It’s been just over two years now since I’ve built my first gaming PC. It’s received a few improvements during that time, including a recent change that replaced a cheap Cooler Master case with the lovely Throne case from Rosewill. This also gave me the opportunity to change the way I wired the components, whereas before I simply “hooked it up” instead of nicely hiding the cords behind the case and tying them together. Yeah, it was a mess. But who’s first build isn’t?
Introducing the Throne
Rosewill THRONE-G Window Tower
ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
Intel Core i5-2500 3.3GHz
HyperX Fury 16GB 1866MHz
HyperX SSD 240GB
The graphics card is the latest upgrade I’ve made by replacing the GTX 770 2GB with the GTX 980 4GB. I was pretty much enjoying all the latest games on maxed out settings with the 770. However, the release of Shadow of Mordor completely ruined that party. I wasn’t able to max out the settings unless I wanted to deal with frames per second (FPS) in the low 20’s (obviously, that wasn’t going to happen). So, I changed the settings to mostly high with a few options on medium and still only got around 45 FPS when using the 770.
I’m always playing and writing about many of the latest releases, so it’s important for me to have the latest and best when possible. Enter the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980.
I didn’t fully realize that I was just getting by in performance on games that require a large demand from graphics cards. However, it became very clear when doing benchmarks on games like Shadow of Mordor, Hitman: Absolution, and even GRID Autosport. When comparing benchmarks on the 770 to the 980, I could then see exactly how the performance of the 770 was just good enough and that the 980 is now opening the door to better FPS and performance.
The GTX 980 has doubled the FPS on most of every game. Now, surely that makes sense when comparing the two cards, but it’s still nice to see after putting them to the test. I love getting to play Shadow of Mordor on ultra settings (with HD texture pack installed) and getting around 80 FPS when before it just wasn’t possible on the 770. Hitman: Absolution went from around 30 FPS to near 60 and GRID Autosport went from 60 FPS to 120 FPS. It’s nice!
(UPDATE: It appears that I may have had an issue with my 770 as the performance level was lower than what it should have been. I’ll look into this further. The comparison numbers between the 770 and 980 may be off, but that doesn’t change the fact that the 980 is still a lovely and superior card.)
Of course, one of the main features with the GTX 980 is that it provides the ability to play games with 4K settings on standard 1080p screens by use of the DSR feature (Dynamic Super Resolution). DSR renders a game at a higher and more detailed resolution and shrinks it back down to the resolution of your monitor, providing you with enhanced visuals.
By using the GeForce Experience desktop app, users can select specific games to play on 3840×2160. This, of course, drops the frame rate back down to near 30 when using ultra settings on most games, which almost feels not worth it for those who don’t own a 4K monitor. But at least the option is there to experiment with and lets users take larger screenshots which is something I do like for quality purposes.
As far as the basic performance goes, the GTX 980 has been a welcomed addition to my Throne. I’m now able to continue playing the latest games with maxed out settings while maintaining a strong FPS. Plus, when the time comes that I do get a 4K monitor, I’ll have the ability to push those limits even though I’ll lose out a bit on FPS.
Below you’ll find screenshots displaying the benchmark tests using the GTX 770 and the GTX 980. You’ll also find gameplay video taken from Shadow of Mordor while playing on ultra settings with the GTX 980. I even decided to record a little bit of gameplay and snap a few screenshots from a couple of games while using the DSR feature.
GTX 980 Gameplay Videos
Gameplay videos with DSR enabled