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.