April 08, 2016

Unboxing & Review: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce

Gigabyte is known as one of the big players in the GPU market, especially for NVIDIA GeForce GPUs. Aside from their high-end G1 Gaming branded GPU, Gigabyte has another high-end tier brand known as the Xtreme Gaming. We have recently got our hands on a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce, many thanks to Gigabyte and Ban Leong Technologies Sdn Bhd for arranging this review unit for our test lab.

This particular GTX 980 Ti is Gigabyte's Xtreme Gaming branded GTX 980 Ti that comes factory overclocked for higher performance and preinstalled with an AIO liquid cooler which we expect to be able to kill off a huge amount of heat during operation. Let's get down to business and see just how will this baby perform shall we?

(The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce retails at RM3669) 

Memory Clock
7200 MHz
Graphics Processing
GeForce GTX 980 Ti
Core Clock
Core Clock: Base 1216MHz / Boost 1317MHz (Standard- Base:1000MHz Boost:1075MHz)
Process Technology
28 nm
Memory Size
6 GB
Memory Bus
384 bit
Card Bus
PCI-E 3.0
Memory Type
PCB Form
Digital max resolution
4096 X 2160
Analog max resolution
2048 x 1536
Dual-link DVI-I*1/HDMI*1/Display Port*3
Recommended PSU
600W (with two 8-pin external power connector)
Card size
H=43 L=269 W=121 mm


First, look at the front of the box, it looks like Gigabyte has finally come up with a good looking logo for a brand - definitely much better than the G1 Gaming eye! 

At the back of the box, you'll find the highlights of the prominent features of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce.

The included accessories are; 6pin to 8pin Y-splitter cable, Gigabyte Xtreme Gaming wristband, Quickstart Guide, a Gigabyte Xtreme Gaming badge and Driver CD.

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce as a whole, a factory overclocked GTX 980 Ti and with an AIO liquid cooler attached. 

The shroud looks great but it doesn't come with any cooling fans - all the cooling is pretty much handled by the preinstalled AIO liquid cooler. 

Inside the shroud, you can see the pump block of the AIO liquid cooler, as well as the copper pipes that helps to transfer the heat from not only the GPU itself but also the heat from other components on the PCB of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce. 

The tube used is the commonly seen FEP tubes that have known for its low evaporation properties, but it's also known to be much stiffer for the tubes with smaller diameters.

The attached 120mm radiator comes preinstalled with a 120mm cooling fan that draws power from the PCB of the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce. Not much to worry, though, as we've managed to achieve full operation speed without any external power source supplied to the cooling fan.

The 120mm radiator attached has a thickness of 27mm and total fpi count of 20, which is about the same as most standard AIO liquid cooler available on the market. A decent cooling performance can be expected from this one alright.

The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce comes with a metal backplate as an enhancement to its rigidity, preventing the PCB from sagging over time.

If you need that extra juice from another GTX 980 Ti, the 2 gold finger on the card allows you to configure up to 4-way SLI with a total of 4 pieces of GTX 980 Ti. 

Just like its name, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce requires a total of 2 x 8pin PCIe  power connector from a PSU with minimal 600W output to power up.

Subzero enthusiasts are you? Buckle yourself up as Gigabyte has specially placed the one-click BIOS switch button for LN2 BIOS and an extra 6pin PCIe power connector on the card just for that very purpose!

The display output option is pretty common nowadays, 1 x DVI-I connector, 3 x DisplayPort and 1 x HDMI port.

Performance Test
Test Rig Configuration
CPU Cooler
Raijintek Triton 240
Intel Core i7 4790K @4.6GHz
ASUS Maximus Hero VII
G.Skill TridentX 2400MHz
Primary Hard Drive
Crucial M500 120GB
Power Supply
Be Quiet! Straight Power 10 600W
Vector Bench case

We mounted the  Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce on our test bench as above and each and every benchmark is conducted in a room of about 30C° ambient temperature.


We ran a few graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmarks in our possession on a selected settings at 1080p, which is considered as high for much of our test as usual.The final result of each benchmark is presented in the form of the graph below:

We did a quick comparison with the result we have from the reference design GTX Titan X and not much to our surprise, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce overwhelmed the GTX Titan X in pretty much all of the benchmarks.

We ran the same graphically demanding games and synthetic benchmark on 1080p with the highest achievable clock speed for both its memory and GPU that is stable enough to be able to complete each benchmark with the following values:
  • Maximum boost clock of 1412MHz 
  • 7565 MHz on the memory clock
  • 1.27V on the voltage for GPU
That's not much gain from the already insane stock boost clock of 1317MHz for GPU but hey, this is probably the only few GTX 980 Ti that comes at this speed, right out of the box.

Temperature wise, there isn't much difference observable from the minimal raise on the clock speed. The AIO liquid cooler did a pretty good job by keeping the temperature low on 32°C during idle and 66°C on load, which is quite impressive actually.

Like most GTX 980 Ti we've dealt with in the past, the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce is able to match up with the reference GeForce GTX Titan X on most benchmarks we've conducted. We're able to squeeze that extra 95GHz out the GPU clock for some extra performance boost. The preinstalled AIO liquid cooler delivers and an outstanding job where the idle temperature of 32C° and load temperature of 66C° can be achieved with ease, making it one of the coolest performing GTX 980 Ti on the market. 

The targeted SRP of RM 3669 too, is a pretty fair deal for what the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce can deliver and of course, the preinstalled AIO liquid cooler that isn't something included by every manufacturer. It's undeniable that RM3669 still cost a bomb, but
the Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 Ti Xtreme Gaming Waterforce is still a worthy option if you're in desperate need for an alternative to a GTX Titan X.


  • Comes factory overclocked
  • Performs better than GTX Titan X on most occasion
  • Excellent cooling performance thanks to the AIO liquid cooler
  • LN2 mode available if you're ready to push for the extreme 
  • Reasonable price for the performance that it can deliver
  • Limited overclocking headroom on GPU on normal mode
  • The shroud feels very plasticky in overall
  • Compatibility issue with smaller PC chassis due to the radiator