If you've been wondering where the Kingpin variant of the GTX 980 from EVGA has been, you're right in being curious, because up until now EVGA has been working hard on it. It was first displayed at CES and is now available for pre-order.
The Kingpin cards from EVGA are named after the overclocker Vince Lucido, who goes by the name "K|NGP|N." They are built to feature the most extreme hardware, which should aid you in breaking world-record overclocks. Among the hardware intended to help you with this is a 14+3 phase digital power delivery circuit, which is fueled by two 8-pin connectors and a single 6-pin PCI-Express power connector. Of course, you won't actually need all those connectors, but that many power connectors on a single graphics card does certainly make a statement.
Speaking of things you won't need, the ACX 2.0 cooler on the card is one beast of a GPU cooler, but for all intents and purposes, if you're buying this card with the idea of using that cooler, you're the wrong customer. The card's PCB is what makes it so special, and anyone who wants to overclock the snot out of this card will start with water cooling but will more likely think of using liquid nitrogen.
Keeping the ACX 2.0 cooler on it is a bit of a waste because you won't nearly unlock its full potential. Even so, the cooler is quite nice, because it does come with a couple of little windows that let you peek underneath the shroud, and it comes with RGB LED lighting so that you can make it match the colors of any system.
As far as specifications go, the GTX 980 core on the card will run at 1291 MHz off the bat, but it can boost up to around 1393 MHz using Nvidia's GPU Boost 2.0 when the thermal headroom permits it. (Don't worry, with that ACX 2.0 cooler you'll still always be boosting, unless your room temperature is enough to make you sweat). The memory remains clocked at the reference 7010 MHz.
Interested in one? Well, you may have a bit of trouble getting your hands on one of them. EVGA may have opened up preorders, but the company will only accept them from folks who own and have registered an EVGA graphics card with the manufacturer. After you've met that qualification, you'll also need to part with $749.99 and wait until the week of February 19 before the card ships.