Monday, 7 September 2015

EVGA GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ ACX 2.0+ Review / NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti SLI Performance Review

It starts with dedication. Dedication to the hardcore gaming community is not an easy one – but EVGA is always at the forefront of trying to innovate for the gaming community. Throughout the years, this custom card add-in partner for NVIDIA comes up with their very interesting cooler specifications for reference cards, and has quite the community behind it that is dedicated to hardcore gaming. This generation for the NVIDIA GTX 980Ti launch, EVGA GTX 980Ti is pushing out the offerings and the one I will be taking a closer look at is the EVGA GTX 980 Ti Superclocked+ (SC+) with ACX 2.0+ in stock and SLI configurations.
The Makings of EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+
The EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ is a beautiful card like many of the add-in cards by a lot of other partner boards. It has a solid construction of two aluminum heat constructs under the video card shroud which is adorned with EVGA’s logo in a sort of brazen gold background. There are a total of five heat pipes which help to dissipate the heat for this card and the ACX 2.0 design is a vast improvement over ACX 1.0 according to EVGA (with almost 25% reduction in GPU temperature). In addition, you have plastic double-ball bearing fans which is said to improve lifespan and is generally an accepted statement after many laboratory tests being done.
acx2.0 cooling
What I love about EVGA with this card is the shroud/heatsink assembly design really protects the GM200-310 Maxwell core with more solid ACX 2.0+ construction, but that they chose some nice beefy heat pipes layered evenly. You can expect solid construction with this design that also covers and cools the voltage regulators and memory chips as well as providing a back-plate protection at the sub-dermal level for this card.
Display options include one DVI-i port,  an HDMI port, and lastly three Display Ports. For power usage: the card utilizes one 6-pin and one 8-pin PCI-Express connector (with the box including a dual 6-pin MOLEX-to-8-pin PCIe adapter).
The card also comes with a backplate of its own. For SLI – there has been a lot of talk about backplates, particularly with reference cards when it came to the 980 cards about overheating. With EVGA backplates, cooling is actually improved (which was the purpose of these plates for EVGA) and it would be rather silly to remove these to help cool things down. If you find you are running too hot/close to the maximum temperature for 980 Ti stock (92 degrees Celsius) then by all means look to a bigger case to improve latent airflow through fan coolers.
Here is a list of full specs from the manufacturer’s own website:
So, What Are We Testing Now?
The usual because we have to stick to the same standards as we tested the other cards for it to remain relevant for people wanting to compare the EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ with other add-in board cards.  All testing was done in a consolidated chart (to make things much easier to reference) than having to reference 20 other charts.
The test system:
What do our results say?
They clearly say the EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ at 1100 Mhz stock clock is a winner. It averages an average of 1.2 frames per second more than ZOTAC’s 980 Ti AMP! Edition on average, but it is equally matched in terms of its performance to price ratio. This is a good thing for both of these add-in partners because that means consumers have a choice and both choices are excellent. The NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti launch is a formidably great one with many incredible add-in custom cooler configurations that are well wroth the money. With SLI – this card of course nearly doubles the performance and scales perfectly to almost 110% going from one card to two in SLI configuration – which boasts for its efficacy to handle scaling well. SLI scaling is not something every card can do with grace, let alone scale higher than 100%. As far as general NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti SLI performance is concerned – this is the best value for money besides buying 2 GTX Titan X’s and putting them in SLI mode.
Can I Turn It Up, If So – Should I?
That entirely depends on you! Overclocking does in fact denigrate the life expectancy of a card even if by a couple of MHz so I always do advise against it. Sure you can get another few frames per second but for me personally – I don’t like to do it on my own systems. Overclocking this card and stepping up the frequency with the usual Heaven benchmark for stability testing, I was able to get my card to 1312 MHz for the stock clock and almost 1965 MHz for an effective 7860Mhz memory clock. What did performance look like for this?
The EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ reveals a significant gain with this hefty overclock. I saw 9.8 frames per second average as a high for this and all without overclocking the voltage was a great but pleasant surprise. EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0 was tested with a multimeter straight from our test rig. At idle the card takes 9.3 watts and at load comes close to 246.2 Watts compared to the reference card (at 272.6 watts total DC draw but an actual draw of 248.7 watts for the component itself).
Is It On Fire? (Temperature & Sound Performance)
The temperature on load  came to 74.3 degrees Celsius for SLI configuration and almost 52.1 degrees Celsius for a single-card setup on load. SLI idled at 38 degrees Celsius whereas the single-card component idled at 36 degrees Celsius. ACX 2.0+ clearly was working its magic keeping this card below the 90 degrees threshold and maintaining constantly lower idle temperatures and load temperatures across the board for the open-air cooler style. In terms of overclocking temperature at load – it came close to 78.6 degrees Celsius for a single card setup. Note: testing is done inside a standard ATX sized case with little to no wire footprint in order to assure real world results as much as possible. The SLI configuration came out to 38.6 dBA per card and total you are looking at about 62.4 dBA on average from the centre-point for measurement using a sound meter probe.
Should I Buy It?
A resounding absolute “Yes!” If you can afford the $679.99 MSRP of the card and let alone two of them, then you absolutely should if having one of the world’s best gaming rigs is your main and primary concern. The EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ runs cool, is very quiet at SLI load, and kept through the paces with beautiful finesse that is fitting for hardcore gamers looking for a real powerhouse card with a strong community backing behind it. The card in SLI truly reveals the potential of NVIDIA’S GeForce GTX 980 Ti in terms of sheer SLI power and it is definitely one of the most impressive launches NVIDIA has come up with to date in terms of a price to performance standpoint that is simply remarkable. I cannot recommend having the EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ enough for a GTX 980 Ti purchase and feel that anyone buying an EVGA this generation will feel quite pleased with their purchase delivering on not just quality standards, but quality results that last for a very long time at least until the next generation of cards in the NVIDIA lineup hits