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Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti G1 Gaming
With a 1152MHz base clock and a potent 1241MHz boost speed, Gigabyte's take on the GTX 980 Ti is pretty aggressive, although its memory clocks are bone stock. You'll pay a little more for this card right now; it's listed for $689.99 at Newegg, although it's currently out of stock. Truth be told, GeForce GTX 980 Ti cards generally seem to be in high demand. As a result, all of the cards we're testing may be subject to limited availability and potential markup from retailers while supplies are tight.

 

It's not hard to see why this thing would be in high demand. We've appreciated the merits of Gigabyte's graphics cards for several generations. The company's triple-fan Windforce cooler is back for another, erm, spin, this time with some silver cladding added atop the black shroud to give it an updated look.  I think the new look works for it, but I think I still prefer the all-black look overall.

The G1 Gaming is unique among 980 Ti cards because it sports a second DVI output courtesy of Gigabyte's Flex Display arrangement. If you have multiple fancy monitors that happen to be a bit older, the G1 Gaming might be the path of least resistance, since it would require one less DVI adapter.

Gigabyte claims this Windforce 3X cooler can dissipate up to 600W of heat, which is about twice what it would ever be asked to do aboard this card. Then again, I think these fans probably only ever reach about 50% of their peak speed, so it all makes a sort of sense. As with the other cards, the fans spin down when the GPU's temperature is low enough, plunging them into silence.

You can see the five heatpipes running across the generously-sized copper plate above the GPU in the picture. Despite its beefy nature, the Winforce 3X is actually relatively compact, as these things go. The cooling shroud extends just a quarter-inch above the PCIe slot covers, way less than some of its competitors. Instead, the shroud steals some additional space lengthwise, making the G1 Gaming roughly 11.1" long, over a half-inch longer than the reference boards. For a lot of today's ATX enclosures, the added length won't matter, but you might want to do a quick measurement before you buy.

That "Windforce" lettering atop the card lights up, as in past products, but this time, there's a new twist: custom lighting. The deep blue hue on older cards was nice, but it didn't match well with the red and white hues that dominate PC components these days. Gigabyte has taken notice and blessed its GTX 980 Ti with a rainbow of possibilities. I'm weirdly jealous not to have this color-matching option in the Damagebox. Users can choose from seven different colors using Gigabyte's OC Guru II tweaking utility. Those "silent" and "stop" lights are always white, though, and come on whenever the fans spin down.

The utility can also switch the LEDs to always off, always on, or "auto" mode, in which the lights glow only when the GPU is busy.

In addition to OC Guru II, the G1 Gaming currently comes with the same Metal Gear Solid V bundle as the EVGA card, at least at certain stores.