MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio Preview
Published: 11th October 2017 | Source: MSI | Price: |
Up Close & Video
From the beginning MSI's GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio has been designed to offer enhanced cooling performance, with MSI reworking their heatsink design to offer increased surface area, offering an additional fan to provide increased airflow at lower fan speeds and a new heatpipe system that is said to maximise thermal dissipation.
To make a long story short MSI is taking cooling more seriously, applying changes to not just the GPU core but to the GPU's memory and power circuitry, enhancing their GPU's longevity while also allowing the GPU to run silently.
From a first glance, the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio is what you would get if you decided to mix some of MSI's Lightning magic into their standard GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X, offering a three fan cooler design that comes with a dense 2.5-slot cooler design.
In total MSI has 6 heatpipes inside this GPU, with squared ends to offer more dissipation area and to maximise thermal transfer to the edges of this GPUs finstack. The fins themselves offer a new "Waved-Curved cooling" design, which curves the blades in certain locations to offer more cooling surface area and effective fin density, allowing heat to be dissipated faster.
The Gaming X Trio obviously inherits its looks from MSI's Gaming X, coming with the company's standard dragon logo on its side and backplate while also coming with the same red cooler illumination on its underside that RGB fans love to hate. Please MSI, replace this with RGB elements, as the red highlights look awful when combined with lighting that isn't white or red.
Moving onto the power design of this GPU we can also see that this GPU is powered by two 8-pin PCIe power connections, which is an upgrade over Nvidia's reference GTX 1080 Ti design, which uses a single 8-pin and a 6-pin connection for power.
Looking closely we can also see that this GPU's cooler does not overhang the GPU's PCB from any side, apart from the additional length that the cooler's heatpipes protrude at the rear of the GPU. The rear fan also sits slightly past the edge of the GPU fin stack, showcasing how tightly pack this GPU's triple fan design is.
The clouded stripe and the dragon logo on the Gaming X Trio are illuminated by RGB LEDs, with the cooler's RGB effects being controllable using MSI's RGB Mystic Light software.
The Gaming X Trio will also come with a PCB that is taller and longer than Nvidia's reference GTX 1080 Ti, giving the GPU a much larger presence in most PC cases. This additional bulk gives this GPU a lot more surface area for cooling, which should help to make this GPU quieter under load.
Looking at this GPU from the PCIe side we can also see that there are dedicated VRM and memory cooling sections on the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio's cooler, which will again help to keep this GPU cool under sustained loads.
Looking at the rear I/O of this GPU we can see that MSI has gone down the same route as ASUS' Strix series and has decided to offer two HDMI ports and two DisplayPort outputs, whereas Nvidia's reference model comes with three DisplayPort connections and a single HDMI connection.
This design change allows this GPU to be used with an HDMI driven display and a VR headset like the HTC Vive, making this GPU ideal for a setup that is connected to a modern 4K television and a VR headset. Those that would prefer to connect three DisplayPort driven displays are out of luck here, though at lease users of older displays will be able to make use of the Gaming X Trio's DVI-D port (which is missing from Nvidia's reference GTX 1080 Ti).
With this new GPU model, MSI will also be giving users a "LAN Party Guard" for their GPUs, which should offer some additional support when transporting your system, as well as help to prevent GPU sag.
It is clear that MSI has placed a lot of effort into designing this GPU, which is a strange prospect given how long ago Nvidia's GTX 1080 Ti released.
MSI's design teams have worked hard to improve the thermal performance of this new model, offering more surface area for cooling, a new heatpipe design, an additional fan for increased airflow and even new thermal paste to optimise thermal transfers from the GPU core directly. To say the least, we are looking forward to seeing how well this GPU performs in our test rig, especially in the thermals/audio department.
We will be testing this GPU sometime over the next week or so, given how swamped the OC3D offices are after Intel's launch of Coffee Lake and Z370. If all goes well this GPU will be reviewed within the next week, so expect to hear more about MSI's GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio soon.