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NVIDIA GTX 980 Review


NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing:

Testing of NVIDIA's latest Maxwell architecture based video card the GTX 980 will consist of running them and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will be testing the cards at their stock speeds to see how they stack up and will test each one to find the maximum stable overclock. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. Resolutions of 1920x1080, 2560x1440 and 3840x2160 will be used. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 340.52 drivers and the GTX 980 will use the latest 344.07 while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 14.7 beta drivers. The R9 285 will be using the beta release driver.


Testing Setup:

Comparison Video Cards:




  • NVIDIA GTX 980 : Core 1469MHz,  Memory 1979MHz


To start with, I was not expecting this card to clock anywhere near what it does in the power envelope it runs in. To reach the maximum overclock, I used the latest iteration of MSI's Afterburner software, version 4.0.0 Beta 9. I enabled unofficial overclocking and enabled voltage control for that last bit of clock speed after maximizing clock speeds at the default voltage. Running the default voltage, the memory was easily clocked almost to 2000MHz, but started showing artifacts intermittently at over 1990MHz. I backed 11MHz off of 1990MHz to reach a completely stable 1979MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Pretty solid, to say the least, since that is the highest memory clock speed I have reached on any card. That's 226MHz worth of clock speed increase that delivers an effective clock rate of 7906MHz on the 4GB of GDDR5.

As big an overclock as the memory delivers on the GTX 980, the Maxwell core does even better, delivering a final boost clock speed of 1469MHz or 253MHz over the factory set boost clock of 1216MHz. If you look at the speed increase over the default 1127MHz, you get a huge 342MHz boost in clock speed for your efforts. In fact the boost speed holds up for over 10 minutes worth of Heaven 4.0 looping the tests. Just looking at the clock speeds attained on air means that once these cards go sub zero, the GPU world records will start falling by tomorrow night or sooner. Overclocking alone nets the user a cool 100 point increase in Futuremark's 3DMark test running the Extreme preset.


Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for thirty minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were re-run until they passed a full hour of testing.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. BioShock Infinite
  3. Crysis 3
  4. Far Cry 3
  5. Battlefield 4
  6. Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  7. Batman: Arkham Origins
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  9. 3DMark


  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

  1. NVIDIA GTX 980: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. NVIDIA GTX 980 Closer Look: New Technologies
  3. NVIDIA GTX 980: Specifications & Features
  4. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Metro: Last Light
  6. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: BioShock Infinite
  7. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Crysis 3
  8. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Far Cry 3
  9. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Battlefield 4
  10. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
  11. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Batman: Arkham Origins
  12. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Unigine Heaven 4.0
  13. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: 3DMark
  14. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Thermal Testing
  15. NVIDIA GTX 980 Testing: Power Consumption
  16. NVIDIA GTX 980: Conclusion
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