Let's start with our photo-shoot. A few pages that show the ins and outs with photos, all taken with an in-house photo-shoot of course.
So as you can see, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti is looking a lot like the GeForce GTX 690 / 780 / 780 Ti and Titan series, a similarly fashioned cooler is being used. The Titan X had a nice black shroud, the GTX 980 Ti is back to the original design. Ehm, looks OK but honestly Nvidia ... it's time for something new aesthetically wise.
Board partners will be able to release this card in their own configurations, including different cooling solutions. During Computex we expect to see the first designs with launches later in the month. Today we however test the reference product as shipped out to us by Nvidia. The card looks pretty identical to previous models with subtle changes here and there and that nickel alloy cooler shroud. There's also a nice green LED in the fan housing with the logo displayed at the top. The heatsink shell is made from cast aluminum and an injection molded magnesium alloy. This is a good conductor of heat, plus it helps out with isolating noise. And preventing noise for this product was a key issue for Nvidia. Overall, these reference coolers are OK -- we'd love to see some liquid cooling on these puppies though.
Much like the previous generation the card itself is the standard dual-slot solution, its cooling is vapor chamber based. That cooler is still pretty good, the cooler's Plexiglass allows you to actually look into the heatsink's aluminum fins. The fan is outfitted with a special design, its airflow is carefully directed to take in air from the PC and exhaust it outside the PC, in order to optimize cooling efficiency while minimizing noise causing restrictions. Each GTX 980 Ti will have a maximum power design of roughly 250 Watts, but yes, these are made to overclock as well. As such, Nvidia is using one 150 Watts 8-pin PEG and one 75 Watts 6-pin PEG (PCI Express Graphics) connector. Another 75 to 150 Watts is delivered through the motherboard's PCIe slot.
GeForce GTX 980 Ti in its reference design will offer five display connectors; you'll spot three DisplayPort connectors, one full size HDMI connector and one DVI connector (dual-link). Dual-link DVI does not mean you can hook up two monitors to one connector. Dual-link means double the signal, that way monitor resolutions up-to 2560x1440/1600 can be supported or, say, a 120 Hz monitor at 1080P. As you can see, there is no backplate. Opinions on backplates differ per person. Of course they protect the backside of the PCB and its components, but backplates can also easily trap heat. They are often added for aesthetic reasons as well of course.