MSI GTX 980Ti Gaming 6G Review


T  he surge of bespoke versions of Nvidia’s GTX 980TI continues. For maximum single-GPU performance, the mighty Maxwellpowered 980Ti is the one to have at the moment, as we saw in our testing of cards over the last two issues (with the Gigabyte GV-N98TGI Gaming 6G earning a place in our Perfect PC). Until (and if) AMD releases a whole lot more performance with drivers, the 980Ti has bested the Fury. MSI’s card pushes the clocks even higher than the Gigabyte we tested. The Base speed is 1178MHz (Nvidia default is 1000MHz and the Gigabyte is 1152MHz), Boost is 1279MHz (default is 1075 and the Gigabyte is 1241MHz). So MSI has really pushed this GPU, and so far it has the highest factory overclock of any 980Ti we’ve seen. For low-load desktop work, the fan won’t spin at all unless the GPU temperature passes around 60 degrees, and clocks drop into Silent mode, which mirrors Nvidia’s standard reference speeds (albeit with an odd 1MHz more in Boost mode).

MSI GTX 980Ti Gaming 6G

These clock speeds put this card ahead of the Titan X (assuming the 6GB of memory here is suffi cient) and hundreds of dollars cheaper. Power draw is around 250W. You will need two 8-pin headers – up from 6 + 8-pin specifi cation on the reference card. With such aggressive overclocks this makes good sense. This card does empty most of its heat into the case, a consequence of supporting 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI and 1 x DualLink DVI connections, and thus having little room left on the back plate for a decent sized exhaust port. This port confi guration also means you can run up to four monitors simultaneously. DisplayPort really is taking over quickly as the default video connection standard for PCs, and a card with both DP and DVI is a handy thing to have. A heavy metal and very well vented backplate protects the rear, and on the front the twin fans use a new design of blade where every second blade has a bit of a bend to improve air movement.

This is the new king of 980TI cards, with true 4K performance at reasonable detail settings. MSI has done a top job with the components and cooling, the cooling, and making a card that can handle ambitious overclocks. You’ll now fi nd it in our Perfect PC build in Kitlog.

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