ZOTAC has already produced many “mini” versions of 10th generation Nvidia’s graphics cards ranging from GTX 1050 mini all the way up to the GTX 1080Ti mini, without loss of much of the performance or dare I say any performance as you are going to see in this review of ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 1080Ti Mini.This review will try to specifically answer the question how it is better than its counterparts.
Starting with the architecture, the PCB is based upon the same pascal architecture as all the other 10th generation Nvidia’s graphics cards. The pascal architecture has enabled us to reach a much higher performance level compared to last gen’s Maxwell architecture. It contains 12 billion transistors with single-precision CUDA cores.
Using the revision A1 of GP 102-350 an the 16nm FinFET manufacturing process, this GPU allows more transistors to be used in making the CUDA cores thus enabling higher performance, lower power consumption and newer features like the next-gen VR experience. Lastly, the GDDR5X memory with improved bandwidth, speed and 352-bit memory interface that provides a 1.8x performance boost over the Maxwell architecture.
The graphics card has exactly same specifications as the Founder’s edition Nvidia GTX 1080Ti even with higher clock speeds and a smaller form factor. It has 3,584 CUDA cores with 224 Texture units. The GPU is running with the BASE clock of 1505 MHz,anda BOOST clock of 1620 MHz both are slightly greater than the Founder’s edition card. It has the same 11 GB GDDR5X memory clocked at 11010 MHz again slightly higher speed with the bandwidth of 484 GB/s.
The highlight of this card apart from high-end specifications is its compact design. It is only 4.3 inches wide, 1.6 inches high and 8.3 inches long and thus takes the place of a two-slot card, compared to other aftermarket cards that usually are 10 to 11 even 12 inches long. It has a dual fan design with different fan sizes and functionality the 90 mm fan is designed for maximized air flow.Then there is a 100 mm fan that is specially designed for the static pressure that keeps airflow over key components for a longer period. Five 6mm copper heat pipes that soak all the heat out of the card, and there are grills at the back that can further help with the heat dissipation. Such a compact design makes it suitable for mini ITX systems, making it the first 1080ti to even fit into ITX systems.
Performance and benchmarks
As it is one of the flagship graphics cards,it is expected to have a high-end performance. Starting with some synthetic benchmarks the 3DMark fire strike (DX11), it scored 21,710 just below the founder’s edition that scored 22,007 while greater than the EVGA’s counterpart EVGA GeForce® GTX 1080ti SC2. Coming towards the 3D Mark Timespy (DX12) it scored 9,138 that is again lower than the founder’s edition that scored 9,310, while it was only better than the GTX 1070s that were tested. Starting the core part how it performs while playing the current AAA titles.
Beginning with the battlefield 1 it got 66.7 fps atultra-setting in 2160p (4k resolution) with the founder’s edition getting 65.2 fps; it performed better than most of its direct substitutes. Then, it was tested with Rise of the Tomb Raider; it performed pretty well with frame rates hitting 60 at very high settings in 4k, again performing better than the founder’s edition card. Lastly, tested it with Ghost recon Wild lands that is a demanding game,especially it requires raw GPU power to run. It scored 37.5 fps at ultra settings in 4k, again performing better than the founder’s edition card but not better than any other counterparts. Hence, it can be testified that this card does perform better considering its size.
Just like everything else it is also not perfect, it has some serious issues that may require serious thinking before buying it. Starting with the temperature, as it has a dual-fan design it gets very hot. It starts with around 80 degrees Celsius that is very high but comparable with this many CUDA cores,but at load, it jumps up to 84 degrees Celsius because it is built for the mini ITX systems it can be alarming as there is less room for hot air to flow it may damage other components. Secondly, it gets very loud even at idle it starts with around 47.7db(A) with 10 cm distance that is not good. But at load, it gets better than Founder’s edition card slightly with 53.1db(A) and 53.7db(A) respectively, but still not a better card regarding noise cancellation. Other than these two it performs significantly better as it is shown previously.
To answer the question asked at the start,the ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 1080ti mini is for those who want the best performance along with portability. It does provide performance,but there is a payoff,it faces a trade-off between better heat dissipation and portability. That might be a problem in some cases when it starts to thermal throttle other than this; there is nothing wrong with this card. If you are looking for a graphics cards that will provide absolute performance in your mini-pc, this should be the card for you, with a very hefty budget of course as it will make a serious dent in your wallet. Its minimum price as of today is $999 that is subject to change as the GPU market is still suffering from the aftershocks of mining. Nevertheless, you can see yourself playing recent AAA titles in 4k resolution with this card not only in your room but also anywhere else. You can buy it from Amazon here.