ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Strix review

Graphics cards 1049 Page 27 of 27 Published by




I stated a couple of times already that I am a bigger fan of the GeForce GTX 970 card as quite honestly these offer more value for money as their pricing really is terrific. None the less, many of you will like the extra bite of performance that the GTX 980 offers and yeah, ASUS simply has a nice GTX 980 with the Strix at hand. The raw game rendering performance is pretty sweet, the build quality top notch and the DirectCU II based cooling offers a very silent product, and heck it can overclock pretty terrific as well. Combine that with the Nice looks, the 6 and 8-pin power headers and that all new cooler, and yeah we have a winner here. Design wise you either hate or like the looks, nice to see is the included backplate BTW. You can discuss the functionality of it but it is an option that people truly like these days.

Maxwell GM 204 GPU experience overall

Both the GeForce GTX 970 and 980 leave a very solid impression. One offers good, the other exceptional performance within its range. It’s not heaps faster than the aforementioned 780 series though. So I do not expect Geforce 780 range product owners to upgrade anytime soon. However, if you are in say the GeForce GTX 680 range, then this might be a very nice time to jump on-board with a new card. It is interesting to see that 10 years ago performance per generation nearly doubled. With current release schedules we continuously see 20 to 30% performance increases across the board over the last-gen products. That is still respectable as you need to keep in mind that the GM204 is still on 28nm much like Kepler. Injecting more transistors onto a GPU creates yield issues, heat and high power consumption. The GK110 (GTX Titan / Black), whilst being a true beast of a GPU, is testimony to that. With that in mind Nvidia tried to create a product series that is affordable and plays the most high-end and latest games perfectly fine at an acceptable price level. When you look at it from that point of view the Maxwell release is a successful one. This is probably the maximum that Nvidia should and can do on 28nm in terms of improved performance and power consumption versus price.




The reference design of the GTX 970 and 980 are the very same cooling wise. The reference products are set at an offset threshold of 80 degrees C. Once the GPU gets warmer the card will clock down and lower its voltage. 

ASUS improved on that reference design, you can expect the temperature to hover towards 70 Degrees C with hefty games. Remember, that is factory overclocked cooling performance for you. So ASUS shaved off a good 15~20 Degrees C over reference. The cooler looks sturdy and bloke like as well, aesthetically it is a product that is easy on the eyes and will fit any dark and preferably red themed gaming PC quite well. BTW up-to roughly 67 Degrees C, the fans do not even spin, how is that for sheer silence ?

Cooling versus noise levels

We can’t complain, the Strix is just very silent. It is way more cooling compared to what this GPU really needs hence it allows ASUS to pull a trick or two with the Trix. Expect sound pressure values in the 39 to maybe 40 dBA range at max under load and warm circumstances. That's measured 75 CM away from the PC. At best you can slightly hear the card while using them heavily. For those that require sheer silence like yours truly, this is the way to go. And in IDLE or normal desktop PC usage, you will not be able to hear this card.


A nice advantage for the cards is that they now come standard with 4 GB of DDR5 graphics memory, this means gaming sweetness in even the highest resolutions. All games play perfectly at up-to WHQD at 2560x1440, The GeForce GTX 980 is a nice card that certainly offers a nice chunk of performance in that high resolutions, albeit it will fall short here and there if you are at Ultra HD. Overall you can play all the modern and latest games with nice AA levels and excellent image quality, the PC gaming way. GeForce GTX 980 I would recommend with Ultra HD if you can tick off AA, however with upcoming MFAA (pending a driver release) you'll be able to play games quite well with this MSAA equivalent quality AA feature as well. It is a perfect card for gaming up-to 2560x1440.


Without extra voltage tweaking you can expect a 1350~1400 MHz range for the Turbo clock frequency. Depending on how much your board will take and allow, with voltage tweaking you’ll pass the 1450 MHz range. Roughly 1500 MHz on our end works with air-cooling, but it might depend per production batch and also variables like your PC stability, power supply and so on. We ended up at a stable 1481 MHz, which is a crazy clock frequency. But again, our overclock is not a guarantee for your results and if you reverse that, your tweaking results could also be better than ours. The memory is clocked standard at 7.0 GHz, you'll fairly easily achieve 7.5 GHz  and we even reached close to 8.0 GHz stable. My advice is to keep your effective memory data-rate just under 8 GHz for a little more stability, roughly 7962 MHz seems to be a sweet-spot for most cards we have tested. Overall you’ll see a nice gain in extra gaming performance. 

Final Words

ASUS again offers a nice product with the GeForce GTX 980 Strix. The thermals are a little higher than some of the competition, but overall remain pretty good. The Strix also is already tweaked for you, not massively but enough to make a difference. Overall in tweaking matter we pushed the card towards 1.48 GHz on the boost frequency, that was a shy bit lower than some of the competition, but certainly worthy of being called a grand overclock still. You guys will probably want to stick at 1450 MHz anyway on long term tweaking.  Next to all that the card still remains very silent and at cool temperature levels. The product comes with all the features you'd want, from connectivity for your monitor to the performance cooler, from low noise levels to a nice factory overclock and the sheer aesthetics. A nice plus is the lower power consumption, though that alone would obviously not justify an upgrade from the 780 series, but is testimony to less heat and this results in better clock frequencies and higher overclocking results. We consider the GeForce GTX 970 and 980 to be a first run in the new high-end performance cards. It is very likely we’ll see a Ti or even Titan version somewhere down the road. The Maxwell architecture is very sound and proves it can deliver big-time whilst remaining in line power consumption, heat and noise wise and we can only imagine what it would have been like on 20nm.

Wrapping it up, the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Strix edition is another great choice, and choices you'll have a-plenty when shopping for a 980. The model as tested today hovers at roughly 600 EURO at the moment of writing, hence we continuously recommend a GTX 970 for gaming up-to 2560x1440. But sure, the 980 packs a little extra power over the 970. Overall the Strix is looking tasty from all viewpoints, it is a nice little monster owl for Full HD and WHQD PC gaming anno 2014. just flick on all finest image quality settings and get yourself emerged into a quality gaming experience. Very much recommended by and we are awarding the product with a Top pick award.

Related articles

Recommended  Downloads

Sign up to receive a notice when we publish a new article
Or go back to Guru3D's front page

Share this content
Twitter Facebook Reddit WhatsApp Email Print