NVIDIA GeForce GeForce GTX 980 Maxwell Video Card Review

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Final Thoughts and Conclusions

 

GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970It has been 16 months since NVIDIA released the GeForce GTX 680 and the Kepler microarchitecture and plenty has changed over the the past 1.5 years in the gaming industry. We are entering the era of 4K gaming and virtual reality gaming looks like it will be taking on in the not to distant future. If you are one of the millions of gamers out there that have been holding onto the card they have been using for years because it has been ‘fast enough’ for their gaming needs you’ll find that you’ll be needing a new card if you want to upgrade to an Ultra HD display. The introduction of the high-end Maxwell GM204 GPU shows that NVIDIA most certainly does have a potent graphics cards and it comes just in time for the display change that is taking place now. The GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 video cards will likely be near the top of the single-GPU product lineup for at least the next year.

When it comes to just gaming performance the GeForce GTX 980 at $549 is an impressive card and certainly fast. It should be about 8% faster than a GeForce GTX 780 Ti with the reference clock speeds, but we compared it to a retail card that was factory overclocked. We found that the GeForce GTX 780 Ti with a hefty factory overclock was able to lead more times than not in the performance charts, but we expected that due to the number of CUDA cores on that card. When compared to a modestly overclocked GeForce GTX 780 and the reference GeForce GTX 680 cards the GeForce GTX 980 really stood out.  NVIDIA has come up with a good performing card

Overclocking performance was nothing short of amazing. We were able to hit 1500MHz on the core clock without any manual voltage increase on the reference card with the NVIDIA GPU cooler. We also overclocked the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 AMP! Omega Edition as well as the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 ACX video cards and also hit over 1500MHz on both of those cards as well. We can’t wait to see what other Add-in-Board partners can do with their custom designed cards as better GPU cooling and higher voltages should really make Maxwell shine! We were seeing around a 15% performance increase thanks to overclocking, so if you think Maxwell looks good right now it gets much better when you start overclocking.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 are both going to be made available to purchase on September 19th, 2014, so this is a hard launch. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 runs $549 and the GeForce GTX 970 is priced at $329. These price points put these two cards in the higher-end of the lineup, but after looking at the performance numbers we don’t think many will complain.  Many of the GeForce GTX 780 Ti cards have recently been priced between $699 and $850 and the GeForce GTX 980 isn’t that much slower with the reference clock speeds. Once the custom cards come out with factory overclocks we epect the GTX 980 to be the more appealing card when it comes to pricing, performance and power efficiency.  NVIDIA has also discontinued the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, GTX 780 and GTX 770, so the choice will be eventually much easier. The GeForce GTX 980/970 also have new features like HDMI 2.0, MFAA, DSR and more.

We’ve only had the GeForce GTX 980 4GB reference card with working drivers for three days, so we have more testing to do, but for now we really like the card.  The performance is solid and the new features, power efficiency and stellar overclocking are sure to make gamers really happy.

LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 video card is here and it has left us very impressed on a magnitude of levels!

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  • Brian Blair

    The ACX 1.0 970 did not do bad at all. I ordered a ACX 2.0, SC model, But I am not going to even try to push it, I am going to baby it.

  • Rick N April Dyson

    when 20nm full maxwell chips come out they will be as fast as two 980’s with the die shrink I bet a 4000 core moster or close 3800 would be good with 512 bit bus and 4mb L2 cache lol . oh 1600mhz core clock stock

  • Rick N April Dyson

    Need
    Sli benchmarks now

    • I’m not sure, but the GTX980 OC’ed to the max could be maybe on par to the 780-Ti-GHz-Editions: http://www.3dmark.com/3dm/4084608?

      I will skip the 900’s and go for a CPU + MoBo + Screen Upgrade next.

      My Rig: http://www.gskill.us/forum/showpost.php?p=73167&postcount=1

      • UnspokenThought

        3GB on SLI’d 780 Ti’s? Ouch…whoa, and on 1080p? So you use them for something other than gaming? Skip the CPU+mobo upgrade, sell the 780s and get 980s and a 1440p, 1600p, or 4k monitor. Higher resolution and higher textures are so nice to look at. Wait for Broadwell or Skylake and DDR4.