I've been swamped with work over the last month, flying over to Taipei for Computex 2015, back for the launch of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, the Radeon R9 390X, the launch event in Sydney, Australia for the Radeon R9 Fury X, and then the launch of the R9 Fury X itself. This means my triple 4K content has taken a slump, but I'm going to warn you now - be prepared, as it is back, and it's not going to stop anytime soon.
Now that we have had the launch of the GTX 980 Ti, R9 390X and R9 Fury X, we have plenty of cards to play around with now. Starting with the GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI, where we should see the 980 Ti beating the Titan X cards in SLI, so let's jump right into it, shall we?
So we decided to test out our reference GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI 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.
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
The two GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI are a powerhouse setup, equaling the performance of the much more expensive Titan X cards in SLI.
I didn't expect much from the GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI at 6480x3840 in Battlefield 4, but we can see that they really do provide a big jump in performance from some games. Battlefield 4 sees an ultra smooth 60FPS average with the GTX 980 Ti SLI setup.
Metro: Last Light
Another game which stresses out our cards has the GTX 980 Ti cards equaling the performance of the Titan X SLI once again, but for a huge chunk less out of your wallet.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Once again, we have Titan X level performance, with the GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI providing 1FPS more performance in Shadow of Mordor against the Titan X cards in SLI.
This is barely a loss for the GTX 980 Ti, but it's still a huge jump on every other setup, and shows beautiful scaling from the single GTX 980 Ti.
Another game that scales across multiple cards very well is Tomb Raider, with the GTX 980 Ti providing a great experience on triple 4K with 73FPS average.
This is the one test where the GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI couldn't quite keep up with the Titan X SLI cards, with 9FPS less average performance in BioShock Infinite.
Running a triple 4K monitor setup isn't easy on your system, your wallet, or your power bill, but it's an enthusiast dream that some people do live out. We love testing our video cards to their limits, and 6480x3840 is definitely one of those ways.
As we said in our full review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, it offers Titan X level performance for $350 off of its $999 price tag at around $649. These cards offer insane value for money when compared to the Titan X, which has effectively killed the Titan X. You wouldn't go out and buy the Titan X now, because of the GTX 980 Ti.
For triple 4K gaming, two GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI is going to offer you some insane performance (and most of all fun). Battlefield 4 on triple monitors at 6480x3840 at 60FPS average is something I have been waiting for... and the GTX 980 Ti cards in SLI has allowed that. Insane performance, and next to no noise from the system under full load.