GeForce GTX 980 Ti Overclocked

Enough Already! Show Us the Overclocked 980 Ti Benchmarks

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Average Frame Rates
GameResolutionGTX 980 Ti980 Ti OCImprovement
Batman: Arkham Origins1080p18120814.9%
Hitman: Absolution1080p9310311.1%
Metro: Last Light1080p11112411.9%
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor1080p11313317.2%
Tomb Raider1080p13115417.2%
Unigine Heaven 4.01080p9711418.0%
The Witcher 31080p566312.6%
Average of Eight Tests1080p10612114.7%
3DMark Fire Strike1080p14,92516,76412.3%
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme1440p7,5358,52513.1%
3DMark Fire Strike Ultra2160p3,9444,55215.4%

Feeling the need for speed? The GTX 980 Ti was already fast, and yet it still has plenty of headroom for overclocking. Adventurous souls can almost certainly beat our moderate overclock, but the purpose here is to show what nearly every 980 Ti should be able to achieve, plus a chance to look at scaling. We’ve overclocked the core by 20 percent and the GDDR5 by 11 percent, so unless we’re CPU-limited, the scaling should fall somewhere in that range—closer to 20 percent in cases where games are shader-limited, and closer to 11 percent in games that are memory bandwidth–limited. And we get exactly that. Every game shows a 10-plus percent improvement to performance, and particularly at higher resolutions, there are many gains close to 20 percent.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Minimum Frame Rates
GameResolutionGTX 980 Ti980 Ti OCImprovement
Batman: Arkham Origins1080p13516119.3%
Hitman: Absolution1080p788610.3%
Metro: Last Light1080p75829.1%
Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor1080p788611.5%
Tomb Raider1080p9811820.4%
The Witcher 31080p46519.8%
Average of Eight Tests1080p738314.3%

Minimum frame rates also scale nicely, though there are cases—e.g., The Witcher 3—where we fail to see more than an 11 percent improvement. But minimum frame rates are more prone to fluctuation, so don’t read too much into one or two results. Overall, the overclock is behaving quite nicely. With a bit of fine tuning to game settings, the overclocked 980 Ti should be able to run 40-plus frames per second minimums at nearly maximum quality, even at 4K (we’d suggest dropping anti-aliasing, as it’s not as necessary at 4K). Pair it up with a 4K G-Sync display—or better yet, get the QHD 144 Hz IPS G-Sync display we talk about in our Best Gaming Displays—and you’ve got all the makings of a great gaming experience.

Are There Any Downsides?

So, what’s the cost? Good news: not very much, at least in terms of power and noise. The radiator for our overclocked CPU creates more noise than the GPU during our benchmarks, plugging along at a steady drone of 39dB from a one meter distance. Overclocking the GPU hardly matters, with a barely perceptible rise in system noise to 40dB. But rest assured, the GPU fan is working harder than before. Opening the case and putting our SPL meter an inch away from the GPU fan, we measure 63dB overclocked compared to 57dB at stock settings.

Power use tells a similar story. We measured system power draw at the wall, which was 112W when idle—not bad for a beefy hexa-core CPU with the second fastest GPU on the planet, both running overclocks! Start doing something useful and that changes, with average power draw across a collection of gaming tests measuring 380W at stock GPU clocks versus 415W with the GPU overclocked. There’s nothing concerning with those figures, and in fact, it’s really quite impressive when you look at it from a high level. We were able to improve gaming performance by upward of 15 percent and total system power draw only went up 10 percent. Here we have a 140W TDP (Thermal Design Power) CPU and a 250W TDP GPU, both running overclocked, and at the wall we’re only using 415W. With our 80 Plus Gold power supply running at around 90 percent efficiency, that means we’re not even hitting the combined rated TDP, never mind all the other components in the system.

Bottom line, then: If you’ve just picked up a GeForce GTX 980 Ti, you’re in for a treat. It's the second-fastest graphics card on the market (coming in just shy of its big brother, Titan X), but it has plenty of fuel left in the tank for overclocking. As usual, a finely tuned hot rod puts pavement between itself and a more expensive stock racer.

Jarred Walton

Jarred's love of computers dates back to the dark ages when his dad brought home a DOS 2.3 PC and he left his C-64 behind. He eventually built his first custom PC in 1990 with a 286 12MHz, only to discover it was already woefully outdated when Wing Commander was released a few months later. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Brigham Young University and has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.