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EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ review: See how this card unleashes Maxwell's true power

Brad Chacos | June 29, 2015
Heading into this week, I eagerly anticipated reviewing the most powerful single-GPU graphics card to ever grace PCWorld's test bench--and I wasn't disappointed. But the card that claimed that title wasn't the one I expected! While AMD's new, hotly anticipated Radeon R9 Fury X is a beast in its own right, the title of new heavyweight champion instead lies with EVGA's $680 GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ with ACX 2.0+ (whew!), a custom-cooled, overclocked variant of Nvidia's ferocious GTX 980 Ti.

Getting that kind of overclock out of the box, with full 3-year warranty support, is no joke.

If you want to push things even further--or boost the memory speed, which is left untouched from stock on the GTX 980 Ti SC+--you can turn to EVGA's stellar PrecisionX overclocking software, which is available as a free download on EVGA's website or via Steam. It's a great solution, blending user-friendliness with the fine-tuning features power users demand. Need a primer? PCWorld's overclocking guide refers to MSI's competing Afterburner tool, but the same basic overclocking principles apply with PrecisionX.

One final design tidbit: EVGA's GTX 980 Ti SCi+ comes with an eye-catching custom backplate installed. Unlike the vanilla GTX 980, the reference GTX 980 Ti eschewed a backplate, ostensibly to facilitate better airflow in multi-GPU setups, but I'm a sucker for a nice backplate. Who wants to stare at exposed circuit boards?

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ benchmarks

With that out of the way, let's get to the fun part.

As always, we reviewed the GTX 980 Ti on PCWorld's graphics testing system. You can see how we built the system here, but here are the basics:

I've already spoiled the results by calling this the fastest graphics card we've ever tested, but if you're looking to game at high or ultra graphics settings at 4K resolution, the same caveats mentioned in our Fury X, Titan X, and reference GTX 980 Ti still apply. While all of these cards are fully capable of handling 4K gameplay by their lonesome, frame rates can still hover between 30 to 60 fps in some titles, depending on the settings you're using.

A G-Sync monitor, which forces your graphics card and display to synchronize frame rates, greatly improves the experience when gaming at 4K by smoothing everything out and essentially killing both screen tearing and stuttering. Simply put, G-Sync (and AMD's competing FreeSync displays, designed for Radeon cards) are wonderful. If you can afford to pick up a G-Sync monitor to pair with EVGA's GTX 980 Ti SC+, it's highly recommended.

The GTX 980 Ti's cranked clock speeds help it shine in every test I ran. First up: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The game itself is great, but more importantly, it comes with an in-game benchmark and an optional Ultra HD Textures pack that hammers the memory of even the most capable cards on the market today. It's tested using the game's Medium and High presets, then shifting to the Ultra preset and then cranking every graphics option to its highest possible setting--which even the Ultra preset doesn't actually do. (Note: No matter which drivers I'm using, I just can't coax Shadow of Mordor into playing nice with AMD's dual-GPU Radeon R9 295x2.)

 

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