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PNY GTX 980 XLR8 Review

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PNY GTX 980 XLR8 Testing:

Finding out the amount of FPS performance delivered by PNY's GTX 980 XLR8 will consist of running it 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 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, and 3840x2160 will be used.


Testing Setup:

Comparison Video Cards:




  • PNY GTX 980 XLR8 : Core 1491MHz, Memory 1969MHz


As a factory overclocked video card, the GTX 980 XLR8, much like the GTX 960 XLR8, features a tremendously boosted core clock speed that reaches 1300MHz or higher thanks to GPU Boost. Manual tuning of the GTX 980 XLR8 is accomplished via MSI's Afterburner 4.1.1 utility. Afterburner has been a stable and reliable overclocking tool, so there should be little, if any, learning curve when you go to get the most from PNY's hardware.

Wringing the highest level of performance out of your video card usually means that boosting up the clock speeds through overclocking is the next step after optimizing your in-game settings. PNY brings this card to market with a big base and boost clock speed that should allow it to exceed the performance of the reference card, both at stock and overclocked settings. At stock speed there is a distinct advantage for the PNY XLR8 with a large cooling solution and quiet dual fan setup that allow the high stock settings to kind of just cruise right along without dropping clock speed like a hot potato. To start boosting the speeds up, I used MSI's Afterburner to increase the core clock speed and and memory clock speeds to drive FPS results.

NVIDIA's Maxwell core has so far been a predictable overclocker, delivering speeds from 1400MHz on up and over 1500MHz in some cases. In this case, the Maxwell core in this card was able to run a GPU Boost clock speed of 1491MHz by setting the power limit to 125% and bumping the voltage up by +39mv. The memory speed boost was significant as well with a final result of 1969MHz. Your mileage may vary, of course. All in all, PNY left some meat on the bone for the enthusiast gamer.


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 4
  5. Battlefield 4
  6. Assassin's Creed Unity
  7. Batman: Arkham Origins
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  9. 3DMark


  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

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