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Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 G1 Gaming Review

Published by Marc Büchel on 19.09.14 (111359 reads)
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Gigabyte is amongst the select NVIDIA board partners that offer new Maxwell based high-end graphics cards from day one. The GTX 980 G1 Gaming ships with Gigabyte's latest Windforce cooler, which should be well capable of keeping the card cool at low temperatures. Apart from that there is a custom design PCB, so this pixel cannon looks like a really interesting contender.

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Gigabyte is amongst the first Nvidia add-in-card (AIC) partners that have decided to introduce a new custom GTX 980 graphics card that will use NVIDIAs latest and greatest GM204 chip. For this graphics card, Gigabyte makes use of a custom PCB paired up with its own custom Windforce 3X 600W cooler and on the flip-side of the card, there is a backplate with G1 Gaming design. A quick look at the specs also reveals that the card ships factory overclocked.

As always before the launch of a new chip generation from NVIDIA there have been loads of rumors on the specs before the launch. Browsing the specifications of this card we find 2048 CUDA cores, 128 TMUs and 64 ROPs. For comparison reasons, the GTX 780 features 2304 CUDA cores, 192 TMUs and 48 ROPs. This means that NVIDIA cut down the CUDA core count as well as TMU count, but at the same time increased the number of ROPs. Looking for reference clocks we find 1'126 MHz core clock and 1'216 MHz boost clock.

As you can see from the GPU-Z screenshot below, Gigabyte decided to use a rather beefy high factory-overclock on the new GTX 980 G1 Gaming. While the reference GTX 980 with GM204 GPU is set to work at 1'126 MHz for the base clock and 1'216 MHz for the GPU Boost clock, the Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming  runs at 1'228 MHz core clock and 1'329 MHz boost clock.

When it comes to memory clock speeds we see a tiny, 12 MHz frequency boost, which makes the chips run at 7'012 MHz. Combine this with a 256 Bit memory interface and you end up with a total of 224 Gigabyte of memory bandwidth.

While the typical boost clock is set at 1'329 MHz, the maximum boost of 1'380 MHz was achieved quite easily and the GTX 980 G1 Gaming held that clock most of the load time due to the capable Windforce 3X 600W cooler as well as good TDP target (nVidia's Boost technology being power-based and not temperature-based on this card). At this point we also run Furmark to see how high the card overclocks, when the GPU is under full load. This way we can determine a worst case scenario regarding maximum boost clock. With the card we see clocks speeds of 1'354 MHz at 1.175v.


Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 980 GeForce GTX 780
Chip GM204 Maxwell GM204 Maxwell GK110-300 Kepler
Process 28 nm 28 nm 28 nm
Transistors 5.20 billion 5.20 billion 7.10 billion
GPU clock 1'228 MHz 1'126 MHz 863 MHz
GPU Boost clock 1'329 MHz 1'216 MHz 900 MHz
Memory GDDR5 4'096 MB 3'072 MB 3'072 MB
Memory clock 1'753 (7'012) MHz 1'750 (7'000) MHz 1'502 (6'008) MHz
Memory interface 256 Bit 256 Bit 384 Bit
Memory bandwidth 224'000 MB/s 224'000 MB/s 288'400 MB/s
Shader Cores 2'048 (12 SMX) 2'048 (12 SMX) 2'304 (12 SMX)
TMUs 128 128 192
ROPs 64 64 48
TDP >165 Watt 165 Watt 250 Watt
PCB Type Custom Design Reference Design Reference Design
Slots 2 2 2
Cooler WindForce 3X 600W NVIDIA Reference NVIDIA Reference
Launch Price $ $599 $649


Overclocking this card we actually had quite some fun, since you can push this little beast quite high. The highest stable clocks we reached were 1'563 MHz on the GPU and 2'075 MHz on the memory (effective 8'300 MHz). The screenshot below shows you what kind you of score you can get running 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme at these clocks. In order to make the GPU run stably, we had to apply 1.25 volt.

Page 1 - Presentation / Specifications Page 11 - DIRT Showdown
Page 2 - The card Page 12 - Far Cry 3
Page 3 - Photo Gallery / Delivery Page 13 - Sleeping Dogs
Page 4 - Test Setup Page 14 - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Page 5 - 3DMark Fire Strike Page 15 - Metro: Last Light
Page 6 - Unigine Heaven 4.0 Page 16 - GTA V
Page 7 - BattleField 3 Page 17 - Power Consumption
Page 8 - Bioshock Infinite Page 18 - Temperatures / Noise levels
Page 9 - Crysis 3 Page 19 - Performance/Price & Performance/Watt
Page 10 - Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Page 20 - Conclusion

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