Although the $999 GeForce GTX Titan X
is currently the King of the single-GPU hill, NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti is the far more palatable option for most hardcore enthusiasts, due to its lower $649 starting price point. As we showed you in our initial coverage of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti
, however, the card is still a monster in terms of performance. It typically outpaces AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 Fury X
(at least with DX11 titles) and it finishes only a few percentage points behind the much pricier Titan X.
NVIDIA’s partners have also taken the GeForce GTX 980 Ti and morphed it into something even more powerful, thanks to their custom cooling solutions and factory overclocks. Virtually all of NVIDIA’s major board partners have custom GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards on the market, three of which we’re going to show you here – The ASUS STRIX, MSI Gaming 6G, and the EVGA Super Clocked Edition...
The ASUS STRIX, MSI Gaming 6G, and EVGA SC 980 Tis
ASUS, MSI, EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Cards
Specifications & Features
|All Three Custom Cards Feature Rigid Backplates
First up, we have the ASUS
STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Asus customized virtually everything on this STRIX card, including the PCB, which is longer and taller than NVIDIA’s reference design. The changes make the ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti
somewhat larger than most graphics cards, but it’s still a dual-slot solution and should have no trouble fitting into any full or mid-tower.
The ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti has default GPU base clock of 1216MHz, with a boost clock of 1317MHz (OC mode) or 1291MHz (gaming mode), which is significantly higher than the 1000MHz/1076MHz of reference cards (and even higher clocks should be possible with manual overclocking). The 6GB of GDDR5 memory on the card is clocked at an effective speed of 7200Mb/s, which is the highest of the bunch.
Outputs on the ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti consist of a trio of DisplayPorts, an HDMI output, and a DVI output. There are some standout features on the card we should mention too, more specifically, the DirectCU III cooler and beefed-up VRM. The cooler on the ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti sports triple fans and a dense heatsink array, linked to a solid copper base by some massive 10mm heatpipes. The fans will spin down completely when the GPU is operating below 60-68’C range (depending on other system variables) so the card won’t make any noise when idle or during light-duty gaming.
The VRM on the card is a 12+2 phase design that utilizes high-quality “super alloy” caps, FETs, and chokes. The end result is more stable power deliver and higher efficiency according to ASUS, which aids in overclocking and helps keep board temps down as well. Asus also incorporated status LEDs into the VRM which can indicate whether power connectors are properly seated and working as they should.
Asus includes a 1-year Free XSplit Premium License and a copy of its newest GPU Tweak II utility with the card as well. Suffice it to say the ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 980 Ti exudes quality and based on its specifications, performance should be top notch versus competing solutions, like the MSI and EVGA offerings we’ll show you next.