EVGA GTX 980 Ti Hybrid Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: October 20, 2015
Product Name: GTX 980 Ti Hybrid
Part Number: 06G-P4-1996-KR
Warranty: 3 Years
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EVGAís GTX 980 Ti Hybrid may have been launched months before the current round of competitors but it has stood the test of time quite well. Letís be honest, cards like this one will only appeal to a very narrow subset of potential buyers since it is hugely expensive but that doesnít necessarily mean the Hybrid wonít tempt a broader user base with its capabilities. As a matter of fact the GTX 980 Ti Hybridís benefits far outweigh its potential negatives.

If you are someone who doesnít plan on overclocking and raw out-of-box performance is a key factor when purchasing a GPU then the Hybrid likely wonít be a good choice relative to its price. The actual onscreen framerate difference between EVGAís card and a less expensive alternative like ASUSí STRIX OC or Zotacís insane AMP! Extreme is minimal at most but both can be found for substantially less money. They also offer an upgraded component selection, great overclocking headroom, low temperatures and almost whisper quiet acoustics.

On the flip side of that coin we have MSIís recently launched $749 ($999CAD) GTX 980 Ti Sea Hawk, a collaborative effort with Corsair thatís obviously meant to cut deep into the Hybridís market share. It offers higher clock speeds and a greater amount of fan speed adjustability in a nearly identical package.

Normally everything Iíve described above would lead to the GTX 980 Ti Hybrid becoming an also-ran in the grand scheme of things but that hasnít happened for a number of reasons. Not only has EVGA quickly reacted to the Sea Hawkís presence by softening the Hybridís financial blow (it can be found for $729 now) and offering a free shroud upgrade but it also features lower temperatures and, in my opinion at least, slightly better build quality. Many will also appreciate the Hybridís true plug-and-play abilities given the Sea Hawkís dependence on the motherboardís input for fan speeds.

Regardless of the Hybridís recent price cut and the looming presence of MSIís Sea Hawk, these water cooled GTX 980 Tiís will be hard to justify for the vast majority of gamers. Due to NVIDIAís highly restricted voltage limits, youíll run into a voltage barrier long before a good air cooler runs out of thermal mass and that fact moves to extreme lengths when an all in one water cooler is factored into the equation. Indeed, the difference between the Hybridís 41įC and the ASUS STRIX OCís 72įC may look epic on paper but it honestly doesnít make one bit of difference in terms of overclocking. As weíve mentioned time and again: overclocking headroom has more to do with core binning than anything else these days.

If you are someone that questions the temperature and acoustical benefits of water cooling, the GTX 980 Ti Hybrid will likely look overpriced and overly complicated. However, if you are someone that puts value in a cool running, quiet, high performance graphics card that includes an extremely capable all-in-one water cooler then the Hybrid should be the front runner.


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