GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING 6GB Graphics Card Review - GTX 980 Ti g1 gaming

GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING 6GB Graphics Card Review

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. US$689 – Newegg, GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti GAMING G1 on Amazon
PH – Approx. Php36,000

 We’ve taken a look at the GTX 980 Ti during launch and overall we were impressed by just how much it manages to stand on even grounds with the flagship GTX TITAN X. But one of our main complaint was that the reference cooler for the GTX 980 Ti was severely lacking as it was also on the TITAN X. This leads to not-so-optimal temperatures that could really benefit the card which has a really good habit of boosting the GPU clock via GPU Boost when conditions are right. This opens the flood gates for AIB partners to design their own cooling solutions on the card to maintain a higher performance window. For this review we’re taking a look at one of the first custom-cooled GTX 980 Ti in the market, the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING armed with the Windforce 3x 600w cooler. We’re really excited to see how the card performs with such a beefy cooler so let’s get going.

  • WINDFORCE 3X 600W cooling system
  • Flex Display Technology
  • Powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 TI GPU
  • Integrated with industry’s best 6GB GDDR5 memory 384-bit memory interface
  • Features Dual-link DVI-I / DVI-D / HDMI / DisplayPort*3
  • Boost:1291 MHz / Base: 1190 MHz in OC Mode
  • System power supply requirement: 600W(with two 8-pin external power connectors)

About the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING

GIGABYTE_GTX_980_Ti_G1_GAMING_0023

The GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING is the latest addition to the G1 GAMING brand of graphics cards. It comes factory overclocked with a base clock of 1151Mhz and a boost clock of 1241Mhz. The memory is untouched at 7010Mhz. Note that these clocks are not fixed and its possible that GPU Boost can kick the core clock up to more than 1300Mhz in some games.

GIGABYTE also boasts their G1 GAMING cards go under the GPU Gauntlet sorting process. Basically GIGABYTE is saying these are cherry picked cards that can sustain higher frequencies when overclocked.

GV-N98TG1 GAMING-6GD_MEDIA_KIT_Page_09

The main difference maker here versus the reference model is the cooler. The Windforce 3X 600w is one beefy cooler and GIGABYTE has managed to maintain its size in a rather conservative dual-slot thickness. The cooler is designed to handle 600w of heat and dispense it away from the card and this is a very important thing to note given our observation of the GTX 980 Ti and its potential overclocking headroom. GIGABYTE also provides a backplate with the card for structural integrity and assist in cooling.

GV-N98TG1 GAMING-6GD_MEDIA_KIT_Page_16

For overclocking GIGABYTE provides the OC GURU II software to customize your card. Built-in to the software are controls for the core and memory frequencies of the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING graphics card, the fan speed, voltages and the ability to change the color of the Windforce LED logo on the side of the card.

ABOUT THE GTX 980 Ti

GeForce_GTX_980Ti_PCB_resize

The Maxwell architecture is NVIDIA’s greatest achievement as of late given its efficiency compared to the last generation. While it doesn’t serve as a great leap in terms of performance, many people are still convinced by the excellent performance-per-watt ratio. Both the GTX 980 and GTX 970 have been largely in-demand primarily for the efficiency but the Maxwell-based GTX GPUs also introduced some new features including NVIDIA Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI), Multi-Frame sampled AA (MFAA), and Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR). Maxwell GPUs also support Microsoft’s upcoming DirectX 12 API.

In our review of the 12GB NVIDIA TITAN X, we noted how large the gap is jumping from the 980 to the Titan X. For some people, seeing the full GM200 GPU flex its muscle meant its inevitable it will be the precursor a comparable mainstream release. Enter the GTX 980 Ti.

The TITAN X boasts 3072 CUDA Cores, running at 1Ghz base clock complemented by a 12GB of VRAM wired to a 384-bit wide bus. The GeForce GTX 980 Ti sports 2816 CUDA cores, running 1000Mhz with a boost clock of 1075Mhz similar to the Titan X. Also similar with the Titan X is the memory clock also running at  7010Mhz wired to a 384-bit bus but VRAM is halved at 6GB on the GTX 980 Ti compared to the overly generous 12GB of the TITAN X.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

The GTX 980 Ti is shows vast improvements from its predecessors as seen in the graph above. Maxwell has really been a solid achievement for NVIDIA and it shows as they continually advance the technology to improve performance especially at higher resolutions.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

DirectX 12 is one of the main highlights of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti, providing full support for advanced DX12 features like Volume Tiled Resource aand Conservative Raster which are exclusive to the DX12_1 feature set. This is in addition to the normal feature set provided by DX12.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Reviewer's Guide

With its vast 6GB VRAM, NVIDIA is pushing heavily into 4K territories and are making it a point to market games for 4K playability. With the 980 Ti and Titan X, it is now possible to have a smoother 4K gaming experience with a single card with games like GTA V and Witcher 3 providing FPS numbers upwards of the 40s. NVIDIA is also betting on the popularity of virtual reality offering full support for VR headgears providing unique technologies to enhance performance on these platforms.

Product Gallery

If you’re familiar with the Windforce 600W cooler, there’s really nothing new here. You got a really beefy cooler with some heavy heatpipes lining up the internals with a relatively simple shroud holding the fans in place. A backplate with some stylized slits are present which is a nice touch and just so you know its a GAMING product, that G1 GAMING logo is stamped on the back. One of the main changes here though is the inclusion of the silver highlights on both edges of the card’s shroud. They serve a mostly cosmetic function and you won’t see them much unless you have a flat-orientation case.

Overclocking

Overclocking any graphics card is pretty straightforward nowadays provided you know what to do and given that most companies also have their own overclocking software, makes it so much more approachable. We use the latest OC GURU II software for this test.

GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING

Out of the box, the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING come defined with three frequency profiles: 1) Default 2) OC (1190/1291Mhz) and 3) Eco (1062/1151Mhz). These profiles area easily toggled via the OC GURU II software in which you can also monitor the current status of the card including current voltage, clock rates, and fan speed amongst others. You can configure the card’s overclock frequencies via the OC GURU II software via increments and you can type in the values you want and press apply to set.

gpuz
Stock Clocks
gpuz_max_oc
Overclocked GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING without voltage tweaks

We really don’t mess around with the voltage until we’re going to into extreme applications or replacing the cooling solution. For the most part though, the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING was easy to overclock and we managed to push the clocks until 1450Mhz Boost which saw the card crashing. More voltage is needed here but that’s for another article and we’ll post overclocking results in that also.

PERFORMANCE

Test Setup

Processor: Intel Core i7 3770K 4.4Ghz
Motherboard: MSI Z77 Mpower
Memory: Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3-2400 16GB
Storage: Kingston HyperX FURY 240GB
PSU: Seasonic P1000
Cooling: Custom loop (XSPC Raystorm block, XSPC D5 Dual Bayres, BlackIce Stealth GT 240 rad)
Monitor: LG 42UB820T UltraHD TV
VGA: GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING 6GB

We test our graphics card with a full-level playthrough of our selected game or the games’ built-in benchmark tool. We record the run with Fraps. Game settings are indicated in the charts. Resolutions are shown in the charts. Unlike our standard benchmarks. For this tests, we’ve changed a few things so some of games that we follow built-in options we’ve retained results from other results but for those other games that we’ve changed options, we’ve provided newer results and indicated settings also.

We basically run two configurations for our reviews: for high-end cards (980/Titan X/290X/780Ti) we run maximum in-game settings, for mainstream (GTX 960/970) and last generation cards we run default presets. AA is turned off in all 4K HD results unless defined by settings or indicated in graph. We will start including The Witcher 3 starting with our launch day review of the GTX 980 Ti so please bear with us as we grow that chart.

FullHD (1920×1080)

Battlefield 4 is one of the hottest titles of 2013 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 3, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU. Level tested is the escape from Baku with wide open space and collapsing building showing what the Frostbite 3 engine can do.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0001

The most visually intense game to ever been made. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the particle and water rendering of the engine.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0002

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as she explores the ruin of Yamatai in this origins game. Powered by a modified Crystal Engine, the game features TressFX which creates beautifully rendered hair animation.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0007

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress some systsems.

We use the built-in timedemo and benchmarking tool. DOTA2 only shows average FPS so we will be reflecting that in this test. Our timedemo features a heavy clash in the bottom lane for the maximum real-world system load the game can generate. With the recent visual update, DOTA2 has received some graphic makeover that adds a bit of hit for the system and all our date are updated to reflect this.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0006

Batman: Arkham Origins is the prequel to the highly successful Arkham series of Batman games from RockSteady. Rocking Unreal Engine 3, the game has superb detail and puts a decent load on modern systems.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0003

Ubisoft’s hacker action puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce as you piece together a crime that has been haunting you since its occurrence. Rage through Chicago as presented by Ubisoft with its Disrupt engine utilizing vast video memory for high-resolution textures for visually stunning graphics.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0004

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0005

2560×1440

Battlefield 4 is one of the hottest titles of 2013 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 3, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU. Level tested is the escape from Baku with wide open space and collapsing building showing what the Frostbite 3 engine can do.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1440_0001

The most visually intense game to ever been made. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the particle and water rendering of the engine.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1440_0002

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as she explores the ruin of Yamatai in this origins game. Powered by a modified Crystal Engine, the game features TressFX which creates beautifully rendered hair animation.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1440_0006

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress some systsems.

We use the built-in timedemo and benchmarking tool. DOTA2 only shows average FPS so we will be reflecting that in this test. Our timedemo features a heavy clash in the bottom lane for the maximum real-world system load the game can generate.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1440_0007

Batman: Arkham Origins is the prequel to the highly successful Arkham series of Batman games from RockSteady. Rocking Unreal Engine 3, the game has superb detail and puts a decent load on modern systems.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1440_0005

Ubisoft’s hacker action puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce as you piece together a crime that has been haunting you since its occurrence. Rage through Chicago as presented by Ubisoft with its Disrupt engine utilizing vast video memory for high-resolution textures for visually stunning graphics.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1440_0004

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1440_0003

4K UltraHD

Battlefield 4 is one of the hottest titles of 2013 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 3, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU. Level tested is the escape from Baku with wide open space and collapsing building showing what the Frostbite 3 engine can do.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_4K_0001

The most visually intense game to ever been made. Prophet is back to take on the Ceph and Cell after a long sleep and the world isn’t what it was when before he got frozen. CryEngine 3 is behind this beautiful beast that will put a lot of systems to their knees. The opening level shows off the particle and water rendering of the engine.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_4K_0002

The reboot of the gaming phenomenon Tomb Raider puts players in Lara Croft’s hiking boots as she explores the ruin of Yamatai in this origins game. Powered by a modified Crystal Engine, the game features TressFX which creates beautifully rendered hair animation.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_4K_0004

The most popular game on Steam and the biggest competition in eSports; DOTA 2 is powered by the Source engine. The game is fairly light on low to medium settings but maxed out with heavy action on screen especially during clashes can really stress some systsems.

We use the built-in timedemo and benchmarking tool. DOTA2 only shows average FPS so we will be reflecting that in this test. Our timedemo features a heavy clash in the bottom lane for the maximum real-world system load the game can generate.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_4K_0007

Batman: Arkham Origins is the prequel to the highly successful Arkham series of Batman games from RockSteady. Rocking Unreal Engine 3, the game has superb detail and puts a decent load on modern systems.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_4K_0006

Ubisoft’s hacker action puts you in the shoes of Aiden Pearce as you piece together a crime that has been haunting you since its occurrence. Rage through Chicago as presented by Ubisoft with its Disrupt engine utilizing vast video memory for high-resolution textures for visually stunning graphics.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_4K_0003

CD Projekt Red’s latest installment in the Witcher saga features one of the most graphically intense offering the company has to date. As Geralt of Rivia, slay monsters, beasts and men as you unravel the mysteries of your past. Vast worlds and lush sceneries make this game a visual feast and promises to make any system crawl at its highest settings.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_4K_0005

TEMPERATURE & POWER CONSUMPTION

To measure both power consumption and heat, we stress the video card and record the peak values for heat and wattage. We use default values on the cards and stress test them using a Kombustor 3’s Lake of Titans X64 test at 1080p fullscreen.

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0008

GB_GTX980TI_G1_GAMING_1080_0009

With the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti packing a heavier cooling solution, we can clear outright its thermal performance is far superior than that of the TITAN X and reference 980 Ti we’ve reviewed prior. With this in mind, we can now really see what a properly cooled 980 Ti can do and we’re more than impressed given the numbers we’ve seen from the charts above. Also worth noting is the card’s far superior power consumption which we mostly attribute to the more efficient cooling solution, the Windforce 600X.

CONCLUSION

GIGABYTE_GTX_980_Ti_G1_GAMING_0005

Let’s break down the verdict:

Performance. There’s no denying it: the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING outperforms a reference 980 Ti and even a Titan X. That further proves our point from our 980 Ti review that the card can really go further given a better cooling solution. GIGABYTE’s WINDFORCE 3x 600w cooler fits the job perfectly keeping the card below 80*C where it can coast up to 1350Mhz or more giving you more out of the box for your card.

Build Quality.  GIGABYTE is obviously still not unified in terms of product design with the Windforce cooler still bearing a design unique to itself which completely doesn’t resemble any of the existing motherboards from the company. We’re well aware of their internal workings and the reason why this is so, but the point remains that there is a large market out there looking for an aesthetically pleasing build

Functionality. This card will easily play any game you throw at it especially those in 1080p reso. If you’re a 120hz/144hz player, this card can pump those numbers in most games and it should put up higher performance once under SLI. If you’re going 4K UltraHD though, the large framebuffer makes single-card UHD possible without the Titan X. Multi-screen support is there with multiple output options and SLI, as mentioned is supported.

Bundle. NVIDIA has announced that the GeForce GTX 980 Ti will come bundled with Batman: Arkham Knight.

Value. The GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING 6GB graphics card is currently listed at $689 making it priced just right to compete with other aftermarket-cooled variants of the GTX 980 Ti. We’ll save commentaries and comparison for those cards until we’ve tested them first. We’re still unsure also if the price cut for the GTX 980 Ti has also been in effect with this model. As it is though, the card offers so much performance for a competitive price tag and its easy to see why the demand is really intense for these cards.

While the Titan X packs more power than the GTX 980 Ti, it goes without saying that performance in 4K is still excellent and a bit of tweaking and detail setting changes will yield FPS improvements across the boards should you need a smoother visual experience. That said, the GTX 980 Ti is an incredibly versatile card which can easily take on any modern game at 1080p. The biggest surprise here is the price which starts at $649, displacing the GTX 980 which now moves to the $499 spot, making the GTX 980 Ti an extremely attractive upgrade for UltraHD or VR adopters, multi-monitor gamers or 144hz screen users.

GIGABYTE has clearly relied on an effective formula here for creating a really powerful rendition of the GTX 980 Ti. A powerful cooler keeps the cherry-picked GPU on higher clock-rates than reference making it a really powerful gaming solution out of the box, outperforming the TITAN X. That said, the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING is the more logical choice if you’re looking for a gaming solution for next-generation titles that support 4K UltraHD.

While the card is mostly a winner in our books, we’d like to mention a few concerns: First off is uniformity. We’re aware GIGABYTE doesn’t operate on unified design principle and this could greatly help their graphics card get some more attention. While the the GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING is mostly neutral making it platform agnostic, its design is a large departure from those used by the motherboards from GIGABYTE which turns away some users from using a full GIGABYTE platform in their rigs. We can’t really argue with the rather conservative design even though GIGABYTE’s design team has tried very hard to make the card look edgy as much as possible without adding more heft to it. The passive cooling indicator is mostly a gimmick and the color change seems like a forced inclusion for color symmetry with other boards. We’re curious why there is no orange in the color selection given that GIGABYTE’s SOC line is orange colored… but that’s just nitpicking. The card could’ve also come with the memory pre-overclocked but this is easily solved by a BIOS update.

Given mostly what we’ve noted above are cosmetic, it doesn’t take away much from what we already know: the GIGABYTE GTX 980 TI G1 GAMING is a very powerful card. Powerful enough to dethrone the GTX TITAN X. That said, its hard for us not to recommend the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING. Its a really powerful card and addresses the shortcomings of the reference 980 Ti. A top choice if you’re in the market for a top-end GTX 980 Ti variant.

GIGABYTE gives the GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING a 3-year warranty. We award the GIGABYTE GTX 980 Ti G1 GAMING our prestigious triple-crown: B2G Editor’s Choice, B2G Performance Award and B2G Gold Award!

Price / Where to Buy:

US – Approx. $689
PH – Approx. Php36,000

B2G_Gold

B2G_Performance

B2G_EditorsChoice

Lead Reviewer
Show Comments (9)
    1. I avoided making any comparison to the FURY X because that’s coming in a future article. Still, from what we’ve seen from the initial FURY X performance reviews this thing will decimate that card in most games. Don’t forget that this card also loves cooler temps, and provided a similar cooling solution (AIO waterloop) its going to destroy pretty much anything in benchmarks.

  1. Need some help , im doing a build to play in 1080p, is there gona be a big diference beteen the 980 G1 and the vanilla ?

    1. Reference card? Definitely. But depending on your game, we’re looking a few FPS here, nothing significant like a 20FPS jump or something. So yeah, either are fine.

  2. 1. Frame rate is not a reliable measure of gaming performance
    http://techreport.com/review/21516/inside-the-second-a-new-look-at-game-benchmarking

    2. It was not shown what part of the game was benchmarked. This should be easy with YouTube. Here is a sample
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqeBgJxUaK4LUbzOzS1zRFg/videos

    3. Measuring power draw while running Kombustor is pointless. Power draw is not going to be that high when running games like The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. I believe those who buy gaming graphics card will use it for games and not running Kombustor

    1. 1. I have a specific logic about frametimes ever since NVIDIA outed the FCAT and its definitely have been in the back of my mind ever since it came out. Its more a matter of presenting it to the audience, how the data represents performance more than anything else right now. But yeah, I’m with you on that.

      2. I’ve been so used to people being familiar with our review format I actually removed the descriptions of how we do things. Basically its all full playthroughs of certain heavy levels, or with in-game benchmarks if any. If the game has a timedemo, we use that instead (CSGO, DOTA2).

      3. Same as above, I used to state that all results are unrealistic and extreme and will never represent actual gameplay stats.

      Basically my methodology is far from absolutely scientific but it represents my ideal of what consumers look for. This is probably the 5th revision of this review format so some things have changed and it will continue to change for the better, I try. 🙂

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