Gigabyte’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti WaterForce Blows Away The Reference Card – Up to 21% Faster, Water-Cooled and Maintains 50C Load Temps

Hassan Mujtaba
Posted Nov 28, 2015
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The GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card arrived back in June 2015, since it’s launch, the card has been on top of the charts in gaming performance and overclocking performance. NVIDIA’s GM200 Maxwell core made custom board makers (AIBs) to push non-reference designs in the market with great cooling and PCB designs that gave a further boost in performance to an already great performer. We are in Q4 2015 and just a few quarters away from NVIDIA’s Pascal GPU but the race to release the fastest GTX 980 Ti has still not ended yet.

Gigabyte’s Impressive GeForce GTX 980 Ti WaterForce Is More Than 20% Faster Than Reference Card

Gigabyte released the GeForce GTX 980 Ti WaterForce Xtreme Gaming graphics card a few weeks ago as a part of their Xtreme Gaming graphics cards family. Technically speaking, the card is based on the same GM200 GPU core that we found on all GeForce GTX 980 Ti graphics card. It comes with 2816 CUDA cores, 176 TMUs and 96 ROPs. The card has 6 GB of GDDR5 VRAM scattered across a 384-bit wide, bus interface. The great thing about this card is that it comes with clock speeds of 1216 MHz base, 1317 MHz boost and memory clock of 7200 MHz which makes it the fastest clocked graphics card from Gigabyte. This still isn’t the fastest clock set on the GTX 980 Ti as ASUS’s upcoming GeForce GTX 980 Ti 20th Anniversary Edition is clocked at 1266 MHz base and 1367 MHz boost making that the fastest clocked GTX 980 Ti.

The GeForce GTX 980 Ti incorporates a custom PCB that features an extremely robust 12+2 phase power design and fitted with quality components to ensure the best possible operation under normal, gaming and overclock loads. The PCB features a high-end uP1983A voltage controller which lines in perfectly with the beefy nature of this card. The whole solution is cooled by an closed loop, AIO liquid cooling solution that includes a durable 120 mm radiator that will push the liquid through robust FEP tubes to a large pump and waterblock that provides full base cover on the GPU/RAM/MOSFET. The GPU is powered by Dual 8-Pin connectors but those users who’ll indulge in LN2 overclocking can use an extra 6-Pin connector and initialize the LN2 bios for further overclocking potential.

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Retailing at a price of $720 US which is $100 more than the reference GeForce GTX 980 Ti that now stands at a price of $620 US, users might expect some decent performance gains and good cooling performance. In testing performed by TechpowerUP, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti WaterForce ensures that it is one hell of a card at its price as it competes with the much expensive GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning ($780 US) with better overclock support and enhanced cooling performance. When compared to the reference GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X graphics card, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti WaterForce feels like a completely new graphics card on its own with a performance lead that surpasses 20% in the latest gaming titles. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti and Radeon R9 Fury X are great reference cards on their own but custom models have long surpassed them in terms of performance and cooling. Even the Radeon R9 Fury X which was an engineering marvel in cooling design seems to have got its match with the Gigabyte card achieving load plus overclock temperatures of just 50C while producing 33dBA noise load compared to Fury X’s 32dBA. The difference here is that you are paying around $80 more for a 20% performance difference on 4K.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti WaterForce Performance:

Image Credits/Source: TechpowerUp

One might argue that Gigabyte might have sucked all the juice out of the 980 Ti WaterForce and little overclock headroom remains for overclockers. That’s not the case as TPU managed to further overclock the card up to an clock speed of 1510 MHz core and 2100 MHz memory (8.4 GHz effective clock). This further pushed the card’s performance to another 11.4% in one of the title (Battlefield 3) when tested. The clocks were stable and tested with the default voltages and fan settings, regardless, the cooler maintained its performance at 50C load temps and 33dBA load noise output which is impressive. Even the much expensive Titan X wasn’t able to keep a good fight against the custom model which shows just how impressive cards from AIBs have become. You can check out TPUs full review on their official site.

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Image Credits/Source: TechpowerUp

The overclocked models of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti are insane and quite frankly speaking, AMD has no solution of their own to tackle them. The Radeon R9 Fury X was kept as a reference offering, the Radeon R9 Fury which has received several top-notch custom solutions is around as fast as the R9 Fury X. The GTX 980 Ti models have put an impressive show prior to the launch of Pascal. The GTX 980 Ti (reference model) itself remains lost in all the glory shown up by the overclocked models but these models might also put NVIDIA in a dire situation when Pascal arrives. With a 20% lead over the reference GTX 980 Ti, Pascal would have to deliver faster numbers that could be anywhere around a massive 40-50% increase over GM200.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti WaterForce Xtreme Gaming:

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