Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti 6GB Graphics Card Review




/ 4 years ago

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Introduction


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The GTX 980Ti has been around for a few months now and in that time, manufacturers have had the chance to not only design and create their own versions but also perfect the product. Gigabyte is one of the many manufacturers that have given the 980Ti the magic treatment with a revamped version of the G1 Gaming that we previously had a glimpse of at Computex 2015. It definitely looks the part, but we didn’t know the specification apart from a memory clock of 7010MHz and that it would have a similar cooling capacity of previous G1 Gaming cards of 600W.

Well now I can finally and happily announce that we have the Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti in our test bench and it is BIG; you seem to forget how big this card is thanks to the insane Windforce x3 cooling design. Like with most of the gaming series of graphics cards being released lately, this card comes with multiple clock speed settings. These different settings are preset and only available through the use of Gigabyte’s own OC Guru II software; the three settings are ECO mode of 1060MHz base and 1151MHz boost, Gaming mode of 1090MHz base and 1241MHz boost and OC mode of 1190MHz base and 1279MHz boost. I don’t really understand why there are multiple settings as most users will obviously not only want the best possible performance out of the box but also to overclock the graphics card to the maximum potential.

The G1 Gaming cooling shroud has been given a new lick of paint and a small LED upgrade. Like before, the Silent and Fan Stop LED’s illuminate when the fans have stopped.

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The new feature is the customisation of the LED through the use of the bundled OC Guru II app.

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Onto the specifications of this beast.

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So with those specifications and price point, this is poised to be one of the best GTX 980Ti graphics cards on the market; so let’s find out shall we?

Packaging and accessories

The outer box skin resembles that of the latest G1 Gaming designs, simple yet key features are detailed to catch the potential customers eye.

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The back of the box shows a breakdown of the card and slightly more detailed information of what was shown on the front.
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Gigabyte offers a ‘no-frills’ accessories package, simply offering just a quick installation guide, driver disk and PCIe power cable adapter.
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A Closer Look


The card utilises a similar design to that of the other tri-fan G1 Gaming shrouds. However, this particular model has white detailing on the edges.

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The backplate is similar to the other G1 Gaming models, however, this has a slightly different layout due to the positioning of the GPU core compared to the GTX 970 and GTX 980 models. The PCB resembles that of the reference model and due to this, it adds no additional height (from PCIe interface to SLI connections) which aids in SLI compatibility.

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This card features the usual twin SLI bridge connections for up to quad SLI.

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Power is delivered through twin 8-pin PCIe power connections. They are reversed compared to the typical arrangement to allow for easier removal due to the heatsink being so close.

powerAt the business end of the card, there are 2x DVi connectors, 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMi. Using a certain combination of these outputs can yield an additional monitor thanks to the FlexDisplay feature on most Gigabyte graphics cards.

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Software Overview


Manufacturers these days need to find something that can really set them apart from the competition. In recent years, motherboards have had all of the attention, but with graphics cards becoming more advanced, manufacturers are now able to control more through simple applications.

With almost all of the Gigabyte graphics cards, you can download OC Guru II. This is a slightly different looking utility compared to some of the others such as ASUS GPU Tweak and MSI Afterburner. Personally I find this one too cluttered, but it is all contained within one, unlike the MSI options where you also need Gaming App to utilise some key graphics card features.

On the main page of OC Guru II, you have all of the information you could possibly want apart from current monitoring of temperatures; however, that is available through the “More” button under monitoring. To change the clock speed settings of this card, simply choose between OC, Gaming or ECO modes under the GPU clock heading.

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To change the colour of the “WINDFORCE” logo, simply choose from the drop down box. Here you can also choose to override the standard feature where the Windforce logo turns off at 0db operation.

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The rest of the features are pretty generic to an overclocking utility, although under the resolution tab you can change the monitor settings; not something common for a downloadable utility.

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Testing & Methodology


Before we delve into any testing we would like to take this opportunity to overview our test system. All tests will be conducted with the latest drivers available; results will be taken from an average of three tests.

Hardware

  • Motherboard – Gigabyte X99-Gaming G1 WiFi LGA 2011-3 Motherboard
  • Processor – Intel Core i7 5820K at Stock 3.3GHz
  • RAM – 16GB (4 X 4GB) Crucial Ballistix Sport DDR4 2400MHz
  • CPU Cooler – Thermaltake Water 3.0 with Gelid GC-Extreme
  • Power Supply – BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 1200W
  • Main Storage Drive – Crucial M550 512GB
  • Chassis – Lian Li T80 Test Bench
  • Displays – AOC U2868PQU 4K
  • Operating System – Windows 8.1 Pro 64 Bit
  • “Killawatt” style electricity usage meter wall plug
  • Precision Gold N05CC Decibel meter

Drivers

drivers

Software

  • Batman Arkham Origins
  • Battlefield 4
  • Bioshock Infinite
  • Grand Theft Auto V
  • Hitman Absolution
  • Metro Last Light
  • Tomb Raider
  • 3DMark
  • Unigine Valley
  • Unigine Heaven
  • CPU-ID HWMonitor
  • TechPowerUp GPU-Z
  • Luxmark

Synthetic Benchmarks

During our testing, we use a range of readily available synthetic benchmarking tools which are free to download from the respective websites. We do this so the readers can download and compared to our results. Download links are contained within the “Software” subheading.

Noise

Everyone has their own reasonable noise level when it comes to comes to components in a computer. Some can handle all fans at 100% load to keep temperatures down, some want a completely silent computer.

Power Consumption

With electricity becoming increasingly expensive across most parts of the world the need for computer components to become power efficient has never been more relevant. Graphics cards are often the most power-hungry components inside a desktop system so having an efficient graphics card is very important to keeping power bills under control. Power is often correlated to heat and so lower power consumption means a graphics card is likely to run slightly cooler and put out less heat into your system meaning your other components will run cooler with improved longevity. AMD and Nvidia have both made power consumption an integral part of the way graphics cards dynamically overclock so the need for graphics card vendors to use efficient VRM and PCB designs is becoming important to maximise performance. We take power readings after 5 minutes of two different load scenarios: desktop idle and Unigine Heaven load.

Temperatures

The cooling solution which graphics card vendors choose to implement is one of the main differences that consumers have to contend with when choosing a graphics cards. Apart from their acoustic properties, the thermal properties of graphics card coolers are extremely important. Lower temperatures are always better and with AMD and Nvidia opting to use dynamic overclocking algorithms that take temperature into account it is important that graphics card vendors use high performance cooling solutions in order to maximise performance. The era of graphics cards reaching dangerous temperatures are now in the past but the importance of lower temperatures still remains. Lower temperatures mean better stability, longer component longevity and lower fan speeds .We take temperature readings after 5 minutes of two different load scenarios: desktop idle and Unigine Heaven load. We always record actual temperatures and make a note of the ambient; in the case where more than 1 GPU is used an average is created.

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3DMark


3dmark13

“The new 3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it’s not just for Windows. With 3DMark, you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too. It’s the most powerful and flexible 3DMark we’ve ever created.” From Futuremark.com

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Thrown straight ingot 3DMark and the G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti really shows the competition who’s boss. Even with the ECO mode activated, it is still the most powerful option there.

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Batman: Arkham Knight


download

Batman: Arkham Knight is an action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios and published byWarner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Based on the DC Comics superhero Batman, it is the successor to Warner Bros. Games Montréal’s 2013 video game Batman: Arkham Origins, and the fourth and final installment in the Batman: Arkham series, and the first Arkham game to receive an M rating by the ESRB. Arkham Knight was released worldwide on June 23, 2015.” From Wikipedia.

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The new Batman game still has some kinks in the game code, but even with those issues; the G1 Gaming card flies through. With some graphics settings adjusted, you could see 60FPS at 4K.

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Battlefield 4


battlefield_4_wallpaper

“Battlefield 4 is coming to PC, powered by the advanced technology of DICE’s proprietary Frostbite 3 engine. Blur the line between game and glory in Battlefield 4. With dynamic destructible environments, vehicular combat, and the chaos of all-out war with 64 players, Battlefield 4 on PC will be an unmatched interactive experience. In addition to its hallmark multiplayer, Battlefield 4 features an intense, dramatic character-driven campaign that starts with the evacuation of American VIPs from Shanghai and follows your squad’s struggle to find its way home. There is no comparison. Immerse yourself in the glorious chaos of all-out war, found only in Battlefield.” From Battlefield.com

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A healthy lead over the other cards here, around 10% on average.

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Bioshock Infinite


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“BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter like you’ve never seen. Just ask the judges from E3 2011, where the Irrational Games title won over 85 editorial awards, including the Game Critics Awards’ Best of Show. Set in 1912, players assume the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, sent to the flying city of Columbia on a rescue mission. His target? Elizabeth, imprisoned since childhood. During their daring escape, Booker and Elizabeth form a powerful bond — one that lets Booker augment his own abilities with her world-altering control over the environment. Together, they fight from high-speed Sky-Lines, in the streets and houses of Columbia, on giant zeppelins, and in the clouds, all while learning to harness an expanding arsenal of weapons and abilities, and immersing players in a story that is not only steeped in profound thrills and surprises, but also invests its characters with what Game Informer called “An amazing experience from beginning to end.” From Bioshockinfinite.com

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Performing as expected in Bioshock.

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Grand Theft Auto V


gta-v-ps4-xboxone-pc-1

Grand Theft Auto V is an open world, an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 17 September 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. An enhanced version of the game was released on 18 November 2014 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and 14 April 2015 for Microsoft Windows. The game is the first main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series since 2008’s Grand Theft Auto IV. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas (based on Southern California), the single-player story follows three criminals and their efforts to commit heists while under pressure from a government agency. The open world design lets players freely roam San Andreas, which includes open countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos (based on Los Angeles).” From Wikipedia.

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A strong lead again in GTA V.

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Hitman Absolution


hitmanabsolution

“Hitman: Absolution is the fifth title in the Hitman series by producer, IO Interactive, published by Square Enix and co-published by Eidos. The game was released for thePlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows on November 20, 2012. Hitman: Absolution runs on IO Interactive’s proprietary Glacier 2 game engine, combining classic Hitman game mechanics with new mechanics.” From hitman.wikia.com

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The latest round of updates have negatively impacted the Gigabyte card here, dropping it to the bottom of the pack.

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Metro Last Light


MetroLastLightgpureviews

“Metro: Last Light (formerly Metro 2034) is a first-person shooter and horror video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was released in May 2013. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features a mixture of action-oriented and stealth gameplay. The game exists in the universe of the novel, Metro 2033, and its sequels, written by Russian author, Dmitry Glukhovsky, but does not follow any direct storylines from the books. Metro:Last Light takes place one year after the events of Metro 2033, proceeding from the canonical ending from the novel, ending where Artyom chose to call down the missile strike on the Dark Ones.Metro: Last Light features technology which boasts of lighting effects and improved physics claimed to set a new graphical benchmark on the PC and consoles.” From Wikipedia.org

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An absolutely massive lead over the other tested cards here; around 20% on average.

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Tomb Raider


tombraider

“On 5 March 2013, Square Enix released Tomb Raider, billed as a reboot of the franchise. In Tomb Raider, the player is confronted with a much younger Lara Croft who is shipwrecked and finds herself stranded on a mysterious island rife with danger, both natural and human. In contrast to the earlier games Croft is portrayed as vulnerable, acting out of necessity, desperation and sheer survival rather than for a greater cause or personal gain.” From Wikipedia.org

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A commanding lead again in Tomb Raider.

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Unigine Valley


“Valley Benchmark is a new GPU stress-testing tool from the developers of the very popular and highly acclaimed Heaven Benchmark. The forest-covered valley surrounded by vast mountains amazes with its scale from a bird’s-eye view and is extremely detailed down to every leaf and flower petal. This non-synthetic benchmark powered by the state-of-the art UNIGINE Engine showcases a comprehensive set of cutting-edge graphics technologies with a dynamic environment and fully interactive modes available to the end user.” From Unigine.com.

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Unigine Valley lays the performance on the metaphorical table; the G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti pulling a strong lead, even compared to the Titan X.

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Compute Performance


LuxMark is a OpenCL benchmark tool. The idea for the program was conceived in 2009 by Jean-Francois ‘Jromang’ Romang. The idea was quite simple, wrap SLG inside an easy to use graphical user interface and use it as a benchmark for OpenCL. From LuxRender.net.

luxmark

It’s surprising how much potential is in the GM200 core considering Gigabyte has managed to achieve 20% additional performance compared to the reference 980Ti.

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Overclocking and Overclocked Performance


From experience with the reference GTX 980Ti, overclocking was fruitful, not only in raw MHz, but also performance. Let’s see if this card can pull off a similar feat.

gpuzg1gaming
Pushing the G1 Gaming 980Ti for all it has I managed to get a huge 1393MHz boost clock speed. Let’s find out how that transforms into performance increase.

 3DMark Fire Strike

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From factory, the G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti has some overclocking potential, but Gigabyte has pretty much tapped out everything. Given our overclock, the additional ‘free’ performance is great and it is noticed more at 4K than any other resolutions.

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Noise, Power Consumption and Temperatures


Noise

Everyone has their own reasonable noise level when it comes to comes to components in a computer. Some can handle all fans at 100% load to keep temperatures down, some want a completely silent computer.

sound

The G1 Gaming WF3 cooling solution is a great bit of kit. In our testing is it one of the quietest solutions thanks to the quite triple fan design and optimised heatsink.

Power Consumption

With electricity becoming increasingly expensive across most parts of the world the need for computer components to become power efficient has never been more relevant. Graphics cards are often the most power-hungry components inside a desktop system so having an efficient graphics card is very important to keeping power bills under control. Power is often correlated to heat and so lower power consumption means a graphics card is likely to run slightly cooler and put out less heat into your system meaning your other components will run cooler with improved longevity. AMD and Nvidia have both made power consumption an integral part of the way graphics cards dynamically overclock so the need for graphics card vendors to use efficient VRM and PCB designs is becoming important to maximise performance. We take power readings after 5 minutes of two different load scenarios: desktop idle and Unigine Heaven load.

power

I guess we had to see something bad somewhere. The G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti is one of the more power hungry 980Ti’s we’ve had in and that is only added to when overclocked.

Temperatures

The cooling solution which graphics card vendors choose to implement is one of the main differences that consumers have to contend with when choosing a graphics cards. Apart from their acoustic properties, the thermal properties of graphics card coolers are extremely important. Lower temperatures are always better and with AMD and Nvidia opting to use dynamic overclocking algorithms that take temperature into account it is important that graphics card vendors use high performance cooling solutions in order to maximise performance. The era of graphics cards reaching dangerous temperatures are now in the past but the importance of lower temperatures still remains. Lower temperatures mean better stability, longer component longevity and lower fan speeds .We take temperature readings after 5 minutes of two different load scenarios: desktop idle and Unigine Heaven load. We always record actual temperatures and make a note of the ambient; in the case where more than 1 GPU is used an average is created.

temp

Thanks to the new 0db operation on most of the new generation of cards, at around 50°c that fans turn off. The G1 Gaming card maintains at 50-51°c idle temp and the fans do not allow the card get over 71°c at load; that’s with no additional noise too.

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Final Thoughts


Price

The Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti is currently available in the UK for the reasonable price of £599.99 when not on offer. In the US, it isn’t currently available from our recommended retailer list, but can be assumed it would be in the region of $699.99. This also includes a return to base 3 year warranty.

Overview

Well there we have it, the most powerful single GPU graphics card to pass through the doors of eTeknix and it will leave a lasting impressing. I personally really like the Gigabyte G1 Gaming range, somewhat subtle and no fuss gaming and it works from the minute you plug it in; well you have to look at the screen to check that because it is so quiet compared to the rest of the computer; that you can’t tell it works just by looking or listening to it.

To some, the G1 Gaming design has an acquired taste and some may be put off; be it the overall design, length or even the colour. Personally I love the styling, the sharp lines over the entire card and even onto the fans give a very robust industrial feel and just adds a bit of shock and awe to the inside of your case when you open it up for friends to look at. In hand, it feels very robust and that added backplate not only adds additional cooling for the rear components but also adds strength; a card this length needs all of the support it can. Now that’s where a problem comes into it, the overall length of the card is daunting and anyone with a case that can’t fit a graphics card larger than 315mm should probably look elsewhere.

I personally own a G1 Gaming GTX 970 which is 3mm longer (312mm) and I had to bend the metal on the end of the card to fit into a Corsair 250D; not ideal, but a worthy sacrifice and I will do exactly the same when I get my hands on another G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti. A redeeming feature of the Windforce cooling solution is the fact that Gigabyte can offer one of the best solutions on the market and still keep it within a traditional 2 slot footprint and no additional width to the card either with a stupidly wide PCB.

Here is the swan song for Gigabyte, not only have they produced one of the most powerful GTX 980Ti’s, but also one of the most powerful single GPU graphics card on the planet thanks to the lack of sub-vendor modification to the Titan X and the lack of performance figures from the Titan X hybrid cards floating about. It will hold onto that title until it hits the VRAM limit, but by the time displays and games are that demanding a whole new generation of graphics cards will be released.

I found nothing wrong with the card during my testing, maybe Gigabyte could have moved the fans up towards the IO plate a few mm to decrease the overall length or added a little bit of colour to the face and backplate to brighten it up or maybe even added in a gaming mouse as a bundle deal; heck I don’t know I’m clutching at straws here!

Pros

  • Extremely quiet
  • Amazing out of the box performance
  • DX12 compliant
  • Well rounded OC Guru II utility

Cons

  • The length of the cooling shroud can prove problematic with some cases
  • Availability in the US is poor

“The G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti is designed to blow away everything; competition, heat and even you! If you haven’t already upgraded, now is the time to do so.

Editors-Choice

Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980Ti 6GB Graphics Card Review

Thank you to Gigabyte for providing this review sample.

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