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EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ Graphics Card Review

Date: June 30, 2015
Author(s): Rob Williams

After taking a look at NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti in May, we summed it up as being the “new King Of High-end”. That being the case, it’s not hard to imagine that an overclocked take on the card, featuring a better cooler, would be anything but a winner. To test that theory out, we’re taking a look at EVGA’s Superclocked+ edition.



Introduction

In my look at NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti last month, I designated it the “new King” of high-end GPUs. That conclusion was reached based on the fact that it’s much faster than the GTX 980, warranting its $150 price premium, and costs $350 less than TITAN X, despite offering similar performance.

On the topic of “similar performance”, there’s one little thing that can help turn that into “better performance”, and EVGA’s Superclocked+ edition has it: a boost of 102MHz to the reference 980 Ti’s base clock.

Yup – this card is going to be fast.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ - Overview

In addition to the 102MHz bump, the GPU Boost clock displays an even beefier gain of 114MHz (settling at 1,190MHz). The only models that are faster in EVGA’s 980 Ti lineup are the liquid-cooled Hydro and HYBRID editions, both spec’d at 1,140MHz base and 1,228MHz Boost. Hydro costs $120 more ($799.99) than the Superclocked+ ($679.99), while the HYBRID (features an AIO cooler) costs $70 more. The Superclocked+ costs $30 more than reference ($649.99).

I should note that the Superclocked+ model itself has a $10 premium over the regular Superclocked. The differences between the two models is that the + has a backplate, used to bolster the durability of the card as well as reduce temperatures by up to 3°C. Purchasing the backplate as an add-on costs $20, so there’s some added value in purchasing the Superclocked+ up-front.

NVIDIA GeForce SeriesCoresCore MHzMemoryMem MHzMem BusTDP
GeForce GTX TITAN X3072100012288MB7000384-bit250W
GeForce GTX 980 Ti281610006144MB7000384-bit250W
GeForce GTX 980204811264096MB7000256-bit165W
GeForce GTX 970166410504096MB7000256-bit145W
GeForce GTX 960102411262048MB7010128-bit120W

Outside of its performance, the best feature of the 980 Ti is its 6GB framebuffer. While I don’t believe 4GB is a harsh limit for most gamers, it can be for those looking to future-proof 4K gaming. That’s emphasized if we’re talking about multi-GPU configurations, since the performance made available would allow you to crank even a properly modern game’s detail levels. 6GB might seem like a hefty amount of VRAM right now, but down the road, it could become important.

I’m a big fan of the recent coolers NVIDIA’s been decking out its latest high-end GPUs with, and I admit (sorry, EVGA) that I’d prefer it over any third-party cooler. It just looks awesome. That said, EVGA’s latest ACX 2.0 cooler is no slouch, and does have some visual bits that I find quite nice. These include the etched name on the card’s top, and heatsink fins that can be seen from any angle.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ - Power Connectors

As with the reference 980 Ti, EVGA’s Superclocked+ edition requires both an 8- and 6-pin power connector. Despite the fact that this card boasts a higher clock speed than reference, EVGA still considers this to be a 250W TDP part. Interestingly, it might have the right to, as we’ll see on the final page of this review (hint: it doesn’t draw that much more than the reference card).

Also similar to the reference 980 Ti, this card has 3 DisplayPort connectors, 1 HDMI, and 1 DVI. All of these are protected with rubber inserts, as are the SLI bridge and PCIe connectors.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ - Video Connectors

At the back, we get a good view of the included backplate. A backplate can be a boring addition to a graphics card, but EVGA spices it up here by etching its name into the back, along with including the model of the card below it. When the card is installed, this branding will be properly facing you. As mentioned earlier, the point of a backplate is to increase durability as well as reduce temperatures. Versus a bare PCB, I also think it looks good.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ - Back of Card

Inside the box is a couple of coupons for some of EVGA’s other products (yes, you’re reading the “50% off” correctly), a wall poster, a couple of large stickers, as well as miscellaneous documentation.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ - Box and Materials

On account of the fact that A) We know what the 980 Ti brings to the table, B) We know what recent Superclocked ACX 2.0 cards bring to the table, and C) We can gauge what a 102MHz clock boost can do, I have doubts we’ll be that surprised with some of the results. But, as a card that’s bound to be faster than a reference TITAN X, yet costs a lot less, I think the Final Thoughts section will be easy to write. But, before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s get right into some performance results.

Test System & Methodology

At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate as possible. Our testing is rigorous and time-consuming, but we feel the effort is worth it. In an attempt to leave no question unanswered, this page contains not only our test-bed specifications, but also a detailed look at how we conduct our testing.

Our Graphics Card Test Machine

The below table lists our testing machine’s hardware, which remains unchanged throughout all GPU testing, minus the GPU. Each card used for comparison is also listed here, along with the driver version used.

Graphics Card Test System
ProcessorsIntel Core i7-4960X – Six-Core @ 4.50GHz
MotherboardASUS P9X79-E WS
MemoryKingston HyperX Beast 32GB (4x8GB) – DDR3-2133 11-12-11
GraphicsAMD Radeon R9 280X 2GB – Catalyst 13.12
AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB (Sapphire ITX Compact) – Catalyst 15.5
AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB – Catalyst 13.12
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770 2GB – GeForce 340.52
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 3GB – GeForce 331.93
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB – GeForce 331.93
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB (EVGA SuperSC) – GeForce 350.12
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB (ASUS Strix) – GeForce 344.11
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB – GeForce 352.90
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB – GeForce 352.90
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB (EVGA SC+) – GeForce 353.30
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB – GeForce 352.90
AudioOnboard
StorageKingston HyperX 240GB SSD
Power SupplyCooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W
ChassisCooler Master Storm Trooper Full-Tower
CoolingThermaltake WATER3.0 Extreme Liquid Cooler
DisplaysAcer XB280HK 28″ 4K G-SYNC Monitor
Et ceteraWindows 7 Professional 64-bit

Important Note: The GTX 960, 980, 980 Ti and TITAN X were tested using a different motherboard (ASUS X99-DELUXE) and processor (Intel Core i7-5960X, overclocked to 4GHz) than what’s listed here. We don’t ordinarily change test platforms without retesting everything, but overall, performance is extremely similar between the two platforms (based on 3DMark results). Once Windows 10 is released, and with stable graphics drivers, we will be performing a GPU test suite overhaul and then retest all cards.

Notes About Our High-end System

The goal of our performance content is to show you as accurately as possible how one product compares to another – after all, you’re coming to us for advice, so we want to make sure we’re giving you the best possible information. Typically, one major step we take in ensuring that our performance results are accurate is to make sure that our test systems are void of all possible bottlenecks, so for that, high-end components must be used.

In the case of our graphics card test system, the processor chosen has six cores and is overclocked far beyond reference clocks. Most games nowadays are not heavily CPU-bound, but by using such a chip, we feel that we completely rule it out as a potential bottleneck. The same can be said for the use of an SSD (as opposed to latency-ridden mechanical storage), and even our memory, which is clocked at the comfortable speed of DDR3-2133.

Why this matters to you: Our test PC is high-end, and it’s very likely that you’d encounter a bottleneck quicker than us. Our goals are to eliminate all possible bottlenecks, whereas yours is to build the PC you need. In our case, we need to go overboard to attain as accurate a representation of a graphic card’s performance as possible.

If your PC has at least a modern (~2-years-old) quad-core or better processor, and at least 8GB of fast memory (DDR3-1866+), that chances of you running into a bottleneck with today’s hottest game is admittedly low. If you’re using lower-end gear, you can absolutely expect that the rest of your system could be a bottleneck. It should be noted, though, that if you’re seeking out a lower-end graphics card, the importance of a bottleneck would of course be lessened.

Unfortunately, we’re not able to test a single card on multiple PC configurations; each single card we test takes at least 3 hours to test, with another 2 hours added on for each additional resolution, and at least another 1~2 hours for our Best Playable results (for up to 11 hours of mostly hands-on testing for a high-end model).

Please bear all of this in mind. If you’re unsure if your PC could prove to be a bottleneck, our comments section exists for such questions.

When preparing our test-beds for any type of performance testing, we follow these guidelines:

General Guidelines

To aid with the goal of keeping accurate and repeatable results, we alter certain services in Windows 7 from starting up at boot. This is due to the fact that these services have the tendency to start up in the background without notice, potentially causing inaccurate test results. For example, disabling “Windows Search” turns off the OS’ indexing which can at times utilize the hard drive and memory more than we’d like.

The services we disable are:

For further fine-tuning, we also use Windows’ “Classic” desktop theme, which gets rid of the transparency that can sometimes utilize a GPU in the background.

Vendor Favortism

Sometimes, either AMD or NVIDIA will work with a game studio to help their development process along. As history has proven, this often results in a game that is tuned better for one vendor over the other, although sometimes the tides can change over time, resulting in the competing vendor offering the better experience.

One of our goals is to provide as neutral a benchmarking suite as possible, so while it’s impossible to avoid games sponsored by either of these companies, we can at least make an effort to achieve a blended list. As it stands, our current game list and their partners are:

(AMD) – Battlefield 4
(AMD) – Crysis 3
(AMD) – Sleeping Dogs
(NVIDIA) – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
(NVIDIA) – Metro: Last Light
(NVIDIA) – Splinter Cell Blacklist
(Neutral) – GRID 2
(Neutral) – Total War: SHOGUN 2

With that, let’s move on to a quick look at the game settings we use in our testing:

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag Benchmark Settings

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 Benchmark Settings

Note: The “High” preset is used for multi-monitor configurations.

Crysis 3

Crysis 3 Benchmark Settings
Crysis 3 Benchmark Settings

Note: The “Medium” preset is used for multi-monitor configurations.

GRID 2

GRID 2 Benchmark Settings
GRID 2 Benchmark Settings
GRID 2 Benchmark Settings

Metro Last Light

Metro Last Light Benchmark Settings

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs Benchmark Settings
Sleeping Dogs Benchmark Settings

Splinter Cell Blacklist

Splinter Cell Blacklist Benchmark Settings
Splinter Cell Blacklist Benchmark Settings

Total War: SHOGUN 2

Total War SHOGUN 2 Benchmark Settings

Unigine Heaven

Unigine Heaven 4 Benchmark Settings

Game Tests: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Battlefield 4

Given the sheer number of titles in the Assassin’s Creed series, it’s a little hard to believe that the first game came out a mere seven years ago. You could definitely say that Ubisoft hit the ball out of the park with this one. To date, we’ve never considered an AC game for benchmarking, but given the number of graphical goodies featured in the PC version of Black Flag, that trend now ends.

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - 1920x1080

Manual Run-through: The saved game starts us not far from the beginning of the game under a small church which can be climbed to synchronize with the environment. To kick things off, I scale this church and rotate the camera around once, making sure to take in the beautiful landscape; then, I climb back down and run all the way to the water (the top of this small church and the water can be seen in the above screenshot).

Note: For some reason, Ubisoft decided to cap the framerate to 60 FPS in Black Flag even if Vsync is turned off. For most games, this would ruin the chance of it appearing in our benchmarking, but because the game is graphically intensive, I’ve chosen to stick with it, as at higher resolutions, reaching 60 FPS is a perk that will belong only to high-end graphics cards.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag (3840x2160)

Thanks to Ubisoft’s asinine decision to cap the framerate on this game, the 1440p results are not that impressive, outside of the fact that all of the GPUs listed handle the game well at high detail. At 4K, it becomes a much more difficult battle, with EVGA’s 980 Ti coming oh-so-close to the 60 FPS mark. Oh – and it also happens to beat out the reference TITAN X.

Battlefield 4

Thanks to the fact that DICE cares more about PC gaming than a lot of developers, the Battlefield series tends to give us titles that are well-worth benchmarking. Battlefield 3 offered incredible graphics and became a de facto benchmark immediately, so it’s no surprise, then, that BF4 follows right in its footsteps.

Battlefield 4 - 1920x1080

Manual Run-through: The Singapore level is the target here, with the saved game starting us on an airboat that must be driven to shore, where a massive battle is set to take place. I stop recording the framerate once the tank makes its way to the end of this small patch of beach; in all, the run takes about 3 minutes.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Battlefield 4 (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Battlefield 4 (3840x2160)

Battlefield 4 might have come out about 20 months ago, but it still looks great at max detail, and can be punishing to even the highest-end GPUs at 4K, as exhibited in the graph above. Quite simply, these are not playable framerates, but don’t fret – we’ll find some on the Best Playable page.

Game Tests: Crysis 3, GRID 2

When the original Crysis dropped in late 2007, it took no time at all for pundits to coin the phrase, “Can it run Crysis?“, almost to the point of self-parody. At the time, the game couldn’t have its graphics detail maxed-out on even top-of-the-line PCs, and in reality, that’s a great thing. I’d imagine few are opposed to knowing that a game could actually look better down the road as our PCs grow into them. As the series continued, Crytek knew it had a legend to live up to, and fortunately, Crysis 3 (our review) lives up to the original’s legacy.

Crysis 3 - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: There’s no particular level in Crysis 3 that I could establish was “better” for benchmarking than another, but I settled on “Red Star Rising” based on the fact that I could perform a run-through with no chance of dying (a great thing in a challenging game like this one). The level starts us in a derelict building, where I traverse a broken pipe to make it over to one rooftop and then another. I eventually hit the ground after taking advantage of a zipline, and make my way down to a river, where I scurry past a number of enemies to the end spot beneath a building.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Crysis 3 (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Crysis 3 (3840x2160)

R9 290X / GTX 970 and above handle Crysis 3 at High/1440p no problem at all. The GTX 980 Ti and TITAN X would set themselves apart by being able to run Very High at playable framerates. At 4K/High, the Ti and TITAN X would be suitable enough, but these are not what I’d consider ideal framerates.

GRID 2

For those who appreciate racing games that are neither too realistic nor too arcade-like, there’s GRID. In GRID 2 (review), the ultimate goal is to build a racing empire, starting from square one. Unlike most racing titles that have some sort of career, the goal here isn’t to earn cash, but fans. Whether you’re racing around Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina or tearing through a gorgeous Cote d’Azur coastline, your goal is simple: To impress.

GRID 2 - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: The track chosen for my benchmarking is Miami (Ocean Drive). It’s a simple track overall, which is one of the reasons I chose it, and also the reason I choose to do just a single lap (I crash, often, and that affects both the results and my patience). Unlike most games in the suite which I test twice over (save for an oddity in the results), I race this one lap three times over.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - GRID 2 (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - GRID 2 (3840x2160)

GRID 2 runs well on any recent higher-end GPU at 1440p, but once again, 4K is where the pain starts to come in. Both the GTX 980 Ti and TITAN X are able to run the game at a fluid 60 FPS, whereas the original GTX 980 falls 10 FPS short. Nothing that a disabling of ambient occlusion wouldn’t fix.

Game Tests: Metro Last Light, Sleeping Dogs

Crysis has become infamous for punishing even top-end systems, but let’s be fair: The Metro series matches, if not exceeds its requirement for graphical horsepower. That was proven by the fact that we used Metro 2033 in our testing for a staggering three years – only to be replaced by its sequel, Last Light. I’m not particularly a fan of this series, but I am in awe of its graphics even at modest settings.

Metro Last Light - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: Because this game is a real challenge to benchmark with for both the reasons of variability in the results and the raw challenge, I choose to use the built-in benchmark here but rely on Fraps to give me more accurate results.

Note: Metro Last Light‘s built-in benchmark is not representative of the entire game; some levels will punish a GPU much worse than this benchmark will (namely, “The Chase”, which has lots of smoke and explosions). What this means is that while these settings might suffice for much of the game, there might be instances where the performance degrades enough during a certain chapter or portion of a chapter to force a graphics setting tweak.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Metro Last Light (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Metro Last Light (3840x2160)

We’ve seen a definite trend up to this point, and Metro Last Light doesn’t break it. The Ti is significantly faster than a 980, and doesn’t fall far behind the TITAN X. Meanwhile, EVGA’s card continues to pull ahead of the reference TITAN X.

Sleeping Dogs

Many have called Sleeping Dogs (our review) the “Asian Grand Theft Auto“, but the game does a lot of things differently that helps it stand out of the crowd. For example, in lieu of supplying the player with a gazillion guns, Sleeping Dogs focuses heavily on hand-to-hand combat. There are also many collectibles that can be found to help upgrade your character and unlock special fighting abilities – and if you happen to enjoy an Asian atmosphere, this game should fit the bill.

Sleeping Dogs - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: The run here takes place during the chapter “Amanda”, on a dark, dank night. The saved game begins us at the first apartment in the game (in North Point), though that’s not where I begin capturing the framerate. Instead, I first request our motorcycle from the garage. Once set, I begin recording the framerate and drive along a specific path all the way to Aberdeen, taking about two minutes.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Sleeping Dogs (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Sleeping Dogs (3840x2160)

100 FPS at 1440p is quite tasty. At 4K, the anti-aliasing becomes a bit too much; removing it would bring us a lot closer to, or past, 60 FPS.

Game Tests: Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Total War: SHOGUN 2

Tom Clancy is responsible for a countless number of video games, but his Splinter Cell series has become something special, with each game released having been considered “great” overall. The latest in the series, Blacklist, is no exception, and thankfully for us, its graphics are fantastic, and not to mention intensive. For those who love a stealth element in their games, this is one that shouldn’t be skipped.

RIP, Tom Clancy.

Splinter Cell Blacklist - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: From the start of the ‘Safehouse’ level in Benghazi, Libya, we progress through until we reach an apartment building that must be entered – this is where we end the FPS recording.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Splinter Cell: Blacklist (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Splinter Cell: Blacklist (3840x2160)

Blacklist isn’t crazy demanding, so anything GTX 770 or above will give you very playable framerates at 1440p. 4K, of course, is a different story. As we saw with Black Flag, EVGA’s 980 Ti scrapes the edge of 60 FPS.

Total War: SHOGUN 2

Strategy games are well-known for pushing the limits of any system, and few others do this as well as Total War: SHOGUN 2. It fully supports DX11, has huge battlefields to oversee with hundreds or thousands of units, and a ton of graphics options to adjust. It’s quite simply a beast of a game.

Total War: SHOGUN 2 - 1920x1080 Single Monitor

Manual Run-through: SHOGUN 2 is one of the few games in our suite where the built-in benchmark is opted for. Strategy games in particular are very difficult to benchmark, so this is where I become thankful to have the option of using a built-in benchmark.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Total War: SHOGUN 2 (2560x1440)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Total War: SHOGUN 2 (3840x2160)

Wrapping up our gaming benches is SHOGUN 2 to reconfirm what we’ve seen up to this point: EVGA’s GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ is faster than a TITAN X at reference speeds.

Synthetic Tests: Futuremark 3DMark, 3DMark 11, Unigine Heaven 4.0

We don’t make it a point to seek out automated gaming benchmarks, but we do like to get a couple in that anyone reading this can run themselves. Of these, Futuremark’s name leads the pack, as its benchmarks have become synonymous with the activity. Plus, it does help that the company’s benchmarks stress PCs to their limit – and beyond.

3DMark
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Futuremark 3DMark Fire Strike Default, Extreme & Ultra

Mimicking what we’ve seen through this review, EVGA’s Superclocked+ 980 Ti is faster than a reference TITAN X and also shows a significant boost over the reference 980 Ti.

Unigine Heaven 4.0

Unigine might not have as established a name as Futuremark, but its products are nothing short of “awesome”. The company’s main focus is its game engine, but a by-product of that is its benchmarks, which are used to both give benchmarkers another great tool to take advantage of, and also to show-off what its engine is capable of. It’s a win-win all-around.

Unigine Heaven 4.0

The biggest reason that the company’s “Heaven” benchmark is so relied-upon by benchmarkers is that both AMD and NVIDIA promote it for its heavy use of tessellation. Like 3DMark, the benchmark here is overkill by design, so results are not going to directly correlate with real gameplay. Rather, they showcase which card models can better handle both DX11 and its GPU-bogging features.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Unigine Heaven 4.0 (2560x1440 & 3840x2160)

Here, EVGA’s 980 Ti really shines, gaining 6 or 7 FPS over the TITAN X or 980 Ti reference cards.

Best Playable: Single Display

For about as long as GPU-accelerated games have existed, an ideal performance target has been 60 frames-per-second. Owing thanks to this is the standard 60Hz monitor, which delivers its best result when the framerate matches its refresh rate. To make sure the monitor’s refresh rate and game’s framerate keep aligned, to avoid visible tearing, VSync should be enabled.

While I believe our Best Playable results will appeal to any gamer, they could especially prove useful to those intrigued by livingroom gaming or console replacements. The goal here is simple: With each game, the graphics settings are tweaked to deliver the best possible detail while keeping us as close to 60 FPS on average as possible.

Because our Metro Last Light and Total War: SHOGUN 2 tests are timedemos, and because this kind of testing is time-consuming, I am sticking to six out of the eight games I test with for inclusion here.

To make things simple, most of the Best Playable settings for EVGA’s 980 Ti Superclocked+ match the settings I used for the reference 980 Ti. There are some exceptions, though, where I was able to notch some setting higher thanks to the higher clock speed. So with that, let’s get on with it:

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+5360
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Environment:Very HighShadow:Very High
Texture:HighReflection:High
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:High
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+ (Low)Volumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn
Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti5762
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Environment:Very HighShadow:High
Texture:HighReflection:High
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGod Rays:Low
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO+ (Low)Volumetric Fog:On
Motion BlurOn
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag

As powerful as the 980 Ti is, it’s not able to “max out” Black Flag at 4K and hit 60 FPS. By “maxed out”, I mean use High HBAO+, as well as High God Rays. With EVGA’s card, I came close; keeping HBAO+ to Low and God Rays to High, an even 60 FPS could be attained.

Battlefield 4
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+4266
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Texture Quality:UltraTexture Filtering:Ultra
Lighting:UltraEffects:Ultra
Post Processing:UltraMesh:Ultra
Terrain:UltraTerrain Decoration:Ultra
Anti-aliasing Deferred:OffAnti-aliasing Post:Off
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO
Battlefield 4 - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti3959
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Texture Quality:UltraTexture Filtering:Ultra
Lighting:UltraEffects:Ultra
Post Processing:UltraMesh:Ultra
Terrain:UltraTerrain Decoration:Ultra
Anti-aliasing Deferred:OffAnti-aliasing Post:Off
Ambient Occlusion:HBAO
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - Battlefield 4

Settings between the two cards were matched here, with EVGA’s giving us a sweet boost beyond 60 FPS.

Crysis 3
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+4059
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Anti-aliasing:FXAATexture:Very High
Effects:HighObject:High
Particles:MediumPost Processing:Medium
Shading:MediumShadows:Medium
Water:MediumAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
Crysis 3 - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti4159
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Anti-aliasing:FXAATexture:Very High
Effects:HighObject:High
Particles:MediumPost Processing:Medium
Shading:MediumShadows:Medium
Water:MediumAnisotropic Filtering:x16
Motion Blur:MediumLens Flares:Yes
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - Crysis 3

It seems at 4K, getting a performance boost is going to require a lot more GPU horsepower. Despite the clock boost of the EVGA card, performance was matched here.

Dying Light
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+5166
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Texture Quality:HighShadow Map Size:High
Foliage Quality:HighView Distance:60%
Ambient Occlusion:OffNVIDIA HBAO+:Off
NVIDIA Depth of Field:OnMotion Blur:On
Antialiasing:On
Dying Light - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti4560
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Texture Quality:HighShadow Map Size:High
Foliage Quality:HighView Distance:60%
Ambient Occlusion:OffNVIDIA HBAO+:Off
NVIDIA Depth of Field:OnMotion Blur:On
Antialiasing:On
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - Dying Light

As we saw with Battlefield 4, EVGA’s card supplies a nice performance boost with Dying Light over the reference 980 Ti.

Grand Theft Auto V
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+5264
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
FXAA:OnMSAA:Off
NVIDIA TXAA:OffPopulation Density:100%
Population Variety:100%Distance Scaling:100%
Texture Quality:Very HighShader Quality:Very High
Shadow Quality:Very HighReflection Quality:Very High
Reflection MSAA:OffWater Quality:High
Particles Quality:HighGrass Quality:Very High
Soft Shadows:PCSSPost FX:High
Motion Blur:0%DoF Effects:Off
Anisotropic Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Normal
Tessellation:Off
Grand Theft Auto V - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti4859
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
FXAA:OnMSAA:Off
NVIDIA TXAA:OffPopulation Density:100%
Population Variety:100%Distance Scaling:100%
Texture Quality:Very HighShader Quality:Very High
Shadow Quality:Very HighReflection Quality:Very High
Reflection MSAA:OffWater Quality:High
Particles Quality:HighGrass Quality:Very High
Soft Shadows:PCSSPost FX:High
Motion Blur:0%DoF Effects:Off
Anisotropic Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Normal
Tessellation:Off
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - Grand Theft Auto V

I am not sure about you guys, but simply looking at that mammoth list of graphical settings gives me a headache. Fortunately, I didn’t need to tweak anything here, given both cards are so similar, but once again, EVGA’s card gave a notable boost. What a difference 100MHz makes, right?

GRID 2
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+6170
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Multisampling:8x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Ultra
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OnGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OnAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
GRID 2 - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti5361
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Multisampling:8x MSAANight Lighting:High
Shadows:UltraAdvanced Fog:On
Particles:UltraCrowd:Ultra
Cloth:HighAmbient Occlusion:Ultra
Soft Ambient Occlusion:OnGround Cover:High
Vehicle Details:HighTrees:Ultra
Objects:UltraVehicle Reflections:Ultra
Water:HighPost Process:High
Skidmarks:OnAdvanced Lighting:On
Global Illumination:OnAnisotropic Filtering:Ultra
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - GRID 2

Maxed out, GRID 2 runs perfect on either the reference 980 Ti or EVGA’s clock-boosted version. It is worth pointing out, though, that EVGA’s card even manages to keep the minimum FPS at 60+.

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+5766
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Anti-aliasing:NormalHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:OnMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
Sleeping Dogs - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti5262
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Anti-aliasing:NormalHigh-res Textures:On
Shadow Resolution:HighShadow Filtering:High
Ambient Occlusion:OnMotion Blur:High
World Density:Extreme
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition

As beautiful as Sleeping Dogs is, it’s one setting in particular that obliterates performance: anti-aliasing. Once that’s dropped down to normal levels, both cards deliver excellent performance.

The Crew
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+5560
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Geometry:UltraShadows:High
Textures:UltraEnvironment Mapping:Ultra
Depth-of-Field:HighMotion Blur:High
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGrass:High
Ambient Occlusion:SSAO
The Crew - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti5860
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Geometry:UltraShadows:Medium
Textures:UltraEnvironment Mapping:Ultra
Depth-of-Field:HighMotion Blur:High
Anti-aliasing:FXAAGrass:High
Ambient Occlusion:SSAO
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - The Crew

The Crew is the second game in this list that benefited from the clock boost of EVGA’s card, not for an FPS boost, but rather a graphics boost. The result is being able to increase the Shadows from Medium to High.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist
MinimumAverage
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+4959
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Texture Detail:UltraShadow:Ultra
Parallax:OnTessellation:On
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO + HBAO+
Anti-aliasing:FXAA
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist - Best Playable (4K) - EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+
NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti5772
Graphics Settings
& Ingame Screenshot
Resolution: 3840×2160
Texture Detail:UltraShadow:Ultra
Parallax:OnTessellation:On
Texture Filtering:16xAmbient Occlusion:Field AO
Anti-aliasing:FXAA
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Best Playable (4K) - Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist

With Blacklist, there’s two routes to choose between: A) Keep full-on ambient occlusion, or B) Reduce ambient occlusion and gain 10+ FPS. Whatever you decide to do, EVGA’s 980 Ti is going to deliver some great performance.

Power & Temperatures, Overclocking & Final Thoughts

To test graphics cards for both their power consumption and temperature at load, we utilize a couple of different tools. On the hardware side, we use a trusty Kill-a-Watt power monitor which our GPU test machine plugs into directly. For software, we use Futuremark’s 3DMark to stress the card, and GPU-Z to record the temperatures.

To test, the area around the chassis is checked with a temperature gun, with the average temp recorded. Once that’s established, the PC is turned on and left to sit idle for five minutes. At this point, we open GPU-Z along with 3DMark. We then kick-off a full suite run, and pay attention to the Kill-a-Watt when the test reaches its most intensive interval (Fire Strike GT 1) to get the peak wattage.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Temperatures
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti - Power Consumption

Despite its clock boost, EVGA’s ACX 2.0 cooler managed to shave 7°C off of the peak temperature of the reference model – and in a room that happened to be 2°C warmer. Admittedly, that’s not too surprising, but what is, is that even with the ~10% performance boost, EVGA’s card drew only 6W more than the reference card, and 5W more than TITAN X.

Overclocking

When I got down and dirty with overclocking the reference 980 Ti, I had no idea just how much time I’d end up spending eking out as good of a clock as possible. As I’ve covered in dedicated overclocking articles, I don’t settle on an overclock unless I deem it be 100% stable. Sometimes, that means I end up having to go back to the drawing board, spending more time figuring it out. Well, when all said and done, I spent even more time overclocking EVGA’s card.

Even when finished, I felt like I could have pushed things a bit further, but alas, I had to stop somewhere. That somewhere is +150MHz core and +350MHz memory.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked - Overclock

Before settling on these clocks, I had thought that +160/+400 was rock stable. Fire Strike was passing without issue, and so did Crysis 3 at max detail for 15 minutes. After a reboot, though, Fire Strike decided to halt during its run, forcing me to tweak further. That’s the “fun” with overclocks – what seems stable at first glance might not be stable at all, and you sure don’t want to find out about an instability in the middle of a game.

Given just how stable those higher clocks did feel, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if others managed to hit it just fine. But, it’s not like I can complain about another 150MHz on the clock, and fighting tooth and nail to stabilize that extra 10MHz is hardly worth it.

With these stable clocks in hand, what kind of performance gain do we see? Well, quite a good one, actually. In fact, the overclock on this card even managed to beat out the stable overclock I hit with TITAN X in the Fire Strike 1080p test. TITAN X’s 1440p and 4K scores still manage to come ahead of the EVGA overclock – those extra cores must be put to great use.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Superclocked+ - Futuremark 3DMark Overclocking Results
EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Superclocked+ - Gaming Overclocking Results

EVGA’s 980 Ti Superclocked+ provides a nice performance boost over reference on its own, but applying our achieved overclock makes another notable improvement. GTA V rose from 64 to 70 FPS, while Dying Light went from 66 to 73 FPS. Note that not all of the games here were tested with the same settings from our regular testing or Best Playable – in some cases (such as with Black Flag), I cranked the detail levels to put some extra stress on the card.

Overall, I’d say that this overclock is worth it. Even if you wanted to be really modest and just stick to +100 and +250MHz, it’d be worthwhile.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned in the intro, I called NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 980 Ti the “new King” of high-end GPUs last month, so it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a solution that builds off of that, cranks the clocks even further, and decks it out with an improved cooler. EVGA’s Superclocked+ GTX 980 Ti is a great card.

The GTX 980 Ti in general is such a powerful card, it’s best-suited for those who want to top out their game detail levels at 1440p, or delve into 4K gaming. For an “ideal” 4K experience, which means not having to sacrifice detail levels, multiple cards will be needed. But, one 980 Ti is luxury enough, so if you’re willing to sacrifice some detail levels (and still have great-looking gameplay, it should be said), one card will prove more than suitable.

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ - Close-up

The biggest question that arises when dealing with a card more expensive than SRP is: “Is it worth it?” What EVGA’s Superclocked+ brings to the table are boosted clocks that deliver a worthwhile boost to performance, a backplate, a cooler that allows the card to run cooler than the reference model, improves overclocking, runs quiet even when under stress, and has a great design to boot (good cooler design, nice touch with the rubber inserts to protect the ports).

If you don’t want to fiddle with overclocking, I definitely think the $30 premium on this card is worth it, because it’s in effect a 5% price premium for a 10% gain in performance. If you’d rather overclock yourself, EVGA also sells an ACX 2.0 model that’s priced at SRP, but lacks the backplate, and happens to be constantly out-of-stock. But, if you can find it in stock, it’s another great 980 Ti choice.

Pros

Cons

EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ - Techgage Editor's Choice
EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+

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