The latest released flagship graphics card of GeForce GTX 980 by NVIDIA, with Maxwell architecture, has the biggest feature that it completely breaks the record of the performance per watt of the flagship graphics card. With the emergence of these two cards, the structure and competition mode of the traditional flagship graphics card market will change, the era of players focusing only on the performance rather than the experience of the game may have come to an end, and the era that the graphics card again becomes a tool of enjoying games is coming.
The performance per watt means a lot for graphics cards, higher performance per watt represents not only a lower threshold of the use and maximized unit performance, but also means that players do not need to care about such negative factors as noise, high temperature, high power consumption, game lag and even game settings and so on, which are complicated but seen as certain symbols by part of the traditional DIY players, so that they can pay more energy and attention to the process of the game.
In terms of specification, though the new NVIDIA flagship graphics card based on Maxwell architecture uses the same technology as the previous generation, and its chip area is reduced by nearly 40% while its power consumption reduced by nearly 30%, it still achieves further promotion of the performance, which is so amazing.
In terms of architecture, NVIDIA uses new ALU clusters and macro parallel structures, improves the buffer system, and for the first time achieves a structured Unified cache system in GPU, increases the portion of part of the rear end and adds a number of new technicalities, which effectively improves the performance per watt of the GPU chip. We need to reiterate and emphasize that such a way to improve the performance as not to depend on process technology, but to start with the improvement on the level of the logical structural rationality, is the very direction to improve logic circuits of semiconductor. Although the interest and environment trends, and even inertia are all interfering with NVIDIA, it is still working hard on the right path of technological progress, increasing its own technical reserves and pushing technological frontier, which definitely is a positive signal.
NVIDIA is trying to to change the structure of the whole graphics card market with its own influence, and change traditional performance-orientation to dual performance/use orientation. NVIDIA expects players to pay more attention to the products with both high performance and low power consumption, further reducing the burden on the use of the graphics card and trying to let it exist as a "background" that can be ignored.
As is shown by our tests, the full load power consumption is the highlight of GeForce GTX 980. With the performance enhanced compared to GeForce GTX 780Ti, the full load power consumption has fallen 70W, and it achieves such an increase in performance per watt with the same technology, which undoubtedly is an impressive result.
Now, let’s come back to what players are all most concerned about- now so many graphics cards of GeForce GTX 980 available in the market having so many characteristics of their own, let’s carefully select five of them, I’m sure one of which is to meet your needs.
ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC
ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC doesn’t belong to the product lines of ROG Republic of Gamers, but it has the same high product quality. The base Clock of ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC is 1178 / 7012MHz(Memory Clock), and the boost frequency as high as 1279 MHz, laying a good foundation for the excellent game performance of this card.
ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC
ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC adopts improved DirectCU cooling system compared to the typical NVIDIA graphics card, which has got a huge increase in cooling area. Combined with the large diameter heat pipes and dual mute cooling fans, it not only provides a lower temperature in full load use, but can even achieve a silent environment of 0dB with fans stopping in daily use.
ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC is optimized in the details of the radiator, and added a more rigorous temperature-controlled system, the fan does not rotate when the graphics card is in no-load or low-load state, passively cooled totally dependent on the ability of the radiator itself, keeping users away from the noise of the graphics card when they watch videos, listen to music or even when they work, truly achieving zero noise. Once the temperature of the graphics card exceeds 60 degrees Celsius in games, the fan of the graphics card begins to work to reduce the temperature to ensure the stability of the graphics card.
Superalloy digital power supply module
In terms of power supply, ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC continues to adopt the superalloy digital power technology of the ASUS Graphics Card family , with 10-phase superalloy digital power supply module to ensure the stable and the high-frequency operation of the core. It is worth mentioning that thanks to the sophisticated technology of ASUS and excellent performance per watt of Maxwell architecture, ASUS GTX980 offers a flip design of 6 + 8Pin power interface, which saves space while fully taking into account the fingers’"pain" when users plug in and pull out of the power interface, moving the power connector snaps to the back of PCB , well resolving the conflicts between the power connector snaps and the radiator, so that the cooling system of the new version DirectCUII can play a perfect role.
In terms of interface, ASUS Strix GTX980 DC2OC is configured with standard DP + HDMI + Dual DVI, user-friendly for selections of multi-screen output programs.
The unique cooling mode of ASUS GTX980 reduces noise and greatly increases the users’experience. If you think a lot of the noise of the graphics card, then ASUS GTX980 is undoubtedly your best choice.
Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming
In the 9 series of motherboards newly released this year, Gigabyte launched a new brand Gaming, precisely positioning groups of players. Also in the 9 series, the flagship graphics card of Maxwell architecture newly released by NVIDIA is also extended to the current flagship GTX980 by Gigabyte Gaming.
The new three-fan radiator of WindForce 3X carried by Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming, can still provide a cooling capacity of 600W. The biggest improvement is the design of the fan blades, with triangular convex edges designed to effectively separate air currents. Then dredging through the tridimensional diversion lines, hold the wind down within the effective coverage of the blades. This design can bring 23% more air currents for the entire cooling system and prevent the occurrence of spoilers.
Five copper heat pipes of 6mm, directly in contact with the GPU core at the bottom, equipped with large aluminum fins , can fully scatter the heat of the core to the sides of the radiator.
GTX 980 G1 Gaming adopts a full-size version of PCB, with the entire length more than 30cm, it is typically a long graphics card, of course, it also means more luxurious materials. Considering the need for overclocking, the card is equipped with an auxiliary power supply of 8 + 8pin – which is of course prepared for overclocking.
The Card uses the power of 8 + 2 phases, with the core of eight phases, each way equipped with Mosfet of 1 up and 2 downs , and all using SMD inductors to ensure the thickness of the whole card is no more than Dual Slot.
The output interface is the biggest feature of Gigabyte graphics card. Equipped with three Display Ports, one HDMI and two DVI interfaces, it has one more DVI interface than the reference design cards , by which it can achieve a more flexible multi-screen display program.
For example, if you want to set up four screens, the program for typical of NVIDIA graphics cards is that users must employ at least two Display Ports monitors to achieve it. But for this card, it can be achieved by the adoption of an additional DVI interface, with Flex display technology, and the use of the combination of two DVIs, one HDMI and one DP, of which two DVI + HDMI resolutions are 2560 and 1440, and DP can be output at 4K. It is considered a cheap multi-screen surrounding program.
In addition to improved design of the cooling system, through innovation of interfaces, Gigabyte GTX980 has a more flexible multi-screen display program, well suited to the needs of users for multiple screens.
MSI GTX980 GAMING 4G
As a new brand unveiled by MSI last year, GAMING has a more targeted design style instead of boasting a luxury configuration as TwinFrozer did, with a view of offering a high quality video card at a competitive price, thus making it a game video card of choice for quite a while.
MSI GTX980 GAMING 4G card uses an NVIDIA GM204 core, with 2048 stream processors. It has a core base frequency of 1216 MHz at an average Boost frequency of 1317 MHz, and a 256bit 4GB GDDR5 video memory at 1753 MHz frequency is used. It is expected to show a little better performance than the reference design cards because of a core frequency 90 MHz higher than that of the latter.
The PCB layout of MSI GTX980 GAMING 4G is quite different from GTX970, with the 8+2-phase power supply placed at the right side, and the video memory also fitted on the front. The PCB is at an OTS height.
An innovative Twin Frozr V radiator is fitted on MSI GTX980, which also uses two 10 cm fans that have a different look and incorporate some new features. Their blades are made to bend alternately so that they will enhance wind pressure and provide a more vertical downward airflow, hence avoiding the tendency of air being deflected outward. In addition the blade root has received strengthening treatment in order to protect blades from breaking off due to accidental strike or impact.
MSI GTX980 GAMING 4G offers three DisplayPort interfaces, one HDMI interface and one DVI. In combination with NVIDIA Surround Technology these interfaces allow it to provide 3-screen simultaneous output at the maximum resolution of 5760×1080.
The GM204 core also supports HDMI2.0, allowing HDMI interface to support a 60 Hz refresh rate at 4K resolution.
High-end graphics cards are marked by a large number of components fitted on PCB, and many of them, not only GPU core, but also video memory and power supply unit, will generate heat. How should we do to strike a better balance between a uniform heat dissertation for all components and a lower noise produced by the radiator？MSI 980 gives a good solution.
In radiator design this video card provides a flexible configuration scheme, which features separate control for its two fans so that each of them can be adjusted for proper speed（even stopping） based on temperature changes on GPU or power supply module, thus making the card work as silently as possible. For those seeking lowest noise and best heat dissipated effect, this video card is just what they desire.
Zotac GTX980-4GD5 Extreme AMP
What zotac products impress us most have been their luxury in material use, and their long service life associated with the luxury. zotac GTX980，launched this time together with Maxwell, it has the largest PCB size, and goes to the extremity of material use. Players are sure to be astounded at both its appearance and performance.
Zotac GTX980-4GD5 Extreme AMP has a core frequency as high as 1291 MHz, and an incredible Boost frequency of 1393 MHz, a very large increase that brings it to the top among the current generation of GTX 980 cards. Its video memory is also overclocked to 7200 MHz, higher than that of the reference design cards.
Equipped with an array of three multi-angle inline fans, the card shows an extremely good heat dissipation capability (thus offering greater potential for overclocking), together with very low noise. Another advantage is that in case of any one fan going wrong the other two are able to satisfy the dissipation needs of the entire card.
As for board type this video card uses overlong OTS PCB, supported by 8+2 phase power supply and 8+8 pin power interface, providing a strong guarantee for overclocking operation. It also fitted with OC+ overclocking module，ensuring easy and quick overclocking. On the back side of the card there is a Power Boost engine which helps improve success rate for a secure overclocking.
It is worth mentioning that the card has an integrated active dual breathing light identification system which can display the working state of the card：green light indicates a low load while red light corresponds to a high one.
For output interface the card uses 3DP+HDMI+DVI fully digital combination, the same as the reference design cards
Zotac GTX980-4GD5 Extreme AMP boasts the highest frequencies in the GTX980 group（1291MHz for core frequency, 1393 MHz for boost frequency and 7200 MHz for video memory frequency）which are high enough to offer at least 10% performance gain over the reference design cards. It turns out that what many users are pursuing is in fact the best performance and the highest testing score, and for them Zotac GTX980 would be the most suitable in terms of both psychological appeal and need for show-off.
And the extravagant material use and excellent stability as they traditionally are with Zotac video cards provides one of the key factors that bring so distinguished performance. Zotac’s unique criteria for ultra-efficient material use and its 3 groups of Power Boost engines developed on its own exudes indeed a royal style of world-heater.
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