For gaming purposes, nothing trumps the importance of your graphics card. Last year gave us Nvidia's Pascal architecture, and this year came the GTX 1080 Ti right on cue. While it has less memory than the Titan X (Pascal) that preceded it, the 1080 Ti has the same number of CUDA cores, at higher clockspeeds, with a price that's actually in the realm of the possible. Performance is up to 30 percent faster than the GTX 1080, making 4K ultra 60 fps on a single GPU a reality in most games.
So which 1080 Ti is the best? In truth, they're all good—I haven't seen a single card I couldn't recommend. But while the liquid-cooled cards might be nice if you're after lower temperatures or reduced fan noise, I'll take a good air-cooled card any time. Even among air-cooled models, it's difficult to pick just one, but this year's best graphics card award goes to EVGA's GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 Elite Gaming.
Gear of the Year
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The FTW3 comes with a good factory overclock on both the GPU and the GDDR5X, the latter being a rarity. You can achieve similar results with just about any 1080 Ti, but there's ease of use and peace of mind with a factory OC. EVGA's warranty is also great, with a 3-year warranty that can even be transferred to a second owner.
The only way to get a faster graphics card right now is to spend substantially more money for the incrementally faster Titan Xp or the even more absurd Titan V, or you can wait for Nvidia to come out with a consumer variant of its Volta architecture. If you were lucky enough to snag a 1080 Ti at launch back in March, you'll be comfortably sitting on the fastest consumer GPU for at least a 12-month span.