At its time, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 was considered a powerful graphics card that easily delivered the performance necessary to tackle top games in smooth HD quality. And over the last couple of years, with the shortage of better cards due to chip manufacturing issues, it’s seen something of a resurgence as a fantastic budget option that was, for a while at least, easily available.
While prices still shot up, they were still a reasonably priced solution if you wanted to play the latest games on decent settings. And now that prices are settling down again for the foreseeable future, they’re a solid choice for a low-cost graphics card ideal for budget builds.
But what power supply will you need to run one? Let’s take a look.
How Many Watts Does A GTX 1080 Use?
On average, a GTX 1080 graphics card will use around 175 watts of power when it’s gaming. It can use more if you overclock it, up to an average of 205 watts. It uses a lot less when idle, averaging just 7 watts.
The power consumption of a graphics card varies pretty wildly depending on what you’re doing on your PC. A lot of tasks don’t use the graphics card at all, and so if it’s just running your monitor then it’s considered idle. If you have more than one monitor the consumption can jump a little, but it’ll be minor, especially if the resolutions are the same on both.
It’s only when you’re gaming or rendering animations that it’ll be maxed out at around that 175-watt limit, and it may spike higher, although not above 180 watts according to tests – at least if you don’t overclock it.
Overclocking is when you push it past the restricted max settings set in place by the manufacturer to squeeze out more performance, at the risk of overheating. If you leave it on the standard settings you’ll be able to run games in HD and you’ll never see it draw more than 180 watts (Source).
How Many Watts Does A GTX 1080 Use Per Hour?
When used to play games or to render animations, the GTX 1080 will use 175 watt-hours per hour. This is the same as 0.175 kilowatt-hours per hour and means that over the course of an average week (8.5 hours of gaming) it will consume 1.4 kilowatt-hours.
As a guide, that means that it will cost roughly 20 cents to power the graphics card for a week (based on an average electricity cost of $0.14 per kilowatt-hour) which works out at just over $10 for the whole year.
But that’s just the graphics card, and really if you want to know how much your PC is going to cost you to run, you need to add the total of all your PC’s components together.
The graphics card is normally the most power-hungry part, but depending on your processor and motherboard they could also consume a significant amount of electricity. Generally, the RAM and storage don’t need much power at all.
Think about your overall build, because if you’re using a GTX 1080 then you likely aren’t building a top-spec PC. However, if you are, and your GTX 1080 is just a placeholder until a better card becomes available, then your PC might use more power overall than you’d expect, which would impact your choice of power supply.
Read more: How Many Watts Does A Gaming PC Use?
What Power Supply Do I Need For A GTX 1080?
The minimum recommended power supply for a GTX 1080 is 500 watts or more. This is pretty reasonable, compared to some cards which have minimum recommendations which are arguably lower than they should be.
To work out the power supply you need, as a minimum you should add together the power consumption of your various components and then add an extra 20% to the total, leaving a little wiggle room for any spikes.
So, with a GTX 1080 drawing 175 watts, you should be able to comfortably build the rest of a PC that will draw no more than 225 watts, for a total of 400. Add on 20% and that’s 480, making a 500-watt supply a safe bet.
However, if you can afford to go a little higher then you should. You won’t be wasting electricity, because the power supply only draws what’s needed – it just means that if you decide to upgrade your PC in future, the power supply might be up for it.
What does determine how much power the supply actually draws is its efficiency rating. You’ll want one that’s 80+ Gold or better, otherwise, it will use up a lot of electricity just to work, which is given off as wasted heat.
Read more: Power Supply Ratings Explained
The Best Power Supply For A GTX 1080
I would suggest that a 500-watt power supply is a good choice for a GTX 1080, though you can always buy a better one if you have the spare money. You won’t see a huge cost increase if you nudge it up to 550 watts.
This EVGA 500 power supply is manufactured by a reputable brand and comes with a 5-year warranty, which should easily outlast the lifespan of your graphics card anyway. It’s a 500-watt supply that’s rated 80+ Gold, meaning it’s nice and efficient.
The only major drawback is the fact that it isn’t modular, so you can’t remove the cables you aren’t using. Instead, you’ll have to tuck them away inside the case. But for this low price point, it’s a decent sacrifice to make.
What GTX 1080 Power Cable Do I Need?
Some GTX 1080 graphics cards use a single 8-pin (6+2) connector, while others will use an 8- and a 6-pin, or two 8-pin connectors. Make sure your power supply has these connections free and that you use them to keep your graphics card working properly.
Don’t think that you can get away with only using one cable if you don’t have the other spare. You should always fully power a graphics card, otherwise it will either be massively underpowered or more likely it just won’t work.
GTX 1080 FAQs
The hashrate of a graphics card is the measurement of its mining power if you want to use it to mine cryptocurrency. It varies for each type of currency. The hashrate of a GTX 1080 for Ethereum is 35.5MH/S (megahashes per second).
A 450-watt power supply is not going to be enough to use a GTX 1080 reliably. It might work for a while, but any power spikes are likely to overwhelm the PSU and cause it to underpower your system, which may make it restart unexpectedly.
500 watts is the recommended minimum power supply wattage for a GTX 1080 graphics card. Whether that works depends on the spec of the rest of your PC, so you may wish to go for a 550-watt PSU to be on the safe side.
A 550-watt power supply is definitely enough to power a GTX 1080 graphics card on any low or mid-range build. If you’ve built a top-of-the-line PC with the very best processor, and plan to use a 1080 as a temporary card, it may not quite be enough.
A 600-watt power supply is enough to power a GTX 1080 graphics card with a mid-range PC build. If you’ve built a top-of-the-line PC with the very best processor, it may not quite be enough.
A 650-watt power supply is more than enough to power a GTX 1080 graphics card in most cases. The recommended minimum is 500 watts.
A 750-watt power supply is more than enough to power a GTX 1080 graphics card for all but the most high-spec of PC builds. The recommended minimum is 500 watts.