Lol, you already said it.. EVGA.. If I had to go with a backup, it'd be MSI. My reasoning is because of both companies history of making (1) excellent reference boards; (2) expanding on the reference design, consistently, producing much improved updated boards; (3) solid warranty's; (4) leading the way when it comes to overclocking software, support, forums; (4) having AIO and waterblock hybrid kits available quickly. Take a look at the past 3 generations going back to Maxwell and EVGA and MSI have been on top of their game. EVGA's SC2/ACX/ICX boards were fantastic, cheap, well-built, quiet, with great firmware that wasn't gimped for broke out of the factory. These boards were real upgrades over the reference design. MSI's SEA HAWK X and the EVGA FTW Hybrid series cards were among the best cards on the market. My personal card started out as an EVGA 1080 SC2. I bought it then found a deal on an FTW3 through B&H. I sold my card and bought the FTW3 and only paid $125 for the very minor upgrade. I put the EVGA AIO FTW3 Hybrid Kit on that sucker and its fantastic and exceptionally quiet. I know the SEA HAWK X is very quiet too. But the reason I think EVGA is just a great buy, is because the SC2 + Hybrid is/was almost as good as the FTW3 + Hybrid. It wasn't gimped in firmware, and the hardware supports massive overclocking at a cheaper price point than the reference board. Same goes for MSI, but my only thing there is that MSI doesn't sell the hybrid kits... That, to me, is the one big difference maker between the two; but overall, both card manufacturers make solid cards (reference and non-reference) that aren't designed to force you into the next higher tier of product. Simply put, if you bought a 1080 SC2 at $600, you can be sure that within reason, that card is as good as EVGA could make it. That to me is important. Same goes for MSI. Lastly, ZOTAC is great for small builds.. I built a mini-ITX gaming rig for my brother as a birthday gift. I used a very compact cube case, and put a ZOTAC 1080 Mini in it (the one I got had to be imported though). But here's where ZOTAC excels: This allowed me to free up a great deal of space in the case since the card is 57mm shorter than the EVGA SC2. Being watercooled, you can clock it however you want, with no loud fans or heat dissipation in such a tiny rig. IMHO, ZOTAC is the king of this kind of shit. I think Gigabyte and Asus make competent products (I'm typing this on a Gigabyte laptop), but, EVGA and MSI are the best card manufacturers for Nvidia cards IMHO, with ZOTAC being the best for the smaller cards.