1080 Ti with Aorus flavour
Just like ASUS and MSI, Gigabyte has completely designed their GTX 1080 Ti themselves. This means that both the cooler and PCB are custom made. Let's take a look at the PCB first, for a change. The first thing that stands out about this PCB when taking a closer look is the impressive 12+2 phase power circuit. It's much more extensive than the standard 7+1 power circuit found on the Founders Edition and it's also the largest we've seen so far from the various manufacturers. After removing the backplate we found that the PCB barely shows any signs of soldering work. This is because this card has been assembled in Gigabyte's automated production line, which uses machines to install the components.
The cooler is still based on the WindForce design, but this variant has three fans with a diameter of 100 millimeters. To prevent the card from becoming too long, the fans overlap partly. As a result the Aorus, with its length of 293 millimeters, is remarkably enough barely longer than even the MSI Gaming X, with two fans. The middle fan spins in the opposite direction of the other two fans. According to Gigabyte this optimizes the airflow. Lastly, the fans utilize a double-ball bearing.
Below the fans we find a large cooling black that makes direct contact with both the GPU, power circuit and memory chips via a base plate and various heatsinks. Six heatpipes, five 8 mm ones and a single 6 mm pipe, are responsible for transporting heat from the base plate to the cooling block. The copper part of the backplate should also cool the GPU from the back.
The Aorus card is not lacking at all in terms of monitor outputs. In addition to a DVI port we also find three DisplayPorts and two HDMI ports. Gigabyte has also added an extra HDMI port on the PCB itself, which allows you to loop it through to the front of your PC if you want to connect a VR headset. This brings the total number of ports to seven. The Nvidia GPU is of course not capable of driving this many outputs - you can only use up to four ports simultaneously, however you've got plenty of combinations to choose from.
Gigabyte has also built in a handy feature on the two 8-pin power connectors. Each port features an LED that indicates whether the power cables have been connected correctly, and the LED will flicker if the delivered power is unstable. This allows you to quickly find out whether your power supply has stability issues.
On paper the Gigabyte card runs at 1607 MHz with a boost to up to 1721 MHz, which are the highest official clock speeds out of the GTX 1080 Tis we've tested up until now. The memory runs at 1404 MHz. You can also enable the 'OC mode' using the included software, which boosts the clock frequencies even more.