NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Video Card Review


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Detailed Look: GeForce GTX 980

NVIDIA GM204 is comprised of 4 Graphics Processing Clusters (GPC), 16 Maxwell Streaming Multiprocessors (SMM), and four 64-bit memory controllers. In GeForce GTX 980, each GPC has it’s own raster engine along with four SMMs. Each of those four SMMs includes 128 CUDA cores, 8 texture units, and its own polymorph engine.


The NVIDIA GM204 inside GeForce GTX 980 consists of 5.2 Billion transistors, and offers 2048 CUDA cores operating at 1126 MHz which typically boosts to 1216 MHz. Assigned to each memory controller are 16 ROP units and 512KB of L2 cache, for a total 64 ROP units and 2MB of combined L2 cache on GTX 980.

Compared to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 we reviewed back in March 2012, this new GeForce GTX 980 has twice as many Streaming Multiprocessors and Geometry Units as GK104, but does not require twice the footprint to include them. All of this is done on the same familiar 28 nm fabrication process, proving that die shrinks aren’t the Holy Grail.
The 256-bit memory subsystem on GeForce GTX 980 consists of 4GB GDDR5 operating at 7000 MHz data rate (7012 MHz to be exact) and produce 224 GB/s memory bandwidth. GeForce GTX 980’s fill rate reaches 144.1 GigaTexels per second across the backwards-compatible PCI-Express 3.0 compliant graphics interface.

After a long absence from the GTX series design, the PCB heatspreader has returned on GeForce GTX 980. To this reviewer the accessory seems unwarranted, considering how the efficient GPU translates into less power consumed and therefore less heat generated. In spite of this, it does help reduce the operating temperatures while also protecting sensitive surface electronics.


In the next section, we detail our test methodology and give specifications for all of the benchmarks and equipment used in our testing process…


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  1. Argos

    Thanks for this review. I am glad I waited a bit longer with building my new system. This card seems beyond belief. Every time I think it can’t get any better and then this monster card appears.

  2. Caring1

    I hardly think it “crushed” the R9 290X, however it did thrash the GTX 680, so it makes sense to upgrade if you have an older Nvidia card.

  3. Chris

    It isn’t that much faster than the 780TI. The big attraction is that the power consumption is much lower (more OC headroom) and the lower price.

    I think it may be worth waiting to see what AMD has to offer this generation and for “Big Maxwell” to arrive.

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