In the cut throat world of modern video cards the only constant is change. Even when looking at a time span best measured in months and not years this corner of the PC marketplace is always pushing the boundaries and redefining what it takes to be considered ‘enthusiast grade’. Not that long ago we took a look at what was easily one of the best, and arguably best, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti card (The MSI Lightning) and walked away impressed with what it could do. Now we can say with 100% confidence that MSI has already eclipsed that model and release a new card that is not only more powerful, even better looking, but also better performing. We are of course referring to none other than the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G.

On the surface that may sound like one bold claim as the Gaming X 8G resides is not even the top of the Gaming series, and yet the Lightning was indeed the best that MSI had to offer. Over the next few pages we will show you exactly how much has changed in just a few months and how much further your budget can take you.

intro - MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G

As the name suggests the MSI 1080 Gaming X 8G is a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 card and is part of MSI’s ‘Gaming’ series. The Gaming series has always been the yeoman of the MSI lineup, offering nearly all the abilities of their overclocking orientated series just without the increase price tag. This generation however, MSI has released not one, not two, but three MSI 1080 Gaming models. The base model Gaming, the middle of the pack Gaming X 8G, and the top of the line Gaming Z. As such the Gaming X 8G is best described as having nearly all the advantages of the Gaming Z but at a price that is more in-line with the Gaming 8G base model. To be precise a 1080 Gaming X 8G has an online asking price of $720, whereas the base model is $40 cheaper at $680, and the top of the series Gaming Z commands $770 – or fifty dollars more than the X.

The asking price alone makes the Gaming X 8G very intriguing to say the least, but that is just the tip of the ice-berg for this model. Going beyond that the Gaming X 8G offers the same LED equipped sixth generation Twin Frozr cooler, the same fans, the same Military Class 10-phase power delivery system, the same excellent backplate, and it is just the amount of overclocking that the factory does that differs. In the case of the Gaming X 8G that means the base clock is set to 1683, the boost is 1822Mhz, and the memory is overclocked to 10.1Ghz (effective). Or put another way 6.9% less upfront cost equates to only ~5 percent less factory overclocking than the Gamin Z (1771Mhz/1911Mhz/10.1GHz).

So how much performance can $720 (USD) buy you these days? Read on and we will show you precisely that… and answer the question on whether or not that fifty-dollar savings is really a savings or not!