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Fight! Custom Radeon Fury, GTX 980 graphics cards brawl for PC gaming supremacy

Brad Chacos | Aug. 3, 2015
Why didn't you test the powerful Asus Strix Fury against a custom-designed GeForce GTX 980 graphics card?

The 980 FTW lived up to Maxwell's overclocking reputation. We were able to take its already-hefty overclock and jack it all the way to 1,399MHz base/1,500MHz boost without touching the voltage, which is utterly crazy because the base GTX 980 rocks 1,216MHz boost speeds. On top of that, we were able to coax the card's effective memory speeds from 7,010MHz to 7,160MHz.

Overclocking the Strix Fury proved less successful--unsurprising, consider the lack of overclocking headroom in the water-cooled Fury X and AMD's lock-down of Fiji's voltage and clock speed. We managed to nudge the 1,000MHz card up to a mere 1,060MHz (ugh) before it became unstable. That's the exactly how far we were able to nudge our Fury X, as well.

So does the 980 FTW's beastly overclock change things? Somewhat.

After verifying our overclocks were stable, we tested the two cards again using Fire Strike, as well as Shadow of Mordor, GTA V, Metro Last Light, and Dragon Age Inquisition at 1440p at Ultra settings (or equivalent). Why 1440p? Because despite marketing claims, the rendering power of both the Fury and the cranked GTX 980 FTW are better suited for 1440p at acceptable frame rates, than 4K.

The overclocked EVGA 980 FTW saw a solid 3fps to 4fps jump across the board, which allowed it to draw even with the stock Fury in Metro Last Light and Shadow of Mordor, widen its advantage in GTA V, and flip the tables to snag the lead in DAI.

But the overclocked Strix Fury was able to eke out a few extra frames of its own, so the performance gap stayed roughly the same in terms of actual frames-per-second performance difference, apples-to-apples. Apples-to-oranges, however, the over-overclocked 980 FTW pulled equal to the stock Strix Fury in games it where it would otherwise lag behind at its default clock speeds.

Bottom line

While the $580 Strix Fury clearly outpunched the $500 stock GTX 980, things are a bit more blurry when you're comparing models that each rock aftermarket coolers, similar 4GB memory capacities, and the same MSRP. Now we're getting into shades of gray, much like when you compare the stock GTX 980 against an AMD Radeon 390X.

Yes, the Strix Fury still tends to beat the GTX 980 FTW--especially in Bioshock,Mordor, and Metro--but EVGA's beastly card narrows the performance gap mightily overall, drawing equal to the Strix Fury's stock results even in that trio of titles when overclocked further. Considering how gaping the performance gap between the stock 980 and the Strix Fury is, that's no small feat, and a testament to both Maxwell's overclocking chops and EVGA's ACX 2.0 cooling solution.


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