EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING Review

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These days, who doesn’t like water cooled computer parts? It’s a good thing too, EVGA’s latest version of the flagship NVIDIA GTX 1080 has a built-in AIO cooler. Coming in with a hefty overclock and the FTW PCB, this should be a real contender on the performance side as well. What do you say we strap it to the bench and put the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING through the paces?

Specifications and Features

The 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING can support a maximum of four displays, a max resolution of 7680 x 4320, and sports three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b, and one DL-DVI-D for connectivity. The 1080 has a power grid sipping 150 W TDP!

These specifications are taken from the EVGA 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING website:

EVGA 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING Specs
Graphics Processing Unit NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
Interface PCI Express x16 3.0
Memory Type GDDR5X
Memory Size (MB) 8192
Memory Interface 256-bit
Boost / Base Core Clock (MHz) 1721 MHz / 1860 MHz
Memory Clock (MHz) 10,000 MHz
Maximum Displays Four; Max Resolution 7680×4320 @ 60 Hz
Video Outputs DVI-D, 3x DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0b
Multi-GPU Technology 2-Way SLI
Power Consumption (W) 150 W TDP, 215 W Max Draw
Power Connectors 2x 8-pin
HDCP / HDMI / DL-DVI Support Yes (all three)
DirectX / OpenGL Version Support DirectX 12 / OpenGL 4.5
Card Dimensions (mm, in) 266.7 x 128.626 mm (10.5″ x 5.064″)

Below is a look at several features from the EVGA website. As we know from the review title, EVGA has included the HYBRID cooler on this graphics card. This is a built-in AIO cooler to bring increased cooling performance over what is possible with a traditional heatsink, while keeping quieter as well. The FTW PCB is used here with its 10-phase VRM design, quite an improvement over the NVIDIA reference design, which really allows the silicon underneath the AIO to stretch its legs.

On top of this there’s a second BIOS onboard for those who wish to try their hand at pushing the overclock even further. There’s also an RGB LED that can be controlled in the new Precision XOC software. This ensures your new GPU can blend in, no matter your build colors. EVGA was also nice enough to provide a fan connector that is easily accessible for those of us who might wish to change the radiator fan.

See these features and more at the EVGA 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING website:

EVGA 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING Features
Hybrid “All-in-One” Watercooler Remove brackets to increase airflow or easily pass water cooling tubes.
EVGA Double BIOS

A secondary BIOS allows you to experiment with custom BIOSes without risk of breaking the card, and allows easy BIOS recovery with just the flip of a switch. Also, on select cards the secondary BIOS may unlock additional overclocking potential and/or improved fanspeed control!

VR Ready

Discover next-generation VR performance, the lowest latency, and plug-and-play compatibility with leading headsets-driven by NVIDIA VRWorks technologies.

NVIDIA SLI w/ HB Bridge Support NVIDIA’s new SLI HB bridge doubles the available transfer bandwidth compared to the NVIDIA Maxwell architecture.
NVIDIA GameStream Stream extreme GeForce GTX PC gaming experiences to portable device like NVIDIA SHIELD with super-smooth, low-latency performance.
NVIDIA G-SYNC

NVIDIA G-SYNC monitors feature revolutionary NVIDIA technology that eliminates screen tearing while also reducing input lag. The result is the smoothest, fastest, and most responsive gaming experience ever seen.

Simultaneous Multi-Projection Simulates separate viewports of the same scene giving improved performance in VR and improved display accuracy in NVIDIA Surround
NVIDIA GPU Boost 3.0 Dynamically maximizes clock speeds based on workload and allows enthusiast-class controls such as temperature target and fan controls, extra over-voltage headroom, and optimizations for water-cooling solutions. This allows gamers to push performance to new levels.
10 Phase Power Design Robust power design for extreme overclocking.
Adjustable RGB LED An adjustable RGB LED that can be controlled in EVGA PrecisionX OC
Built for EVGA Precision XOC This new version of Precision is built for the NVIDIA Pascal architecture and combines the best of EVGA Precision and EVGA OC Scanner to give you never before seen overclocking features and built in automatic tuning.

GPU-Z

Below is our gratuitous picture of what GPU-Z looks like when it’s reading from the card. We can see the process shrink to 19 nm with the die size coming in at 314 mm squared. This die has 7.2 billion transistors. The core has 64 ROPs and 160 TMUs on the back end of 2560 shaders. With the clock speeds, this yields a 110.1 GPixel/s and 275.4 GTexel/s throughput. As you will also note below, the card, by default comes in at 1721 MHz clocks, a nice OC from the NVIDIA reference speed of 1607 MHz. Boost clocks are, by default, 1860 MHz which is again a nice gain from the reference speed of 1733 MHz, but we all know the actual boost clock is what counts. Memory is clocked in at 10,000 MHz which is the NVIDIA reference.

GPUz v1.11.0 Screenshot

GPUz v1.11.0 Screenshot

Photo Op – Retail Packaging and Accessories

The retail packaging for the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING is predominantly black and green. The outside is almost barren. Actually, there’s very little to be found. On the front it states “EVGA” along with the GPU model and “HYBRID”. The only feature noted here is the “GEFORCE GTX VRREADY” logo. On the rear is EVGA’s contact information, nothing else worthy of mentioning. Inside is an inner black box with a huge, white EVGA logo. The card is also kept in an electrostatic discharge bag and nestled in a foam casing.

Retail Packaging - Front

Retail Packaging – Front

Retail Packaging - Rear

Retail Packaging – Rear

Retail Packaging - Inner

Retail Packaging – Inner

Retail Packaging - Padding

Retail Packaging – Padding

The included accessories are two 2×6-pin PCIe to 8-pin PCIe power cables, some hook and loop tie wraps along with a few zip ties for cable management, and the radiator screws. Not pictured are the manuals and poster. It’s really all you need to get going!

Power Connectors and Cable Management

Power Connectors and Cable Management

A Closer Look – Meet the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING

As mentioned earlier, the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING has RGB LED’s to blend in with your build. Otherwise, everything is silver or black, very color scheme agnostic here. I like it.

On the front of the card we see what looks to be similar to a traditional blower style heatsink. This fan moves air across the VRM, VRAM, and AIO pump. There is of course a single 120 mm radiator here with one of EVGA’s fans strapped to it as well.

Turning the card over, we see the included backplate. This of course provides both a structural and aesthetic benefit. I’m not sure if there is a thermal benefit, more on that in a minute. On the backplate we see the EVGA logo cut out and the words “GEFORCE GTX 1080” printed on it.

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING - Front

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING – Front

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING - Back

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING – Back

Looking back to the rear IO area we find three DisplayPort 1.4, one HDMI 2.0b, and one DL-DVI-D connections. Standard connectivity for the GTX 1080! It probably won’t be too long until we stop seeing DVI connections and only have HDMI and DisplayPort back here.

There’s more of an angled view of the card (man, this radiator makes it unwieldy to get good pictures!!) where we can see the edge which would face a case window. The EVGA and HYBRID logos are seen, of course these light up with the RGB LED’s. There are also two mandatory 8-pin PCIe power connections on the right corner.

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING - Outputs

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING – Outputs

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING - Top

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING – Top

Here’s a close-up look at the fins of the radiator. By my measurement they’re packed in at approximately 22 fins per inch. Overall the radiator measures roughly 150mm x 120mm x 26mm without a fan. The fan itself is 120mm x 120mm x 25mm. The end of the radiator with the tubes connected protrudes 18mm past the edge of the fan. The tubes running to the radiator from the card are about 13 inches long.

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING - Radiator

EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING – Radiator

Below are a few pictures of the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING with the RGB LED’s in full force, these can be configured in the Precision XOC software.

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NOTE: Currently, I cannot disassemble this GPU. There are a few screws stripped out hindering teardown. This is very unlike EVGA’s typical quality control. We reached out to our contact about the concern, but have yet to receive a reply.

Monitoring/Overclocking Software – EVGA Precision XOC

EVGA has long used their Precision X software for overclocking GPU’s, but this generation dawns a new day with Precision XOC. This software was produced specifically for use with Pascal based NVIDIA GPU’s, it does this very well. With a familiar look and compatibility with the new generation of cards, it’s a winner in my book.

EVGA Precision XOC v6.0.6 Screenshot

EVGA Precision XOC v6.0.6 Screenshot

Test Setup

Test Setup
CPU Intel 6700K @ Stock (for the motherboard – 4.0 boost to 4.2 GHz)
Cooler CoolerMaster Glacer 240L
Motherboard ASRock Z170 Extreme7+
RAM 4×4GB DDR4 GSKILL RipJaws4 @ 3000 MHz 15-15-15-35 2T 1.35 V
Graphics Card EVGA 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING
Stock: 1721 MHz, Boost 1860 MHz (actual 2012 MHz) Core / 1251 MHz Memory
Overclocked: 1866 MHz, Boost 2005 Mhz (actual 2164 MHz) Core / 1376 MHz Memory
Solid State Drive Samsung 850 Pro 256 GB
Power Supply EVGA SuperNova G2 850 W
Operating System Windows 10 x64
Graphics Driver 372.90

Other cards used for comparison are as follows (links are to their reviews):

Benchmarking Method/Settings

Note, all testing below uses 1920×1080 screen resolution. (Settings also carry over to 2560 x 1440 (1440p), 3840 x 2160 (2160p / 4K UHD), and/or Surround where applicable)

All synthetic benchmarks were at their default settings, with game benchmarks at noted settings:

  • 3DMark Fire Strike – Extreme, default setting.
  • 3DMark Time Spy – Default
  • Unigine Valley Benchmark v1.0 – 1080p, DX11, Ultra Quality, 8x AA, Full Screen
  • Unigine Heaven (HWbot) – Extreme setting
  • Crysis 3 – Very High settings with 8xMSAA/16xAF (2nd level when you procure and use the Crossbow to get across the level and kill the Helicopter)
  • Metro:LL – DX11, Very High, 16xAF, Motion Blur – Normal, SSAA Enabled, DX11 Tessellation – Very High, Advanced PhysX – Disabled, Scene D6
  • DiRT: Rally – 1080p, 8x MSAA, everything on Ultra that can be, enable Advanced Blending
  • Grand Theft Auto V – 1080p, high settings (see article below for details).
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor – 1080p, everything Ultra that can be (Lighting quality High), FXAA and Camera + Object Blur, DOF/OIT/Tessellation enabled.
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider – 1080p, SSAA 4X, VSync Off, DirectX 12 On, Very High Preset
  • The Division – 1080p, Ultra Preset, VSync Off
  • Far Cry: Primal – 1080p, Ultra Preset, VSync Off
  • Ashes of the Singularity – 1080p, DX12, Crazy Preset
  • More detail is in our article: Overclockers.com GPU Testing Procedures

Synthetic Benchmarks

To start our results section we’ll go through synthetics first. 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme and 3DMark Time Spy are the first two benchmarks up. Here we see the HYBRID top the results, nudging out the MSI 1080 by as much as 3.4%, even without overclocking. Pushing the card we see anywhere from a 4.8-5.6% gain, not too shabby!

Moving on to the next two tests, HWBot Heaven Extreme and Unigine Valley, we see similar results to the 3DMark tests. The story is actually eerily identical. The HYBRID tops the other 1080 by 2.9% and 3.6% in these tests. Overclocking gained 4.5% or just a hair more!

3DMark and Unigine Results

3DMark and Unigine Results

1920 x 1080 Gaming Benchmark Results

Crysis 3, Metro: LL, and DiRT Rally 1080p Results

Crysis 3, Metro: LL, and DiRT Rally 1080p Results

GTA V, Middle Earth: SoM, and RotTR 1080p Results

GTA V, Middle Earth: SoM, and RotTR 1080p Results

The Division, FC: Primal, and AotS 1080p Results

The Division, FC: Primal, and AotS 1080p Results

2560 x 1440 Gaming Benchmark Results

Crysis 3, Metro: LL, and DiRT Rally 1440p Results

Crysis 3, Metro: LL, and DiRT Rally 1440p Results

GTA V, Middle Earth: SoM, and RotTR 1440p Results

GTA V, Middle Earth: SoM, and RotTR 1440p Results

The Division, FC: Primal, and AotS 1440p Results

The Division, FC: Primal, and AotS 1440p Results

3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) Gaming Benchmark Results

Crysis 3, Metro: LL, and DiRT Rally 2160p Results

Crysis 3, Metro: LL, and DiRT Rally 2160p Results

GTA V, Middle Earth: SoM, and RotTR 2160p Results

GTA V, Middle Earth: SoM, and RotTR 2160p Results

The Division, FC: Primal, and AotS 2160p Results

The Division, FC: Primal, and AotS 2160p Results

Gaming Benchmark Results Interpretations

NOTE: My results in Ashes of the Singularity should only be used to compare the HYBRID to itself, for some reason these results are skewed high. I spent over a week attempting to trace this issue down, even reinstalling the operating system, to no avail. This skew became more apparent as resolution climbed.

In the 1080p gaming results we find the HYBRID tops the range either by just a hair or by a fair margin over the MSI 1080 results. Overclocking had noticeable gains across the board, sometimes to the tune of more than 5%!

Looking next at the 1440p results we see the MSI 1080 squeeze ahead in Crysis 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, but the Crysis 3 result could simply be a minor inconsistency in testing as there is a human element involved. Rise of the Tomb Raider was only a 0.7 FPS (1.5%) differential. This was all without overclocking though, when cranked up the HYBRID pulls a decent margin in all testing. Here in the 1440p testing was the first time we saw any results under the magic 60 FPS number, but even so the lowest result was 43.8 FPS (46.3 FPS when overclocked) in Crysis 3. This was most definitely still playable at the highest settings possible for this brutal game.

Wrapping up with the 2160p results, there are only numbers here for the HYBRID. We’re working on our database of 2160p results currently. Even so, most of the games in our suite are playable (read: higher than 30 FPS) even at these max settings we use. The only ones which were in the sub-30 FPS range were Crysis 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, they’re simply brutal games and need to be turned down a tad at 2160p with a single GPU.

Temperatures and Power Consumption

The HYBRID cooler does its magic, that’s for sure. Even overclocked I never broke 38 °C in testing for temperatures. I’m sure this could climb some when in a case rather than on an open-air bench, but you should never have issues with high temperatures on this GPU. As expected, the AIO used here is incredibly quiet and produces a tone pleasing to the ears.

Temperature

Temperature

Even when overclocked the max power draw at the wall for the entire system was 384 W. Taking out PSU inefficiency (about 90% at this load level) we end up with the system components pulling approximately 345 W. Looking back at the results, my mind is blown. An overclocked system with an i7, two AIO’s, and a flagship GPU absolutely sips power these days. Even as recently as a year ago this number would have been at least 100 W higher for a lower performance system, great times we are in here folks.

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

Pushing the Limits

This card was rock stable at +160/+500 in Precision XOC, I might have been able to eek out another MHz or two, but this was just about all it had. Even so, with the CPU kicked up to 4.7 GHz and the cache at 4.1 GHz, Fire Strike Extreme ran again to get up to an overall score of 10768. This occurred at an actual boost of 2176 MHz.

2016-10-03 19_56_16-

Conclusion

EVGA has outdone themselves again. It’s quiet, powerful, overclocks well, and will run basically any game… at any settings… at any halfway reasonable resolution. The packaging kept the GPU nice and safe during transit, no thanks to UPS tossing it around, and the colors used here are build agnostic. RGB LED’s make sure you can use it with any scheme, though. It’s worth noting that this cooler is available for your 1070 or 1080 from EVGA as a separate kit, for $119.99.

My only gripe here is, most certainly, an isolated incident. I really wish we could have pulled this card apart to see what was under the hood (we know it uses an FTW PCB and an Asetek AIO though).

The EVGA GTX 1080 FTW HYBRID GAMING is currently on the EVGA website in “auto-notify” status at $729.99. It is also listed on Newegg, albeit sold out, at the same price. Regarding the price, considering the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW GAMING itself brings in an MSRP of $679.99, I would say the MSRP of the HYBRID is quite justified. You’re really only looking at a $50 price difference to jump to a water cooled graphics card. To sweeten the deal, EVGA is also offering a free “PowerLink” with registration of any GTX 10 series graphics card to help clean up cable management. I’m giving this one an Overclockers Approved!

ocapproved

Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

-Austin (ATMINSIDE)

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Discussion
  1. JrClocker
    For the new NVIDIA boost algorithm, every few degree core increase causes the frequency to drop. I don't remember the exact numbers.

    But it boils down to the GPU silicon lottery in the end.

    My 1080 FTW does 2100 MHz on air.

    My Titan X P did about 1900 MHz on the stock air cooler at 82 C. I modded an EVGA 1080 hybrid cooler into the card, and now it does 2075 to 2100 MHz at about 50 C. When the temp is below 50 C it gets closer to 2100 MHz...when it's about 50 C it gets closer to 2075 MHz.

    Sent from my iPhone using Overclockers


    So I wonder what the next step is to modify that algorithm. If the card is stable to 80C, I wonder if you can get it to hold that 2100mhz at say 60C. I wish I knew more about the programming side of the card to tinker with stuff like that. It'd be nice to have the card running 2100mhz all the time if you could keep the temps decent.
    For the new NVIDIA boost algorithm, every few degree core increase causes the frequency to drop. I don't remember the exact numbers.

    But it boils down to the GPU silicon lottery in the end.

    My 1080 FTW does 2100 MHz on air.

    My Titan X P did about 1900 MHz on the stock air cooler at 82 C. I modded an EVGA 1080 hybrid cooler into the card, and now it does 2075 to 2100 MHz at about 50 C. When the temp is below 50 C it gets closer to 2100 MHz...when it's about 50 C it gets closer to 2075 MHz.

    Sent from my iPhone using Overclockers
    Saul Goodman
    So when people say they are stable at 2100mhz on an air cooled 1080 they are probably lying and it's throttling? Legit question.


    No, not saying they're lying, but did you see the boost clock I was holding stable here?
    ATMINSIDE
    Temperature reduction plays greatly into the overclock on any 10XX GPU.


    So when people say they are stable at 2100mhz on an air cooled 1080 they are probably lying and it's throttling? Legit question.
    Saul Goodman
    Good points although I dare say that the OC potential is debatable.


    Temperature reduction plays greatly into the overclock on any 10XX GPU.
    JrClocker
    These kinds of cards:

    1. Allow you do direct the GPU exhaust heat where you want it (i.e. put the radiator where you want the heat to do)

    2. Are great for SLI configurations (don't have to worry about choked off airflow)

    3. Run much quieter than a traditional "blower" style cooler (which works best for SLI setups on air)

    4. Keep the GPU cooler to allow for more overclocking potential.

    Definitely a market for these.


    Good points although I dare say that the OC potential is debatable.
    These kinds of cards:

    1. Allow you do direct the GPU exhaust heat where you want it (i.e. put the radiator where you want the heat to do)

    2. Are great for SLI configurations (don't have to worry about choked off airflow)

    3. Run much quieter than a traditional "blower" style cooler (which works best for SLI setups on air)

    4. Keep the GPU cooler to allow for more overclocking potential.

    Definitely a market for these.
    Great review but I don't see the attraction of these cards on an architecture that is locked down on voltage (and possibly wouldn't gain from more more anyway)

    For example here in Australia a Gainward Phoenix that is basically silent on auto fan (1050rpm) is $900.

    That sort of card is $1200 for pretty much exactly the same gaming results and no noise. 38C during testing is ridiculously good, but it also shows that the water cooling is not necessary.
    Johan45
    Still looks like a sweet card regardless


    Absolutely! And I have no doubt from my past interactions with EVGA that this was an isolated incident.
    Nebulous
    Nice write-up Austin! A bummer about those screws. Hopefully EVGA will respond with something positive.


    Thanks Neb, time will hopefully tell!
    Robert17
    Well done Austin. I, obviously, enjoy the AIO cooling route & it's pleasing to see some of these cards coming out as kits. If/when EVGA responds regarding the stripped screws I'd be interested in seeing their response as well.


    Thanks Robert. I'm hoping they respond with some sort of fix so I can tear it down, get pics, and post a lengthy update here!
    Well done Austin. I, obviously, enjoy the AIO cooling route & it's pleasing to see some of these cards coming out as kits. If/when EVGA responds regarding the stripped screws I'd be interested in seeing their response as well.
    JrClocker
    Nice review Austin.

    I'm glad that EVGA went with the FTW PCB for this hybrid.


    I am as well. We all know these newer cards clock better the cooler they are and higher OC's demand cleaner power.
    Janus67
    Nice review Austin, that is one awesome card. That's strange about the stripped screws, I'm curious to hear what they have to say.


    It's a beast, no doubt there! I am as well, it was really a bummer to not be able to pull it apart and see the awesome VRM arrangement EVGA used.