Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Windforce Review

Conclusion

When Chris Angelini reviewed the reference GeForce GTX 980 Ti, he lamented that he had already bestowed the Tom's Hardware Editor Recommended award on Nvidia's Titan X two months prior. The GTX 980 Ti is just that good; Gigabyte's claimed improvements over such an esteemed piece of hardware were almost unbelievable as a result.

But the GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming impressed us in every single test we threw at it, outperforming both the Titan X and reference-class GTX 980 Ti. Furthermore, it's usually not far off from two GeForce GTX 970s in SLI or AMD's Radeon R9 295X2. 

Honestly, the performance numbers are nothing short of staggering. I've tested almost every graphics card out there, short of AMD's Fiji-based Fury X and Nano, and I've yet to find one that satisfied my desire to game at 4K on a single-GPU board until now. The extra power that Gigabyte squeezes from the GM200 pushes average frame rates in our gaming suite well above 30 FPS.

While performance is paramount in a graphics card review, it's not the only discipline that Gigabyte masters. The WindForce cooler's oversized heat sinks are highly effective. And with three fans manually configured to always spin, we measured operating temperatures that rival the water-cooled R9 390X.

Lighting effects on the WindForce logo and behind the fans add an aesthetic element you don't see elsewhere. They're a nice bonus for anyone with a windowed chassis looking to match a paint color or theme.

Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 980 Ti is a highly recommended luxury component that anyone with deep pockets should take a long, hard look at. The $40 premium that Gigabyte asks over the reference GTX 980 Ti is frankly smaller than we'd expect. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better-performing graphics card, no matter the cost.

MORE: Best Graphics Cards
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Kevin Carbotte is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware, covering Graphics. Follow him on Twitter.

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    Top Comments
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    Quote:
    Ehh, if you keep waiting for the next best thing, you'll be waiting an eternity, because something newer and better is always just around the bend. Don't buy the next flagship Pascal card, wait for the Ti version. But don't buy that, wait for the next generation of Pascal because that'll be even more powerful and efficient, while being quieter. But don't buy that either, wait for the Ti.

    I picked up a 980 Ti last month and I love it, and I won't need a new card for several years now. There's a lot to be said about waiting, but you gotta take the plunge eventually.


    The difference in this case is that we're having a massive die shrink for the first time in 4 years. Pascal and Polaris cards are likely to completely wreck the current cards in performance per watt, which could mean ridiculous performance gains as well. In this specific scenario, waiting is not a bad idea.
    11
  • Other Comments
  • red river
    just wati for the Pascal cards peeps!
    7
  • Myrmidonas
    I agree. Buying a GPU now is a waste of money.Just wait for the Pascal cards.
    3
  • Gam3r01
    I am mostly interested to see how it would stack up against an MSI Lightning or the ASUS Strix cards.
    2
  • ern88
    Can't wait to see how Pascal and Polaris cards to come to market.
    0
  • dstarr3
    Ehh, if you keep waiting for the next best thing, you'll be waiting an eternity, because something newer and better is always just around the bend. Don't buy the next flagship Pascal card, wait for the Ti version. But don't buy that, wait for the next generation of Pascal because that'll be even more powerful and efficient, while being quieter. But don't buy that either, wait for the Ti.

    I picked up a 980 Ti last month and I love it, and I won't need a new card for several years now. There's a lot to be said about waiting, but you gotta take the plunge eventually.
    8
  • beshonk
    That's because it's a dual GPU card...You just proved you have no idea what you're talking about.
    0
  • Yuka
    Quote:
    That's because it's a dual GPU card...You just proved you have no idea what you're talking about.


    The Nissan GTR puts less than 3 seconds from 0 to 60 using a twin turbo V6 and beats exotic cars using V10s that cost 2 to 3 times more.

    Unless you're brand loyal or actually care about multi GPU issues, dismissing the 295 just because is a dual GPU card is weird in my eyes.

    --

    I kinda missed the Fury X in there and nice showing by that 390X. Beating the 980 in a lot of tests. Too bad the consumption numbers are so bad.

    Nice card none the less. I'll wait for the new batch of cards though to replace my lovely 7970Ghz.

    Cheers!
    5
  • artk2219
    Anonymous said:
    Lol at the R9 295x2 winning most of the benchmarks handily.


    Thats what happens when its going against two 290X's, but the 980 TI doesn't have to deal with micro stuttering, it uses a whole lot less power, and puts out less heat. But, the 295's were priced really nicely when they were readily available. I saw one new open box at microcenter for $495 a few months ago, and I didn't pick it up... I still kind of regret that, I had it in my literal hands and everything :-/.
    3
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    Quote:
    Ehh, if you keep waiting for the next best thing, you'll be waiting an eternity, because something newer and better is always just around the bend. Don't buy the next flagship Pascal card, wait for the Ti version. But don't buy that, wait for the next generation of Pascal because that'll be even more powerful and efficient, while being quieter. But don't buy that either, wait for the Ti.

    I picked up a 980 Ti last month and I love it, and I won't need a new card for several years now. There's a lot to be said about waiting, but you gotta take the plunge eventually.


    The difference in this case is that we're having a massive die shrink for the first time in 4 years. Pascal and Polaris cards are likely to completely wreck the current cards in performance per watt, which could mean ridiculous performance gains as well. In this specific scenario, waiting is not a bad idea.
    11
  • ael00
    looks like a beastie. I especially like the fact that it shares the tank constructions of the 980/970 g1 series.

    Im sure if it wasn't 6 months late it would have dominated the 980ti/R9 fury market segment. No rgb fans will stop people hoarding cash for pascal tho ...
    0
  • derekullo
    Quote:
    Lol at the R9 295x2 winning most of the benchmarks handily.


    A fair comparison would be to compare the 295 to 2 Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming in sli at 4k.
    1
  • thor220
    Quote:
    Ehh, if you keep waiting for the next best thing, you'll be waiting an eternity, because something newer and better is always just around the bend. Don't buy the next flagship Pascal card, wait for the Ti version. But don't buy that, wait for the next generation of Pascal because that'll be even more powerful and efficient, while being quieter. But don't buy that either, wait for the Ti.

    I picked up a 980 Ti last month and I love it, and I won't need a new card for several years now. There's a lot to be said about waiting, but you gotta take the plunge eventually.


    Waiting is a virtue they say and sometimes it really pays off. For example, remember the Titan X? $1,000 on launch and a $600 cards comes out two weeks later that's pretty much the same thing. $400 for doing nothing but waiting a measly two weeks probably paid off for those that waited.
    4
  • kcarbotte
    Anonymous said:
    Quote:
    Ehh, if you keep waiting for the next best thing, you'll be waiting an eternity, because something newer and better is always just around the bend. Don't buy the next flagship Pascal card, wait for the Ti version. But don't buy that, wait for the next generation of Pascal because that'll be even more powerful and efficient, while being quieter. But don't buy that either, wait for the Ti.

    I picked up a 980 Ti last month and I love it, and I won't need a new card for several years now. There's a lot to be said about waiting, but you gotta take the plunge eventually.


    Waiting is a virtue they say and sometimes it really pays off. For example, remember the Titan X? $1,000 on launch and a $600 cards comes out two weeks later that's pretty much the same thing. $400 for doing nothing but waiting a measly two weeks probably paid off for those that waited.


    nearly 3 months later actually.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/nvidia-geforce-gtx-980-ti,4164.html
    1
  • kcarbotte
    Anonymous said:
    The GTX 980 Ti is getting old in the tooth. Why is it still being reviewed?? Last Christmas season there was a sale on these cards every day if you looked on "reddit build a pc sales". Seems like there is an oversupply. As everyone else has stated...wait for Pascal. I can't wait to read about the clueless teen who buys this card the day before the Pascal release.

    Happy Robert E. Lee day


    The GTX 980 Ti launched on May 31 2015.
    It's been a long time, but the card is hardly getting long in the tooth.

    Custom partner cards started coming out a few months ago, and admitedly, this review is a little late, the card is hardly irrelivent at this point.

    We're still likely several months away from seeing Pascal in the market, and even when it launches, the first cards could be in the Titan X price range.
    If you have the money now, and the need for a high end graphics card, there's no reason not to consider a 980Ti right now.
    0
  • ammaross
    Nice beast of a card. But I'm sitting on my hands until Pascal and Polaris are out and benched. Should give a decent (albeit small) bump in performance for a moderate wattage drop.

    However, the lack of Fury X benches in this lineup is almost appalling, as it is the direct price-competitor to the 980 Ti.
    6
  • kcarbotte
    Anonymous said:
    Nice beast of a card. But I'm sitting on my hands until Pascal and Polaris are out and benched. Should give a decent (albeit small) bump in performance for a moderate wattage drop.

    However, the lack of Fury X benches in this lineup is almost appalling, as it is the direct price-competitor to the 980 Ti.


    I really wish I had a Fury X to compare it to.
    The samples of those cards have been very hard to get our hands on, and without partners having the ability to change the design in any way, we can't even do a custom board review to compare.
    1
  • Wrought
    Sorry, I'm with the crowd that thinks it's hilarious that 2 year old AMD tech is tromping on the current nVidia flagship card. "Bu-bu-but it has 2 GPU's!!" Yeah, and you could buy those 2 GPU's last spring for cheaper than the Ti is selling right now. Your point again?

    Props to nVidia though for doing it efficiently and on air.
    2
  • iam2thecrowe
    Quote:
    Quote:
    That's because it's a dual GPU card...You just proved you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Unless you're brand loyal or actually care about multi GPU issues, dismissing the 295 just because is a dual GPU card is weird in my eyes.

    Maybe you have never owned a dual gpu setup then? Sure it may bench well on the few tests in tom's suite, but there will be one or two games that you really want to enjoy, only to find out they either scale poorly with dual gpu, have stuttering or fps dips to lower lows than an adequate single card, late dual gpu support with patches or it never gets dual gpu support and the game only plays well with one gpu disabled. You also don't get double the vram by adding a second card/gpu, each gpu must have its own ram. I have owned a crossfire and sli setup and had all the fore-mentioned problems. So......I am totally weird for not wanting these problems..........
    5
  • thundervore
    I look at this card and do not understand why its being released. Honestly, who out there is still looking for a 980Ti card this late into its life cycle? Most who wants a 980Ti already have on or they are waiting for NVidia HBM like me with Pascal.

    The game changer is die shrink and high bandwidth memory on the GPU, we do not want the same rehashed chips with just more juice pumped through them. We need less heat. smaller PCBs, and higher speeds. The R9 fury is a right step in that direction with its speed and size, NVidia needs to get on board.
    1
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    Anonymous said:
    Sorry, I'm with the crowd that thinks it's hilarious that 2 year old AMD tech is tromping on the current nVidia flagship card. "Bu-bu-but it has 2 GPU's!!" Yeah, and you could buy those 2 GPU's last spring for cheaper than the Ti is selling right now. Your point again?

    Props to nVidia though for doing it efficiently and on air.


    On the other hand, though, it's kinda sad to see Nvidia be so conservative when they could be clearly delivering a better product. I mean, practically every 970 can run at 1300MHz, even though the official boost clock is under 1200MHz. It makes you wonder what kind of a beast we could have if they decided to throw power restrictions out the window and release a 500W monster with liquid cooling like AMD did.
    1