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PNY GTX 980 XLR8 Review

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PNY GTX 980 XLR8 Conclusion:

PNY put together a winner with the GTX 980 XLR8. It's got a massive factory clock speed boost that makes it one of the fastest GTX 980s on the market. It is also one of the few to see a boost on the memory, adding another layer of performance to the card right out of the box. In this configuration it delivers gaming performance higher than the reference GTX 980 in every game and resolution but one. That performance gap alone is enough to make the PNY GTX 980 XLR8 a great purchase if you are looking for a GTX 980. Add in the current pricing of $469 after rebate makes the purchase all that much sweeter since reference cards are currently trending in the $539 range.

When it comes to overclocking, I thought that I would be able to pull a little more margin out of the card, but was satisfied with the 1491MHz boost clock on the core and 1969MHz out of the 4GB of GDDR5 memory. Boosting up the clock speeds just adds to the level of gaming performance available for the end user.

Honestly, the reference GTX 980 is a good looking video card. The industrial look just works with the efficient cooling solution packed underneath. However, when you look at what PNY has done with this XLR8 cooling solution equipped card, it managed to improve the looks with a good looking and quiet running cooling package. The thick aluminum shroud that wraps around the back end of the card providing a unique look. The signature script back plate is both functional and good looking.

Allowing the card to control the fan speed at stock clock speeds the XLR8 cooling-equipped GTX 980 runs 21 degrees cooler than the reference cooling solution. That's a 25% improvement over the reference card. That is an excellent performance bonus on the cooling part of the equation. And to boot it does it quietly. Inside my test case, the card is not audible until you ramp the fan speed up to 100%. Even then it's a tough sell to say that the card is making the noise. An impressive feat to be sure.

There is not a whole lot left to say other than if you are looking for a GTX 980 for your gaming rig, the PNY GTX 980 XLR8 is a great option. It's got good looks, runs cool and quiet, and delivers great 1440p gaming chops, allowing you to enjoy all of NVIDIA's ecosystem.

 

Pros:

  • Non-reference build
  • Great looks 
  • Solid build
  • XLR8 cooling
  • Low noise
  • Overclocking

 

Cons:

  • None


 

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