I assumed that there would not be clearence to keep the normal GPU fans mounted, all builds i have seen with the Zotac 1070/1080, that did not require modding to the case, has had the shroud and fans removed. I would be very interested in hearing other experiences regarding this and whether it is possible to do.
Yup. The endmost fan on the 1080 mini sneaks past the heatsink by a tad. I agree though, if you can keep the fans through modding do so--the performance will be much better than the single 120.