• GPU: NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Ports: DisplayPort x3, HDMI x1, DVI x1
  • Slot Size: Double
  • Dimensions: 330 x 140 x 53 mm
  • Pros:
  • Packed with overclocking features
  • Cons:
  • Price
  • Benchmark Results
  • 3DMark (Fire Strike): 15,634 points
  • 3DMark (Fire Strike Extreme): 8,585 points
  • 3DMark (Fire Strike Ultra): 3,941 points

Purely For Overclocking Purposes

NVIDIA’s GTX 980 Ti is widely lauded as NVIDIA’s best high-end consumer GPU to date, and it’s not hard to see why. It offers amazing performance levels and is the favourite of many enthusiasts no thanks to its overclocking capabilities. How does one improve on perfection then? MSI has the answer for you in the form of the MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning graphics card.

It’s been a while since we’ve last reviewed an MSI Lightning graphics card, and the upgrades that are shown on display here with the GTX 980 Ti Lightning is simply staggering. Out of the box, the GPU core itself is clocked at a whopping 1,304MHz, up by almost 300MHz from the reference card, coupled with 6GBs of GDDR5 memory which is clocked at 7,096MHz.

As far as output options go, the 980 Ti Lighting comes with three DisplayPorts, as well as one HDMI 1.4a and one DVI port. In order to power the GPU, one 8-pin and one 6-pin PCIe power plugs are required, although there is an additional 8-pin port available if you’re looking to overclock the GPU even further.

Speaking of overclocks, the GTX 980 Ti Lightning is precision-engineered for such a task, as it features a multitude of features, chief of which is the TriFrozr cooler, made up of three 90mm fans that efficiently cool the GPU and the components that make up the card. MSI has also installed what it calls the Pure Digital PWM controls which enables accurate control and monitoring of power delivery to key components of the card, ensuring that it performs as well as it could,

As if that’s not all, the card is also catered for extreme overclockers who use liquid nitrogen cooling to squeeze every last MHz out of the card. To this end, the GTX 980 Ti Lightning has an LN2 switch, unlocking the limits placed on the card’s power, current and thermal levels.

Whilst we didn’t try to overclock the card with LN2, with air-cooling, we still managed to overclock the GPU a fair bit, up to around the 1,400MHz mark, in fact. The temperature raised a few degrees, but it’s still within a safe operating value.

CHIP CONCLUDE: If you’re an overclocking enthusiast, the MSI 980 Ti Lightning is definitely a graphics card you’d want to invest a pretty penny on. There aren’t many like it just yet in the market, making it one of the very few cards out there in the market that caters to extreme overclocking.

(previously published in issue October 2015)

MSI GTX 980 Ti Lightning