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.DSCN0539The 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.DSCN0541

DSCN0542The box end caps give the system requirements and more information about the EVGA card.DSCN0545

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.DSCN0535The 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.DSCN0547

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.

DSCN0554Here is a look from the other edge.  The heatsink area is quite large.

DSCN0551Another view.

DSCN0562The 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.DSCN0560

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.

DSCN0561Now let’s unbox and examine the Sapphire Fury X.

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.DSCN0502On 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.  DSCN0504System requirements are detailed and a 750W PSU is recommended as minimum.
DSCN0508The packing is superb and it designed to stand up to your delivery person on a bad transport day.DSCN0514Inside 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.
DSCN0516The 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.DSCN0527

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.
DSCN0526Here is the other side with the soft touch sides a very nice feature.
DSCN0524Here is the Sapphire Fury X with its radiator side by side.  There are no CrossFire fingers/bridges with Hawaii and Fiji GPUs.
DSCN0518AMD 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.


    • Thank-you. Yes, I do play games at 4K without AA. The aliasing is less apparent at 4K than at 1080P, however, it is still visible. I try to play my 4K games with FXAA or SMAA if MSAA (or MFAA) take too much of a performance hit.

  1. Bam. I own the GTX 980 ti SC+ and it’s an absolute beast. Looking forward to an SLI setup next year in preparation for Occulus. Keep up the good work, Nvidia!

  2. Excellent, excellent review. I absolutely love the charts. I do accounting for a living and having a chart like this to compare numbers from one card to the next is a Godsend. Since both cards are priced at over $650, it is wiser for me to purchase the GTX 980Ti. It offers better performance, features, power efficiency, and with better driver support really helped seal the deal. If the Fury X was at least a $100 or $150 cheaper, it will be an absolute steal regardless of how bad AMD is providing support. Having continuously bad drivers and blaming gamers for having sensitive hearing tells me exactly how they feel about their customers.

  3. I keep hearing the problem is the drivers with the fury x. No its not the card is just not as fast as the 980ti. They have had time to tune drivers and if they can’t get it right by now then i don’t see it being any point. What go by a fury x so 5 months later it might be close to as fast as the 980ti that you could have been playing games on the whole time. Shit by the time they extract any notable performance increase pascal will be out and that will just stomp the ass out of the fury x. I also here all this about amd getting big yields on dx 12 and nvidia not doing so well. I kind of feel like this was just like the whole fury x titan killer stuff we seen days before the release of the fury x. When we start seeing try dx 12 results I am almost positive nvidia will be seated much better. Everything amd said about the fury x has been straight up bullshit. It was supposed to overclock like a dream. Right what 25mhz lol. My titan x sits at 1578mhz core 8ghz memory. All while never going above 40.c on a water block<- real water cooling not that bogus ass loud ass shit in the fury x. I am sorry I don't like to come off as such a fanboy but the fury x is a turd. It barely held it's own against the 980ti at stock and when you overclock it it is just no contest. Should of priced that turd at the standard 980 point. I don't want to hear anything about it will get better with drivers. That will be to late. By then I will have the money saved up for a real upgrade. The pascal titan. Real hbm memory that sports a fast efficient chip. Back in the 7xxx series of amd cards they were competitve but with this kind of performance there is no reason short of just supporting amd to get the fury x. I mean the form factor thing is dumb as well on the x. You have to have the room for the radiator. Also can anyone tell me how you are supposed to crossfire the thing. What wait for the dual chip fury x. I bet that thing won't even stand up to pascal. Its not like amd will be releasing any new card until pascal is towards the end of its life,. I am not just trying to flame either. I want amd to get there shit together we can't have a monopoly. With all this lackluster releases i don't think they have much left in them. I mean how much underwhelming stuff can you release before your R&D funds run dry. Also call me a troll or whatever a fanboy i don't care like I said I wanted the fury x to be fast maybe drive prices down. I also want to see an arms race. Its going to be like intel soon were there is little reason for big performance increases with no comp. If you want to say i am full of shit read this. This doesn't lie and supports my theory that amd doesn't have much left. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2015/08/19/nvidia-increases-desktop-gpu-market-share-again-despite-multiple-amd-radeon-releases/ They have the consoles but I think they are weak shit as well. I will admit they pull some good graphics but they are holding pc back again.

  4. I have read multiple reviews comparing the GTX 980Ti, Fury X and Titan including extensive benchmarks. This is by far the most biased towards nvidia. Particularly in the choice of language used. So well done.

    I just bought a Fury X to replace my 7970Ghz crossfire setup. This will hold me over until Vega is released in 2017. I am buying an Acer predator 34″ 3440x1440p monitor with freesync and according to the benchmarks a fury x should drive that with new games maxed out just fine. I was going to switch to nvidia and buy a GTX 1080 but I cannot really see the point.

    It seems to me nvidia just rushed their reference cards to market. Don’t get me wrong it is still a killer card…..but I would rather wait a little while for Vega.

    Oh. I should point out I got a good price on the fury x. 😉

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