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Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Mini – Review

Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Mini – Review

We’re used to seeing high-end graphics cards in huge designs that push the limits of the biggest PC cases, but architectural improvements from Nvidia and AMD mean that powerful GPUs don’t have to be behemoths any more.

Take the Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Mini, which compresses one of Nvidia’s latest flagship GPUs into a temptingly tiny frame that’s perfect for small-form-factor PCs.

Despite that, its £500 price means it’s no more expensive than most if its rivals.



2,560 Stream Processors
1,620MHz Core Clock
8GB 256-bit GDDR5X
10,000MHz Memory Clock
PCI Express 3.0
DisplayPort Ready: 1.4
Max Supported Resolution: 7,680 x 4,320
1 x DVI, 1 x HDMI, 3 x DisplayPort

Zotac’s GPU is just 210mm long, which means it’s a full 50mm shorter than the GTX 1080 Founders Edition – and even shorter when compared to third-party cards that have more elaborate cooling.

The tiny design means that this GTX 1080 fits inside almost every desktop case on the market. This card won’t just power large ATX machines – it’ll comfortably fit inside micro-ATX enclosures, and it’ll slot inside mini-ITX cases too. It’s still a dual-slot card, but that’s less of an issue these days – only the tiniest GPUs are now single-slot.

That’s a huge boon for those building smaller gaming machines for living rooms or LAN parties. And it’s not just about the card physically fitting inside smaller cases, either; the Zotac’s modest dimensions means airflow inside these enclosures won’t be quite as disrupted, and it’ll be easier to route cables.

The shorter design has clearly influenced other departments. The aluminium heatsink and copper heatpipes are topped with 90mm and 100mm fans – larger than the spinners on many third-party graphics cards – and the metal of the heatsink hangs over the end of the PCB. There’s also a lot of venting on the other end of the card, with triangular cut-outs mingling with three DisplayPort connectors and single HDMI and DVI ports.

Zotac has only managed to achieve a small overclock on this GPU, despite Pascal’s huge tweaking headroom – no surprise, really, given this card’s smaller dimensions. The original core of 1,607MHz now runs at 1,620MHz, which means an improved boost peak of 1,759MHz.

Zotac’s card is smaller than most, then, but it’s also slower. Full-size cards provide bigger overclocks: Zotac’s own Amp Extreme Edition runs the 1,607MHz core at 1,771MHz, and the Asus ROG STRIX model rattles along at 1,785MHz.

The overclock is the only tweak. The 8GB of GDDR5X memory is left to run at a still-slick 10,000MHz, and the rest of the specification is standard. That’s no bad thing: it means the GTX 1080 has its standard 2,560 stream processors and 7.2 billion transistors.

It also means it deploys the full might of the Pascal architecture. Nvidia’s latest design moves to a 16nm manufacturing process, which means more transistors in smaller spaces – and transistors on fins as well as horizontal planes. A quick comparison with last year’s cards is a great way to demonstrate how far Nvidia has come: the GTX 980 included 5.2 billion transistors on a 398mm2 die, but the GTX 1080 deploys 7.2 billion transistors on a 314mm2 piece of silicon.

The cores are organised in smaller groups to improve task delegation, and there’s improvements to asynchronous operations. The card is better at not rendering pixels that users just won’t see, and the future-proofed inclusion of simultaneous multi-projection will improve VR performance.

Test System Specifications

Intel Core i7-7700K
Asus STRIX Z270H Gaming motherboard
Samsung SM961 SSD
16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3,200MHz DDR4
GeForce driver 378.78


The Zotac’s small size mean a smaller overclock, and our first benchmarks immediately showed the difference between a more modest tweak and the beefier boosts found on full-size GTX 1080s.

The Mini’s score of 5,135 points in 3D Mark’s Fire Strike Ultra test is excellent, but the three GTX 1080s we’ve already reviewed have larger overclocks – and those models from Asus, Zotac and Gigabyte all scored 5,312 points in more in that same test.

The lesser overclock means slightly slower performance, but the GTX 1080 is still a fearsomely fast card. It blitzed through our six test games at 101fps or faster when they were run at 1080p, and its performance at 1440p was similarly impressive. Its weakest minimum framerate here was a result of 58fps in Fallout 4, and it delivered averages beyond 100fps in three titles. That means you’ll get silky framerates in every top game at this resolution.

It’s no slouch at 4K, either. It ran with minimums of 50fps or beyond in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Dirt Rally and Battlefield 4, and it managed a solid average of 40fps in Crysis 3 – and was three frames faster in Witcher 3.

Its slowest result remained Fallout 4, where the Zotac managed an average of 34fps and a 27fps minimum. That’s fine – the game will stutter a little in busier moments, but tweaking minor graphics options will bring this game back to smooth play.

The Zotac’s 4K ability means games will run well at 3,840 x 2,160, and the GTX 1080’s power doesn’t just mean solid speeds at that resolution. Despite its size, this card will handle VR headsets, widescreen panels and multi-monitor rigs with decent pace.

This card also paired its solid performance with impressive thermal results. The Zotac card’s peak temperature of 68°C is a degree or two lower than most of the other GTX 1080s we’ve tested – and the only GTX 1080 that was cooler only managed to undercut the Zotac by a single degree, too.

It’s very quiet, too, thanks to the large fans and the efficiency of the Pascal architecture.




Zotac’s card crams an enormous amount of power inside a flagship GPU that’s no bigger than cards that cost hundreds of pounds less. The GTX 1080 Mini blitzes 1080p and 1440p games and runs most titles smoothly at 4K, too – so it’ll handle VR with equal aplomb.

The Zotac’s small size means it’ll fit in almost any desktop build, no matter the form factor, but the lesser overclock does mean it’s a tad slower than full-size GTX 1080s from other board partners.

That’s an acceptable trade-off, though, for a card that’s more versatile than many of its rivals at the same sort of price. It’s perfect if you want to build a small gaming PC without compromising on speed.

Recommended Award

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Zotac GeForce GTX 1080 8GB Mini
Author Rating

Review Overview

About Author

Mike Jennings

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