Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming 6 GB Review 47

Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming 6 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming retails around $690.
  • Overclocked out of the box, the card is faster than the GTX Titan X
  • Better price/performance than the GTX 980 / 980 Ti
  • Fans turn off in idle and light gaming—no noise!
  • Great efficiency
  • Slightly quieter than the GTX 980 Ti reference design
  • Backplate included
  • Excellent overclocking potential
  • Most flexible output configuration available
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Quad-SLI support
  • New software features (MFAA and DSR)
  • Should be quieter in gaming
  • Noticeable increase in power consumption
  • Large price increase over reference
  • Memory not overclocked
As we predicted in our GTX 980 Ti reference review, the first custom GTX 980 Ti variant we tested today comes with large performance improvements over the GTX 980 Ti, even beating the much more expensive GTX Titan X, which makes it obsolete. Compared to the GTX 980 Ti, we see a 10-15% performance increase depending on the resolution. The Titan X is defeated as it is up to 11% slower than Gigabyte's GTX 980 Ti. The R9 290X, AMD's fastest single GPU card, is a staggering 40% behind and even AMD's dual-GPU R9 295X2 is only 4% faster at 4K, but slower at all other resolutions, and it requires proper CrossFire driver support. Gigabyte's increased base and Boost clock has definitely paid off. I only wish memory were overclocked as well for an additional performance increase.
We complained about the GTX 980 Ti's reference cooler and the G1 Gaming does much better here. The card never runs into the 84°C temperature limit set by NVIDIA, at which the card will start reducing Boost clocks to keep within the specified thermal range. Gigabyte also included the fans-off-in-idle feature that lets you work, watch movies, or play light games without any fan noise at all. While fan noise during heavy gaming has improved slightly as well, I still find it too noisy; other GTX 980 Ti cards I'm testing right now do much better here. Another thing we criticized on the reference design was the lack of a backplate. Gigabyte addressed the issue by including a metal backplate on the card.
NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture comes with fantastic power efficiency improvements and the Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming is no exception. However, the power consumption increase is a bit larger than I expected, although still nothing to worry about. Furmark maximum power is much higher, but that's a good thing. Gigabyte placed 2x 8-pin power inputs on their card (vs. 6+8 on ref), which allows the card to boost higher for longer due to an adjusted power limit in the BIOS.
What is truly unique to the Gigabyte card, though, is the monitor output configuration. Gigabyte crammed three DisplayPorts, two DVI ports, and an HDMI port onto their board, which is more than anyone else. Since the GPU can not support that many outputs at the same time, Gigabyte added a TMDS switch chip that automatically decides on how to route those outputs. This could prove useful to gamers with exotic monitor output configurations or as a means to simplify connectivity.
The GeForce GTX 980 Ti doesn't come cheap at a price of $650 for the reference design, and Gigabyte is asking another $40 for the G1 Gaming, which seems a bit much. Still, at $690, the G1 Gaming's price/performance ratio is better than that of the GTX 980 Ti at $650 or the GTX 980 at $480. So if you have the money, and you should if you are considering a GTX 980 Ti, the price increase is definitely worth it. The big unknown is still AMD's Fiji, which may or may not be a game changer; AMD is expected to announce the card during E3 this week.
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