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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reference Video Card Review

By: Anthony Garreffa | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: May 31, 2015 10:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: NVIDIA

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

 

What's Hot

 

It Trades Blows With The GeForce GTX Titan X!!: NVIDIA has made a card that competes, and sometimes even beats, the best GPU it has made: the Titan X. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti is one of the fastest cards on the market right now.

 

Decent Price of $649: $649 isn't too expensive for a flagship video card, as we have the Titan X at $999... which means we should see aftermarket coolers adding around $50-$150 to that cost.

 

6GB of VRAM: With all signs pointing to the Radeon R9 390X having 4GB of VRAM, NVIDIA has provided some 'future proofing' in its GTX 980 Ti with 6GB of GDDR5 RAM.

 

Quiet Operation: What good is a new video card if it's making a heap of noise? The GTX 980 Ti barely makes a whisper, which is what you want. Just wait for those aftermarket cards and things will get even better!

 

Maxwell Architecture: NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture is what makes most of this possible, but we have the GM200 core here to thank, the same GPU that powers the Titan X.

 

What's Not

 

Nothing!: What can we complain about? We always want more performance and features. HBM. 16nm. Better cooler? NVIDIA has made the best video card yet with its GTX 980 Ti.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

When I wrote my review on the GeForce GTX Titan X, I didn't think it could get much better. I presumed that NVIDIA would simply cut down the GM200 GPU and release a card that was gimped in order to keep the Titan X at the top of the heap... but boy was I wrong.

 

nvidia-geforce-gtx-980-ti-reference-video-card-review_11

 

The GeForce GTX 980 Ti exceeds my expectations, as it is providing Titan X-like performance, at a much lower price. The Titan X is held back in a serious way from NVIDIA not allowing AIB partners to modify the cooling setup, so we haven't seen any exotic Titan X cards released. All that is about to change with the GTX 980 Ti, as we're going to see an avalanche of cards released in the coming months with all sorts of different cooling setups.

 

Right now, AMD is on the edge of releasing its Radeon R9 390X, but NVIDIA has swooped in and released the GeForce GTX 980 Ti to compete against it. The Radeon R9 390X now has a huge job of not just beating the Titan X, but it has to beat the GTX 980 Ti and importantly its price - as well as beat the GTX 980 Ti in terms of performance and thermals.

 

NVIDIA has pushed AMD right into a corner, and it's not just for performance. AMD is going to have to release the R9 390X and have it be faster than the GTX 980 Ti by say 10-20%, but price it competitively - either at the same price, or maybe $50-$100 more. If the R9 390X is say 10-20% faster, is it because of HBM? Shouldn't the R9 390X be faster because it's running a new architecture (Fiji XT) and next-generation High Bandwidth Memory? Remember, NVIDIA is still on the Maxwell architecture that debuted last year on the GTX 980, and they're still using GDDR5, not HBM.

 

It makes the GeForce GTX 980 Ti one of the best releases in a long time, something that gamers have been waiting for. Those who have been holding off on buying the GTX 980, and didn't like the high price of the Titan X, here's your chance to get in on the fun.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (overclocking, power)95%
Quality (build, design, cooling)95%
General Features (display outputs, etc)95%
Bundle, Packaging & Software95%
Value for Money90%
Overall TweakTown Rating94%

The Bottom Line: NVIDIA ups the ante with the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, with Titan X level performance. This is the video card you've been waiting for, especially if you're upgrading from the GTX 680 or GTX 780 Ti. Where you at, AMD?

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