MSI GTX 980Ti GAMING 6G Review – MSI sent us its powerful GTX 980Ti GAMING 6G, which costs a cool $320 less than the flagship Titan X but performs like it’s got something to prove. This beast is going into our PAX Prime Sasquatch, making back-to-back MSI graphics-powered CPU System Workshop builds.
The GeForce GTX 980Ti features the GM200 Maxwell GPU with 8 billion transistors in a die that measures 601 square millimeters, manufactured using the 28nm process. There are 22 active streaming multiprocessor units in the GTX 980Ti’s GPU, two fewer than the Titan X, for a total CUDA core count of 2,816. There are 176 texture units and 96 ROPs and, according to NVIDIA, this GPU’s architecture delivers twice the performance-per-watt compared to the company’s Kepler-based streaming multiprocessors.
There aren’t many graphics cards that can claim to deliver playable framerates at 4K resolutions, but the GTX 980Ti is one of them, and it does so with the help of the 6GB GDDR5 frame buffer and the 384-bit memory bus.
MSI takes this impressive piece of hardware and straps its Twin Frozr V cooler to the top. It features an asymmetrical red-and-black shroud. Two 90mm Torx fans perform the card’s primary cooling, and there’s an LED backlit dragon logo on the top edge. The fans use a unique alternating blade design that mixes smooth straight blades with bulged blades to increase static air pressure and deliver better airflow. MSI’s Zero Frozr technology stops the fans from spinning when the GPU is idle.
Four nickel-plated SuperSU Pipe heatpipes draw heat from the copper plate to the densely-packed heatsink fins. That cooling capacity comes in handy because MSI pushed the core clocks into uncharted territory. The bundled Gaming App lets you choose between three boost/base core clock modes, including OC Mode (1,279MHz/1,178MHz), Gaming Mode (1,228MHz/1,140MHz), and Silent Mode (1,076MHz/1,000MHz). OC Mode adds another 22.5MHz to the memory clock.
The graphics card is 10.5 inches long and requires two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. If you plan on running in OC Mode, avoid using a 6- to 8-pin PCIe adapter. Your PSU should be able to handle at least 600 watts of continuous power to run this 250-watt TDP card. On the back bracket, you’ll find one Dual Link DVI-I port, an HDMI 1.4a/2.0 port, and three DisplayPort 1.2 ports.
We chose the middle-of-the-road Gaming Mode for our testing, which delivers great framerates in the games without pushing the fan above a barely audible hum. If you’re looking for a winning take on the GeForce GTX 980Ti, MSI’s factory overclocked version is the fastest we’ve tested.
MSI GTX 980Ti GAMING 6G Specifications
- GPU: Maxwell GM200
- Core Boost/Base Clocks: 1,279MHz/1,178MHz (OC Mode), 1,228MHz/1,140MHz (Gaming Mode), 1,076MHz / 1,000MHz (Silent Mode)
- Memory Clock: 1,752MHz
- Memory Bus: 384-bit
- Frame Buffer: 6GB GDDR5
- Factory Overclocked: Yes
- Ports: dual-link DVI, HDMI, three DisplayPort