterparts, as the dual Icestorm fans do an admirable job of keeping the card cool. However, since it is only two fans and a modest heatsink we’re talking about, it does get loud under heavy loads and, needless to say, it is not the ideal model for overclocking.

At the end of the day, this is the ideal GTX 1080 for those looking to build a Mini ITX gaming PC or use the card in an external GPU enclosure.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if37tUQbpB4

What We Loved

  • Extremely compact
  • Decent performance

What We Didn’t Like

  • Fans get loud under load
  • Limited overclocking potential

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Edition

best geforce 1080

About the Graphics Card

The following model also comes from Zotac, although it is a more serious, full-sized graphics card: the Zotac GTX 1080 AMP! Edition. This model shares many similarities with the above ‘mini’ variant, boasting a similar exterior design, dual-fan cooling, and a premium-quality build.

A new addition with this model is Spectra LED lighting on the front, as well as the signature Zotac yellow highlight on the backplate.

best gtx 1080 model

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1683 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1822 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x Dual-Link DVI-D

TDP230W
Recommended PSU500W

Our Thoughts

The AMP! Edition GTX 1080 from Zotac is pretty much everything that you’d expect from a card such as this. It offers great performance, solid overclocking capacity, and the LED lighting provides that extra flair that seems to be unavoidable with high-end gaming products today, although it is not real RGB, coming with only 7 colors to choose from.

Our only real qualm with this card is the yellow stripe on the backplate. While we definitely like it, others might not, and yellow is hardly a neutral color. That said, we would have preferred having an RGB stripe on the back instead, and if not that, then simply a regular grey backplate that would blend more easily with other components.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9IFSvmMwDA

What We Loved

  • Great performance
  • Quality build
  • LED lighting on the front

What We Didn’t Like

  • Non-neutral backplate design
  • No RGB

MSI Armor GeForce GTX 1080

which gtx 1080 to buy

About the Graphics Card

Another manufacturer that is simply unavoidable in any component talk is MSI, and their MSI Gaming-series graphics cards always seem to find their way into our buying guides. However, this time around, we’ve opted to go with a more modest MSI Armor solution instead.

The MSI Armor GTX 1080 lacks the bombast and aggressive gaming-oriented design of the manufacturer’s more popular line of graphics cards, but it is a gaming graphics card nonetheless. It employs a simple black and white exterior, and is cooled by dual Torx fans.

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1657 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1797 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x Dual-Link DVI-D

TDP180W
Recommended PSU500W

Our Thoughts

Ultimately, the key area where the MSI Armor GTX 1080 excels is the pricing. It is one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest models available at the moment, and that is definitely something worth mentioning. It doesn’t disappoint in the performance department either, as the dual Torx fans do their job well, and it is capable of hitting decent clock speeds when overclocked.

1080 graphics card

But of course, considering the price, there was inevitably some corner-cutting involved. In this case, it was obviously the design. The card’s simple black and white exterior look and feels a tad cheap, definitely not something that you’d expect from a high-end GPU. Of course, there’s no backplate either.

In any case, if you’re looking for a bargain on a GTX 1080, we can’t think of a better model than this one. Sadly, there’s no denying that it just isn’t the best-looking GTX 1080 out there, so if you consider that an important factor, too, then best look to another model.

What We Loved

  • Solid performance
  • Highly affordable

What We Didn’t Like

  • Design feels a bit cheap
  • No backplate

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 G1 Gaming

best 1080 gtx

About the Graphics Card

And finally, we have a graphics card from Gigabyte, and it’s a good one: the Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming. Like most Gigabyte cards, it is characterized by a black exterior with orange stripes, a sleek metal backplate, and striped Windforce fans. As is to be expected, RGB lighting is present, too, although it is limited to the Gigabyte logo and the ‘fan stop’ sign on the side of the card.

Specifications

Base Clock Speed1695 MHz
Boost Clock Speed1860 MHz
Connectivity3x DisplayPort 1.4

1x HDMI 2.0

1x Dual-Link DVI-D

TDP180W
Recommended PSU500W

Our Thoughts

Needless to say, this is the best-performing GTX 1080 on this list, and one of the best-performing models that are available right now. This is, naturally, in no small part due to triple-fan cooling. Furthermore, while it is the priciest card on this list, it is actually not that expensive when compared to some other GPUs that rival it in terms of performance.

Our chief issue with the Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming is its sheer size, the same issue we often see with triple-fan graphics cards. Because of this, you will have a harder time fitting it in smaller cases, though this is unlikely to be a problem for anyone with a regular ATX case.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1YOJOxCDIk

What We Loved

  • Quality build
  • High clock speeds

What We Didn’t Like

  • Cooling not as efficient in SLI
  • Louds fans at high speeds

The Best GTX 1080 for 2018 – Our Pick

best gtx 1080 card

And now, which of the above-described models would we choose as the very best one for 2018?

Well, our pick would have to be the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1080 AMP! Edition. All things considered, it simply offers the best value for your money, bringing great performance at a relatively low price point. Sure, it may not be the cheapest GTX 1080 out there, but when we consider the performance and the build quality, as well as the design and LED lighting, it makes for a very appealing choice.

But that is only our pick. If you’re looking for the cheapest variant possible, the MSI Armor version is the obvious go-to solution. The Zotac Mini remains the best choices for small form factor cases and the Gigabyte G1 Gaming model is left as the performance-oriented variant for those who want to overclock their GTX 1080 to the maximum possible effect.

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