The 980 FTW rocks EVGA's sleek ACX 2.0+ custom cooler, which we've seen before on the GTX 960 and ferocious GTX 980 Ti . Rather than talking about its dual fans, custom heat pipe, MOSFET cooling pipe, and quiet operation yet again, here's an EVGA-supplied diagram showing it all.
Head to head
With the introductions out of the way, let's turn to the battle. As ever, all cards were tested on PCWorld's dedicated graphics benchmarking system, which consists of the following:
- Intel's Core i7-5960X with a Corsair Hydro Series H100i closed-loop water cooler, to eliminate any potential for CPU bottlenecks affecting graphical benchmarks
- An Asus X99 Deluxe motherboard
- Corsair's Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory, Obsidian 750D full tower case, and 1200-watt AX1200i power supply
- A 480GB Intel 730 series SSD
- Windows 8.1 Pro
Every title was tested using its in-game benchmark, using the default graphics settings stated unless noted otherwise, with V-Sync and any vendor-specific features disabled. The Radeon Fury was tested using Catalyst 15.7, while the GeForce GTX 980 cards were tested with Nvidia's 353.30 Game Ready WHQL drivers.
Let's start with Grand Theft Auto V, the only title where the stock GTX 980 eked out a (close) win in in the original roundup, though the Fury's fat memory pipes gave it the edge at 4K. Surprise! The supercharged EVGA GTX 980 FTW gives Team Green the clear crown, and drastically so at 1440p.
We test GTA V three ways: At 4K resolution with all graphics options and density sliders set to their maximum settings and FXAA enabled, at 2560x1440 with the same settings, and at 2560x1440 with the same settings and MSAA and reflection MSAA each set to x4.
Next up: Dragon Age Inquisition, one of the ten best PC games of 2014. It's powered by EA's Frostbite 3 engine. The Fury holds a moderate-to-solid lead over the stock 980, depending on the resolution and graphics settings, but the custom EVGA model narrows the gap, drawing virtually equal with AMD's card at High and Ultra detail levels.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is tested using the stock Medium and High graphics presets, then we crank every setting to its maximum level (which the Ultra preset doesn't truly do) and utilize the free, optional HD Textures pack, which hammers system memory. Surprisingly, the Fury whomps the stock 980 here, despite Nvidia's logo on the splash screen, though the 980 FTW's hefty overclock helps to tighten the victory margins somewhat.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition's High and Extreme presets put any graphics card through a grinder. The Fury beats down the stock GeForce card, but once again, the GTX 980 FTW's extra oomph manages to earn several wins at various resolutions.
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