Meet the Hoff
In this review we test the GALAX GeForce GTX HOF edition. No not David Hasselhoff or 'the Hoff', but HOF as in Hall Of Fame. The card is beautiful in design with a snow white theme; it is also the fastest factory clocked product that we have tested to date. Get this; the card is boosting at over 1400 MHz with its default settings. Armed with impressive looks, based on a custom PCB and a third party cooler the guys behind KFA2 and Galaxy introduce this gaming graphics card.
So let me do this bit (again) first -- GALAX? - Yes man, KFA2 and Galaxy made a drastic change, the two brands (naming wise) ceased to exist. Galaxy Technology and KFA2 merged into one single brand, GALAX. Same products, same quality and same warranty, but a different name.
From what was “Galaxytech” and its European brand “KFA2”, we now bring you “GALAX”; a merger that can offer a single unified brand world wide, making it possible to offer our world wide customer base the exact same product portfolio, service and consumer awareness.
Founded in 1994, GALAXY has built its reputation as the behind-the-scenes designer and manufacturer of many of the most popular OEM-branded graphic card products on the market. We are dedicated to creating a custom user experience and believe that each of our products needs to fit its owner, not the other way around. What we make is not merely the product of focus group tests, but rather the results of observing and honoring the way individuals choose to interact with technology. Since 2000 we have introduced numerous critically-acclaimed product series, "Hall of Fame" The aim of HOF is simple: To make a series of graphics cards with the best components available that is able to enter the 3DMark Hall Of Fame. Our aim is to produce performance products that help to enhance the escapist in games, to heighten the perception of play and help contribute a performance level that is unsurpassed.
Our customers guide everything we do at Galax, and it’s this commitment that defines the company. GALAX will continue providing all current levels of service and support to all Galaxy/KFA2 customers, and will of course honor all Galaxy/KFA2 warranties to their full extent.
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 October 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 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. A primary feature design target for Maxwell is 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.
GALAX ships the GeForce GTX 980 the 'HoF' edition at speeds of an amazing 1304 MHz on the GPU core and is has a 1418 MHz GPU Boost, yup! They left the memory at a reference speed of 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory. To get you an idea, the reference cards are clocked in at 1127 GPU / 1216 Boost / 7000 Memory MHz clocks.
So are you guys ready to meet the Hof ?
Okay, be warned .. i'll make some Hoff puns through the review. So with a white colored custom 10-layer PCB with 8+2 phases, an all snow white design and you guessed it, white colored fans the HoF is all customized with a big-ass three slot cooler. Galax calls this cooler their 'Triple Force Cooler'. Temps sit under or just at 70 Degrees C, the noise levels are silent OK. 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 Guru3D.com, of course.
Okay Knight Rider Hoff / Hof puns aside, meet the real 'Hof' ...