Can’t afford GeForce’s Titan X? The GTX 980 TI is ideal to fill in the gap between affordability and power. One of the most advanced graphics cards in the world, we were lucky to get our hands on the card before it was released to give it a test drive for our Geforce GTX 980 TI graphics card review (Note: for this review, we used a pre-release version of this Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti card)
I was blown away.
Not only does the 980 TI come with 2816 CUDA cores (only 8% less than the Titan), it also comes with 6GB of GDDR5 RAM. It’s fast and efficient – even when playing the newest games. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, for example, on maximum settings is child’s play for this card.
NVIDIA GTX 980 TI Review, Specs, and Benchmarks
Before I go into the fine details of my review, I want to discuss the system requirements of the card. This model requires 250W of power by itself. While the recommended minimum power supply is 600W, I highly recommend going with a 750W+ power supply. The price difference is $10 or $20, and you won’t have to worry about changing your supply unit in the future.
The rest of the requirements are:
- PCI-E slot
- 300 MB of disk space
- 8 GB of system memory
- Windows Vista, 7 or 8
GeForce even recommends having 16 GB of random access memory or more. This model can work with a 6-pin or 8-pin power connector, so you won’t need an adapter.
Note: You don’t want to place this card in an older system where your CPU will become a bottleneck. This card is meant for high-end graphics, so try to stick with at least an i5 processor (preferably i7 or something similar like the recent AMD FX processors).
Speed and Performance
What does $150 more get you? A massive performance increase over the original 980. The NVIDIA 980 TI is retailing at $649.99, but it is worth every penny provided you are a serious and passionate gamer. Performance and speed is what matters most in the gaming world, so let’s start with the basics.
First, this model can handle:
- 4K monitors
- DirectX 12 (not released yet at the time of publication)
There are even features built-in for virtual reality, such as:
- VR SLI
- Multi-res shading
- Direct Mode
- Front Buffering
Then, we come to the massive CUDA Cores with this model, which is 2816. For reference, the Titan X has 3072 and has a price of over $1,000. The 980 TI also comes with some of the most impressive power specs in the industry with a base clock of 1000 MHz and a boost clock of 1075 MHz.
There is also 6 GB of GDDR5 RAM to handle virtually every game on the market – on ultra.
— Looking for a graphics card comparison? We’ve started pitting two video cards against each other in our new series. The first one: GTX 1060 vs GTX 970 —
980 TI Game Benchmarks
Let’s be honest, nothing matters aside from quality – you can’t get better than 4K quality right now – and the frames per second on the latest video games. Keep in mind, the larger resolutions (3840 x 2160, for example) will come with a slightly lower FPS average. We did our tests with a 2560 x 1600 display. Also, none of the games were played in settings lower than the maximum.
The results? (Average over a 15:00 minute playthough, via FRAPS)
- BF4: 96.2 FPS
- THIEF: 74 FPS
- GTA V: 62.4 FPS
- Witcher 3: 44.7 FPS
- Hitman: Absolution: 56.4 FPS
When trying these games out on the higher resolution models, the FPS dipped a little to:
- BF4: 75.4 FPS
- THIEF: 45.0 FPS
- GTA V: 42.1 FPS
- Witcher 3: 35.2 FPS
- Hitman: Absolution: 41.8 FPS
This is with 4K quality – you might as well be part of the game it’s so clear. All testing was done on the highest possible settings. I didn’t test our any of the MMOs on the market because lesser cards have an easy time maxing out World of Warcraft, GW2, Final Fantasy, and so on. For these games alone, this card can easily knock them out.
People that are unsure of buying either the 980 or the GTX 980 TI should consider that the TI has a 25% – 30% performance increase and 45% scaling, according to several other benchmarks. It should be noted, also, that our game benchmarks may vary with other benchmarks.
Built for the Future
Crystal clear visuals and perfectly rendered graphics is not all this card has to offer. You’ll also be getting a card that is ready for the future. Most other cards are DirectX 11 compatible, but this card is designed to run with DirectX 12, which is yet to be released.
Note: DirectX 12 is expected to be released with Windows 10 this summer.
This is a major boost due to the Multi-GPU capabilities that will be added. This will essentially put all of the graphics resources into a “bucket” where the developer can then divide the workload in an optimal manner.
New frame rendering and Multi-GPU support is perfect for anyone that will SLI Geforce’s GTX 980 TI (we haven’t tried that personally). The power will be immense, and the card can support 4-way SLI.
Supporting the future of gaming means the 980 TI will last for several years while ensuring that gamers have the crispiest visuals available. It’s about longevity, and supporting DirectX 12 will mean a major performance boost over DirectX 11. I would be shocked if a new card didn’t come with DirectX 12 support with the release so soon.
There is even support for VR, and of course, true 4K support for the best in graphics.
Features and Specs
- RAM: 6 GB, GDDR5
- Memory Clock: 7 Gbps
- Base Clock: 1000 MHz; 1075 (Boost Clock)
- CUDA Cores: 2186
- SLI: 4-way ready
- DirectX: 12 API ready with 12.1 features
- Max Resolution: 5120 x 3200 (digital); 2048 x 1536 (VGA)
- Multi Monitor: 4 Display Compatible
- Connectors: DVI-I, HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2 x 3
- Close performance to the Titan X
- Built for the future of gaming
- 4-way SLI compatibility
- Runs cool
- Not noisy
- 6 GB of RAM
- Much cheaper than the Titan X
- Requires a larger case
- Has a lot of other hardware demands
- Cheaper than the Titan X, but still very expensive
980 Ti Review Conclusion
You can’t really argue about the price of the card, around $649.99, when you look at its nearest competitor, the Titan X. This is the industry’s top-of-the-line graphics card as of now. But when looking at other, less advanced video cards, the GTX 980 Ti is really pricey.
I had a blast taking an early look at the card before it was released. The graphics were amazing and definitely topped what I am used to. I review a lot of components, from computers to soundbars, but the 980 Ti is up there in technology.
The price may sting to a lot of people, but my recommendation is this: Buy the GeForce 980 Ti right now, make sure you meet all the requirements to run and fully experience it, and then enjoy because you won’t be having to upgrade for several years. Of course, you can get a much cheaper card and then have to upgrade in a year or two again, but if you want to go big and not have to upgrade for, say, 5-7 years then go all in with this amazing tech by NVIDIA.
If you’ve decided on purchasing this card and then not upgrading for several years, you do have a few options from different companies. Be sure to click and read reviews to find the pros and cons of each manufacturer’s version of this card: