ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI

We loved one of the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum video cards, so we decided to see how two in SLI would go.

@anthony256
Published Tue, Jun 2 2015 9:15 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT

Introduction & Testing Method

We reviewed the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum last week, with it being one of the best video cards we've tested so far. It looks great, performs like a champion, and even still has a huge amount of headroom for overclocking on top of its factory overclock.

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 10 | TweakTown.com
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But, for enthusiasts, one video card is sometimes never enough. We have a few of these cards in the TweakTown lab, so we decided to throw another one onto our system and see how the card performs with two GM204 cores overclocked with excellent cooling in the DirectCU II cooling from ASUS. The results? Great, which shouldn't surprise you, though.

Testing Method

Because I'm just starting out reviewing GPUs, we're going to slowly evolve our benchmarking setup. I'm not going to dive into the deep end and start testing out real-time FPS, as this will hurt the quality of the reviews. Instead, I'd like to nail these initial reviews and then we can start doing real-time numbers of games like Far Cry 4, and Star Citizen. For now, I've played Battlefield 4 on a 64-player server to provide some real-world performance numbers.

For now, I'm going to be using the same suite of benchmarks I've been using on my Tweakipedia articles, which uses a mix of synthetic benchmarks with Futuremark's 3DMark and Unigine Heaven. After that, we have a bunch of titles with built-in benchmarks (which does not represent actual in-game performance) but they are repeatable for you at home to gauge the performance of your PC or GPU.

Over time, I will be adding in new benchmarks and a new section that will concentrate solely on real-time gaming benchmarks. This will take more time per review, as I'll have to invest time into actually physically playing the games, but it'll be worth it in the long run. For now, let's get right into the synthetic benchmarks and see how this ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum performs.

Test System Configuration

We only recently built our new X99-powered system, something you can read about here. As for the detailed specifications, this is what we're running:

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 555 | TweakTown.com
  • 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
ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 666 | TweakTown.com

We're running the system at stock CPU speeds, which will provide more of a 'real-world' feel to our benchmarks. Sure, this isn't an i7-5960X at 5GHz, but what person is going to team up an incredibly expensive CPU with a mid-range GPU? Not many.

Our GPU tests are changing, shifting toward more of a real-world feel. But don't worry, we will be doing some crazy balls-to-the-wall tests that will see serious overclocks, Extreme Edition processors, and much more in the coming months. For the most part, we will be doing more real-world testing by teaming up the right processor with the right GPU in its price category.

Benchmarks - Synthetic (3DMark and Heaven)

3DMark Fire Strike - 1080p

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 50 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme - 1440p

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 51 | TweakTown.com

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra - 4K

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 71 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1080p

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 52 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 1440p

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 53 | TweakTown.com

Heaven - 4K

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 72 | TweakTown.com

3DMark is such a great test for multi-GPU setups, with our two ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum cards in SLI being no disappointment whatsoever. We have some great SLI scaling here at 1080p with the graphics score on the single card at 14,460, while the second card pumps that up to 22,833.

At 2560x1440, we have 6,776 on the single card, while SLI opens that up all the way to 11,945. At 4K, we have the single Matrix Platinum scoring 3,282, while the second card provides a much higher score of 6,072.

Moving over to Heaven at 1080p, the single GTX 980 Matrix Platinum was capable of 106FPS average, but with the second card, we see this increase up to 157FPS average, an increase of 48%. At 1440p, the single card scores 64FPS average, but in SLI, we have an improvement of 67%, with 107FPS average.

Cranking our cards up to 3840x2160, we see Heaven squeezing all it can from our single Matrix Platinum with 26FPS, while the second card in SLI pushes a much bigger 47FPS, representing an increase of 80%.

Game Benchmarks (1080p)

Battlefield 4

This is one game that we did differently, as it does not feature a built-in benchmarking feature. When it comes to Battlefield 4, there are countless ways you can benchmark it. Some find a spot in the single player campaign which is easily repeatable, and use that. For our testing, we've chosen to use a 64-player online multiplayer server for real-time performance statistics.

We joined a 64-player map and played for five minutes using FRAPS, pulling our minimum/average and maximum FPS. We did this for each test, we run the game for 5 minutes at 1080p/1440p and 4K two times each. One time with Medium settings, and another with a custom Ultra preset (disabling AA). It's time consuming, but it gives us a perfect look into true real-world performance.

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 60 | TweakTown.com

And again, this time with the Ultra preset.

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 61 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 600 | TweakTown.com
ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 69 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 62 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 63 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 64 | TweakTown.com

Thief

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 65 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 67 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 68 | TweakTown.com

DiRT Showdown

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 69 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Game Benchmarks (1440p)

Battlefield 4

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 80 | TweakTown.com
ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 89 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 600 | TweakTown.com
ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 87 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 81 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 82 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 83 | TweakTown.com

Thief

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 84 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 85 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 86 | TweakTown.com

DiRT Showdown

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 87 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Game Benchmarks (4K)

Battlefield 4

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 40 | TweakTown.com
ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 41 | TweakTown.com

Grand Theft Auto V

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 600 | TweakTown.com
ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 49 | TweakTown.com

GRID Autosport

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 42 | TweakTown.com

Metro: Last Light

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 43 | TweakTown.com

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 44 | TweakTown.com

Thief

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 45 | TweakTown.com

Tomb Raider

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 47 | TweakTown.com

BioShock Infinite

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 48 | TweakTown.com

DiRT Showdown

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 49 | TweakTown.com

You can find our performance summary of all of our gaming tests later in the review.

Performance Summary

Just How Much Does a Second ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Help Out?

Going into the SLI benchmarking, I didn't expect much at 1080p - but the results at 1440p and 4K are very surprising. Not only do we have some insane performance from these two ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum cards in SLI, but the power consumption of these two GM204-powered video cards is simply awesome.

Performance at 1080p

Starting at 1920x1080 with Battlefield 4 in both Medium and our custom Ultra preset (with AA disabled), we have no real jump in performance. Just 5FPS extra with the second card in SLI, but the minimum FPS jumps from 119FPS to 133FPS. On our Ultra preset, we have 6FPS extra performance - nothing much at all, really.

GRID: Autosport sees just 7FPS extra performance with the SLI setup, while Metro: Last Light loves the second card. It jumps from 94FPS on the single card to 130FPS, a jump of 38%. Shadow of Mordor lost a single frame per second with the second card installed.

Thief saw a 19% increase with the second card, from 93FPS average to 111FPS, while Tomb Raider being a shining example of excellent multi-GPU scaling with 208FPS average, compared to 117FPS on the single card for an improvement of 77%. BioShock Infinite saw a decent increase too, from 119FPS to 150FPS, an additional 37%.

Performance at 1440p

Battlefield 4's Medium preset with the second card added 1FPS more to our average performance, but on the Ultra preset (minus AA), we have a big increase of 44%. Metro: Last Light enjoys the second card this time around, where at 1440p the minimum FPS increases from 5FPS to 12FPS, while the average leaps by 50% from 62FPS to 93FPS.

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor enjoyed the SLI setup, with 69FPS on the single Matrix Platinum and 80FPS on the SLI rig. Thief also saw a great improvement, jumping up from 64FPS average on the single card to 100FPS on the second - an increase of 56%.

Tomb Raider is one of our favorite tests for multi-GPU setups, where our single ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum was capable of a still-great 79FPS at 1440p, but in SLI, the Matrix Platinum cards smash out an insane 139FPS. This is a huge increase of 76%. Excellent scaling there from Crystal Dynamics and NVIDIA.

BioShock: Infinite is another game which enjoys multi-GPU setups, with an increase of 56% from our second card, increasing the 81FPS from the single Matrix Platinum to 127FPS average when in SLI.

Performance at 4K

This is what we're here for, right? Performance at 4K on the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum cards in SLI... one of the best setups money can buy. Starting with Battlefield 4 at 4K on the Medium preset, we have an increase of 45%, up from 82FPS average, to 119FPS. On the Ultra preset (minus AA) the results are even better, with an increase of 65% on the average FPS: from 60FPS to 99FPS. The minimum frame rate is also far, far better - with the second GTX 980 Matrix Platinum card resulting in an increase of 88%, up from 35FPS minimum, to 66FPS.

GRID: Autosport fared better with the second card, with its average FPS jumping by 29% while Metro: Last Light enjoyed a further 23% performance from the second video card. We didn't see much performance increase from Shadow of Mordor at 1080p or 1440p, but at 4K we have an increase of 57% - with the single card providing 56FPS average, while the SLI cards scored 88FPS average.

Thief yet again kicks ass with multi-GPU scaling, where we see an increase of 75%, with 40FPS on the single card, to 70FPS on the SLI rig. But it was Tomb Raider that had us excited, with 74FPS on the single card and an astounding 139FPS average with the cards in SLI, representing an increase of 87%. The minimum FPS on Tomb Raider also leaped up from 62FPS to 102FPS.

BioShock: Infinite finishes us on a high note at 4K with 75FPS average on the single card and 122FPS on the SLI setup, an increase of 62%.

Power Consumption

A single ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum was actually quite conservative, with a total system draw of 320W, but how does adding a second card into the mix spice things up?

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 777 | TweakTown.com

We have an increase of around 150W, with 470W of total system draw with the two GTX 980 Matrix Platinum cards in SLI.

What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts

This is where you can fast forward to the final section of the review, and get a quick recap and points on the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum cards in SLI.

What's Hot

Unparalleled Performance: The two ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum video cards in SLI are really quite the combo, providing a great jump at 1440p and 4K. But this isn't something you're going to buy (or shouldn't) for 1080p gaming, that's for sure.

Still Very Power Efficient: With both cards at 100%, the entire system is still only drawing 470W, which is nothing in today's standards for a system with two video cards.

Quiet Operation: The two cards in SLI are still very quiet even when they're being stressed out, which is surprising considering how much performance you're getting.

Maxwell Architecture: NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture is what makes most of this possible, as the GM204 core itself doesn't run too hot and allows ASUS' DirectCU II cooling to really do its job incredibly well.

What's Not

Strange Placement of PCIe Power Connectors: This is something we didn't like in our review of the card itself, and this is double the trouble with SLI.

Final Thoughts

We had nothing but praise for the single ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum, with the SLI testing solidifying the position that ASUS has with its GTX 980 Matrix Platinum cards. Every single game we tested at 4K was pushing over 60FPS, with most of our games running at closer to 100FPS average, which is just insanity.

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum Video Cards in SLI 18 | TweakTown.com

The SLI scaling on the two cards was impressive, with more than 50% in most of our games, which is something I'm very impressed with. The power consumption of the entire system was not ballooned out to 500W+ like we have with two Radeon R9 290X cards, which is another factor you have to consider when looking at buying or building a multi-GPU system.

If you want unparalleled performance, two ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Matrix Platinum video cards in SLI are something that will not have you disappointed. As we recommended with our review on the single GTX 980 Matrix Platinum, pair the purchase up with the ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q monitor and you'll have one of the best gaming setups money can buy at this point in time.

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Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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