Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review

February 7, 2017 // 5:02 p.m.

Tags: #zotac-geforce-gtx-1080-mini-review

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review

Manufacturer: Zotac
UK price (as reviewed):
MSRP £579 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): TBC

Since the GTX 1080 first hit shelves almost a year ago, PC gamers have been patiently waiting for AMD's answer in the form of Vega. Nvidia board partners have been cashing in on the uncompetitive market with plenty of custom designs, many of which retail for hundreds of pounds or dollars more than standard cards thanks to a focus on large high-performance coolers, hefty overclocks, fancy RGB lighting, and unique features. Most GTX 1080s that are going to be released have already been released, but we're still seeing some special editions trickle out. Zotac is one manufacturer that isn't quite finished with GTX 1080 SKUs, evidenced by this new release. Its unique selling point? It's the smallest GTX 1080 out there.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

How small? Well, pretty small indeed. While not quite reaching the diminutive dimensions of the AMD Radeon R9 Nano, the 211mm long card is considerably shorter than reference or Founders Edition cards that hit 267mm. The PCB, meanwhile, is about the length of a mini-ITX motherboard at 173mm. Anyone who's a fan of both mini-ITX and water-cooling is likely salivating at this point, but sadly we're not aware of any custom water blocks in the works for this card.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

The card is technically overclocked, but only by a marginal amount. Instead of 1,607MHz, the reference base clock, we have a base clock here of 1,620MHz (boost 1,759MHz), a paltry change of less than 1 percent that really just allows Zotac to market the card as overclocked. In fairness, a reference GTX 1080 is still damn fast, but this certainly isn't a card that has speed as a priority. In that vein, it's unsurprising to note that the GDDR5X memory runs at the reference speed of 10Gbps.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

Other specifications are in line with the reference design. For example, three DisplayPort 1.4 headers are joined by a HDMI 2.0b port and a dual-link DVI-D connection on the rear I/O, while power is accepted through a single 8-pin PCI-E connection. A dual 6-pin to single 8-pin adaptor is supplied. The 8-pin connector is top-mounted, which will need to be taken into account in cases that have tight height restrictions on cards, especially as the GTX 1080 Mini is already a little taller than the PCI bracket.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

The metal backplate ensures rigidity, keeps the card looking neat, and should help a little with heat dispersion as well. The cooler shroud is plastic rather than metal, but this is the norm, and we have no real complaints as far as build quality goes. A neutral colour scheme (gunmetal grey and black) coupled with white LEDs makes for a look that will suit most systems. The LEDs cannot be turned off, sadly, but if you're really against them, you could easily disconnect the cable.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

The heatsink may be kept relatively small, but Zotac certainly appears to have crammed lots of cooling potential into its design. It occupies virtually all of the card's volume, and makes direct contact with all major components (GPU, memory chips, and VRMs). A total of five 6mm copper heat pipes twist and turn their way through the horizontally arranged aluminium fins, which will help guide at least some air out of the rear I/O panel but not all of it on account of the open style shroud.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

The heatsink apparatus is cooled by a pair of fans – one 90mm, one 100mm. Unfortunately, these are not semi-passive, and will remain spinning, albeit slowly and quietly, even when the card is idle and appropriately cool. We think this is a shame, as it's a feature we've quickly become used to and fans of on Pascal GPUs. It's hard to see why it's been excluded: The feature turns on the fans automatically at a certain point, so there's no real risk of components overheating.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

As you might expect, Zotac is pretty efficient in its use of PCB real estate. There's nothing major to point out other than the fact that it's stuck to the reference power delivery design of a 5+1 phase configuration. There's no mention of special or enhanced VRM components being used either, and this makes sense since it's not a card designed first and foremost for overclocking.

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 Mini Review
Click to enlarge

The card comes with a five-year warranty (this may vary by region), which is broken down into two years with the retailer and three years with Zotac after that initial period, provided users register their cards with Zotac.

Specifications

  • Graphics processor Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080, 1,620MHz (1,759MHz boost)
  • Pipeline 2,560 stream processors, 160 texture units, 64 ROPs
  • Memory 8GB GDDR5X, 10Gbps effective
  • Bandwidth 320GB/sec, 256-bit interface
  • Compatibility DirectX 12, Vulcan, OpenGL 4.5
  • Outputs/Inputs 3 x DisplayPort 1.4, Dual Link DVI-D, 1 x HDMI 2.0b
  • Power connections 1 x 8-pin PCI-E, top-mounted
  • Size 211mm long, 125mm tall, dual-slot
  • Warranty Five years (two years with retailer, three years with Zotac after registration)

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