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MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning Video Card Review

By: Anthony Garreffa | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Aug 28, 2015 5:00 pm
TweakTown Rating: 96%Manufacturer: MSI

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


What's Hot


The Best GTX 980 Ti, Period: MSI, you've done it again. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning is a no holds barred beast of a video card. It's the thing that dreams are made of. The perfect card for 1440p 144Hz or 4K gaming.


Fury X Crusher: The MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning absolutely crushes AMD's Radeon Fury X, which features that fan dangled new High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) technology.


Worth The Wait: MSI never released a GeForce GTX 980 Lightning (non-Ti), so we had to wait for the GM200 to be released in the form of the GTX 980 Ti and boy was it worth it. This was worth the last agonizing year or so waiting for MSI to get the Lightning brand out again.


Enthusiasts + LN2 = New World Records: We can be sure that there will be new world records with the GTX 980 Ti Lightning, especially when it gets to subzero temperatures.


Quiet Gaming: With all of this power under the hood, the MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning barely makes a sound.


QHD + 4K Gaming Goodness: I do all of my gaming on a 2560x1440 144Hz G-Sync monitor, and this card just plowed through that like butter in my favorite games. I'm addicted to Battlefield 4 still, and I didn't experience anything under 144FPS.



What's Not


Could've Had More OC Headroom: For a card that takes up three PCIe power connectors, I was hoping for some better OC results. But, this card is made for LN2 and beyond, so we can't really fault that considering we used air cooling.



Final Thoughts


I had big expectations for the MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning when the package arrived, and all of those expectations were met, and then some. Starting with the package, I didn't expect it to arrive in the high-quality box like it did. It had separate compartments for all of the bits and pieces, and just made the entire experience feel like it was worth all of the $729.




Once the package was opened, the GTX 980 Ti Lightning itself was just beautiful. I'm a big fan of my technology products not just performing well, but they have to look the part - especially video cards. I don't want all of the flashy LEDs and all that, but some nice yellow accents and a triple-fan cooler go a long way, and that's what MSI nails here with the GTX 980 Ti Lightning.


Moving onto the performance, well, it's unrivaled. The MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning kicks the ass of the reference GTX 980 Ti, as well as AMD's Radeon R9 Fury X. There's only one or two benchmarks at 4K where the MSI card loses to the Fury X, but in everything else it wipes the smile off of its HBM-based face.


The MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning is a video card for true enthusiasts. It doesn't hold back, and it will have some serious potential when the cooler is taken off and it's put under liquid nitrogen. That's when the real fun will begin, but it doesn't mean that it's only for LN2 users. If you're after a GTX 980 Ti right now and don't want any compromises, the MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning is that card, without a doubt.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (overclocking, power)99%
Quality (build, design, cooling)99%
General Features (display outputs, etc)95%
Bundle, Packaging & Software95%
Value for Money90%
Overall TweakTown Rating96%

The Bottom Line: MSI knows how to make some of the best video cards on the market, and the GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning is proof of that. This is a no holds barred piece of technology that you simply need to own.

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