Reviewed: MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X

When testing the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X in general gameplay, we had both FRAPS and the GeForce Experience counter running so we could see the frame rate for reference when needed but also to note any material variations. The methodology is to play the game and note the typical FPS, any rendering issues, look for stutter and also keep an eye out for imperfections around colour or missing textures that impede the immersion.

These tests are subjective, less reproducible and much more prone to variation so the results are not compared to other cards. This is a good representation of my experience with the review sample and what you should expect if you went out and bought this card.

All observations were made on the test system used for benchmarks connected via DisplayPort and running at a resolution of 2560×1440/144Hz unless specifically noted in the comments.

First Person Shooters

The Division

Played on Ultra Settings with V-Sync turned off. The reflections, fog, snow and smoke all added to the ambience without killing the gameplay. Frame rates were consistent with the benchmark results of around the 75 FPS mark.

blops3COD: Black Ops 3

Black Ops 3 was consistently 80-85 with all settings maxed out. The gameplay felt really smooth and crisp.

Battlefield 4 cover art
Battlefield 4

BF4 set to Ultra at 2560×1440 was the smoothest we have ever seen.  Typical frame rates were between 110 and 130 FPS with an average indicative frame rate in our game play of around the 122 FPS. In some areas we saw frame rates of up to 148FPS. 

Far Cry 4 box art
Far Cry 4

At ultra settings, we saw a range of about 88-104 with the majority of gameplay giving us a more typical range of 90-95. 

Role Playing Games


Elder Scrolls Online cover
Elder Scrolls Online

ESO was interesting and underwhelming in that the frame rates were only marginally higher than the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G. Being an online game with a crappy Australian ping, variable in-game weather and inconsistent player activity, this is one of the most subjective games to try and test.

We saw results of 75FPS outside and over 100FPS inside as general indicative frame rates. There were periods of better frame rates and the occasional dips as well which indicated that there was more than just the GPU grunt determining the results.



The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3 punishes graphics cards in a big way. Well, it punishes “other” graphics cards in a big way. The GTX 1080 literally made this feel like a new game to me and I was loving the experience of playing Witcher 3 at 2650×1440 on the Ultra pre-set and seeing 60-65FPS.

I ended up switching from the XL2730Z 144Hz TN panel to a 27″ 1440p IPS 60 Hz display and really enjoying the colours and smoothness of the experience.

Fallout 4 cover art
Fallout 4

Fallout 4 has a drab colour palate but the textures and lighting are still something special. We enjoyed seeing the God Rays set to their highest and the other settings at the Ultra pre-set at 2560×1440 smashing out 88-121 FPS with a regular reading of 98FPS.


The newer XCOM 2 title has a lot of cut-scenes in it but the gameplay areas yielded a typical frame rate of 60-65 with the graphics settings to the highest pre-set.

The GTX 1080 gave a new lease on life to many recent and older titles, allowing us to play them at 1440p with smooth frame rates and all the eye-candy enabled, the way the developers intended them to be played. We switched the display between the fast XL2730Z display and a 60Hz IPS panel with superior colour reproduction and really appreciated the experience that the MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X delivers. 

The acoustic profile of the Twin Frozr VI cooler is also worth noting – it doesn’t distract from the game being played and was almost silent when gaming. The test bench just pumped out the frames making barely any noise, when installed in the Fractal Design Define R5 case, the result was as close to silent gaming as I’ve experienced – there was a little noise but it wasn’t obvious and we had to make a conscious effort to pick it out of the ambient room noise. The Define R5 isn’t a typical case in that it has sound dampening material and some very quiet fans but it does go to show what you can create if a super quiet rig is your goal.

This also raises the question of value – how much is a card worth if it makes you enjoy some of your previously played titles all over again? This will of course depend on your titles and the graphics card that you are upgrading from but we found the move from a GTX 980 on the test bench to the GTX 1080 (both MSI Gaming cards) to be a significant upgrade generally speaking.


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