4 Weeks with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI

What do you get when you take two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 video cards, configure those for SLI, and set those at your feet for four weeks? We give our thoughts and opinions about actually using these GPUs in our own system for four weeks with focus on performance, sound profile, and heat generated by these cards.

Introduction

A little over a month ago NVIDIA launched its new Maxwell GPU based GeForce GTX 980 video card. You can read about all of its splendor in our launch review. In that article we concluded in comparison to other NVIDIA video cards:

"The GeForce GTX 980 being relevant to you is really all about what you are running now. If you have a video card from a couple generations back, like the GeForce GTX 6-series, this is a solid upgrade. If you already have a GeForce GTX 780 Ti or GeForce GTX TITAN or GeForce GTX TITAN-Z, it might not make a lot of sense to go with the GeForce GTX 980 right now, unless you can get some money back on that current video card. The GTX 980 will give you more features, and generally perform faster, but the 780 Ti is still a good video card for today's games."

In comparison to AMD's current GPUs we drew this conclusion:

"If you are coming again from a last generation AMD Radeon GPU, or even farther back, then you are probably contemplating between the AMD Radeon R9 290X or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 now. Pricing is a bit better, i.e. lower on AMD Radeon R9 290X right now, but you do get faster performance out of GeForce GTX 980. That said, a Radeon R9 290X purchased in the low $400 price range is a great deal."

About a year ago, I installed Radeon R9 290X Crossfire into my personal computer that I use for everyday HardOCP business, Hover Hound business, and a good bit of gaming. Before the 290X CrossFire I had NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN SLI installed, and before that I had an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 installed.

A little over a month ago I installed two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 reference cards in an SLI configuration.

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Lately I have been playing a lot of Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I have two young teenagers and we find that the series gives us a great place to get our co-op gaming on. I have also been playing some Spintires and Papers, Please as well, but these are far from graphically demanding. I do use a triple monitor setup at 3600x1920 resolution, so while not stressed in some applications I am still pushing a lot of pixels.

On the more demanding side of gaming, I have been playing Wolfenstein: The New Order, which is arguable to how demanding it is. Lastly and probably most importantly as this editorial goes, I have been working my way through Metro: Last Light and Far Cry 3, again.


My System Specifications

Listed below are my current system specifications. I will go into some details about my install on the next page that impact the ways my video cards are used on a daily basis.

  • Intel Core i7-4770K @ 4.6GHz - 1.31vCore

  • ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme

  • 16GB of Corsair Dominator DDR3 @ 1600MHz 9-9-9-24-1T

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 SLI

  • Antec KUHLER H2O 920 CPU Cooler

  • 3 x Dell U2410 displays in portrait mode @ 3600x1920

  • 4 x Corsair Force Seriesآ™ GS 480GB SATA 3 6Gb/s SSD

  • 3 x Western Digital 2TB Spinning Drives

  • Silverstone Raven 3 Chassis

  • Silverstone Strider Gold 1200W PSU