EVGA GTX980Ti Classified ACX 2.0 Review
Published: 5th October 2015 | Source: EVGA | Price: £589 @ OCUK |
It might have been a while since we've had a Classified product from EVGA in our offices, we think the SR2 was the last one, but the quality hasn't diminished in that time.
We've mentioned often, and indeed in this very review, how nVidia's GPU Boost 2.0 technology has reduced the gap between graphics cards which are stock and once which come out of the box with an enormous factory overclock. The Classified definitely falls into the latter category, supplied with 1291MHz GPU Core and 7GHz GDDR5. It's no slouch. Once you add to that the ACX 2.0 cooler which manages to combine the three key elements of low noise, great looks and excellent cooling performance then you know that you're getting a quality product. That cooler gives massive thermal headroom so that, even at 'stock', it boosted to 1430MHz. Time spent with the supplied overclocking software managed to push that up to a hair shy of 1500MHz which is a GPU speed the likes of which seemed impossible a couple of years ago.
If the GPU Boost 2.0 technology is a boon to the consumer by overclocking their card automatically to be the best that it can be, then it's a millstone for reviewers. Even if the Classified didn't have a factory overclock then the combination of quality components and an excellent cooler means that it would still hit those dizzying heights. However, because the ForceWare drivers overclock every card it means that differences between models become far more about those fine details than it has at any previous point in history. Whereas once you brought the fastest card you could afford, now you have other elements to consider.
Fortunately if details are the deciding factor then the EVGA GTX980Ti has those in spades.
The design is the most obvious one. Some cards come with coolers that look like they have been pulled out of a parts bin, with overhangs and a strange generic quality. The ACX 2.0+ has no such issues looking hewn from a slab of granite and tailored specifically for this PCB. It fits perfectly and goes about its business with little fuss and considerable talent. We love that the light-up logo has been moved from the side to the backplate too. It just adds an air of quality to the whole thing. The packaging is of a similar quality. The Classified is supplied with a wealth of adaptors to ensure you can be up and running regardless of your power supply connections or monitor inputs. You can overclock too with the EVGA software that's also supplied. Lastly, should everything go wrong, EVGA has probably the most user-friendly and robust RMA procedure of any manufacturer around.
The performance of the EVGA Classified is as good as you would expect from a GTX980Ti, but the whole package that really sets the Classified up as a quality product and worthy of our OC3D Gold Award.