Advice on choosing a replacement Nvidia GPU

Hi folks,

My Windows 7.1 64 bit pro laptop is on its last legs and I’m in a situation where I may need to replace it with a desktop on short notice.

I’ve done a bunch of research on the currently available Nvidia GPU’s. My question is which one to choose.

Right now I can generate resolution-independent Cairo graphics images of great complexity. What I’m more interested in is exploring the new features of Open GL in Cinder 9.0. I’m less concerned with real-time performance than saving out really large FBOs’ with blurring, DOF and other really nice effects available in OpenGL. Due to my lack of experience in the past, I experienced screen tearing, unpleasant artifacts and Cinder simply not saving out the file when pushing the limits of the FBO size available to my GPU.

The two Nvidia cards I’ve shortlisted are:

  1. TitanX (12GB FBO)
  2. Asus rog strix-geforce gtx-1080 (8GB FBO)

I’ve looked at high-end GTX 980 systems but the prices are still very high and with max FBO size at 8 GB the newer and cheaper Strix is clearly the winner.

I understand that the TitanX has some disadvantages compared to the GTX 1080 (higher power consumption, older Maxwell architecture compared to Pascal, running temperature and physical , size) It’s mainly that 12 GB FBO I’m drooling over.

Card spec comparison chart.

(scroll down past the first image to see it)

However, am I making a mistake in just concentrating on the FBO size?. Pascal runs faster, with far lower power consumption, running temperatures and beats the speed of Maxwell cards by 1.7. In addition, will the driver even let me generate an FBO that makes the most of those 12 GB?
The other thing I need to consider is: can I even get my hands on a TitanX card? I’m living in Malaysia where the Asus rog strix-geforce gtx-1080 is readily available. Not so sure about the TitanX.

As a side note, my intention is to replace my OS with the same Win 7.1 64 bit system. It’s served me well and has been incredibly stable. I haven’t had to restore my current machine in the 4 years I’ve owned it and I give it a serious workout on a daily basis. I’ve heard many horror stories about Win 10 and even Win 8.1 and I’d rather be wrestling with the programming job at hand than dealing with OS problems. Am I missing out on any really important features of either of these newer OS’s (strictly from a Cinder development / Visual Studio 2013 standpoint) that may encourage me to reconsider my decision?

Thanks very much for any advice on this.



Hi Ken,

Re: Graphics Card
I think you’re misunderstanding the memory. FBO is an OpenGL object and the spec and driver will have max sizes possible, for instance a single Texture size of 16348 x 16348 pixels. Not that you couldn’t chain many textures together to create multiples of the max sized texture. The sizes of memory mentioned are more in respect to total resource availability, in OpenGL language buffers, textures, etc. Another important consideration when looking at GPU memory is obviously the speed. The Memory clock of the 1080 is 3,000 Mhz faster. In all honesty, I’d go with a 1080TI. It’s incredibly powerful and the new architecture is here for the foreseeable future.

Re: Windows
Totally dependent on your needs. I use Win 10 every day and don’t have problems with it. I hated 8 so 10 was refreshing. They’re also slotting in Ubuntu within the system, which is great. It really depends on your needs though. You can get Visual Studio 2015 for Win 7.1. So, it just depends.

Ryan Bartley

Hi Ryan,

Thank you for your reply and clarifying the maximum texture size for me. I believe 16348 x 16348 pixels would be the size with MSA16 applied.I was completely misunderstanding! I believe that points me back to a TileRenderer solution of some kind.

It also simplifies my card choice. I will definitely be going with the GTX 1080 and newer Pascal architecture.

I’ll do some more research regarding the Win OS to make sure I’m making the right choice. Thanks for sharing your experience in this area as well. If I’m feeling adventurous I may try to get some of Cinder samples running with VS 2015 Community on Win 7.1 just to see if I can do it.

Thanks again for the information and your perspective.



I personally find windows 10 to be a very nice improvement, and it will be even better once the linux bash shell is completed.

If you can get it, I don’t know why you wouldn’t go with the gtx 1080 as it is less than half the price of a titan x, and faster.


Hi Rich,

I’m glad to hear that you’ve had a good experience with Win 10 . It certainly remains in the running as I do more research.

I’ve decided to go with the GTX 1080. I hope my current laptop can limp along until we start seeing laptops with the GTX 1080 or even the GTX 1070. Working on the road, even settled semi-permanently as I am with a desktop would be a major drag bordering on completely insane.



Laptops will only come with the mobile version of NVIDIA’s GPU, due to lower power consumption requirements. The GTX 1080M is not yet available, but seems to be comparable to the GTX 980M, just with faster memory and a higher clock speed. Performance will therefor be better overall and a nice upgrade from the GTX 980M. I happen to own a GTX 980M and it’s great. You can find more information about the upcoming GTX 1080M here.

Hi Paul,

Yes, I figured laptops will ship with the “M” version, although Asus actually has a laptop featuring the full 980 (prohibitively expensive right now) called the GX700. Now that Ryan has cleared up my misunderstanding regarding GPU FBO sizes, I don’t think I have any urgency to get my hands on a top end GPU. My goal is just to print OpenGL textures as large as I can and it looks like in order to do so I’m going to have to go the TileRenderer route in order to make that possible.

Cool that you have a GTX 980M and have been enjoying it. Thanks for the link to info on the mobile version of the GTX 1080M. Right now I have a ROG 680M which can still do quite a bit “Cinder-wise” if I build 64-bit apps, especially when outputting Cairo SVGs. If it can creak along for another six months with my current laptop, I may splash out and get a laptop with a GTX1080M if they’re ready by then. Otherwise, a 980M looks like a good option for my needs.

Thanks the additional info and input.