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4K Showdown - ASUS GTX 980 4GB in Single, SLI, 3-Way SLI and 4-Way SLI

By: Shawn Baker | NVIDIA SLI Articles in Video Cards | Posted: Sep 30, 2014 1:10 pm

Final Thoughts


Nobody needs four NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB video cards, not the average gamer anyway. The only time that you could possibly look at really making this much use of the power that's on offer is via a dual (8K) or triple (12K) 4K monitor setup, and then that pushes you out of the realm of being an average gamer. The problem is that the amount of performance from the GPUs isn't going to be the issue when pushing this many pixels. If Metro Last Light has taught us anything, it's that the amount of video card memory is going to be an issue. Sure, 4GB is a huge amount of memory, and for 99% of setups, it's more than enough. It's going to be an issue when pushing a massive triple 4K resolution, though.


When it comes to the GTX 980 4GB and its SLI configurations, the best combination is the 2-Way setup. Realistically, it's also the one setup that companies put the most effort into outside of a single card setup. While SLI setups still are hardly common, if they're in use, the majority are ruled by 2-Way versions.


Throwing a third card into the mix and making use of 3-Way SLI is getting to the limit of real value. Throwing the fourth card into the mix more often than not makes little change, or at least little change that could warrant spending a further $550 on the additional video card. While it's a little hard to talk about value for money when talking about a $1,100+ video card setup, if you're going SLI, then the 2-Way setup continues to be the sweet spot in the case of the GTX 980.


If you're going down the path of building the ultimate system, you would realistically be so much better off throwing the money that you're going to use for those extra two cards and keeping it for the release of the next-generation card. Two cards is really the best place to be when it comes to running a multi-GPU setup.


No one is going to argue just how cool three and four way setups look. But the simple fact is value starts to significantly drop when we move past the 2-Way setup. The ultimate system doesn't always mean something like the 4-Way SLI setup we've got here today, instead it can be the setup that was really built the smartest way.


If you're really interested in building a true beast of a system, you'd have something that used the i7 5930K, 1TB SSD, 32GB of DDR4 and a pair of GTX 980 4GB video cards that all sat on the ASUS ROG Rampage V Extreme motherboard that we're using here today. By moving from an i7 5960X and dropping two GTX 980 4GB, you're talking about saving of around $1,500. If you're a gamer, does spending that extra $1,500 bring with it a performance increase that can justify that? The simple answer is no. If you want to push pixels higher than 4K (i.e. 8K and 12K), then look into it with more detail.


3-Way and 4-Way SLI is damn cool, however, the sweet spot for anyone wanting to build a true beast of a system that isn't going to break the bank or explode the local power grid remains with a dual video card setup. Thanks to the amount of performance these GTX 980 4GB cards put out, two of them is going to be truly drool worthy enough, even at 4K.

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