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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB Video Card Review

By: Shawn Baker | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Sep 19, 2014 2:30 am
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Close up with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB




Taking our first look, you can straight away see that it's looks familiar to other recent high-end offerings from NVIDIA. I suppose the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", comes into play here. This cooler seems to clearly have no issue handling the high-end GPUs that NVIDIA throw under it with the single fan, which pulls air in and pushes it straight across the top of a massive heat sink and out the back of your case.


As is the case most the time with these high-end reference cards, there's not a whole lot to say as you can't see a whole lot. We've got the GTX 980 name on the left, which is where the naming has been in the last few models released, along with the NVIDIA logo on the right side. Everything is going to become a whole lot more interesting when we see non-reference cooled cards in the coming days and weeks.






Taking a look around the card, it's interesting to see that the power setup is a dual 6-Pin PCIe configuration. I say interesting because it's actually down on what the GTX 780 and GTX 780 Ti saw. Both of those cards used single 6-Pin and single 8-Pin PCIe power connector setups. Staying across the top of the card, but moving closer to the front, you can see two standard SLI connectors, which provide the ability to run up to four cards together.




Taking a look at the I/O department, the first thing I thought was, "my prayers have been answered!" Sitting along with the Dual-Link DVI and HDMI port, we have three DisplayPort connectors. Personally, I'm a huge fan of DisplayPort, and have been using it for a few years now. While NVIDIA has been offering DisplayPort connectivity for a while, we've really never seen the move past one port.


AMD, on the other hand, has been pushing the technology much longer. Of course, that had a lot to do with the fact that DisplayPort was necessary for Eyefinity. Along with the five video ports, you can see rest of the area has got holes to dissipate hot air straight out the back of your case.


On a whole, the new GTX 980 4GB from NVIDIA isn't anything too new to look at. Apart from the I/O upgrade, the rest of the card carries a lot of similarities that are seen from other recent high-end NVIDIA reference offerings. What has really changed, and where all the magic happens, is beneath the giant heat sink that covers the PCB. So let's take a look at the specifications and cover some of the main difference from the previous generation high-end model from NVIDIA.





Taking a look below, you can see the main details of just what exactly we're dealing with. In some of the key areas, the numbers aren't as high as you'd think they would be.


We've got 2048 Stream Processors, which is down from 2880 on the GTX 780 Ti and 2304 on the GTX 780. Texture units come in at 128, which is again down compared to 240 and 192, respectively.


As for the memory bus, that comes in at 256-bit, which is down on the 384-bit number seen on the other models. ROP Units are up, though, with the new GTX 980 having 64 instead of 48. The amount of GDDR5 is also up to 4GB, an increase of 1GB over the other two models.




As for the memory clock, that comes in at officially at 7000MHz QDR, but under GPU-Z, you can see the number is actually 7012MHz QDR - this lines up with the GTX 780 Ti. The big increase comes from the core clock, though. While the GTX 780 saw a base clock of 863MHz and boost clock of 900MHz and the GTX 780 Ti saw a 875MHz base clock and 928MHz boost clock, the new GTX 980 sees a base clock of 1127MHz and a boost clock of a massive 1216MHz.


TDP on the new model is also down from 250 watts to 165 watts. While we would normally expect a new model to bring with it more Stream Processors and Texture Units, the area that NVIDIA has greatly improved in is the amount of ROPs and the core clock speeds. It will be interesting to see just how it performs.

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