MSI GTX980 Gaming Review
As the inventor of Imodium said, all runs must come to an end eventually. It's not that the MSI Gaming is bad per se, just that we've come to expect all of the Gaming products to be brilliant. We've certainly got used to the GTX980 being a spectacular card in all its guises. Here though the results, whilst fine enough, are inconsistent.
Sometimes, such as Tomb Raider, the Gaming was rocking out at the top of our graph. Other times, Crysis 3 comes to mind, the Gaming was so far down the graph that we ran the tests even more than usual to make certain that what we were seeing was the actuality of the situation. This uncertainty continues when it comes to higher than HD resolutions. As you would expect from a card costing north of £400 the 1080P results are excellent, but move up to the next resolution, 1440P, and the MSI becomes more inconsistent. It's as if there is a shortage of GDDR5 on the PCB. There isn't, but it's difficult to explain why the MSI nearly always is a few frames behind the competition.
Lastly, but least, in our complaint list is the relative lack of performance increase from the overclock. We've often mentioned about the excellence of nVidia's GPU Boost technology, and indeed it's so capable that you don't really need to manually overclock your card yourself these days. However, there is always more performance to be had from a bespoke overclock, but the MSI nearly always left us wondering why we'd bothered taking the time and effort as the results just didn't bear out the theoretical extra performance.
It might seem that we're being harsh and advising you to stay away from the MSI GTX980 Gaming. We're not. But you can't review products in a vacuum. We're aware, as are you all, of the various GTX980 graphics cards that are available and the extremely high standards they've set. Taken against those the MSI is not the best GTX980, but even a bad 980 is still a damn good graphics card.
The MSI Gaming looks the business as always, with the Twin Frozr resplendent in its black and red. It performs well at keeping the card cool too and, more importantly, is nearly silent whilst doing so. The MSI App allows you to switch between Silent, Gaming and OC profiles with a single click. Of particular note is that this is one of the cheapest GTX980s on the market. As a graphics card that's very easy to live with and certainly wont break the bank the MSI GTX980 Gaming wins our Gamers Choice Award.
Thanks to MSI for supplying the GTX980 Gaming for today's review. Discuss your thoughts in the OC3D forums.