NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Video Card Roundup – ASUS, MSI and Zotac

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Temperature & Noise Testing

Since gaming performance is basically a wash one of the most important things when picking out a GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB will be the noise, temperature and power consumption numbers and the temperatures and noise levels on these cards does vary greatly.

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB STRIX Gaming Idle and Load Temps:

asus-temps

MSI GeForce GTX 980Ti Gaming 6GB Idle and Load Temps:

msi-temps

Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition Idle and Load Temps:

zotac-temps

When it comes to temperatures all three cards didn’t have the fans spinning at idle and were around 50C. When we started gaming all the fans kicked on a few seconds later and kept the cards from overheating.

tempsWhen it comes to peaking gaming temperatures during a 30 minute gaming session on each card in an open test system the massive cooler on the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti kept that particular model from exceeding 69C, but we should note that the fan was the loudest and was ‘sluggish’ to get going. For some reason the fan surges a few times before kicking in and staying on when gaming. The GPU cooler on the MSI GTX 980 Ti was solid and the GPU ran just 2C hotter than the Zotac card. The ASUS GTX 980 Ti card that we are testing hit 78C, which was the hottest of the group, but still a respectable temperature and low enough not to impact gaming performance.

 

Sound Testing

We test noise levels with an Extech sound level meter that has ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with ‘A’ frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.

noise-testing

All of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards have no fans spinning at idle, so the idle noise is the same on all of the cards. The only reason the system is above ambient noise levels is due to CPU’s water cooler fans and pump noise. The Zotac GeForce GTX 980 Ti AMP! Extreme Edition is hands down the loudest of the three GTX 980 Ti cards, the ASUS GTX 980 Ti Strix Gaming was the queitest and the MSI GTX 980 Ti was right in the middle.  None of the cards are obnoxiously loud by any means, but you’ll certainly hear the Zotac model inside your case while gaming, so hopefully that won’t bother you.

** The AMD Radeon R9 Fury X reference card that we are using was the original model with a loud water pump that whines. AMD changed the pump design before the cards hit the retail market, but wasn’t willing to replace ours. We expect retail cards to perform quieter for this and hopefully AMD will send us a replacement card for proper noise testing. **

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  • MadBlax

    Great review guys.

  • Zampa79

    Asus or Gigabyte?????

    • Jonathan Wakeford

      Gigabyte Xtrem Gaming but maybe you should wait for the new Pascal GPU due in june. Either to buy Pascal, or benefit of the price drop on current gen.

  • mm

    So the nvidia cards are all heavy OC and Fury X is stock?

    • Thomas Olson

      Because the Fury can’t handle an overclock. It’s already pushed as far as it will go from the factory. These are aftermarket cards that come with an overclock over the stock 980 Ti, and they will STILL overclock a good deal beyond that. There’s a reason ATI is cheap. 🙂

      • Arkeo

        Are you living in 2009 or something?

        ATI no longer exists.

        • Thomas Olson

          No shit. Obviously the mocking tone was over your head.

        • Arkeo

          If you meant the ATI acquisition, it was very expensive at over 5 billion.

          Either way, your comment was fanboyish.

        • Thomas Olson

          I meant that ATI was the heyday of the red team. It’s been all downhill since. AMD needs to be careful. They have nothing that can compete currently. Are you afraid of being a fan of things? Even if they’re superior to other things? I’m sorry your life is so sad and dreary. 🙁

        • Arkeo

          Oh really?

          Over half of their cards are very competitive.

          380 crushes the 960 for example. 390 and 970 are pretty comparable. And Fury is as fast/faster than the 980 depending on your luck with the 980. They lose in the flagship segment and they somewhat lose in the $140 segment.

        • ginevraweasely

          Give it a rest A-hole

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I actually started with fresh charts for 2016 and this was all the cards I had time to test and include in the charts before getting onto the plane for CES 2016. I tested the highest clocked Fury X card in the market (1050MHz). I would have happily included an overclocked version if there was such a card that could be bought.

      • Amet Monegro

        ohh ok, everybody overclocks its GPUs lol

    • Amet Monegro

      Nvidia-payed reviews where? lol

    • flippy

      cause hbm cant overclock (yet) and ddr5 can

  • Rauel Crespo

    It was nice seeing your review end with:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4Km5OKZlp0

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I cringed when writing that as I knew I’d get flamed! There really just isn’t a perfect card that is right for everyone IMO.

  • Rauel Crespo

    You should have thrown in the Titan-X for good measure, as well as two GTX970’s in SLI to see what a similar amount of money gets you in performance.

    Also, I’ll take the sheer Titan-X killing performance of the Zotac card for the pennies extra it’ll add to my power-bill every year over the other two. Seriously, even comparing the power figure of the 390x vs the GTX970 is at most $5-$12 extra a YEAR.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      yup, it’s really not that bad when it comes to the power bill as you aren’t gaming at those numbers 24/7. Another benefit is that the card will help keep your room warm in the winter.