MSI, ASUS Shipping GTX 1080 Review Samples with Higher Clock Speeds Than Retail Models
Nvidia partners have shipped their custom editions of the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 to reviewers for testing purposes. In theory, these review samples should feature an identical set of specs and features as the retail models so that they could reflect the real-world performance that customers will get once they purchase the card. But this isn’t the case, at least in case of custom cards from ASUS and MSI, according to a report from TechPowerUp.
The publication has accused both ASUS and MSI of sending them review samples for their graphics cards that bear higher clock speeds out of the box, than what retail cards offer out of the box. The review samples run at a higher software-defined clock speed profile, and while customers also have access to this higher clock speed profile, they first need to install a custom app by the companies to enable that profile.
Take the example of MSI’s factory-overclocked GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G. The graphics card offers three software-defined clock-speed profiles which include: Gaming Mode which is what the card runs at, out of the box, the faster OC Mode, and the slower Silent Mode which runs the card at reference clock speeds. TechPowerUp explains the discrepancy as follows:
To select between the modes, you’re expected to install the MSI Gaming software from the driver DVD, and use that software to apply clock speeds of your desired mode. Turns out, that while the retail cards (the cards you find in the stores) run in “Gaming mode” out of the box, the review samples MSI has been sending out, run at “OC mode” out of the box. If the OC mode is how the card is intended to be used, then why make OC mode the default for reviewers only, and not your own customers?
Below is a GPU-Z screenshot, showing the BIOS of a retail GTX 1080 Gaming X, next to that of the review sample received by TechPowerUp. In Gaming Mode, the card runs at 1683 MHz core and 1822 MHz GPU Boost, while the OC Mode runs it at 1708 MHz core and 1847 MHz GPU Boost.
What’s more shocking is that this isn’t something MSI is doing for the first time, the tactic has been in practice for years though ASUS has adopted it recently.
If true, this is a complete breach of customers’ as well as reviewers’ trust, and will make them cautious when purchasing hardware from such companies. MSI and ASUS haven’t commented on the report yet. We’ll update you as soon as we receive an official word from either of the two companies.
Gohar is the lead editor at TechFrag. He has a wide range of interests when it comes to tech but he's currently spending a big chunk of his time writing about privacy, cyber security, and anything policy related.