ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti Review Introduction
Price: £593.54 @Amazon UK (At time of review)
With a strong surge in bang for buck options in the current world of components, you always have those products which focus on budget and those which focus on top performance. ASUS are one such company which are very well known for their top tier products over the years, but I think it’s fair to say they have effectively done it all! They have budget ranges which offer tons of features for the money, they have the top tier products such as the Rampage Extreme motherboards and everything in-between with ROG (Republic of Gamers).
Today isn’t just about pure performance however, it’s also about one of the most sought after GPU coolers becoming, better! I am of course talking about the ASUS DirectCU III cooler which has been designed from the ground up and offers a staggering 30% cooler operation than stock coolers. Add this to a GTX 980 Ti just like ASUS have done and you get the ASUS Strix GTX 980 Ti DCU3 OC graphics card. Taken from the ancient Roman and Greek word for owl, Strix means the keenest hearing and sharpest eyesight. Strix means feeling your environment so that you detect and react to the slightest movement; it means survival on the very edge of instinct. Strix is in your blood, as it is in ours.
The ASUS Strix GTX 980 Ti DCU3 OC comes with a generous 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM and some of the highest out of the box pre overclock speeds we have ever seen; the GPU core has a 1291MHz overclock with the memory clocked at 1800MHz. Premium products command premium price tags, which is pretty obvious when you are after the best, but is this the case?
Taking our first look at the monstrous ASUS GTX 980 Ti DCU3 OC graphics card, it belongs to the STRIX family of products which to me personally, is effectively the ROG stamp on their gaming range. The DirectCU III cooler looks very sleek and sophisticated, but does have red “STRIX” themed stripes across the top and bottom of the cooler. The fans themselves have clean black stickers with the STRIX “eagle eyes” on the outer 2 fans, with the ASUS logo in the middle one.
One interesting factor on the coolers theme is the addition of titanium looking panels which extend over the red stripes over to the I/O. I think I personally would have preferred the red to extend the entire length, but it does have a nice finish and it doesn’t exactly look out of place; just me nit picking I think!
Kind of like the design with the MSI Twin Frozr V cooler, ASUS also have a similar design going on here with the Strix logo which illuminates when powered up; these look great inside cases with ambient lighting, and in the dark they really stand out.
Coming in at 12” long or 305mm for those wondering, the ASUS GTX 980 Ti DCU3 STRIX card isn’t exactly small and with the amount of performance expected out of the box, it lives up to its name of being a bit of a beast!
Got a beastly power supply? Good, because this card requires 2 x 8pin PCIe cables to power it; and one nice feature is the LED notification lights which glow red when the cables aren’t plugged in and white when they are. No more faffing around trying to find out why your card isn’t showing up or a blank display! The 14 phase design of this card is nothing short of fantastic and with a rated TDP of up to 375w, it’s certainly going to get some use.
The STRIX GTX 980 Ti DirectCU III has a nice and great looking back plate pre-installed along with what ASUS are calling “STRIX GPU Fortifier”. This is designed to protect the GPU and prevent the PCB/card bending and flexing over a prolonged period of time; a nice design although the red does stick out like a sore thumb from the back plate, it has to be said. Finishing the plate off, we have the STRIX eagle eyes watching you, waiting, just waiting….
With 1 x DVI port, 3 x full size DisplayPort connections and 1 x HDMI 2.0 port, the STRIX variant of NVIDIA’s powerhouse GTX 980 Ti supports resolutions up to a maximum of 4096×2160 and is one of the first cards to allow playability at 4K resolutions without the need for multi GPU set-ups.
This particular GTX 980 Ti from ASUS is looking like a sure fire winner, but let’s take a look at the specifications, some of the major advancements in technology of the DirectCU III cooler and of course, how this card performs!