The long-awaited Grand Theft Auto V is finally available on PCs, and with all the bells and whistles on, it can be a bear. We tested it by enabling all the advanced video options, then shifting all the graphics settings and sliders to their highest settings. I tested it with 4x MSAA and 4x MSAA reflections enabled to push the active memory use over 4GB, as well as with the MSAA options disabled to bring it just under 4GB--primarily to test the Fury X's 4GB of cutting-edge high-bandwidth memory at 4K resolution.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition is a recent remake of a wonderful older game, but don't let that fool you: It can make even the most powerful graphics cards in the land sweat when you enable all its graphics options. Only the Radeon R9 295x2 hits 30 fps at 4K resolution, and although results at 2560x1600 resolution aren't shown here, not even that card can hit 60fps at that lower resolution on extreme graphics settings.
Alien Isolation is the best xenomorph experience since the original Alien movie and when it comes to graphics, it scales well across all hardware.
We test Metro Last Light Redux with SSAA and Advanced PhysX disabled. SSAA cuts frame rates in half for negligible visual gain.
Bioshock Infinite is getting a bit long in the tooth, but it uses the popular Unreal Engine 3 and both AMD and Nvidia have had plenty of time to optimize their drivers for the game by this point.
Next up: The 3DMark Fire Strike and Unigine Valley synthetic benchmark tests. Fire Strike Ultra is a more demanding variant of the base Fire Strike benchmark, built specifically to test 4K gaming capabilities.
Power usage and thermal testing is conducted by running the grueling Furmark tool for 15 minutes. Thermals are measured at the end of the run using both Furmark's built-in temperature tool as well as SpeedFan. Power usage is measured on a whole-system basis, rather than the individual cards themselves, by plugging the PC into a Watts Up meter.
The GTX 980 Ti SC+'s custom cooling solution helps it shave a full 9 degrees Celsius off the power use at load when compared to the reference GTX 980 Ti. And while it doesn't show in the raw benchmarks--I don't have a decibel meter on-hand--EVGA's card runs pretty damned quiet, even when you're hammering it with a demanding game. (Though obviously not as cool or quiet as AMD's Fury X and R9 295x2, each of which uses an integrated closed-loop water cooler.)
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