MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning 6GB Review 68

MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning 6GB Review



MSI Logo

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 980 Ti was released this June. Built on the same GM200 GPU as the GeForce Titan X, it has fewer shaders (2816 vs 3072). While the GTX 980 Ti's GPU is still produced on a 28 nanometer process at TSMC in Taiwan, it comes with the fantastic power efficiency optimizations of the NVIDIA Maxwell architecture, which promises lower power draw, higher performance, and reduced fan noise all at the same time.

Our review of the reference design GTX 980 Ti revealed that it is barely slower than the Titan X, which means custom designs could surpass Titan X performance at a much lower price point.

Today, we are reviewing MSI's new flagship GeForce GTX 980 Ti using the "Lightning" branding, which stands for maximum overclockability and the support for features extreme overclockers using liquid nitrogen will find useful.

For more "regular" users, MSI has built a large triple-slot, triple-fan thermal solution that turns its fans off in idle and light gaming. At a base clock of 1203 MHz, the GTX 980 Ti Lightning comes highly overlclocked out of the box, and memory has been overclocked as well.

All these features come at a quite significant price premium as the MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning is currently available online for $779, which is more than $150 over the cheapest GTX 980 Ti.

GTX 980 Ti Market Segment Analysis
GTX 970
R9 290X
R9 390X
GTX 780 Ti
GTX 980
Radeon R9
Radeon R9
Fury X
GTX 980 Ti
Ti Lightning
GTX Titan X
R9 295X2
Shader Units16642816281628802048358440962816281630722x 2816
ROPs566464486464649696962x 64
Graphics ProcessorGM204HawaiiHawaiiGK110GM204FijiFijiGM200GM200GM2002x Hawaii
Transistors5200M6200M6200M7100M5200M8900M8900M8000M8000M8000M2x 6200M
Memory Size4096 MB4096 MB8192 MB3072 MB4096 MB4096 MB4096 MB6144 MB6144 MB12288 MB2x 4096 MB
Memory Bus Width256 bit512 bit512 bit384 bit256 bit4096 bit4096 bit384 bit384 bit384 bit2x 512 bit
Core Clock1051 MHz+1000 MHz1050 MHz876 MHz+1126 MHz+1000 MHz1050 MHz1000 MHz+1203 MHz+1000 MHz+1018 MHz
Memory Clock1750 MHz1250 MHz1500 MHz1750 MHz1750 MHz500 MHz500 MHz1750 MHz1774 MHz1750 MHz1250 MHz


Package Front
Package Back


You will receive:
  • Graphics card + driver CD
  • Documentation
  • 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe power adapter
  • 3x voltage measurement cable
  • LN2 VRM cooling plate
  • Long SLI bridge

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back

MSI's new Lightning is huge, just look at the size of the slot cover and PCIe connector! You will find a nicely styled metal backplate on the back. Dimensions of the card are 33 cm x 14 cm.

Graphics Card Height

Installation requires three slots in your system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include a DVI, a HDMI port, and three DisplayPorts.

The GPU also includes an HDMI sound device. It is HDMI 2.0 compatible, which includes HD audio and Blu-ray 3D movies support.

Multi-GPU Area

You may combine up to four GTX 980 Ti cards in a multi-GPU SLI configuration.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front, back).
Our Patreon Silver Supporters can read articles in single-page format.
Discuss(68 Comments)
Jul 1st, 2022 09:32 EDT change timezone

New Forum Posts

Popular Reviews

Controversial News Posts