Graphics Cards

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB Graphics Card Review

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. US$649
PH – Approx. Php36,000

GeForce_GTX_980Ti_BOX

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.

ABOUT THE GTX 980 Ti

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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

Overclocking

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 GPU Tweak software for this test.

gpuz

gpuz_OC_main

Overclocking the GTX 980 Ti shows us just how much the Maxwell GPUs can really do. Most of the Maxwell cards we’ve had can all do 1200Mhz base clock and the GTX 980 Ti is no difference giving us a stable 1224Mhz OC’d base clock and we got our memory to 7800Mhz. Just like the Titan X, we’re limited by the reference cooler which clamps down on frequencies once temps reach 83*C. You can set the limit higher and set a higher Power Limit to get higher clocks.  Also depending on the application and temps, the GTX 980 Ti can also boost to frequencies past the Boost clock as seen below:

gpuz_oc

PERFORMANCE

Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 3770K 4.4Ghz
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: NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti 6GB

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 this review so please bear with us as we grow that chart.

FullHD (1920×1080)

Battlefield 4 is one of the hottest titles of 2013 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 3, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU. Level tested is the escape from Baku with wide open space and collapsing building showing what the Frostbite 3 engine can do.

bf4_980ti

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.

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0002

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.

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0007

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 date are updated to reflect this.

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0006

Batman: Arkham Origins is the prequel to the highly successful Arkham series of Batman games from RockSteady. Rocking Unreal Engine 3, the game has superb detail and puts a decent load on modern systems.

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0003

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.

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0004

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.

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0005

2560×1440

Battlefield 4 is one of the hottest titles of 2013 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 3, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU. Level tested is the escape from Baku with wide open space and collapsing building showing what the Frostbite 3 engine can do.

GTX980ti_1440p_0001

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.

GTX980ti_1440p_0002

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.

GTX980ti_1440p_0006

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.

GTX980ti_1440p_0007

Batman: Arkham Origins is the prequel to the highly successful Arkham series of Batman games from RockSteady. Rocking Unreal Engine 3, the game has superb detail and puts a decent load on modern systems.

GTX980ti_1440p_0005

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.

GTX980ti_1440p_0004

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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.

GTX980ti_1440p_0003

4K UltraHD

Battlefield 4 is one of the hottest titles of 2013 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 3, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU. Level tested is the escape from Baku with wide open space and collapsing building showing what the Frostbite 3 engine can do.

gtx_980ti_4K_0001

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.

gtx_980ti_4K_0002

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.

gtx_980ti_4K_0004

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.

gtx_980ti_4K_0007

Batman: Arkham Origins is the prequel to the highly successful Arkham series of Batman games from RockSteady. Rocking Unreal Engine 3, the game has superb detail and puts a decent load on modern systems.

gtx_980ti_4K_0006

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.

gtx_980ti_4K_0003

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.

gtx_980ti_4K_0005

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 mix of Kombustor Dx11 Burn-In Test with Post-FX.

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0009

gtx980ti_1080p_review_0008

Again, the reference cooler shows us it lacks the power to really keep the card cool to push the GTX 980 Ti to its best performance levels. Temps at idle will hover around 45-50*C and under load, peak temps reach 87*C. As mentioned earlier, the card has a limiter which cuts frequencies when the GPU reaches 83*C. You can change this manually but we recommend watercooling if you want to push it further. For consumption though, nice to see the card puts up really fairly good consumption and is just a tad below the TITAN X.

CONCLUSION

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Let’s break down the verdict:

Performance. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti proved its got enough muscle to stand-up against its Titan X brother and it proves just that in our charts even putting up better numbers than the Titan X especially in NVIDIA optimized games. In higher resolutions, it was mostly a shoot-out between the GTX 980 Ti and Titan X who both share incredibly large framebuffers. Overclocking the card was easy but difficult at the same time due to the cooler restricting us. We’ll talk about the cooler later. All in all though, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti resonates the performance we’ve seen from the more expensive TITAN X making it an excellent go-to card for all around gaming.

Build Quality.  Trickling some of the engineering work we’ve seen from the Titan X, NVIDIA proves once again their TITAN playground usually results in some pretty good enthusiast cards once NVIDIA decides to fiddle around with them. The 980 Ti is a well-built and we’ve found everything to be of good worksmanship from the PCB to the cooling solution, albeit the reference cooling performance though is a bit lacking. This should be remedied with 3rd party cooling solutions.

Functionality. This card will easily play any game you throw at it especially those in 1080p reso. If you’re a 120hz/144hz player, this card can pump those numbers in most games and it should put up higher performance once under SLI. If you’re going 4K UltraHD though, the large framebuffer makes single-card UHD possible without the Titan X. Multi-screen support is there with multiple output options and SLI, as mentioned is supported.

Bundle. NVIDIA has announced that the GeForce GTX 980 Ti will come bundled with Batman: Arkham Knight.

Value. In a surprising move, the GTX 980 Ti price is $649. This should vary depending on brand but knowing that the 980 Ti will displace the GTX 980 makes it so much more an enticing offer. The GTX 970/980 were both well-received for their relatively lower launch prices and it seems that NVIDIA wants to continue that legacy launching the GTX 980 Ti at a $649 price tag versus the rumored $700-800 price tag. AIBs who customize their cards will normally ask for a premium but no 3rd party cooler has been shown as of yet. We’ve reached out to a distributor to inquire about the price of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti in the Philippines and we received an estimate price of Php36,000 and will be in limited volumes.

We’ve all had a feeling the GeForce GTX 980 Ti was coming and hunched that it was going to counter the eventual new Radeon release but it seems like NVIDIA isn’t waiting and is launching at the same time as Computex. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti is basically a cutdown Titan X but with only a small performance gap between the two, its easy to see which is the better choice now. We won’t dock the 980 Ti for its poor reference cooler for now but we’d still point it out so if you really want the most out of the card, get a decent waterblock or wait for really beefy coolers from AIBs.

While the Titan X packs more power than the GTX 980 Ti, it goes without saying that performance in 4K is still excellent and a bit of tweaking and detail setting changes will yield FPS improvements across the boards should you need a smoother visual experience. That said, the GTX 980 Ti is an incredibly versatile card which can easily take on any modern game at 1080p. The biggest surprise here is the price which starts at $649, displacing the GTX 980 which now moves to the $499 spot, making the GTX 980 Ti an extremely attractive upgrade for UltraHD or VR adopters, multi-monitor gamers or 144hz screen users.

We’re eager to see what AIBs come up with for their own designs but as for performance alone, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB is easily the best price: performance card in the high-end market today.

Depending on the AIB partner you go with, warranties vary from 2-3 years or longer depending on your region. We award the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti our B2G Performance Award and B2G Gold Award!

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. $649
PH – Approx. Php36,000

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14 Comments

  1. If ever matuloy ung price drop ng 980ti, magpprice drop din kaya ung mga retailers dito sa Pinas? :))

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