MSI's GTX 1080 Ti Trio aims to match their limited edition Lightning

MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio

MSI are launching their GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio graphics card today, offering a top-of-the-line experience for gamers who believe in going big. With many design improvements from square heatpipes to wave-shaped heatsink fins, MSI are expecting this card to rule the GTX 1080 Ti roost.

A GTX 1080 Ti isn’t made for 1080p - despite the name. Get yourself one of the best gaming monitors available to get the most out of your graphics card.

While MSI have been reluctant to fit triple fans to their custom cards, the Gaming X Trio is a departure from their steadfast two-fan designs, instead offering triple TORX 2.0 fans. As with the Twin Frozr fan design, we will also say goodbye to the predominating red designs MSI have always donned their cards in, choosing instead a far more subtle black design with minimal red trim. Much appreciated, MSI.

This monster of a card features equally monstrous heatsinks. With full coverage nickel-plated baseplates, even on the MOSFETs, and six heatpipes from the GPU. This cooler keeps even the GTX 1080 Ti’s all-powerful GP102 nice and frosty.

The card is sporting an RGB LED light bar along the edge and logo on the backplate, which is compatible with MSI’s Mystic Light software. Also included in the box is a handy graphics card support, which is a nice addition with a premium card such as this - although no graphics card is too good for a Lego tower preventing GPU-sag.

The card idles at around 44°C, which is pretty impressive considering not a single one of the triple fans are in use until the graphics card hits 60°C. In some brief benchmarking, the Gaming X Trio kept to a chilly 69°C, never utilising its triple fans beyond 50%, even under the strain of 4K Ultra benchmarking in Shadow of War. This also allows the card to be exceptionally quiet, with the double ball bearing fans barely audible, even under load.

With only a slight bump in peak clockspeed over the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition  at 1911 Mhz out-of-the-box (although this can be boosted further within MSI’s gaming app) the extra cooling potential really allows this card to flourish. The Gaming X Trio scored 7% higher than the Founder’s edition in Time Spy at both 1440p, and with the new Time Spy Extreme 4K test. With Middle-earth: Shadow of War at Ultra in 4K, the card hit an average fps of 58, compared to 54 scored by the Founder’s Edition. During all this, the card managed to stay a chilly 16°C cooler than the FE.

This card breaks the rules for MSI: it ditches the twin fan design they vehemently touted as the best - overtly taking design notes from the Lightning cards - and even loses the red colour scheme they have in the past been so passionate about. The initial performance and temperatures from early benchmarking are impressive, and for all the improvements aimed at thermal performance, it appears at first glance like the cooler is overly-designed for the chip it is intended to cool.

We will be taking a look at this card in more depth, and running some more benchmarks, in our full review coming soon.

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Sorbalok avatarJacob Ridley avatar
Sorbalok Avatar
1 Week ago

Idles at 44c? PFFFFFF

The 1080ti Strix idles at 35-37c. At least mine does, and I live in a pretty hot country.

Jacob Ridley Avatar
1 Week ago

The Strix has a fantastic cooler, and to be fair to the MSI Gaming X Trio, we are running it on a testbench with zero airflow fans. The card should drop at least a few degrees at idle with even a single case fan installed.

As long as the card stays silent and at a reasonable temp, idle temps aren't always indicative of overall cooling performance.