Nvidia geforce 980 ti
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Specs
Report an Error
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB Review
Fewer than three months have passed since Nvidia took the wraps off of GeForce GTX Titan X, and the company is already launching another GM200-based graphics card called GeForce GTX 980 Ti. It’s about $400 cheaper than the flagship’s street price. Yet, we’re told it only gives up a few percentage points of performance. Is there still a reason to lust after the Titan X? Could you, in good conscience, spend $500 on the 980 knowing that this monster exists (yes, the 980 is dropping $50, according to Nvidia)? Is this move preempting AMD’s upcoming ultra-high-end Fiji unveiling?
Any answer to that last question would be purely speculative. But we weren’t expecting to see a Titan X derivative so soon. Nvidia introduced its original GeForce GTX Titan in February of 2013 and followed up nine months later with GeForce GTX 780 Ti, also based on the GK110 GPU. Those cards were decidedly not built for the same customers. The Titan had one of its SMX clusters turned off, a then-unprecedented 6GB of memory and a GPU equally adept at 3D and double-precision math. Meanwhile, the 780 Ti featured a full 2880 CUDA cores and 240 texture units for graphics supremacy, higher clock rates and a $300-lower price tag. Most gamers with money to spend had little trouble choosing 780 Ti over the Titan.
Unfortunately, there was also a good reason to ding it: Nvidia armed GeForce GTX 780 Ti with 3GB of memory, and the rumored 6GB models never materialized. Two years ago, that was fine for 2560x1440. And 4K screens weren’t really “a thing” yet; those that did exist were $3000+ affairs. We did, however, figure out that 3GB wasn’t enough RAM to game smoothly on a trio of QHD displays (>11 million pixels). Later, we also ran into situations where 4K (>8 million pixels) was held back by the card’s available memory.
Today’s monitor market looks nothing like it did then. Ultra HD screens start under $500. Nvidia’s G-Sync variable refresh rate technology is almost 18 months-old. And AMD’s FreeSync equivalent is gaining momentum as well. We have to assume that anyone shopping for a high-end graphics card in 2015 is at least considering an upgrade to 4K.
Tweaking GM200 For GeForce GTX 980 Ti
Nvidia knows where the display market is heading, and it isn’t about to shortchange this generation’s Titan-derivative in the memory department. Beyond adding more on-board GDDR5 than 780 Ti, the company’s Maxwell architecture utilizes available bandwidth to greater effect—something we first observed last February from GeForce GTX 750 Ti and its GM107 GPU. GM200 is built even more robustly than that early implementation of Maxwell. Each of its SMMs sports 96KB of shared memory and a 48KB texture/L1 cache, while a large 3MB L2 cache minimizes requests made to DRAM as much as possible. All of those hardware-oriented changes, combined with new color compression schemes, make playable performance at 4K a more realistic goal for certain single-GPU systems.
That’s the good news. But because Nvidia’s GeForce GTX Titan X already features a fully-enabled GM200 processor, there’s really no way to make the 980 Ti faster. This creates a bit of an issue for differentiating two high-end cards based on the same ASIC.
How about characterizing their strengths in compute-oriented workloads? Last generation, the Titan was capable of around 1.5 TFLOPS of double-precision math. Nvidia artificially dialed the 780 Ti to 1/8 of that, or roughly 210 GFLOPS, creating a nice split between them. But the same option isn’t available today, since GM200 gives up its compute potential altogether in favor of efficient gaming. As a result, the Titan X and 980 Ti are both limited to native FP64 rates of 1/32.
So, with Titan X already out there, selling for more than $1000, the company’s only option seemed to be a surgical incision, trimming away some of GM200’s resources and creating a GeForce GTX 980 Ti that’s slightly less potent than Titan X, but more compelling than GeForce GTX 980 (and a big upgrade over 780 Ti).
At least the haircut isn’t dramatic. We’re still looking at GM200 and its six Graphics Processing Clusters. Only, across that sextet, two Streaming Multiprocessors are disabled. With 128 CUDA cores per SMM, you’re down 256, yielding a total of 2816 cores across the processor. Similarly, the loss of eight texture units per SMM results in a GPU with 176 (instead of 192).
You might guess that fusing off ~8% of GM200’s shader and texturing resources would result in a corresponding performance drop in games bound by those parts of the graphics pipeline. But Nvidia claims that the difference between GeForce GTX Titan X and 980 Ti is minor.
The company doesn’t seem to be worried. It isn’t trying to compensate with higher clock rates—GeForce GTX 980 Ti is marketed at the same 1000MHz base and 1075MHz GPU Boost clock rates as Titan X. And the GPU’s back-end doesn’t change either. From our Titan X story:
“GeForce GTX 980’s four ROP partitions grow to six in (GeForce GTX 980 Ti). With 16 units each, that’s up to 96 32-bit integer pixels per clock. The ROP partitions are aligned with 512KB slices of L2 cache, totaling 3MB in GM200. When it introduced GeForce GTX 750 Ti, Nvidia talked about a big L2 as a mechanism for preventing bottlenecks on a relatively narrow 128-bit memory interface. That’s not as big of a concern with GM200, given its 384-bit path populated by 7 Gb/s memory. Maximum throughput of 336.5 GB/s matches the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, and exceeds GeForce GTX Titan, GeForce GTX 980 and Radeon R9 290X.”
Whereas the Titan X sports 12GB of GDDR5 memory, though, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti comes with 6GB at the same 7 Gb/s. That’s hardly a compromise, we’d say. Six gigabytes is plenty for 4K or three QHD screens in Surround. Don’t expect to see 12GB versions down the road, either. Nvidia doesn’t plan to chew into Titan X sales with a beefed-up 980 Ti.
This card’s story continues much like the Titan X before it, then. Nvidia’s GM200 drops onto the same 10.5”-long PCB, making life easy for anyone who might be replacing a GeForce GTX 780 Ti.
Because the 980 Ti halves Titan X’s memory subsystem, there are no packages on the back of the board; they’re all on the front. Twelve emplacements host 4Gb (512MB) ICs, which add up to 6GB. You’ll also notice the two SLI connectors at the top of the board. As expected, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti supports up to four-way configurations.
Nvidia again eschews the rear plate featured on its GeForce GTX 980. Apparently, the Titan X and 980 Ti are more likely candidates for SLI, and the improved airflow between dual-slot cards outweighs any reason to fill that space with extra metal.
Again, from our GeForce GTX Titan X review, “A plate sits on top of the PCB, cooling a number of the surface-mounted components. There’s a copper vapor chamber mounted to that, topped by a two-slot-tall aluminum heat sink. Nvidia’s reference design remains faithful to the centrifugal fan, which pulls in air from your chassis, pushes it over the plate, through the heat sink and out the back. Although blower-style fans tend to create more noise than axial coolers, we’ve seen enough cards based on this same ID to know they’re acoustically-friendly. (GeForce GTX 980 Ti) is no exception.”
In an effort to maintain the Titan X’s premium aesthetic, GeForce GTX 980 Ti is covered in an arguably less aggressive silver-colored aluminum shroud than the flagship. It’s the exact same color and texture as Nvidia’s 780 Ti. One small difference exists: there’s an extra bit of metal by the I/O bracket covering the bottom-most DisplayPort and DVI connector frames. This area was previously exposed.
Like the GeForce GTX Titan X and 980, 980 Ti includes one dual-link DVI port, one HDMI 2.0-capable connector and three full-sized DisplayPort interfaces. Between those five options, you can drive as many as four displays at a time. And if you’re using G-Sync-enabled displays, that trio of DisplayPort 1.2 outputs makes Surround a viable choice. In comparison, 780 Ti came with two DVI outputs, one HDMI 1.4a port and a full-size DisplayPort connector. Changes to the way enthusiasts are attaching their monitors are clearly affecting what Nvidia does with its display controller, reflected in a slow shift away from DVI, the addition of HDMI 2.0 support and more DP connectivity.
Power is delivered to the card through its PCIe slot (up to 75W), one six-pin auxiliary connector (another 75W) and one eight-pin lead (up to 150W). All told, though, 980 Ti is rated at the same 250W TDP as Titan X, and our benchmarks will indeed show that the two cards demonstrate similar consumption.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti Review
For the last few weeks, the internet’s been abuzz about AMD’s upcoming flagship GPU—a single-GPU card built to take on Nvidia’s Titan X, but at a presumably lower price. With today’s launch of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, Nvidia’s clearly making a preemptive strike against AMD, as you get a card just as fast as the Titan X…but for $650.
If that weren’t enough to grab attention, Nvidia’s also throwing in a copy of Batman: Arkham Knight with each 980 Ti, as well as reducing the price of last September’s GTX 980 to $500. It’s safe to say the gloves are off. (Holy moly are they off.) And benefiting from this brutal slugfest are all PC gamers who’ve been waiting to upgrade.
All New Design
Spoiler: this section’s headline is actually a joke. The GTX 980 Ti (shown here in reference form) is based on the same “Big Maxwell” GM200 architecture found in its $1,000 Titan X, which launched this year in March. It uses the same cooling mechanism we've seen before on the previous Kepler and Maxwell cards, and supports all the same features as the GTX 980 and the Titan X. So there’s nothing new here, except for the fact this GPU is a slightly neutered Titan X.
Before we get into the discussion of the GTX 980 Ti, let's first have a look at everyone's best friend, the spec chart, so we can see all the cards' numbers side-by-side.
The GTX 980 Ti is essentially a Titan X with only two streaming multiprocessor units disabled and half the memory. The biggest difference in specs between the two flagship cards is the Titan X has 3,072 CUDA cores (shader processors), and the GTX 980 Ti has 2,816. The 980 Ti’s clock speeds, memory speed, and memory bus width remain exactly the same as the Titan X, so naturally the two cards have the exact same memory bandwidth specification of 336.5GB/s. It does have half the memory of the Titan X at 6GB, but that shouldn’t matter too much—even people with 4K monitors can't generally use more than 6GB of memory. For now, this GPU is sufficient to run games at 4K with high detail at great framerates.
One area in which the 980 Ti is actually better than the Titan X, though, is that it’ll be offered by all of Nvidia’s partners in a variety of cooling solutions and configurations—so we should see some pretty sweet aftermarket coolers on this puppy.
As for how the 980 Ti holds up against Nvidia’s other offerings, Nvidia is promoting its new GPU as having 38% more cores and texture units, and 50% more memory bandwidth than the standard 980. It’s also saying that the GTX 980 Ti is 300% faster than the Kepler-based GTX 680, and up to 65% faster than the Kepler-based GTX 780 Ti. All marketing aside, none of this should sound revelatory—after all, as we’ve just established, this is basically the Titan X with a bit of trimming.
Performance and BenchmarksThe Titan X's 12GB of memory is overkill, so the GTX 980 Ti has a more reasonable 6GB clocked at 7GHz on a 384-bit wide bus.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this Maxwell GPU that hasn’t already been mentioned in previous reviews. Like the 980 and the Titan X, it supports G-Sync monitors, GeForce Experience, Shield streaming, etc., and since it’s essentially the Titan X in all the important ways, the hardware doesn’t hold any surprises, either. So, without any further ado, let's take a look at how this card runs.
We tested the GTX 980 Ti against all of its closest competitors at three resolutions: 1920x1080, 2560x1440, and of course, 3840x2160. For the tests at the lower resolutions we cranked up every setting to the absolute maximum, and turned anti-aliasing up to 4XAA. For the benchmarks at 4K though, we turned off AA as it’s not really necessary at that resolution.
(Note: Our second GTX 980 was unavailable for running 980 SLI benchmarks, so if you'd like a rough idea of how that configuration performs against the 980 Ti, you can refer to our Titan X article's benchmarks.)
|GTX 980 Ti||GTX Titan X||GTX 980||GTX 780 Ti||Radeon R9 290X||Radeon R9 295X2|
|3Dmark Firestrike Extreme||7,370||7,558||5,864||4,838||5,041||8,753|
|3Dmark Firestrike Ultra||3,943||4,124||3,150||2,432||2,704||4,888|
|GTX 980 Ti||GTX Titan X||GTX 980||GTX 780 Ti||Radeon R9 290X||Radeon R9 295X2|
|Batman: Arkham Origins||86||87||75||72||89||113|
|Metro: Last Light||57.5||58||48||49.5||32||48.47|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||103||101.65||81.18||73.44||76.59||103.82|
|GTX 980 Ti||GTX Titan X||GTX 980||GTX 780 Ti||Radeon R9 290X||Radeon R9 295X2|
|Batman: Arkham Origins||70||71||57||55||70||79|
|Metro: Last Light||37.33||37.5||30.67||29||21||34.5|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||75.97||77.3||59.15||52.32||54.55||84.62|
|GTX 980 Ti||GTX Titan X||GTX 980||GTX 780 Ti||Radeon R9 290X||Radeon R9 295X2|
|Batman: Arkham Origins||59||57||55||53||51||72|
|Metro: Last Light||34||34||28||20||19||31.5|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor||40.66||41.69||30.95||27.09||21.58||55.38|
All tests were run on our test bench running an Asus Z97-A motherboard, Intel Core i7-4790k motherboard, 16GB of DDR3/1600 memory, 240GB Crucial M500 SSD, 1000W Corsair PSU, and Windows 8.1. All tests at 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 were run at maximum graphical settings with 4XAA enabled. Tests at 3840x2160 did not have AA enabled.
As you can see by the benchmark charts, the difference in performance between the GTX 980 Ti and the Titan X is so small it could be chalked up to just standard deviation in the tests. They are literally within one frame per second on some tests, and the biggest delta is about three frames per second, so for all intents and purposes, we declare the GTX 980 Ti to perform the same as the Titan X. That it costs $350 less is mind-blowing.
When comparing the 980 Ti to the GTX 980, which uses a smaller GPU and has a much lower TDP (250W for the 980 Ti versus 165W for the 980), the performance delta is surprisingly large, hovering between 15 and 25 percent. That’s pretty huge and what we normally see between cards in different levels of the product stack, like the 970 to 960, but this is between two cards in the same number family. So it's a bit of an anomaly, but in a good way.Outputs include HDMI, DVI, and three DisplayPort connectors, the last of which is required for 4K gaming at 60Hz.
When compared to the GTX 780 Ti, the delta is even bigger, reaching up to 40% in some titles, and at 4K it is over 50% in Metro: Last Light. That's a massive difference, and could be the biggest jump we’ve ever seen from one generation of cards to the next, despite the fact that both cards are manufactured on a 28nm process.
Heat, Noise, and Overclocking
Like all the Maxwell cards, the GTX 980 Ti is fairly quiet. We used EVGA’s PrecisionX utility to allow the temperature ceiling to run as high as it wanted, but it never got hotter than 83°C under full load.
As far as overclocking goes, the 980 Ti is just as overclockable as all the other Maxwell family cards. That is to say, you can overclock the pants off of it. We were able to get our GTX 980 Ti review sample up to around 1406MHz before things went sideways, which is par for the course and what we expected from a Maxwell card. You should be able to go at least 100MHz beyond the official Boost Clock of 1075MHz quite easily.
- Matches Titan X in performance
- Surprisingly affordable
- Non-reference cooling options
- Cool and quiet
- Board design is boring at this point
When we first heard about the 980 Ti, we figured that its performance and price would land squarely between the GTX 980 and the Titan X. That's not how it turned out, though. This GPU is pretty much exactly a Titan X, for $350 less and with the option of aftermarket cooling to boot. If you’ve been wanting to do 4K gaming without dealing with the quirks of a multi-GPU setup or spending $1K, your wait is finally over. AMD will need to launch something really special to beat the GTX 980 Ti's superb combination of price and performance; at the moment, Nvidia’s latest offering looks unbeatable. We can’t wait to see how AMD responds.
Introducing GeForce GTX 980 Ti -- Our New Flagship Gaming GPU Has Arrived | The Official NVIDIA Blog
The latest addition to our GTX family — the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti — has arrived.
Our new flagship GeForce GPU is an amazing upgrade for gamers who haven’t yet jumped to a Maxwell GPU.
In fact, the GTX 980 Ti is up to 3X faster when compared to a GTX 680.The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti.
It features 6GB of memory and enough CUDA cores to drive games at 4K. That makes it great for 4K gaming, and great for future games, too. The GTX 980 Ti also features support for Microsoft’s next-generation DirectX 12 graphics application programming interface.
We’ve supercharged all our GTX 900-series Maxwell GPUs with DX12 features that unlock the full promise of the new API. All Maxwell GPUs support DX12, including support for conservative raster and volume tiled resources. This means developers can do more with their games on Maxwell than on any other GPU.
Cool, Quiet, Compact
Your games will be more immersive. They’ll run faster. And they’ll look better. And with a design that sips power rather than gulps it, gamers get quiet, cool operation. Noise or heat will never become a distraction. And, for those with space constraints, you can even use GTX 980 Ti in a small form-factor PC.
Industry analysts are predicting there will be more than 350 million PCs running Windows 10 within the first year of its release. That’s a lot of potential gamers. And with more than 100 developers working on DX12 games, now’s the perfect time to get ready.
For more on our announcements at Computex, see our in-depth coverage on GeForce.com; and more on our corporate blog: GameWorks VR Will Blaze Trail for Virtual Reality | G-SYNC – the Ultimate Gaming Display – Reaches Notebooks, New Monitors
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Review
For much of the last year now, the story of the high-end video card market has been the story of NVIDIA. In September of 2014 the company launched the GeForce GTX 980, the first and at the time most powerful member of their Maxwell 2 architecture, setting a new mark for both power efficiency and performance, securing their lead of high-end of the video card market. NVIDIA then followed that up in March with the launch of the GeForce GTX Titan X, NVIDIA’s true flagship Maxwell part, and a part that only served to further cement their lead.
Based on the very powerful (and very large) GM200 GPU, GTX Titan X is currently untouched in performance. However priced at $1000, it is also currently untouched in price. In NVIDIA’s current lineup there is a rather sizable gap between the $550 GTX 980 and $1000 GTX Titan X, and perhaps more significantly GTX Titan X was the only GM200 part on the market. With NVIDIA launching their fully enabled flagship card first, it was only a matter of time until they released a cheaper card based on a cut-down version of the GM200 GPU in order to fill that pricing hole and to put salvaged GM200s to good use.
Now just a bit over two months since the launch of the GTX Titan X, NVIDIA launching their second GM200 card, GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Based on the aforementioned cut-down version of GM200, GTX 980 Ti is the expected junior version of GTX Titan X, delivering GM200 at a cheaper price point. But calling GTX 980 Ti a cheaper GM200 may be selling it short; “cheaper” implies that GTX 980 Ti is a much lesser card. At $649, GTX 980 Ti is definitely cheaper, but the card that is launching today is not to be underestimated. GTX 980 Ti may be intended to be GTX Titan X’s junior, but with the excellent performance it delivers, GTX 980 Ti may as well be GTX Titan X itself.
|NVIDIA GeForce Specification Comparison|
|GTX Titan X||GTX 980 Ti||GTX 980||GTX 780 Ti|
|Memory Clock||7GHz GDDR5||7GHz GDDR5||7GHz GDDR5||7GHz GDDR5|
|Memory Bus Width||384-bit||384-bit||256-bit||384-bit|
|FP64||1/32 FP32||1/32 FP32||1/32 FP32||1/24 FP32|
|Architecture||Maxwell 2||Maxwell 2||Maxwell 2||Kepler|
|Manufacturing Process||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm||TSMC 28nm|
Taking a look at GTX 980 Ti from a specifications perspective, NVIDIA’s latest card is in a somewhat unusual place. Its direct predecessor, GTX 780 Ti, was a fully enabled GK110 card, differing from that generation’s Titan only in double precision compute capabilities and a trivial clockspeed difference. However with GM200 being a pure graphics chip – and hence GTX Titan X not pulling double-duty as a prosumer level compute card – NVIDIA has needed to turn to cutting down the chip itself in order to differentiate the products. In this sense the GTX 980 Ti is probably closer to being the GTX 780 of its generation, a very timely situation given the fact that GTX 780 launched almost exactly 2 years ago.
In any case, compared to GTX Titan X NVIDIA has made just two changes to create GTX 980 Ti. The first is that the company has disabled 2 of GM200’s 24 SMMs, bringing it down to 22 SMMs for a total of 2816 active CUDA cores. The second change was to dial back the amount of VRAM, from GTX Titan X’s 12GB to the 6GB we see on GTX 980 Ti. And that’s it.
In every other aspect the GTX 980 Ti is identical to the GTX Titan X. Both are clocked at 1000MHz, with a boost clock of 1075MHz. Both feature their VRAM on a 384-bit memory bus with their respective VRAM modules clocked at 7GHz. Both are set for a 250W TDP, and are equipped with NVIDIA’s high end metal-shrouded cooler. And finally, GTX 980 Ti retains all 96 ROPs and 3MB of L2 cache, which means that in pixel-heavy situations like 4K it is as no disadvantage compared to GTX Titan X.
Consequently, looking at the specifications tells us that we should expect GTX 980 Ti to be 8% slower than GTX Titan X, a result of losing 2 SMMs. Coupled with the difference in VRAM between the two cards, this would put a decent gap between the two cards. However as we’ll see in our benchmarks, reality begs to differ. Thanks to the combination of a couple of factors GTX 980 Ti ends up coming much closer to GTX Titan X than what the specifications tell us to expect. In the end what we find is that it delivers 97% of GTX Titan X’s performance. This, in a nutshell, is what makes GTX 980 Ti a deceptive card, and is why it’s going to have such a large impact on the high-end market.
Shifting gears, let’s talk about pricing, availability, and the competition. The GTX 980 Ti will be a hard launch, with cards going on sale on June 1st. Due to the fact that Computex is taking place this week in Taiwan and GTX 980 Ti is one of the products NVIDIA is launching at the show, NVIDIA has lifted the embargo on GTX 980 Ti at an atypical 6pm Eastern, which for Taiwan and Computex is June 1st, 6am local time. NVIDIA is launching the card globally on the 1st, so in a reversal of typical launches APAC buyers will get first dibs on the card, followed by European and North/South American buyers several hours later. Along with the GTX 980 Ti reference cards launching today, expect to see semi-custom cards launching very soon thereafter.
Meanwhile for pricing, the GTX 980 Ti will be launching at $649. This is an increasingly persistent price point for NVIDIA that has fluctuated a bit over the last couple of years, with the GTX 780 launching at $649 as well, only for the GTX 780 Ti to launch at $699. The launch of GTX 980 Ti at $649 will be putting pressure on the rest of NVIDIA’s product stack from both above and below. In response to this launch NVIDIA is officially cutting the price of the GTX 980 from $549 to $499 in order to open up a bit more room between the cards and to keep GTX 980 Ti from making GTX 980 redundant. At the same time however GTX 980 Ti puts enormous pressure on GTX Titan X; GTX 980 Ti’s performance is close enough to GTX Titan X that the latter’s only practical advantage is its 12GB of VRAM, and that’s not a lot to justify the Titan’s $350 (54%) price premium.
Not stopping there, in an unusual move for NVIDIA the GTX 980 Ti is getting a game bundle right off the bat. The card isn’t getting NVIDIA’s full Two Times The Adventure bundle that comes with the GTX 980, but it is getting a copy of the forthcoming Batman: Arkham Knight, another one of this year’s major GameWorks titles. The end result is that NVIDIA is being more aggressive than usual this time around, offering what amounts to a GTX Titan X and a game for $649.
Of course the competition may have something to do with it. AMD is pretty much shouting from the rooftops that they are launching a new high-end video card this quarter, which at this point means the card is due by the end of June. While NVIDIA does have other financial incentives for releasing GTX 980 Ti now that GTX Titan X has been on the market for a couple of months, by all appearances this looks to be NVIDIA making the first move. We’ll have to see just what AMD delivers next month, but what is clear is that whatever they do, NVIDIA will not be making it easy by delivering flagship performance at $649.
In the meantime AMD and their partners are also still selling the Radeon R9 295X2 for around $600, though it looks like this is part of an effort to sell off the remaining inventory of cards. AMD has no other cards in this price range, so the GTX 980 Ti is otherwise uncontested until AMD’s new card launches.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti Review
- Fantastic, consistent 4K performance
- £250 cheaper than the Titan X
- Reasonably cool operation
- Overkill for 1080p and 1440p gaming
- Review Price: £550.00
- 1,000MHz core clock
- 1,753MHz 6GB GDDR5 memory
- 8 billion transistors
- 2,816 stream processors
- Requires 1 x 6-pin and 1 x 8-pin power connectors
- Manufacturer: Nvidia
Updated: The GeForce GTX 980 Ti is the second most powerful graphics card from the last generation of Nvidia’s Maxwell graphics cards, sitting under the Titan X in terms of price and performance. With 4K ability and VR Ready certification, it’s a terrific graphics card that’s coming down in price all the time.
Since our original review of the 980 Ti, Nvidia has launched its first Pascal-based GPU, the GeForce GTX 1080. The GTX 980 Ti is one of the few GTX 1080 alternatives that actually comes off looking pretty good up against the new card. Part of this is down to its price; you can pick up a used GTX 980Ti for £400 or a new model for £550, and prices will surely tumble. Performance in the latest games running at 4K resolutions is still excellent, especially with an aftermarket card such as the overclocked version produced by EVGA. You can see a full list of the latest benchmarks in our GTX 1080 review, where an aftermarket GTX 980 Ti is also benchmarked.
With all of that said, if 980 Ti prices don’t drop a huge amount in the coming months it will start to look like a much poorer deal, so it’s worth hunting around for the best price if you want to save some money.
Below is our original review, written in July 2015.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti – Under the Hood
This card’s Ti suffix suggests it shares DNA with the cheaper GTX 980, but this isn’t the case – the GTX 980 Ti is built with the same GM200 Maxwell core found inside the mighty Titan X.
That means the new card’s specification is far closer to Nvidia’s top GPU than the cheaper, standard GTX 980. It has 2,816 stream processors – which is only 256 behind the Titan – and six graphics processing clusters and 24 streaming multiprocessors. That latter figure is only two short of the Titan X but six more than the GTX 980.
SEE ALSO: 2015’s Best Games UnveiledThe recycling of the GM200 core means the GTX 980 Ti also has 8 billion transistors and a 601mm2 die – almost twice the size of the chip inside the GTX 980.
The GTX 980 Ti’s stock and boost clocks of 1,000MHz and 1,075MHz are the same as those found in the Titan, although this is one area where the 1,126MHz GTX 980 pulls ahead.
However, there’s one area in which the GTX 980 Ti falls behind the more expensive Titan X: memory. Nvidia’s barnstorming Titan X has 12GB of GDDR5 RAM, but the GTX 980 Ti makes do with half that amount. It’s still clocked to the same speed of 1,753MHz, and it’s still plenty – most cards don’t even have close to 6GB, let alone double that number.
At extemes it may make a difference, but it’s unlikely to be noticeable. It’s more for use in high-end computing applications, whereas the 980 Ti is more suited to gaming.
In practical terms, then, expect performance closer to the Titan X. On paper, this makes the 980 Ti seem like a bargain at £550: far closer to the £400 GTX 980 than the Titan X, which usually retails for more than £800.
On the outside, the GTX 980 Ti and Titan X are similar too. Both have Nvidia’s swish aluminium cooler design, and both require single six- and eight-pin power connectors.
The GTX 980 Ti demands a more sizeable case: Nvidia’s reference model is 267mm long. In contrast, the AMD Fury X is much shorter since it uses a separate liquid cooler.
TrustedReviews Awards 2015: Winners announced
AMD’s older range doesn’t have anything that can compete with the GTX 980 Ti, with its nearest competitor falling well short of even the GTX 980. However, the new R9 series is expected to put up more of a fight.
The closest challenger will be the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X, which will cost around £510. It’s set to be an intriguing battle: the AMD card has only 4GB of RAM, but it has more stream processors and transistors than Nvidia’s card, and a faster core too.
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti – How We Tested
We’ve loaded five games for this GPU test. Battlefield 4, BioShock Infinite and Crysis 3 all return from our previous reviews, and we’ve added Metro: Last Light and Batman: Arkham Origins to the mix. We’ve tested at 2,560 x 1,440 and 3,840 x 2,160 to see how the GTX 980 Ti will handle high-resolution single screens. We haven’t tested at 1080p, as we know this card is powerful enough to blast through any game at that lower resolution.
SEE ALSO: Best Gaming Headsets
We’ve used 3DMark’s Fire Strike test and four Unigine Heaven benchmarks to test theoretical performance, plus idle and load temperatures and power requirements have been taken to see which card is the coolest and most frugal.
Our test rig consists of an Asus X79-Deluxe motherboard, Intel Core i7-4960X processor, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB hard disk.
For prices, we visited the Scan website and noted down the cheapest stock-speed card we could find, although we will be referring to various overclocked and tweaked models available for each GPU – which will be more expensive – later on in the review.
Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade, writing for most of the UK’s most well-known websites and magazines. During his time writing about technology he’s developed obsessio…
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.