Nvidia GTX 980 Ti vs Titan X, Which is the Card for You?

The graphics industry was lit on fire earlier this week when Nvidia officially announced its new GTX 980 Ti model during the ongoing Computex technology trade show.

The card which was supposed to lie between the standard GTX 980 and GTX Titan X models, came out to be something more than what its hype had led us on to believe.

With the latest addition to the GeForce family, Nvidia’s current high-end lineup now includes the GTX 970, 980, 980 Ti, and the monstrous Titan X. From such a fine lineup, which one should you be buying, or to better put that, which one is better suited for your needs?

At around the $350 mark, the GTX 970 qualifies more than just being a value-for-money upgrade. The card, which was doused in controversy for falsely advertising a 4 GB memory allocation, is fully capable of powering your games at maximum settings, as long as you’re running at 1080p.

This doesn’t mean that the GTX 970 is unable to perform at 2K, but a more feasible option for that resolution would then bring you to the GTX 980 variant. According to performance reviews posted by users online, it’s also inadvisable to pack two GTX 970 in a SLI configuration, due to its limiting 3.5 GB VRAM.

Hence, the popular consensus is that if you’re playing at 1080p, a single GTX 970 is the best pick for you.

However, for users who define themselves with, say 1440p, Nvidia announced this week that the price of the GTX 980 would be dropping from its base price of $550 to $500. This is terrific news for those playing at high resolutions, or even those who want to go the extra mile at 1080p.

Even a single GTX 980 card is going to run rings around any game that presents itself. Unlike the GTX 970, though, GTX 980 in a SLI configuration is a beastly option. With its amazing temperature outputs and low power consumption rates, the only question enthusiasts would be asking themselves would be to whether or not go for the GTX 980 Ti instead.

This brings us to this week’s announcement. The GTX 980 Ti was announced by Nvidia to be priced at $650. The announcement took everyone by surprise since most were expecting the price to be higher, with many prepared to see it reach the $750 mark.

Note, though, that this $650 figure is for the reference cards. The custom variants with the higher clock speeds and different manufacturer’s cooling models will come at a slight premium. This usually comes to about $20-40. Many companies like ASUS, Gigabyte, and Galax have already announced their GTX 980 Ti models, but so far a price has not been mentioned.

The GTX 980 Ti is basically a cut-down version of the GTX Titan X. On paper the GTX 980 Ti looks to be around 10 percent behind the Titan X in terms of performance. Plenty of publications have already released their reviews of the card, and the unanimous revelation is that the GTX 980 Ti is more or less at par with the Titan X.

This sheds a new light on the purchasing options for consumers. According to benchmarks, the GTX 980 Ti falls behind the Titan X with just 2-4 FPS in all of their tested games at the 4K resolution. Note that we’re talking about a $650 card dishing out the same performance as of a $1000 card.

The GTX 980 Ti does fall short in its Pixel Fill rate, though, and does so by a large 15 percent margin. AnandTech’s review explains its findings by such:

As for texel and pixel fillrates, the results are both as-expected and a bit surprising. On the expected side, we see the GTX 980 Ti trail GTX Titan X by a bit, again taking a hit from the SMM loss. On the other hand we’re seeing a larger than expected drop in the pixel fill rates. GTX 980 Ti loses some rasterization throughput from the SMM loss, but a 15% drop in this test is much larger than 2 SMMs. Just to be sure we checked to make sure the ROP/MC configuration of GTX 980 Ti was unchanged at 96 ROPs, so we’re at a bit of a loss to explain the difference at this time.

That said, it still has less of an impact on the card’s overall performance in games. Which once again is an amazing job done by the green team.

With all of that in mind, is there really any need to go for a Titan X? Nvidia’s flagship model features an absurd 12 GB of VRAM compared to the 6 GB on the GTX 980 Ti. Even then, all that extra memory is basically useless for games at this point.

The Titan X, though, does come with its share of bragging rights. Apart from that, there’s little point in spending an extra $300 or more for a card, whose performance you can squeeze from a cheaper variant.

Hopefully, this little piece will help you in deciding your next purchase from Nvidia. Its competitor AMD has confirmed to be announcing its new graphics lineup on June 16. We’re all excited to see what the rumored Fiji models will be able to do. Whatever it is, it has to be good or they should get ready to face some angry consumers.

The pricing is going to be very important in this regard. AMD’s Fiji flagship card is supposed to be coming out to do battle with the Titan X. However, at $650, the GTX 980 Ti has just stepped into the ring to stare right at the red machine.

If you’re a loyal Nvidia supporter, you’ll know after this read to what 9-series model you have to buy. For others, I would advise to wait out and see what AMD has in store for us.