Nvidia GTX 980 Ti Vs GTX 980: Is It a Worthy Upgrade?

Nvidia recently revealed its new GTX 980 Ti GPU, a card that is a step from GTX 980 and is closer to the mighty Titan X in terms of performance. 980 Ti wasn’t the only good news from Nvidia, we also saw a price drop for GTX 980 – which is now available for $500.

GTX 980 is among the most popular and powerful Nvidia cards but for those who already own it, temptation to upgrade to GTX 980 Ti is still there, why wouldn’t it be? However, is ditching GTX 980 in favor of 980 Ti the right move? Is it worth upgrading?

I can give you a short yes or no answer right now based on my opinion, but instead, I think we should take a look at what both of these cards have to offer, so we (including me) can make an informed decision.

So let’s find out if we should spend $650 on GTX 980 Ti, and say goodbye to our GTX 980. First, lets see what GTX 980 Ti brings to the party.

Nvidia GTX 980 Ti

GTX 980 ti

GTX 980 Ti comes with a massive 6GB GDDR5 VRAM, and is tailor made for handling 4K displays. GTX 980 Ti has 2816 CUDA cores – an 8% drop from Titan X – but the clock speed is as same as the leading Nvidia flagship card (1000 MHz). Meanwhile, boost clock speed is 1075 MHz; also same as the Titan X.

Having the same clock speed as the Titan X, while cutting down on the VRAM, means that in many cases the new Nvidia card will be around 8% slower than Titan X.

As for the chip, it features a slightly tweaked version of GM200 chip. The new GPU not only features a decent amount of memory, but due to its Maxwell architecture, it uses the available memory more efficiently. The GM200 is built more vigorously compared to the early implementation of Nvidia’s Maxwell.

Each SMM support 98KB of shared memory with 48KB texture/L1 cache, meanwhile, requests made to DRAM are minimised thanks to a bigger 3MB L2 cache.

Little hardware changes make the overall gaming experience better at 4K. Compared to the GM200 we saw in Titan X, the one packed in GTX 980 Ti has two multiprocessors disabled.

Each SMM is packed with 128 CUDA cores, with most of the technology returning from the GTX 980. Lastly, the ROP count is 96.

Lastly, is can transfer at the rate of 336.6 GB/s and is using a 384-bit memory interface width.

Nvidia GTX 980

GTX 980

GTX 980 features 4GB of VRAM and is based on the Maxwell architecture and has the GM204 chip under its hood. The chip is based on 28nm process made up of an impressive array of streaming multi-processors, graphics processing clusters and memory controllers.

Each GPC inside the GTX 980 features a dedicated raster engine, four streaming multiprocessors having 128 CUDA cores, eight texture units and a Polymorph Engine.

In total, the GTX 980 features 2048 CUDA cores and 128 texture units providing an exceptional gaming experience. Its memory clock is the same as the GTX 980 Ti, while base clock is at 1216 MHz. GTX 980 is capable of pushing 224GB/s data and features a 256 bit memory bus.

Compared to GTX 980 Ti, it lacks in regard to ROP units which are 64.

Benchmarking: GTX 980 vs GTX 980 Ti

Below you can see images showing the average frame-rate both of these cards are capable of producing. The system used to benchmark is using an Intel Core i7-5930K processor overclocked to 4.2GHz, with 16 GB G.Skill DDR4-2266 RAM placed on a Gigabyte GA-X99-UD4 motherboard, and lastly, we have two 250 GB Samsung 850 EVO SSDs

Images you see below also show GTX 980 Ti’s performance against some of the other cards available in the market, which gives us an idea how this card does compared to some of them.

Images Courtesy of PC Gamer.

GTX 980 Ti (1)

GTX 980 Ti (2)

GTX 980 Ti (2)

GTX 980 Ti (3)

GTX 980 Ti (4)


GTX 980 Ti is 20-30% faster than GTX 980 and it costs $150 more. If we take a look at the benchmarking above, even in the most demanding games, the frame-rate difference between these two cards is 10-15 Fps, depending on resolution. In some cases it’s even less than that.

However, GTX 980 Ti is definitely a better GPU is you are using a 4K monitor, as its extra 2GB of VRAM provides the additional juice required for a better performance.

Now the question is, is it worth spending an extra $150 for a minor difference in performance? The answer to that question varies from person-to- person, but if you want my advice, I would say no! Stick with your GTX 980 for now, especially if you’re not using 4K displays.

The vanilla 980 should be held on to as there is no need for you guys to upgrade to 980 Ti immediately.

However, for those with previous gen cards like the 780, 780 Ti, 680 etc; the GTX 980 Ti is a must have in case they are looking to upgrade to a better and faster GPU for all their graphics needs.