Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 And 980 Review: Maximum Maxwell

Gigabyte GTX 980 WindForce OC

Now let’s take a look at the technical specifications of Gigabyte's GeForce GTX 980. It’s overclocked from the factory and, according to the manufacturer, uses a low-leakage GPU able to overclock well at lower power consumption. Indeed, our test sample fared particularly well in the power measurements, demonstrating the Maxwell architecture's potential once manufacturing is refined and there's less variance from chip to chip.

A total of six video outputs (of which four can be active at any given time) are great for multi-monitor configurations. Gigabyte keeps the second DVI connector that didn’t make it onto Nvidia's reference design. And HDMI 2.0 support makes the new card a bit more future-proof.

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The Speeds And Feeds
Form FactorDual-slot design
Length (from Slot Panel to End)297 mm
Height (from Slot to Top)108 mm
Depth 1 (from PCB to Front Cover)35 mm
Depth 2 (from PCB to Back Plate)5 mm
Weight1196 g
Connectors1x DVI-I, 1x DVI-D, 1x HDMI 2.0, 3x DisplayPort
Pros- GPUs binned for better overclocking and lower power consumption- Total of six video outputs (better connectivity)- Dual-slot design, well-suited for SLI- Lots of cooling headroom
Cons- RPM under full load is too high (BIOS update expected to fix this)

The 600 W-rated cooler first used on Gigabyte's GeForce GTX Titan Black WindForce OC should be able to handle anything this new card throws at it. After all, it was well-behaved on top of the big GK110 GPU.

Unfortunately, the backplate doesn't help with cooling; its only purpose is stabilizing the PCB.

Air blows up and down, rather than back. That's better than shooting it all toward your hard drives and SSDs, though we'd much rather see a high-end graphics card push its waste heat out of the chassis instead.

Two 8-pin auxiliary power connectors are supposed to provide stable overclocking. The WindForce label lights up in blue.

A total of three DisplayPort connectors, two dual-link DVI connectors, and an HDMI 2.0 connector fill the slot panel almost completely.

  • Vivecss
  • lancear15
    I was waiting for Tom's review to make my final decision, the 980 is definitely going into my current 5960x build! I cant wait.
    so how long before you do a round up?i mean this time i've seen some pretty crazy looking cards (Zotac's Extreme AMP! edition looks crazy and the Inno3D too)and EVGA has shown off ACX 2.0 which they claim to be the most efficient GPU air cooler in the world...so many to choose from also EVGA FTW has been nicely overclocked i've seen it performing almost on par with 980
  • realibrad
    byt he way... Last page 2nd sentence after the graph of Avg game performance.

    I was hoping for more performance but the efficiency is quite nice. They just put pressure on the top end and gave us a price reduction, instead of overall performance gains.
  • balister
    Very nice, but I still want to see what the power consumption along with what might be possible with the drop to 20nm (since this is still 28nm).

    Likely, we're going to see a Maxwell Titan equivalent come in the next year or so as these are a x04 much like Kepler with the 670/80s were and we're still going to be waiting to see what the x10 will be with the Maxwell architecture.
    Why didn't you include an overclocking comparison? Why didn't you include the 780, but included the 770? Doesn't make much sense...
  • vertexx
    970 is the real story until the 980ti comes out - what a value proposition with the 970!

    Good stuff here - but you guys were a bit slow on this one. Tom's Hardware is the first site I visit every morning. But with the delay of this article, I've been all over the net this morning on other sites that got their stuff out sooner.
  • daveys93
    Will there be a follow-up article about overclocking these cards? Other sites are showing results that both of the new cards are capable of 1500+ MHz on air (aftermarket coolers and even a few with stock coolers), which is a massive overclock. Looks like NVIDIA left the door open for some decent voltage increases, but many results have been in the 1450-1500 MHz range at stock voltage. I am a big fan of the thoroughness of Tom's articles so I am very interested in seeing overclocking results and analysis from this site.
  • nikolajj
    I need this...
  • tobalaz
    I want a 970, wow!
    That's some flat out insane price / performance ratio right there!