MSI 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio Review. We’re going to check out the 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio graphics card from MSI. We’ll find out how it performs in a number of game benchmarks at 1080p, 1440p, and 4k, as well as find out how hot and loud it gets under full load, and finally decide if it’s worth buying for the price. Inside the box we’ve got the graphics card itself, a 6 to 8 pin power adapter, and a bracket for mounting the card inside a case.
Let’s take a quick look at the card itself starting with the front. There’s three fans featuring the MSI logo with a grey and red theme, and while running the red parts light up with red LEDs. On the back there’s a full black backplate with the MSI logo as well as some ventilation holes. Along the top there’s two 8-pin power connectors and the SLI connectors. There’s also an RGB lighting strip and the MSI letters also light up, more on this soon.
On the rear of the card we can see that it takes up two and a half PCIe slots, and features two DisplayPort 1.4 ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a DVI-D port. Underneath and towards the end of the card we can see just how large the heatsink is, and we’ll see how well it keeps things cool in the benchmarks. The dimensions of the card are 325mm by 140mm by 48mm, and it weighs just under 1.5kg, so it’s fairly beefy.
My motherboard has a reinforced PCIe slot and even with the card screwed in tightly it still droops down a little. MSI do include a bracket to help hold it in place, however I only found this made a small difference and still didn’t keep it fully straight so I didn’t use it for very long. The lighting can be adjusted through MSI’s Mystic Light Sync software. This lets us change the effects of the red lights on the front, or turn them off completely.
Unfortunately you can’t change the colour of these, however I didn’t really notice them with the card installed facing down in my case anyway, colour matching may be more of an issue if you mount your card some other way. There are more options available for the lighting bar on the top of the card, you can customly set individual colours, change the brightness, and there are a few different effects ready to use which you can also adjust the speed of.
As for the specs like other 1080 Ti’s the card has 3,584 CUDA cores, an 11GHz memory clock with 11GB of GDDR5X memory, and here are the clock speeds that can be set through the MSI gaming app. I’ve performed all my testing with the default gaming mode option, and while manually overclocking with MSI Afterburner the card averaged a 2GHz core clock. This wasn’t much higher than what it was boosting too anyway, and I didn’t find it to make enough practical difference to justify redoing all of the benchmarks again as the results were within margin of error ranges. It was already performing really good straight out of the box.
MSI recommend a 600 watt power supply, and advise the card will draw 250 watts. The system that I’m testing in has an Intel 8700K overclocked to 5.1GHz. I’m using the best CPU that I can for gaming in order to reduce it being a limiting factor in the benchmarks. The system also has 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 2,666MHz, and is running Windows 10 with all updates to date applied along with Nvidia’s 388.43 drivers.
With all that in mind let’s take a look at the benchmark results! First let’s start with Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, keep in mind that this game is difficult to benchmark and the frame rate can vary greatly based on what’s going on in the game. This game maxes out at 144 FPS, which we’re seeing at the low and very low settings. Even at ultra you’d probably still be happily running this on a 120Hz panel. At 1440p the results at the lower setting levels are fairly similar, high and ultra settings take the largest hit here, but we’re still getting pretty nice results for this game. 4K is where things start to go down hill for PUBG, this can be a resource intensive game even for the 8700k and 1080ti combo, although to be fair while actually playing I didn’t notice any problems, the 1% lows aren’t too far behind the averages here.
Shadow of war at 1080p averages over 120 FPS at ultra settings, so if you’re using a high refresh rate panel the 1080 Ti can deliver the frames required at this resolution. At 1440p we take a little step back, but the results are still pretty impressive, you could still get close to the 120 FPS mark at high settings if you want, otherwise the game still felt nice and smooth on ultra settings at 90 FPS. At 4K on higher settings things go back quite a bit further, if you’re looking for at least 60 FPS you’ll probably need to stick to high settings or below, which probably isn’t an issue, the game still looks great on high at 4K.
In the Witcher 3 at 1080p we’re again seeing the 1080 Ti being capable of pushing near 120 FPS at maximum settings, giving us no real reason to run on any lower settings. At 1440p we need to drop down to high settings if we want to maintain the 120 FPS frame rate, while at 4K on ultra settings we’re hovering around 60 FPS which is great as many 4K displays today don’t support higher than this anyway, so again in most cases there’s no real reasons to not run on max settings at 4K with the 1080 Ti, really impressive.
As for Watchdogs 2 at 1080p I was impressed with the results, I mostly benchmark this game on laptops and it’s fairly resource intensive, so I was surprised to see above 90 FPS at max settings here. Even at 1440p we’re still getting above 60 FPS, which for this game I think is plenty, sure it won’t be incredibly smooth if you’ve got a high refresh rate display, but it still played great and you can always drop the settings down a bit for that if you want. At 4K it still felt acceptable at max settings which I found surprising, but you’ll want to drop down to high or lower if that 60 FPS number is important to you.
In rise of the tomb raider at 1080p we’re seeing really high frame rates at max settings under DX11, usually we see higher frame rates with DX12 here but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to fully test. Even at 1440p the 1080 Ti is still smashing out over 120 FPS at max settings, this thing is a serious beast. At 4K we’re once again above 60 FPS at max settings which is awesome to see.
Ghost recon is another of those intensive games, we can see this in the ultra 1080p result which is the lowest out of all games tested, however it still ran pretty good, above 60 FPS even in the 1% lows. At 1440p the average on ultra is still just hanging in at 60 FPS, and again you get a fairly big jump even going back just one setting level if you’re after higher frame rates. At 4K you’ll want to run at around high to get that 60 FPS average, even the 1080 Ti is struggling at max settings here, as mentioned this game just eats up all resources.
In doom at 1080p we started hitting the 200 FPS cap a few times at the lower settings levels, either way you’re getting really high FPS at any level of settings. It’s a similar story at 1440p, even the 1% lows at max settings are above 120 FPS so you’ll always be getting a nice smooth experience. Even 4K isn’t doing too bad, we’re above 60 FPS for the 1% lows at max settings so you can pretty much just play maxed out on a 4K 60Hz panel no problems.
Ashes of the singularity is another one of those games that needs all the resources it can get, at 1080p we’re getting really good results for this game, while at 1440p this drops back a little but again we’re still getting nice performance here. I was surprised when the 4K tests came back above 60 FPS on average, I’ve not personally seen that before in this game so that was pretty impressive.
So we can see the card is performing very nicely, but how hot is it getting while in use? With an ambient room temperature of 22 degrees celcius it was idling at 37c, and while under full load it never passed 68c which I found pretty impressive for such a powerful card, especially considering that the fans didn’t get very loud either. MSI say that the fans don’t even need to start spinning until it hits 60c, and in my own testing they didn’t start up until 63c which is pretty crazy! Here’s what the backplate looked like at idle using a thermal camera, we can see that it warms up quite a bit and gets fairly hot to the touch under full load.
At idle, so while the fans on the card weren’t even moving the entire system volume was around 45 decibels, and here’s what that sounded like. While under full load it rose around half a decibel or so, and here’s what that sounded like. That’s pretty impressive, there’s hardly any difference between idle and 100% GPU utilization after over half an hour of testing.
To put that in perspective, if I manually max out the fans on the graphics card it increased to 53db which was a bit more noticable and sounded like this. With the fans manually maxed out the temps never passed 52c at full load, so you can go cooler if you don’t mind the increased noise. It’s important to note that I have a fair few other fans in the system, so these results are only useful for comparing against each other here.
Additionally the temperatures and therefore sounds will increase depending on the temperature of the room it’s being run in, we’ve just entered summer here so I’m pretty happy with these results. For around $1,349 AUD here in Australia at the time of recording, or $819 USD internationally this card isn’t cheap, however it’s also not the most expensive 1080 Ti available. I haven’t yet been able to personally test any other 1080 TI’s to compare it with, but from what I’ve seen you’re paying the extra here to get the quieter and cooler running card.
Overall I think the Trio performs very well, and for the price you’d expect that. The Trio was able to run plenty of modern games at 4K 60 FPS with max settings, and while not for everyone and possibly even overkill depending on your situation you’d be looking at something like this for 4K 60Hz gaming or even 1440p or 1080p 144Hz or 120Hz. So if you can afford it and you want a no compromises gaming experience MSI’s 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio looks like a solid choice.
So what did you guys think of the Gaming X Trio graphics card? Be sure to let me know your thoughts down in the comments, and leave a share on the post if you found it useful. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe for future tech reviews like this one.