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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Windforce Review

Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming might just be the fastest single-GPU graphics card we've ever tested. It features a custom PCB, binned and overclocked processor, and robust cooling.

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 CardsMORE: All Graphics Content

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

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  • red river
    just wati for the Pascal cards peeps!
    Reply
  • Myrmidonas
    I agree. Buying a GPU now is a waste of money.Just wait for the Pascal cards.
    Reply
  • Gam3r01
    I am mostly interested to see how it would stack up against an MSI Lightning or the ASUS Strix cards.
    Reply
  • ern88
    Can't wait to see how Pascal and Polaris cards to come to market.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • beshonk
    That's because it's a dual GPU card...You just proved you have no idea what you're talking about.
    Reply
  • Yuka
    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!
    Reply
  • artk2219
    17344858 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 :-/.

    Reply
  • Epsilon_0EVP
    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.
    Reply
  • 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 ...
    Reply