ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Strix review


ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Strix - it's a h00t ! ... 

Hot on the heels of the  ASUS GTX 970 Strix review, we test the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Strix. Armed with that h00t of a cooler, a custom PCB, quality components and a factory overclock this product is bound to perform, whilst staying very silent. Heck, the DirectCU II based cooler won't even spin with GPU temperatures up-to roughly 67 Degrees C. The card has 4 GB graphics memory, is energy efficient and factory overclocked for you. Oh and hey, it overclocks nicely as well to almost 1500 MHz  on the GPU boost frequency.

The PC market is interesting, it has been on a decline for sure, but here at we've noticed an opposite trend. Gaming PCs are getting more and more popular, much like an American muscle car, or should we say card. We all want a beast of a gaming rig as, let’s face it, PC gaming as an experience is just so much better than anything else out there. Roughly a year and a half ago it became apparent that Nvidia was brewing a new GPU architecture under codename Maxwell. Yes, named after the mathematical physicist. The Maxwell family of GPUs is actually the 10th generation of GPU architecture for Nvidia. With several design goals in mind (higher performance and lower power consumption) Nvidia was hoping to reach 20nm by the time their high-end product would be released. It is now September 2014 and it is abundantly clear that the 20nm nodes are not yet viable for volume production of wafers with huge transistor counts. So Nvidia pretty much had to go with plan B and stuck with 28nm, this makes their silicon sizable, in relative proportions of course. None the less, Nvidia has moved forward and today the 2nd Maxwell based products (GTX 750 was actually the first trial) are being released as GM204 based GPUs. Yes, correct, GM204 and not GM210, meaning Nvidia is once again using the ‘high-end’ and not ‘enthusiast class’ chip to empower the product series we are about to review. Armed with voltage, power and load limiters, Nvidia these days can harvest massive performance out of chips when you think about it. They did the very same with Kepler really, GK104 versus GK110 anyone? So Nvidia certainly is doing something right. Today is testimony to that as we see two products performing in the GTX 780 Ti range of performance, but both will consume much less power. That’s actually a primary feature design target for Maxwell, more performance with less power consumption. The GPU used thus is the 28nm GM204, and the two derivatives created from it are the GeForce GTX 970 and 980. Ah, you noticed? Yes, correct, Nvidia decided to skip the 800 series to avoid confusion with some of their rebranded mobile parts. Maxwell is a new and sound architecture and as such it is released with a new series name. In this article we will have an extensive look at the architecture behind Maxwell, we will look at gaming performance from Full HD to Ultra HD, we will look at power and thermal characteristics and will serve you that on a silver platter with a nice photo-shoot here at, of course. 

In this review we will look at the gaming edition GeForce GTX 980 from ASUS. With a custom PCB, all dark design and the DirectCU Strix cooler the GTX 980 will get all the cooling it needs, with temps reaching a maximum of give or take 70 Degrees C with nice low noise levels. In fact in idle or desktop mode, the fans won't even spin until they reach 67 Degrees C. And how does a 1178 MHz core GPU clock frequency with a 1279 MHz Boost frequency sound eh? tweaked you will reach close to 1450~1500 MHz on this card fairly easily.


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