GTX 980: review, specifications and reviews

An inexpensive top-end model of a video card sounds somehow improbable, because, in fact, a representative of the High-End class can not have a low price a priori. But this is a fact, if we are talking about a single-core Nvidia device based on the GTX 980 chipset. The review, specifications and reviews will allow the buyer to become more familiar with the novelty and draw their own conclusions regarding one of the best representatives of the game class.

Mind games

In the laboratories of the company Nvidia, apparently, decided to conduct experiments, and at the same time and restore order with graphics chips in the performance line. First, we are talking about marking the products of the 900 series. The reader has noticed that there are no models of the 800-series video card on the market. The fact is that video adapters with this marking took all mobile devices themselves. Therefore, in order not to confuse buyers with performance tables, the eight hundredth series was simply deleted from the class of discrete devices intended for personal computers.

The second step of the manufacturer was the creation of two video adapters of the same series based on two different graphics cores. The base version of the Geforce 980 GTX is based on the GM204 chip, its modification - Nvidia GTX 980 Ti - uses the GM200 core. The very thing that the GTX Titan X flagship works on. The most interesting is that the price of both new products is slightly different (980 chip costs about 500 cu, and its "older brother" 980 Ti can be purchased for 600 cu).


To understand what is happening in the market of video adapters of the 900 series will help to compare the technical characteristics of all three video cards. Based on the received data, the buyer will be able to decide which device to prefer in the store.

  • With the same process technology of 28 nm and with one version of the Maxwell 2.x architecture, the devices have different core sizes: 980 model - 398 mm 2 , 980 Ti and Titan - 601 mm 2 ;
  • The number of transistors in the GTX 980 is 5200 million units (980 Ti and Titan have 8,000 million);
  • The graphics core of the 980 model operates at a frequency of 1126 MHz in normal mode, or 1216 MHz in turbo mode; The Ti and Titan models have the same 1000 MHz (1075 MHz in turbo mode);
  • The number of shaders in the 980 model is 2048 pcs., 980 Ti - 2816 pcs., Titan - 3072 pcs .;
  • Textural blocks for the 980 chip 128, 176 for the Ti modification, the Titan has 192 blocks;
  • Compared video adapters use the GDDR5 bus and have the same memory frequency - 7000MHz;
  • The model 980 uses a 356 bit bus, and Ti and Titan 384 bits;
  • Bandwidth graphics adapters, respectively, the GTX 980 graphics card has 224.3 GB / s, and 980 Ti and Titan - 336.5 gigabytes per second;
  • The amount of memory for 980 models 4 GB, 980 Ti - 6 GB, Titan - 12 GB.

External review of new items

The base length of the GTX 980 is 27 centimeters, which guarantees 100% compatibility with all existing ATX system blocks. The cooling system is borrowed from the Titan flagship and has a double structure. The contact area, made of aluminum, covers the entire surface of the printed circuit board on both sides, in contact with the graphics core and memory chips, special heat-conducting inserts.

Radiators of the cooling system are installed on top of the aluminum base. On top of the system closes the plastic casing, which has a window overlooking the aluminum radiators. At the rear, the GTX 980 has a built-in turbofan that takes air out of the system chassis and drives it through the heat sink plates and out through the mounting grille. On the external end of the device there is a branded inscription indicating the modification of the device. The manufacturer Nvidia supplied it with green LEDs, and it glows very brightly during operation.

PCB Features

The manufacturer has something to surprise its fans. On the back of the PCB there are no power elements, accordingly, there is nothing to bask in. All memory chips are located around the graphics core and are in excellent contact with the aluminum cooling plate. The very crystal GTX 980 is equipped with a metal frame, which protects it from chips if the cooler is not installed correctly. The kernel power system is 4-phase, but there is one more phase for the memory chips. Owners of video adapters note the presence of wiring on the board for another two phases, apparently, the printed circuit board will be used to upgrade and produce improved modifications. The NCP PWM controller controls the power supply. However, as users note, Nvidia's laboratories still avoid installing solid-state containers.

The first representative

A novelty from the company Gigabyte GTX 980, the price of which attracted many buyers (30-35 thousand rubles), has the right to be called the most affordable video card in the High-End category. It's all about factory overclocking and a powerful cooling system. The manufacturer installed the frequency of the graphics core at 1228 MHz (turbo mode 1329 MHz). The manufacturer did not touch the memory bus - 7000 MHz and so are an impressive performance indicator.

But the cooling system was completely modified by Gigabyte's technologists. The impressive WINDFORCE 3X cooler, as the name implies, has three huge fans that cool the radiator system with a powerful airflow. The base of the radiators is made of aluminum and contacts the printed circuit board all around the perimeter. For balancing the temperature between sections of radiators, copper tubes are marked with which the entire cooling system is permeated.

Decent blasting of the Geforce GTX 980 graphics core allows unrestricted acceleration to 1367 MHz. At the same time, the video card not only shows high performance, but also, along with stable operation, does not emit any extraneous noise. Testing with a 100% load of the core shows heating up to 62 degrees Celsius with a user's comfortable hearing fan speed of 1100 rpm.

Quiet interpretation

Without stopping at the result, Gigabyte has announced another product called WATERFORCE Nvidia GTX 980. IT professionals say that the future of the water cooling industry is the future, because the price from year to year for such solutions is constantly decreasing, which means it will be available to everyone User. As for the noiseless representative of Gigabyte, there's nothing to complain about. Full silence is provided by low revs of the company cooler, which, together with the radiator, is put out half a meter beyond the video card's enclosure. The fluid runs between the devices under pressure created by the compressor, which is located on the external unit. The factory overclock of the graphics core is 1228 MHz, but, as users note, it is fictitious, since the potential of the video card is much larger (it is free to install 1400 MHz and play in pleasure).

Serious statement

But the Asus GTX 980 Ti Strix video card has all chances to become the most productive device on the market of high-end graphics cards in the price category up to 40 000 rubles. The prerequisites for this are: 1190 MHz for the graphics core in the basic version (1216 MHz, turbo mode) and the 384-bit bus contribute to an excellent throughput of 345.6 gigabytes per second. The memory bus in ASUS laboratories was also decided to overclock: 7200 MHz - is not the limit for this video adapter.

The potential of the video card is provided by new PWM controllers, which more effectively control the power supply system, from the Nvidia referent. It is worth noting that the manufacturer also installed solid capacitors and replaced Samsung's memory modules with the more productive from the market leader of Hynix microchips, which are capable of operating at high frequencies with a minimum response time of 0.2 nanoseconds. The unparalleled performance will definitely bring the Asus GTX 980 chipset to the top of the glory. The SLI mode, which is supported by all devices based on the GM200 / GM204 core, improves the performance of the entire system in games so that no flagship surpass the overall performance of inexpensive devices.

Consumer market

In the High-End class, manufacturers are trying to limit the number of modifications produced under their own brand by one or two devices. Typically, one video card - in the lower price segment, the second - in the top of the performance. However, the video card Asus GTX 980 Ti is represented on the market by five modifications. The manufacturer evenly distributed them across the price range from 30 to 45 thousand rubles, with the corresponding overclocking potential. As the reviews and testing of devices show, all performance directly depends on the installed cooling system.

In the market, the buyer can meet devices that have from one to three coolers, which are installed on the same printed circuit boards of the manufacturer. The system with a single turbofan is borrowed from the company Nvidia and attracts the user with its strict kind and low price. The middle segment is occupied by Geforce GTX 980 devices with two fans, and the upper class is blown by a triple cooler in the cooling system. Strange scheme, but it works. As the sales analysis shows, every third buyer purchases ASUS devices.

Bronze Horseman

Since the performance of a top-end device depends directly on the quality of cooling, the choice among new products will be more logical among representatives with a decent heat dissipation. Copper is clearly the best conductor than aluminum - so decided in the laboratories of MSI and released a new product Nvidia GTX 980 Ti Gaming Golden Edition. Contact pad, radiator, heat-conducting pipes - all of copper and only for 40 000 rubles.

Factory frequencies in 1076 MHz on the core and 7010 MHz on the memory bus look trivial in relation to the overclocking that the video card demonstrates in the tests. At low cooler speeds and when the graphics core is heated to less than 60 degrees, the graphics card can work stably on overclocked frequencies at 1320 MHz on the GPU and show excellent data transfer over the bus operating at 7050 MHz. This is far from the limit, because the potential still exists, however, the rise in temperature from heating will then lead to a terrible howl of the fans.

Hybrid system

Another novelty in the market of video adapters deserves attention of users who prefer quiet devices: EVGA Nvidia GTX 980 graphics card. The owners' feedback assures that this solution, along with high performance, works noiselessly even with considerable overclocking. True, at the first acquaintance many owners note that the cooling system did not arouse their confidence. The Nvidia product was modified in the EVGA labs in a strange way: the turbofan did not undergo any modifications, and instead of the radiator grille, a water block was placed, which was taken out by the tubes half a meter beyond the body and circulated with a compressor installed in the cooling system of the video card.

Also, the manufacturer for overclockers presented an unattended water cooling system as a separate unit of HYBRID Water Cooler for GTX 980, the price of which is 6000 rubles. Apparently, the huge overclocking potential of the video adapter (1300 MHz on the core) led EVGA technologists to the idea that many owners of noisy devices will want to enjoy silence in the process of overclocking existing video cards.


As the review shows on the GTX 980 chipset, the performance and overclocking potential of the video adapter depend directly on the cooling system of the graphics core and memory chips. Yes, some manufacturers, such as ASUS and Gigabyte, have made minor improvements in the design of the printed circuit board, but without qualitative blasting, serious results in testing still can not be achieved. Accordingly, the buyer in choosing should already focus not on the brand, as it was before, but on the quality of the cooling system. It is worth noting that the affordable price (35-40 thousand rubles) is only conducive to this.

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