Overclocking, Power Consumption, Noise Testing
Overclocking NVIDIA GeForce GPUs is a pretty simple process at this point but you can still get generous performance gains with it. The OC results were pretty similar with our GTX 980 Ti reference card to the GTX Titan X, which should surprise no one.
Using EVGA's latest version of Precision X I was able to set the GPU clock offset to 250 MHz, a reasonable increase over the 200 MHz setting we had on the Titan X review. The result was an actual clock speed that was able to run at 1465 MHz without issue.
At stock settings the clock speed settled at 1189 MHz. This gives us a frequency boost of 276 MHz, or 23%!
Power Consumption Testing
With so many similarities between the GTX 980 Ti and the Titan X, the power consumption results should look very familiar to anyone that followed that product's release.
The GTX 980 Ti uses a good amount of power, with total system power draw about 75 watts higher than the GeForce GTX 980. But it's still lower than the power consumption the aging Radeon R9 290X, by 57 watts, which performs considerably slower in every test we have looked at. The Radeon R9 295X2 was faster in a handful of our benchmarks but at the cost of additional power and heat; the dual-GPU card pulls more than 275 watts MORE than the same system with the GTX 980 Ti installed. Ouch.
Click to Enlarge
Our noisy, but very important GPU-only measured power consumption results, shows us how closely the power consumption of the GTX 980 Ti and the GTX Titan X truly are – note how much overlap there is between the blue and the green lines above. Though NVIDIA has rated the card at 250 watts, in our testing with Metro: Last Light, the GPU never measured much over 225 watts. Also note the increased power draw of the R9 290X and then again how much more power the R9 295X2 uses than that!
Sound Level Testing
In all areas, the GTX 980 Ti and the Titan X are mirrors of one another. Sound levels are another instance of this – the GTX 980 Ti uses the exact same cooler, same fan and even the same fan curves so sound levels are matched between the two cards. That's mostly good news though the GTX Titan X in its reference design was not known to be the quietest flagship graphics cards we have ever heard. It is reasonable for sure, but look at the graph below to see how it compares to the GTX 980 and a retail R9 290X card.
We have already seen several vendors (EVGA and Zotac at least) release Titan X cards with custom cooling and even water cooling options that should help alleviate any gamers' issues with noise if it happens to pop up. And we already have seen some retail GTX 980 Ti cards with custom coolers so expect a lot more variance with this product than you saw with Titan X.