It wasn't immediately apparent, but once we plugged our benchmark results into the graph, we realized that Corsair's liquid-cooled card fares well in Battlefield 4. Although it's advertised with a lower stock clock rate than Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming, Corsair's Hydro GFX almost matches that board's performance.
The results are very similar with the resolution set to 3840x2160. Corsair's card almost mirror's Gigabyte's, trailing by just a few frames per second.
The test results also show that the Hydro GFX has plenty of performance left to tap. Our overclocked numbers leave Gigabyte's air-cooled offering in the dust.
Far Cry 4
In Far Cry 4, Corsair's Hydro GFX doesn't stand up as well to the Gigabyte card. With both boards operating at stock clock rates, Corsair trails by an average of roughly five frames per second.
The gap closes at 3840x2160, but Gigabyte is still a couple of FPS faster, on average.
Overclocking Corsair's Hydro GFX yields the highest frame rates we've ever seen in Far Cry 4 at these settings. Using the Ultra preset at 3840x2160, the Corsair/MSI effort maintains an average frame rate in excess of 50 FPS.
Corsair's Hyrdro GFX continues to impress in GTA V. In stock form, the card lands close enough to Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming that you could say they're roughly equivalent.
With the game set to 2560x1440, Corsair's card trails Gigabyte's by less than 1.5 FPS on average. But it also achieves slightly higher peak performance. Ultra HD performance mirrors the lower resolution's results.
The Hydro GFX responds well to our overclocked settings. Performance at 2560x1440 increases by more than 5 FPS, while Ultra HD jumps by about 4 FPS.
Metro: Last Light
Metro: Last Light runs smoothly at 2560x1440 thanks to the powerful Hydro GFX averaging 100 FPS. Even at its worst, the GM200-powered card never drops under 67 FPS. Gigabyte's card averages about 3 FPS more, but the differences is imperceptible.
With the resolution dialed up to 3840x2160, average frame rates dip to the mid-40s. Still, the Hydro GFX keeps its head above 30 FPS at all times. Again, Gigabyte's card is the slightest bit faster.
The results increase predictably in the face of our overclocked core and memory frequencies. Corsair's card picks up 8 FPS at 1440p and more than 3 FPS at 2160p.
Shadow of Mordor
In stock form, Corsair's Hydro GFX averages more than 90 FPS in Middle-earth; the minimum only dips to 69 FPS. Gigabyte's overclocked GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming is a little faster, but we're more impressed by the fact that Corsair's card averages 11 FPS more than Nvidia's reference configuration.
The 4K performance story is similar. Corsair's Hydro GFX blows the reference 980 Ti away, but comes in just behind Gigabyte's flagship.
Of course, once we overclock the Hydro GFX, it snatches the performance crown away. At 1440p, it averages 6 FPS higher. Running at 3840x2160, it gains about 3.5 FPS on average.
Of the six games in our benchmark suite, Tomb Raider does the best job of closing the gap between Corsair and Gigabyte. At 2560x1440, both cards average within one-tenth of a frame per second of each other.
The delta grows a bit at 4K, but the competitors still land less than 1 FPS apart.
Once again, the custom overclock proves to be beneficial. Corsair's Hydro GFX picks up 7 FPS at 2560x1440 and 4 FPS at 4K.