ASUS GTX 980 Ti STRIX Gaming 6 GB Review 74

ASUS GTX 980 Ti STRIX Gaming 6 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The ASUS GTX 980 Ti STRIX can be found online for $670.
  • Large overclock out of the box makes it 12% faster than the Titan X
  • Better price/performance than the GTX 980 / 980 Ti
  • Fans turn off in idle and light gaming—no noise!
  • Great efficiency
  • Memory overclocked, too
  • Backplate included
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Quad-SLI support
  • New software features (MFAA and DSR)
  • Could be quieter during gaming
  • Physically large card
Today, we reviewed the ASUS GTX 980 Ti STRIX, one of the most anticipated cards this season. It comes with a base clock of 1190 MHz, which is already good, but ASUS has also increased the Boost clock range of their card, which makes it the fastest GTX 980 Ti we have tested so far. Compared to the GTX 980 Ti reference, we see an impressive 16% performance improvement at 4K, which makes it 12% faster than the Titan X and 16% faster than AMD's Radeon Fury X. ASUS has also overclocked their memory to 1800 MHz, which nets the card some extra performance.

ASUS is using the new triple-fan, dual-slot DirectCU III cooler we've seen on the Radeon R9 Fury (non-X) STRIX on their card. It does a good job at keeping the card below the NVIDIA 82°C temperature limit beyond which GPUBoost will reduce clocks to keep temperatures in check. The ASUS STRIX also includes the fans-off-in-idle feature that lets you work, watch movies, or play light games without any fan noise at all. Fan noise during serious gaming is slightly lower than with the NVIDIA reference design, but at 39 dBA, it is still a bit away from the whisper-quiet experience everybody is looking for. Competing cards, like those from EVGA, do better here. Another thing we criticized on the reference design was the lack of a backplate. ASUS addressed the issue by including a great-looking metal backplate on their card.
We tested the card with an updated lower-noise BIOS from ASUS, which will be used on all cards and is also available on their website, or in our BIOS collection. The original sample BIOS reached 40 dBA, so not much has improved.

NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture comes with fantastic power efficiency improvements and the ASUS GTX 980 Ti STRIX is no exception. While it does use a bit more power than the reference design, the increase is slim, smaller than on most other GTX 980 Ti cards we've tested. With the performance improvements from the overclock taken into account, the card actually delivers better performance-per-watt than the reference design. Furmark maximum power is the same as with the reference design, though, so ASUS did not increase the board's power limit, which would have helped unlock additional Boost Clock potential.

At a price of $650 for the reference design, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti doesn't come cheap, and ASUS is asking another $20 for their card, which has it retail at $670. This increase is very reasonable as it is the same or slightly cheaper than competing cards, so there is definitely no reason to buy the reference design, which runs slower, hotter, and louder. Thanks to the overclock out of the box, its gaming price/performance ratio is better than with the GTX 980 Ti reference or GTX 980. AMD's R9 Fury X at $650 lags behind in every metric except noise because it is watercooled, though the pump emits a high-pitched whine. So if you are looking for a high-end card this summer, the GTX 980 Ti is the way to go. Which manufacturer's custom design you end up buying doesn't matter because the differences are, rather, nuances you can pick between based on personal taste.
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