Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 SLI / 3-way SLI / 4-way SLI review

Playable framerates in 4K with Extreme settings? Nvidia GTX 980 Quad-SLI to the rescue!



Nvidia introduces the GeForce GTX 980 and 970 today. More on this in our extensive review. What's the performance of these cards in tandem, you might wonder. Well, we've tested the GTX 980 in SLI, 3-way SLI, and 4-way SLI. So here goes!

Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 SLI (4-way)

Setting up the configurations was quite hassle-free, which certainly isn't always the case. We know that from experience. The only thing we had to do was update the BIOS on our MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC motherboard, that was basically it. There were some problems when it came to scaling to three or four cards, but that's to be expected. The only game that didn't feel like doing anything in certain configurations was Total War: Rome II. A reboot generally solved these issues though.

What struck us most during testing the GTX 980 and GTX 970 cards was the power consumption. Let's put it this way, you no longer need a 1500W PSU to be able to run four high-end graphics cards (in this case the GTX 980) on Haswell-E.

The cards don't get particularly hot during benchmarking either. After one hour of 3DMark Fire Strike runs on our 4-way SLI configuration, the highest temperature we saw was 77 degrees Celsius. We've seen worse, that's for sure.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 SLI (4-way)

Testing SLI-configurations is rather time-consuming, so we decided to only do the Full HD (1920x1080) Ultra en Ultra HD (3840x2160) Medium / Ultra settings of the various benchmarks. Because let's face it, if you're buying three or four GTX 980's, you're more than likely use it for an Ultra HD gaming rig.

Out test system includes an Intel Core i7 5960X @ 4.0 GHz, a MSI X99S Gaming 9 AC mainboard, 16 Corsair Vengance LPX DDR4 memory @ 2133 MHz 13-13-13-36-2T, a Samsung 840 Evo 1TB SSD, a Seasonic Platinum Series 1200W PSU, a NZXT Kraken X60 CPU-koeler and a Cooler Master Test Bench.

Before we show you the benchmarks, a quick word of thanks. Our Belgian friends over at Tones.be came through for us yet again. Four ASUS GeForce GTX 980's were delivered to our offices in person. Thanks guys!


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