Unboxing the EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+
The EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ comes in a standard sized box that advertises the 6GB GDDR5, the fact that it is “SC+ Superclocked”, and that it is ready for GameStream/GameWorks/G-SYNC/DX12. It also comes with a backplate.The back of the box shows that it uses ACX 2.0+ cooling, supports 4 concurrent displays and advertises the Key features, as well as emphasizes the 3-year EVGA warranty.
The box end caps give the system requirements and more information about the EVGA card.
Here is everything out of the box. The card is packed securely in a anti-static plastic clamshell. It comes with a large poster, a “Powered by EVGA” metal decal for your PC, a couple of decals for your window or car, user and installation guides, two 6-pin to one 8-pin PCIe power cable adapter plus a dual molex to 6-pin PCIe adapter, and a 50% off coupon that we wish we had a couple of months ago when we purchased a 1000W EVGA PSU which is now reliably powering BTR’s flagship benching PC.The EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ ACX 2.0+ is a handsome dual-fan card that covers a large radiator. The fans spin relatively slowly compared with the reference version – about 1500 rpm maximum for the EVGA card, and 3000 rpm maximum for the reference GTX 980 Ti. Of course, this makes perfect sense because there are two slower turning ACX 2.0+ fans to remove the GPU heat, compared with a double speed single fan in the reference version.
We turn the card on its edge and look at the slim design cooling fins which allow the card to fit into a PC motherboard’s double slot configuration. Besides the power from the PCIe slot, there are 6-pin plus 8-pin connectors.
The EVGA GTX 980 TI SC+ as tested comes with a backplate. It can also be ordered without the backplate, so make sure of your version. It looks great from either side and a backplate looks much better inside of a case than a raw PCB.
There are one dual link DVI port, 3 Display Ports and a HDMI 2.0 port. Unfortunately for its competitor, the Fury X only comes with 3 DisplayPorts and 1 HDMI 1.4 port, making it somewhat unsuitable for gaming at 60Hz on a 4K TV without an active DP adapter.
Unboxing the Sapphire Fury X
In contrast to the EVGA box, the Sapphire Fury X box is huge. It advertises the ultra-wide 4096-bit and 450GB/s bandwidth. Also, 4K, Liquid VR and FreeSync are advertised.On the back, we are admonished, “Don’t Just Upgrade, Revolutionize”. The Fury X is awarded Sapphire’s highest performance rating, a “5” out of 5. HBM is featured as well as the styling complete with AIO liquid cooling and lighted RADEON letters on the edge along with GPU activity lights. Eyefinity is also touted as Fury X is designed for multi-panel gaming. System requirements are detailed and a 750W PSU is recommended as minimum.
The packing is superb and it designed to stand up to your delivery person on a bad transport day.Inside the box is a driver CD, a quick installation guide, and information about registering your Fury X with Sapphire. Also included is a 1.8m (6′) HDMI cable, and a DisplayPort to DVI adapter. There are screws for installing the radiator into the PC chassis and a archaic DVI to VGA adapter.
The Radeon Fury X is styled very well with an aluminum exoskeleton and soft touch sides. The radiator is large and it is connected to the pump inside the card by braided cables.
Two 8-pin connectors are available but there are no adapters included with the card in case your PSU only supports one 8-pin and one 6-pin PCIe cable. The Radeon Logo lights up and is a perfect counter to the lighted GeForce logo. AMD definity succeeded in making Fury look like a premium brand.
Here is the other side with the soft touch sides a very nice feature.
Here is the Sapphire Fury X with its radiator side by side. There are no CrossFire fingers/bridges with Hawaii and Fiji GPUs.
AMD did not include a HDMI 2.0 port like its GeForce competitor. That means that most 4K TVs will require an active adapter to run over HDMI at 60Hz. Most current 4K TVs do not use DisplayPort and this a serious disadvantage for Fury X 4K TV gamers compared with the GTX 980 Ti.
The Fury X Pump
We removed nine screws and opened up our Fury X to see what version of the pump we got since we were getting excessive pump noise. Evidently, there are three pump versions – (1) the version the reviewers got with the Cooler Master sticker, (2) another pump version with an embossed Cooler Master logo, and (3) this one with the plainly embossed Cooler Master logo. Since AMD has given no way to differentiate the “fixed” pumps from the noisy ones without opening them up, it is a matter of pure luck as to which one you will get from retail right now. If you are “sensitive” as we are, the pump noise can be intolerable.
The Sapphire Radeon Fury X is a handsome card. AMD has got their industrial design right and it is nice to have a small card, although the cooler itself is big and perhaps may be hard to fit in many smaller cases. We would have issues with our own large Thermaltake full tower case trying to fit more than one Fury X inside, although we would be glad to move fans around to test Fury X CrossFire.
SLI, Tri-SLI, and CrossFire X – Is 4GB HMB enough for 4K?
The GTX 980 Ti can be set up for Tri-SLI by using three GTX 980 Tis just as the TITAN X and GTX 980 are. They can even be set up for Quad-SLI. SLI’d cards need to be connected with SLI bridges whereas the Hawaii (290/390 series) GPUs and Fiji Fury X do not require CrossFire bridges as communication between the cards is carried out over PCIe.
Fury X and Hawaii GPUs can use up to 4 GPUs in a CrossFire X configuration. Since we have two GTX 980 Tis, you can expect further reviews that show SLI scaling. We hope to eventually acquire another Fury X for another CrossFire versus SLI showdown.
When we test SLI vs CrossFire, we will look particularly at Fury X CrossFire to see if 4GB is a large enough framebuffer for 4K with high details and AA applied compared with using the 6GB framebuffer the GTX 980 Ti provides. We doubt it is enough because we were able to easily exceed the 4GB HBM limit in GTA V, although framerates were too low to be considered playable by a single Fury X. With two Fury Xes in CrossFire, we expect the framerates will then be playable, but will probably hit the framebuffer wall just as a single Fury X does now.
In fact, Max Payne 3 will not even run at 3840×2160 with max details and even 8XMSAA with Fury X now! The game will not allow you to set 4K settings with a 4GB vRAM equipped card unless you lower settings. See the bottom left side of the screenshot below:
The specifications look extraordinary for both the GTX 980 Ti and the flagship Fury X, with solid improvements over just about anything else from the previous generation. Let’s check out their performance after we look over our test configuration on the next page.