GALAX GeForce GTX 980 SOC - A GALAX not so far away !
We review the GALAX GeForce GTX SOC edition located under SKU code 98NQH6DNC7VZ. SOC is short for Super Overclocked, and that certainly is the case. Armed with sturdy looks, based on a custom PCB and a third party cooler the guys behind KFA2 and Galaxy have introduced this gaming weaponry to get you through the Christmas season. The card has 4 GB graphics memory and comes factory tweaked for you. Oh and hey, it overclocks nicely as well as we even pass 1500 MHz on the GPU boost frequency.
'Um Hilbert... 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.
Alright, back to the review. The PC market is dynamic, it has been on a decline for sure, but here at Guru3D.com 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 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 SOC Gamer edition at speeds of a whopping 1228 MHz core and 1329 MHz GPU Boost, that's boom-boom-POW man! They left the memory at a reference speed of 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective) memory (reference is 1127/1216/7000 MHz) clocks. With a custom PCB, all dark design and transparent red colored fans (French accent ->'Bordeaux red') and a pretty nifty cooler the GTX 980 will get all the cooling it needs. While temps stick at roughly 70 Degrees C, the noise levels are really OK. Armed with a two year warranty this SOC edition is like 15 bucks more expensive opposed to the reference design only, as with an etail price of roughly 550 EURO this is one of the more interesting models available on the market. 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.
But first an 'ooh nice' moment...