Nvidia GTX 1080 vs. AMD RX Vega ... micro machines edition

Gigabyte GTX 1080 Mini

We’ve got ourselves a small-off, people! Get ready for the ultimate in mini graphics cards head-to-heads as Gigabyte have taken the wraps off their new GTX 1080 Mini. It’s an overclocked GTX 1080 with a footprint that makes Zotac’s wee effort look positively obese, and AMD's RX Vega Nano seem like mere pocket calculator stuff.

Read more: the best graphics card to buy right now.

The Zotac GTX 1080 Mini was the smallest version of Nvidia’s Pascal-based powerhouse that I'd seen in the wild, measuring in at just 211mm in length, but Gigabyte’s own GTX 1080 Mini somehow squeezes high-end GPU cooling into a package that stretches to only 169mm. 

Despite having a single 90mm fan attached to the Gigabyte heatsink, the GTX 1080 Mini still has a factory-overclocked setup. The default ‘Gaming Mode’ gives the GP104 chip its standard 1,607MHz/1,733MHz clockspeed configuration, but the ‘OC Mode’ pushes things on a touch further to 1,632MHz/1,771MHz, for its base and boost clocks respectively.

Interestingly this version is only using the original GTX 1080’s 10Gbps memory speeds as opposed to the 11Gbps GDDR5X chips that were introduced alongside the speedy VRAM that came with the GTX 1080 Ti when that launched in March. I guess the wee cooler’s not hardcore enough to be able to deal with both an overclocked GPU and the extra heat generated by overclocked memory.

It might seem a little odd for Gigabyte to be releasing a new version of the GTX 1080 when we’re talking about a GPU that’s over a year old now but, given that we’re not going to see anything Nvidia Volta shaped until 2018 and AMD’s RX Vega is struggling to best it, there’s still a lot of life left in the ol’ Pascal dog.

Creating a super-small version is a smart move, too, given that AMD have been teasing their own micro machine variant of their Vega cards, the Radeon RX Vega Nano. So far, AMD have yet to release the Nano - except, of course, to Tim Sweeney - but when it comes to small-form-factor gaming beasts Gigabyte’s more powerful GPU ought to give the red team’s card some serious problems when it comes to gaming.

Gigabyte haven’t revealed a release date, or price, for their GTX 1080 Mini, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to find it launching at the same time as the AMD RX Vega Nano.

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ThatThereTim avatarDave James avatarAnakhoresis avatar
ThatThereTim Avatar
31
2 Months ago

SFF 1080? Man, SFF builds just got some crazy amount of power... might build myself one!

1
Dave James Avatar
459
2 Months ago

I know! Love these tiny builds. Though plumbing a hilariously big graphics card into a mini ITX motherboard still makes me giggle.

1
Anakhoresis Avatar
606
2 Months ago

Does this really open up that much in terms of what you can do? I've been following SFF stuff for a while and I can't think of any cases that this does anything for. Every SFF case that I can think of that even has a place for a video card to mount doesn't have a problem with length for current video cards, they're usually like 13 inches (~33cm) of space which comfortably fits a standard GTX1080.

1
Dave James Avatar
459
2 Months ago

It's true that a lot of SFF chassis are capable of housing full size graphics cards, but won't anything that allows greater airflow (because the GPU's not taking up so much space) be beneficial in such a constrained area?

2
Anakhoresis Avatar
606
2 Months ago

True, it will definitely help temps! I just felt like the OP was implying that it was an amount of GPU power that wasn't available previously or that it significantly changed what you could do. Unless you're building a custom case, I suppose.

1