ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti Graphics Card Review


Price / Where to Buy:

US –  US$722 – ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti
PH – Approx. Php48,990

ASUS has pretty much ran away from the standard DIRECTCU branding on their mainstream GPUs and has opted to use the Strix instead. That said, there’s been no particular change in the Strix design for the past 2 generations until now. With the introduction of the DirectCU III cooler, ASUS introduces a new design on their Strix graphics cards but for now its mostly reserved for the high-end GPUs like the one we’ve taken a look at before, the ASUS Strix R9 390X.  In our bench for today is the ASUS Strix GTX 980 Ti OC edition, featuring the new DirectCU III triple fan cooler and what this GPU brings is a 1317Mhz GPU boost clock which is one of the highest we’ve seen on a mainstream card. This actually is higher than the Poseidon Platinum Edition of the ASUS ROG Poseidon GTX 980 Ti we’re reviewing today also. Read on to find out more about this card.

  • 1317MHz GPU boost clock in OC mode with 7200MHz factory-overclocked memory speed for outstanding gaming experience.
  • DirectCU III with Patented Triple Wing-Blade 0dB Fan Design delivers maximum air flow with 30% cooler and 3X quieter performance.
  • AUTO-EXTREME Technology with 12+2 phase Super Alloy Power II delivers premium delivers premium quality and best reliability.
  • Pulsating STRIX LED makes a statement while adding style to your system.
  • STRIX GPU-Fortifier relieves physical stress around the GPU in order to protect it.
  • GPU Tweak II with Xsplit Gamecaster provides intuitive performance tweaking and lets you stream your gameplay instantly.

Official product page

About the ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti Graphics Card Review
ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti Graphics Card Review

The ASUS Strix GTX 980 Ti is the mainstream variant of NVIDIA’s GTX 980 Ti for ASUS. Our card is the OC Edition which features a 1317Mhz boost clock on top of a 1216Mhz core clock. Memory also gets a massive boost of 7200Mhz. Besides specs, the new Strix cooler stands out as it is one larger cooler and ASUS has done some changes to the look specifically the DCUIII shroud is wide and large. Both the GTX 980 Ti and 390X variants also sport backplates with the 980 Ti having a GPU retention bracket for reinforcement.

ABOUT THE GTX 980 Ti

GeForce_GTX_980Ti_PCB_resize

The Maxwell architecture is NVIDIA’s greatest achievement as of late given its efficiency compared to the last generation. While it doesn’t serve as a great leap in terms of performance, many people are still convinced by the excellent performance-per-watt ratio. Both the GTX 980 and GTX 970 have been largely in-demand primarily for the efficiency but the Maxwell-based GTX GPUs also introduced some new features including NVIDIA Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI), Multi-Frame sampled AA (MFAA), and Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR). Maxwell GPUs also support Microsoft’s upcoming DirectX 12 API.

In our review of the 12GB NVIDIA TITAN X, we noted how large the gap is jumping from the 980 to the Titan X. For some people, seeing the full GM200 GPU flex its muscle meant its inevitable it will be the precursor a comparable mainstream release. Enter the GTX 980 Ti.

The TITAN X boasts 3072 CUDA Cores, running at 1Ghz base clock complemented by a 12GB of VRAM wired to a 384-bit wide bus. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti sports 2816 CUDA cores, running 1000Mhz with a boost clock of 1075Mhz similar to the Titan X. Also similar with the Titan X is the memory clock also running at  7010Mhz wired to a 384-bit bus but VRAM is halved at 6GB on the GTX 980 Ti compared to the overly generous 12GB of the TITAN X.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

The GTX 980 Ti is shows vast improvements from its predecessors as seen in the graph above. Maxwell has really been a solid achievement for NVIDIA and it shows as they continually advance the technology to improve performance especially at higher resolutions.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

DirectX 12 is one of the main highlights of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, providing full support for advanced DX12 features like Volume Tiled Resource aand Conservative Raster which are exclusive to the DX12_1 feature set. This is in addition to the normal feature set provided by DX12.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

With its vast 6GB VRAM, NVIDIA is pushing heavily into 4K territories and are making it a point to market games for 4K playability. With the 980 Ti and Titan X, it is now possible to have a smoother 4K gaming experience with a single card with games like GTA V and Witcher 3 providing FPS numbers upwards of the 40s. NVIDIA is also betting on the popularity of virtual reality offering full support for VR headgears providing unique technologies to enhance performance on these platforms.

Product Gallery – ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti

Overclocking the ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti

Overclocking any graphics card is pretty straightforward nowadays provided you know what to do and given that most companies also have their own overclocking software, makes it so much more approachable. We use the latest ASUS GPU Tweak 2.0 for this test.

gpuz
As mentioned, ASUS gives this card a good bump straight out of the box. At 1216Mhz core clock and a 1317Mhz boost, this card is way above most GTX 980 Ti right now save for the other heavily OC’d cards at the high-end space. For a mainstream product, this is actually pretty good and as mentioned earlier only the ROG Matrix series would prolly have something that could top this card.

GPUZ_OC

With an overclock that high, we figured we won’t be having much room to OC this card manually and we’re particularly correct. At 1300Mhz core clock OC, the card flakes out under gaming load and anything higher causes the drivers to crash. Throttling all the way back we manage to get a slight OC of 1249Mhz core clock. The good news here is that you still get a decent boost clock when possible and this card can do nearly 1500Mhz on just boost alone. If you can live with the fans whirring just a tad bit noisier, you’ll get a good boost.

PERFORMANCE

Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 4790K
Motherboard: MSI Z77 Mpower
Memory: Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3-2400 16GB
Storage: Kingston HyperX FURY 240GB
PSU: Seasonic P1000
Cooling: Custom loop (XSPC Raystorm block, XSPC D5 Dual Bayres, BlackIce Stealth GT 240 rad)
Monitor: LG 42UB820T UltraHD TV
VGA: ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti

For a full-hardware workout, visit http://www.futuremark.com for our benchmarks of choice.

We test our graphics card with a full-level playthrough of our selected game or the games’ built-in benchmark tool. We record the run with Fraps. Game settings are indicated in the charts. Resolutions are shown in the charts. Unlike our standard benchmarks. For this tests, we’ve changed a few things so some of games that we follow built-in options we’ve retained results from other results but for those other games that we’ve changed options, we’ve provided newer results and indicated settings also.

We basically run two configurations for our reviews: for high-end cards (980/Titan X/290X/780Ti) we run maximum in-game settings, for mainstream (GTX 960/970) and last generation cards we run default presets. AA is turned off in all 4K HD results unless defined by settings or indicated in graph. We will start including The Witcher 3 starting with our launch day review of the GTX 980 Ti so please bear with us as we grow that chart. Results may vary due to driver optimizations for newer releases.

FullHD (1920×1080)

The most visually intense game to ever been made. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the particle and water rendering of the engine.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_1080p0007

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as she explores the ruin of Yamatai in this origins game. Powered by a modified Crystal Engine, the game features TressFX which creates beautifully rendered hair animation.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_1080p0010

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress some systsems.

We use the built-in timedemo and benchmarking tool. DOTA2 only shows average FPS so we will be reflecting that in this test. Our timedemo features a heavy clash in the bottom lane for the maximum real-world system load the game can generate. With the recent visual update, DOTA2 has received some graphic makeover that adds a bit of hit for the system and all our datas are updated to reflect this. Driver optimization may cause results to vary.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_1080p0011

Ubisoft’s hacker action puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce as you piece together a crime that has been haunting you since its occurrence. Rage through Chicago as presented by Ubisoft with its Disrupt engine utilizing vast video memory for high-resolution textures for visually stunning graphics.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_1080p0009

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_1080p0008

2560×1440

The most visually intense game to ever been made. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the particle and water rendering of the engine.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_quadHD_0008

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as she explores the ruin of Yamatai in this origins game. Powered by a modified Crystal Engine, the game features TressFX which creates beautifully rendered hair animation.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_quadHD_0016

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress some systsems.

We use the built-in timedemo and benchmarking tool. DOTA2 only shows average FPS so we will be reflecting that in this test. Our timedemo features a heavy clash in the bottom lane for the maximum real-world system load the game can generate.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_quadHD_0012

 

Ubisoft’s hacker action puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce as you piece together a crime that has been haunting you since its occurrence. Rage through Chicago as presented by Ubisoft with its Disrupt engine utilizing vast video memory for high-resolution textures for visually stunning graphics.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_quadHD_0014

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_quadHD_0010

4K UltraHD

The most visually intense game to ever been made. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the particle and water rendering of the engine.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_4K_0008

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as she explores the ruin of Yamatai in this origins game. Powered by a modified Crystal Engine, the game features TressFX which creates beautifully rendered hair animation.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_4K_0013

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress some systsems.

We use the built-in timedemo and benchmarking tool. DOTA2 only shows average FPS so we will be reflecting that in this test. Our timedemo features a heavy clash in the bottom lane for the maximum real-world system load the game can generate.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_4K_0012

 

Ubisoft’s hacker action puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce as you piece together a crime that has been haunting you since its occurrence. Rage through Chicago as presented by Ubisoft with its Disrupt engine utilizing vast video memory for high-resolution textures for visually stunning graphics.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_4K_0010

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_4K_0014

TEMPERATURE & POWER CONSUMPTION

To measure both power consumption and heat, we stress the video card and record the peak values for heat and wattage. We use default values on the cards and stress test them using a Kombustor 3’s Lake of Titans X64 test at 1080p fullscreen.

 

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_1080p0013

ZOTAC_GTX980Ti_ArcticStorm_Review_1080p0012

At a glance: Triple fans aren’t anything new to high-end card cooling but it certainly is for ASUS. That said, cooling performance on average gaming puts the card around 68-73*C is which is a good range for a 980 Ti and with the fans only coasting at 40% there’s plenty of cooling potential still in there. ASUS balances silence and performance for the Strix series so if you’re particularly more in tune with performance than silence in operation, you can create your own custom fan speed in the GPU Tweak utility. Maximum thermal performance is similar to any of the GTX 980 Tis we’ve tested save for the watercooled ones. Power consumption on stock is just within the same range as the reference NVIDIA card but so are the other 980 Ti in our list.

CONCLUSION

Let’s break down the verdict:

Performance. Straight out of the box, the OC edition of the ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti is something to really be impressed with. There’s certainly not many cards that can boast high OCs out of the box for both memory and GPU clock particularly for a mainstream offering. That said, performance is indeed much better on this card than the dual-fan Poseidon but that’s because of the large cooling solution in the form of the DirectCU III offering so much more dissipation than its previous iterations. This gives the Strix GTX 980 Ti a lower operating temparature making it boost to a higher performance level. Overclocking the card will be a hit or miss because of the out of box OC but if you’re lucky enough to get a capable chip, you can squeeze out more from the DCUIII cooler by cranking up the fan speeds.

Build Quality. While certainly one of the largest cooler in terms of width available right now, the Strix DirectCU III doesn’t really appeal to me much. It might differ for every person but personally the wider shroud and uneven taper just makes the DirectCU III look imbalanced. Build-wise though, ASUS keeps up the good work and its really hard to complain about how well-made this product is. From the heatpipes alone you can see there’s really some solid cooling muscle in that heatsink but other than that, ASUS skipping out on fan design doesn’t really fly too well for folks that want something stylish.

Functionality. The card isn’t limited in performance by any means so you’ll be able to play pretty much anything up to 4K as with any GTX 980 Ti. The main issue you’d face is weight and compatibility as the card is quite lengthy and needs the support stand which also has its requirement of needing a roomy case.

Bundle. Depending on when you bought this card, you might have a GeForce promotion going on where you’re entitled to a free game. Our card wasn’t but we’re not ruling this out and give NVIDIA some props for it.

Value. At $722 this card competes directly with many other high-end 980 Ti variants. Aside from the factory OC and build quality, unless you’re getting this with a game or a lower price its a really tough choice right now. ASUS may hold an advantage over the likes of MSI but offerings from GIGABYTE and EVGA to name a few do give a few bonus points in terms of style which may sway a few more folks particularly given their lower pricing.

Picking up from that last thought, ASUS has been riding on the Strix to cover its mainstream offerings and with the release of the new Strix DirectCU III there really isn’t much of an improvement besides the larger heatpipe and shroud redesign. That said, while most brands are pursuing new ways to pimp up their GPUs and slim them down, ASUS is now offering a larger and wider card which may not suit everyone’s need and is asking for a premium for it. That brings us to our next point which has been mostly the sole deciding factor on why people buy ASUS and that’s quality. As far as looks go, some of us never do see the insides of their PCs and I think this is particularly the people ASUS wants to cater to with the Strix line.

The ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti is a top-performance and extremely well-built card which runs cool and quiet. ASUS has built this thing with quality in mind and their new engineering refinements as well as component choices are the soul of this product, betting on quality together with performance above all else. If you’re looking for a GTX 980 Ti you want to last for a good amount of time, the ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti should be on your top priority list.

ASUS backs STRIX GTX 980 Ti a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Recommended Award!

Price / Where to Buy:

US –  US$722 – ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti
PH – Approx. Php48,990

B2G_Recommended

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