Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980 TI G1 GAMING Graphics Card Review
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Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING Graphics Card Review

September 14th, 2015 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

It’s taken us some time to get our hands on one of Nvidia’s new 980 Ti Graphics Cards, but at last thanks to Gigabyte we have an example of one of the most desirable Graphics Cars on the market today. This is no ordinary GTX 980Ti either as theGigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING(GV-N98TG1 GAMING-6GD) is one of the highest factory overclocked 980Ti based cards available today! With a factory overclock of 1152MHz Base Clock and a 1241MHz Boost Clock the G1 GAMING is already 241MHz up on the stock speed of 1000MHz! This is bolstered by an impressive 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM running at the stock speed of 7010MHz. The card itself is cooled by Gigabyte’s 600W WINDFORCE cooler that thankfully (and rather impressively) only occupies two of your precious slots. The cooler is made up of a heatsink featuring five 8mm and one 6mm composite cooper heat-pipes and three 80mm fans. All of this is wrapped in a custom cooler (with backplate) meaning that the card measure’s in at (a rather large) 309mm(L) x 135mm(H) x 42mm(W).

 

gigabyte_G1_logo ‘GIGABYTE WINDFORCE 3X 600W cooling system once again break the record and bring the air cooling capacity up to 600W by only using 2 slots heights. The WINDFORCE 3X 600W cooling system is equipped with five 8mm and one 6mm composite cooper heat-pipes , special fin architecture, unique blade fan design, and GIGABYTE “Triangle Cool” technology. This not only provides an effective heat dissipation capacity but also enables higher performance due to a lower temperature.’

 

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - box front Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - box back

 

The Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING arrived at pcG in a good looking regular sized Graphics Card box with a large robotic styled eye on the front. The front of the box goes on to highlight the WINDFORCE 600W cooler along with the Flex Display and the Super Overclock, as well as the support for Nvidia’s GAMESTREAM, GAMEWORKS, G-SYNC and of course DirectX 12.

The back of the box is a little busier than the front with a cool looking exploded view of the WINDFORCE cooler on the left. This image goes on to further highlight the following: Unique blade fan design, “Triangle Cool” technology, Intuitive Fan Indicators, Stylish Back Plate & Multi-color illuminated LED. Over on the right hand side of the back of the box Gigabyte highlights GPU Gauntlet and Flex Display. GPU Gauntlet seems to suggest that Gigabyte are selecting specific GPUs for their G1 GAMING range, this process is more commonly know as binning. The Flex Display technology allows any outputs to be used to display on up to four monitors at any one time. In addition to this, in the bottom right corner we find a few images highlighting Dual BIOS, Ultra Durable PCB design and HDMI.

 

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - inner box Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - inner box (open)

 

On opening the outer box we find a further all black inner box with a G1 GAMING logo, opening the lid of this allows a sneak peak at the 980Ti G1 GAMING card that’s nestling is soft foam and further protected by an anti-static bag.

 

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - contents

 

At first I was left searching for the accessories normally found in the bottom of the box. But Gigabyte had cleverly hidden these beneath the card and beneath a Gigabyte cardboard cover. Beneath which there wasn’t much to be honest, just a Graphics Accelerator Driver CD, Quick Guide and a 8-pin to x2 6-pin power adapter cable.

At the time of review the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING is retailing for approximately £575 on Amazon and comes with a 3 year warranty.

 

Specifications/Features

courtesy of Gigabyte

Chipset GeForce GTX 980 Ti
Core Clock Boost:1279 / Base: 1190 MHz in OC Mode
Boost:1241 / Base: 1152 MHz in Gaming Mode
Memory Clock 7010 MHz
Process Technology 28 nm
Memory Size 6 GB
Memory Bus 384 bit
Card Bus PCI-E 3.0
Memory Type GDDR5
DirectX 12
OpenGL 4.4
PCB Form ATX
Digital max resolution 4096 X 2160
Analog max resolution 2048 x 1536
Multi-view 4
I/O Dual-link DVI-I / Dual-link DVI-D / HDMI / DisplayPort*3
Card size H=42mm, L=309mm, W=135 mm
Power requirement 600W(with two 8-pin external power connectors)

* Additional details available here

 

First Impressions

 

First impressions of the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING are damn that’s a big card, closely followed by damn that’s a heavy card. At 309mm long the 980Ti G1 GAMING is one of the longest Graphics Cards that I’ve come across in a while. At approximately 1227g it’s also one of the heaviest! It’s a good looking card though, thanks in part to its safe styling, meaning that there’s nothing here to offend or put many off, and there’s no predominant colour either. The beauty of this is that not only will it likely fit in with any Gaming Rig design you have planned, but the card also has mass appeal, although I’m a little unsure about the exposed copper colouring… I still like it though! 😉

 

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING

 

Looking at the front of the card we can see that it is dominated by the three 80mm fans and the aluminium WINDFORCE shroud. We can also see (below left) the exposed cooper of the heatsink just left of the central fan. The design is subtle to be fair and isn’t really going to win any design awards, you could say that it’s purposeful though! What is a little bit of a shame is the cabling that seem to be left flapping about in the wind…

Predictably there’s not much to look at the back of the card, but at least we’re not just looking at a black PCB! Gigabyte have (quite rightly) chosen to supply the 980Ti G1 GAMING with a smart looking black backplate, nicely set off by a simple G1 GAMING logo and brand name.

 

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - front Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - back

Looking at the top of the card, or is that the side; well the bit you look at when you look inside your case! 😉 We can see not only the edge of the WINDFORCE cooler but also a smart looking WINDFORCE logo! The best bit is that this logo also illuminates when On, but not all of the time!? And if you look closely you will see that there’s a couple more LEDs left and right of the WINDFORCE logo. Both of these logos illuminate (white) when the GPU temperature is below 55 degrees Celsius, but these go out and the WINDFORCE logo illuminates when the card passes said temperature. The colour of the central logo can also be modified (with seven colours to choose from: blue, red, green, yellow, pink, cyan & white) via Gigabyte’s OC Guru II software (available here), cool eh! 🙂

Looking at the other side of the card there really isn’t much to look at other than the PCIe slot, the shroud of the WINDFORCE cooler and the heatsinks hiding within. What is impressive though is how much cooling capacity Gigabyte have managed to cram into such a narrow frame, at only 42mm thick.

 

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - top Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - bottom

 

When it comes to outputs Gigabyte have pretty much covered all of the bases, with x2 DVI-D outputs, x3 DisplayPort outputs and a single HDMI output.

Rotating the card around to look at the far end of the card reveals very little other than the large heatsink hiding within the frame and its associated copper heat-pipes.

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - outputs Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - end

Taking a look around the card and looking at some of the finer details of the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING we can see from the two SLI connectors that this particular card is capable of triple SLI. What we can also see is that the card is powered by x2 8-pin PCIe power connectors. And the fact that the clips for the power connectors are facing outwards from the card making them far easier to insert and remove.

Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - SLI connectors Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - power sockets

 

Overall it looks to be a great design that Gigabyte have put together here for the top of the line 980Ti G1 GAMING, by avoiding the use of colour the G1 GAMING is likely to go with any planned Rig build too! Let’s see how she performs then, shall we?

 

Hardware Installation

 

Installing the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING into ourTest Rig was easy enough thanks to the HAF XB case having plenty of room for long Graphics Cards. And at 309mm long the G1 GAMING is one long GPU, I suggest you check that you’ve got space in your Rig before purchasing… The card was then powered up with the required x2 8-pin power plugs.

  • Test Rig Setup

  • Case Cooler Master HAF XB Power Supply Corsair Professional Series AX 760i
    Motherboard ASRock Fatal1ty Z97X Killer CPU Intel Core i5-4690K
    CPU Cooler Raijintek Themis RAM HyperX Savage 2400MHz 8GB Kit
    Graphics Card Giagabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING SSD HyperX FURY 120GB

     

    Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - installed (above) Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING - installed (side)

     

    The card in the images above don’t really give you an idea of the size of the thing, don’t be fooled this is one long GPU! But as you can see the card looks good, and is likely to work with any Rig build planned thanks to the use of blacks, greys and silver. And in a minute when I power it up it’s going to look even better thanks to that illuminating WINDFORCE logo! 😉

     

    G1 GAMING 980Ti - Silent/Stop G1 GAMING 980Ti - WINDFORCE (Red)

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    Our Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 Professional N 64Bit (Service Pack 1) with all associated drivers also installed. The latest Nvidia Driver (355.82) was downloaded and installed and used throughout testing.

    Gigabyte’s OC Guru II and @BIOS software was also used and can be downloaded here. In addition to this GPU-Z was also used to confirm the card’s default configuration (Base Clock, Boost Clock, Mem Clock etc).

    For testing purposes we use MSI Afterburner (here), to help us with our testing and overclocking.

     

    Gigabyte Software and GPU-Z

     

  • Overclocking the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING using MSI Afterburner (Version 4.1.0)
  •  

    Gigabyte G1 Gaming 980Ti - OC Settings Nvidia’s Boost clock (Nvidia Boost 2.0) is a bit of a difficult thing to explain, but the bottom line is that it runs at whatever the best speed it can while trying to remain within its TDP of 250W (READ: whilst staying cool!). With the card at stock this saw it Boosting up and beyond its Stock Boost Clock (1241MHz) to 1354MHz. But obviously we wanted more…

    Via MSI Afterburner I raised the Power Limit to 139% (the maximum supported) overclocked the Core (Boost) Clock by 150MHz and overclocked the Memory Clock by a further 400MHz. While also turning the fan speed to manual and setting it to 100%, in an attempt to keep any thermal throttling at bay.

    The end result is a card with a theoretical Core Boost Clock of 1391MHz and a Memory Clock of 7812MHz. Of course (due to Nvidia GPU Boost 2.0) what shows on screen at any time is anyone’s guess (I saw 1504MHz, which is impressive), as the card is constantly balancing within its TDP. BUT of course the final net result is that the card does run quicker, woohoo!

     

    Hardware Performance

     

  • Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING – STOCK (Core: 1241MHz / Mem: 7010MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 21.00 73.00 52.00 289.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 22.00 71.00 49.00 153.4 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 21.00 72.00 51.00 110.33 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 24.00 74.00 50.00 2375
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 22.00 67.00 45.00 14124

     

  • Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING – OVERCLOCKED (Core: 1391MHz / Mem: 7912MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 22.00 55.00 33.00 308.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 22.00 52.00 30.00 167.8 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 22.00 57.00 35.00 115.33 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 22.00 61.00 39.00 2662
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 22.00 48.00 26.00 14992

     

    Comparative Test Results (at stock):

    NOTE: Please note that all of these benchmarks are valid and correct at the time of review and we do not use historical data. Each benchmark is re-run every time (against our Test Cards) for each new GPU review using the latest Drivers at that time. Therefore the scores may fluctuate between reviews as Driver optimizations come into play…

     

  • BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS
  • TOMB RAIDER
  • METRO: LAST LIGHT
  • UNIGINE HEAVEN 4.0
  • 3DMARK (Firestrike)
  •  

    It’s easy to get excited when you see the performance figures of the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING, it clearly shows that last year’s suite of Graphics Cards now (ALL) look somewhat pathetic in comparison. It’s also (somewhat obviously) the fastest Graphics Card we have ever seen here at pcG! What’s almost shocking though is how much better the Ti is when compared to the regular 980. In our stock Unigine test the 980Ti G1 GAMING proves itself to be 39% faster than the Zotac GTX 980 AMP and that’s one of the fastest 980’s out there! When I initially wrote 39% I had to double check my Unigine result as it seemed almost too good; the result was 2379 slightly better than the first run, woohoo! 🙂

    During stock testing the temperature of the card peaked at 73 degrees Celsius, which is pretty impressive for such a high performance GPU. During this time the fans rotational speed peaked at around 60%, the end result was approximately 43dbA of noise which is pretty good. Ramping the fan speed up to 100% resulted in significantly more noise (56dbA), but far better temperatures. While testing in the overclcoked state with fans at 100% the highest recorded temperature was 61 degrees in an ambient of 21. As you can see, there’s no doubt that this 600W WINDFORCE cooler has the thermals completely under control on this card.

    I love the illuminating WINDFORCE logo and the Silent/Stop LED on the top of the card, it’s just cool (no pun intended!) to see the Silent/Stop LEDs lit and the fans at a standstill when the card is at idle. Then seeing them go out at 55 degrees and the WINDFORCE logo illuminating in the colour of you choice, just brings a smile to my face…

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    It’s been a while since I been wowed by a product, but the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING (GV-N98TG1 GAMING-6GD) has wowed me! Ok I know it’s expensive, but damn it’s good and fast too! My life may not be the same without it; Gigabyte is there any chance I could just… 😉

    The fastest Graphics Card that we have yet seen here at pcG arrived in a rather unassuming, predominantly black box adorned with the Gigabyte Eye logo. Within the box there wasn’t much apart from the Graphics Card itself and a damn big Graphics Card it is too! Measuring in at 309mm(L) x 135mm(H) x 42mm(W) and weighing in at approximately 1227g, there’s now doubt from the moment it’s in your hand (the Graphics Card that is!) that the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING means business. Of course this may mean that it’s not going to fit in your chosen case, so please bear its size in mind! It’s a good looking card too, subtle yet purposeful and thanks to the use of those neutral (black, grey & silver) colours the card is likely to fit in with almost any Rig build.

    Installation was easy for me when the time came to put the 980Ti G1 GAMING into one of our HAF XB test cases. The card was then powered up via our Corsair AX760i PSU via the required x2 8-pin PCIe power connectors. With the card powered up (and running cool) we can see that there’s a couple of white LED indicators on the top of the card showing that the card is running Silent/Stop, this indicator is effectively telling you that the GPU is cool enough and the fans are not running, cool eh (get it, cool!). Once the card reached 55 degrees Celsius the WINDFORCE logo in the centre illuminates and the other two shut off, this central logo’s colour can be modified via Gigabyte’s OC Guru software, seven different colours are supported.

    When it came to the performance of the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING I was simply amazed. Now I knew that the Ti (when compared to the regular 980) fared well, and I obviously knew that this particular example was sporting an impressive factory overclock. But I must admit I wasn’t quite ready for the results, a score of 2375 in Unigine Heaven is very impressive to say the least, this is also the first time I’ve seen Metro Last Light running at over 100 FPS! But there’s was more to come as there was still a decent amount of overclocking headroom left in the card. I was able to push the Core up another 150MHz (to 1391MHz), this saw the card constantly Boosting to over 1500MHz in Game, thanks to the cool running temperatures of below 60 degrees. I was also able to push the GDDR5 VRAM a further 400MHz that helped to further boost the overclocked scores.

    Of course with the x3 fans at 100% there was a fair amount of noise, we measured approximately 53dBA with our test equipment. Obviously this is too loud for most of us (even me!), but thanks to the likes of MSI Afterburner this performance/noise ratio is easily balanced and, as the card is already running so cool you’re unlikely to see much of a dip in performance when opting for slower/less noisy fan speeds.

    It’s easy though to get excited about the fastest Graphics Card that you’ve seen, but we mustn’t forget the cost! And that cost is (obviously) high; at approximately £575 at the time of review the 980Ti G1 GAMING is around £75 dearer than the cheapest 980 Ti. But considering the guaranteed overclock you’re getting it’s not as bad as perhaps it sounds. Of course due to the Silicon Lottery you could buy the cheaper card and fare just as well (although the thermals are not likely to be as good!).

    At this time the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING would seem to have it all; a good looking card that will go well with any Gaming Rig Build, simple yet effective illumination (with colour choice!), mighty fine performance and cool running temperatures. I know for sure, I’m gonna miss it when it’s gone… 🙁

     

    Verdict

    Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…

     

    Design/Quality pcGameware awards the Gigabyte GEFORCE GTX 980Ti G1 GAMING a Gold
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

     

    Many thanks to Gigabyte for providing this sample for review

     


    1. Skeptical
      September 14th, 2015 at 19:28 | #1

      Why compared to last gen AMD products? Where are the HBM, nano, fury, fury x and 390 card?

      • James
        September 14th, 2015 at 20:03 | #2

        Good Question: This is the first of the new cards we’ve got to take a look at, the list will expand as the year rolls on though… 😉

        in fact the next card we’ve been given to look at is an AMD R7 370, so we’ve gone from the sublime to the ridiculous! hehe

    2. G
      September 14th, 2015 at 23:32 | #3

      C’mon guys, you can add some flagship cards from Amd to the testing also……..

    3. James
      September 15th, 2015 at 07:13 | #4

      @G
      We would if AMD supplied them… 🙁