NVIDIA announced and released its GeForce GTX 980 Ti on June 1, with the reference card providing Titan X level performance, for a price tag of $649. Considering the Titan X is still $999, the GTX 980 Ti offered similar performance to the Titan X, with $350 off of its price tag.
We reviewed the reference card and fell in love with it, and with the promise and soon release of third-party cards from the likes of ZOTAC, ASUS and MSI, the GTX 980 Ti is NVIDIA's best video card yet. We have the release of Radeon Fury X and the Radeon R9 390X from AMD - but for now, NVIDIA has it in the bag.
So we decided to test out our reference GTX 980 Ti on our triple 4K setup, which consists of three Acer XB280HK monitors in a 4K Surround setup. With individual resolutions of 3840x2160, or 4K, three 4K displays pumps up the resolution count to 6480x3840 when in portrait. In landscape mode, 4K Surround offers up 11,520x2160... an insane number by any standard.
Let's clarify that: 6480x3840. This means we're rendering 1,492,992,000 pixels per second. 1.4 billion pixels, every second. Compare this to 1920x1080 (Full HD, or 1080p) which is rendering 124,416,000, or 124 million pixels per second - the 4K Surround system is rendering over 10x that of the 1080p resolution.
Instead of writing about how many pixels are being rendered, we've put them into a chart so you can better understand just how many pixels we're driving here today. Right now, the 'next-gen' consoles are rendering games at around 720p - 900p, which if they were running at 60Hz (or 60FPS) which most of the time they aren't, it's usually 30FPS or so, they would be rendering 55 million pixels per second.
Jumping up to 1080p, that number climbs to 124 million while 1440p has it jump to 221 million. At 4K, the pixels rendered per second at 60Hz start to get serious, with 497 million, but 4K Surround has this catapult to 1.49 billion. 8K, which is in the not-too-distant future, sees 1.99 billion pixels being rendered per second.
But how does the GTX 980 Ti perform against the Titan X and GTX 980s in SLI? Well, you're going to be surprised, as it still continues to offer Titan X performance. Before we get into the numbers, let's take a look at the setup we're testing the GTX 980 Ti in 4K Surround on:
- CPU: Intel Core i7 5820K processor w/Corsair H110 cooler
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE X99 Gaming G1 Wi-Fi
- RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance 2666MHz DDR4
- Storage: 240GB SanDisk Extreme II and 480GB SanDisk Extreme II
- Chassis: Lian Li T60 Pit Stop
- PSU: Corsair AX1200i digital PSU
- Software: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Heaven - 4K Surround
Starting off with a harsh test, we see the GTX 980 Ti keeping up with the Titan X with 8FPS versus 9FPS. Not too bad, but the Titan X SLI scores are really something, aren't they?
Running a single card on triple 4K at 6480x3840 isn't something that is easy on a single card - well, that's what the GTX 980 Ti is here for. Our single, stock, reference GTX 980 Ti was capable of 44FPS on Battlefield 4. Comparing it up against the GTX 980 with 31FPS, and the Titan X with 43FPS, the GTX 980 Ti comes out on top in BF4.
Metro: Last Light
Yet another benchmark where the GTX 980 Ti keeps up with Titan X, with just 1FPS between them.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Yet again we see the GTX 980 Ti just pushing the GTX 980 out of its way, and going for Titan X. We even have a result here that's close to the GTX 980 SLI setup.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Shadow of Mordor is a very hard game on any video card, with our reference GeForce GTX 980 Ti keeping up with 24FPS at 6480x3840, compared to the 27FPS on the Titan X, this ain't bad at all.
Thief is another game that might look like it's not stressing out your hardware, but it is. The GTX 980 Ti is capable of 24FPS at 6480x3840, while the Titan X beats it by just 1FPS.
Tomb Raider is another game, just like Thief, that might not look like it's pushing your video card, but it is. Our reference GTX 980 Ti pushed out a more than playable 38FPS at 6480x3840, but the Titan X beats it with 40FPS - just 2FPS better.
NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 Ti didn't do too badly here with BioShock: Infinite, with 28FPS average compared to the 30FPS that the Titan X pushed out.
In our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, we said that it offered Titan X level performance. There's no need for 12GB of VRAM, but the 6GB of VRAM is more than enough even for triple 4K gaming at 6480x3840.
This is where AMD is going to have a big problem with its upcoming Fiji architecture and the Fury and Fury X video cards. Even though they're powered by the next generation High Bandwidth Memory, 4GB isn't really enough in the second half of 2015, heading into 2016. For games, it'll be fine - but AMD had some seriously aggressive marketing when NVIDIA had issues with the GeForce GTX 970 and its 3.5GB of VRAM.
Other than that, the GTX 980 Ti is a bloody terrific card for everything - single monitor gaming, and multi-monitor gaming. Most gamers will jump at triple 1080p, but we're going for triple 4K and the GTX 980 Ti once again, offers Titan X level performance.