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Hands On: AORUS GTX 1080 GPU

AORUS is really upping their game.

For those of you who haven’t heard of AORUS yet, know that they are the luxury, high-end gaming division of GIGABYTE, essentially taking over Xtreme Gaming duty. For a while they were only making gaming laptops (that we really liked), but they’ve since branched into high-end motherboards (which we also really liked), peripherals like headsets and mice, and now the gamiest thing of all: graphics cards.

We had the opportunity to use the AORUS GTX 1080 Xtreme edition in a GIGABYTE build, and we were excited to see if this new contender has the chops to stand toe-to-toe with the other high-end graphics cards.

Check out GIGABYTE creating this monster gaming rig -

You can pick up the AORUS GTX 1080 Xtreme here for $670.

Reborn

For those of you familiar with GIGABYTE’s previous high-end card, the Xtreme Gaming 1080, there aren’t a lot of surprises here from a design perspective. The previous logo has obviously been replaced by the AORUS eagle head, but the orange and metal accents are preserved, and the overall design is quite similar. It was a good-looking card then, and the same is true now.

There are a few cosmetic changes, however. AORUS kept the signature X over the center fan, but now it’s emblazoned with LEDs to match the logo on the side of the card and the large eagle head on the back of the PCB. All the LEDs are fully controllable with the AORUS Engine Utility, so if you like lights, you should be satisfied.

As for the software, it’s remarkably clean. It allows you to overclock and monitor fan temperatures – pretty much all the things you’d expect high-end GPU software to do. That the LED control is bundled in the same utility is definitely a plus, and the fact the UI is straightforward is icing on the cake.

Large and in Charge

Be aware that this card is freakin’ big. We’re talking three slots, and if you’re interested in running more than one you better have a seriously large case. It’s very wide, but the length isn’t particularly out of the norm at eleven and a half inches.

Another change is the addition of a copper plate on the underside of the PCB near the large LED AORUS logo. They claim this helps with cooling – and the backplate does get toasty when gaming – but the actual performance benefits are a topic of debate.

Speaking of cooling, AORUS is sticking with GIGABYTE’s Windforce stack cooling triple 100mm fans for heat dissipation. These fans only run when they need to – like most modern cards, they are idle when the GPU is cool enough not to need them. This preserves the life of the fans, as well as reducing noise when the GPU is not under pressure.

From the Front to the Back

One of the coolest things about the GIGABYTE 1080 is the front facing HDMI outputs. AORUS kept those on this card, and that’s great news. This is awesome for VR enthusiasts; if you run a cable through the front of your case there’s no more having to worry about fumbling with Vive cables in the back of your build.

This means more outputs, too – with three HDMI, three DisplayPort, and a DVI out, you’re looking at the capability of seven displays running at once. Not sure when you would need that, but the point is that you CAN. And that’s awesome.

The Numbers

As far as actual numbers go, we’re looking at virtually identical performance to the previous GIGABYTE card. There are some small variations but, remember, this is essentially the same 1080 as before. That’s certainly not a bad thing when the performance is this good.

This 1080 has 8GB of 256-Bit GDDR5X RAM. The Core Clock speed is 1784 MHz in OC mode, and a boost clock speed of 1936 MHz, putting it head to head with ASUS’s Strix 1080. At the end of the day, you know what you’re getting with a 1080, and this one is no exception.

Shiny New Branding

This card is the bridge from GIGABYTE to AORUS. It’s essentially a rehashing of the last 1080, but the rebranding is starting to take effect. It makes sense to lead with their best foot forward, and this card is definitely at the top of the game.

AORUS is putting out some seriously high-quality stuff between the motherboards and laptops, and this high performance GPU is a wonderful addition. Call it GIGABYTE or call it AORUS, it’s still an awesome card, and we’re looking forward to testing the inevitable Ti version.