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Gigabyte GTX980 G1 Gaming Review

Rating: 9.0.

Today we take a look at the custom Gigabyte GTX980 G1 Gaming – the latest in a line of reviews featuring Nvidia’s new game changing Maxwell architecture. The Gigabyte G1 Gaming card ships with a custom cooler and ‘out of the box’ clock enhancements. How does it stack up against the bevy of GTX980 cards we have already analysed?
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The Gigabyte GTX980 G1 Gaming features a new version of the companies proprietary Windforce cooling system. Gigabyte claim to hand pick these overclocked models via a system they refer to as ‘GPU Gauntlet Sorting’.
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Their PR literature highlights a robotic hand which is clearly meant to symbolise the stringent selection process. The European audience tend to find this kind of symbolism amusing, but it must work for an audience in Taiwan. For the purposes of the article we will say that The Terminator hand picked the card and shipped it to us for review today. ‘I need your clothes, your boots and your graphics card.’

The Maxwell architecture has been designed to deliver twice the performance per watt of previous generation Geforce hardware. It sounds easy enough on paper to achieve, but the real world challenges for Nvidia have been complex.

GPU GeForce GTX 680 (Kepler) GeForce GTX 980 (Maxwell) Geforce GTX 970 (Maxwell)
Streaming Multiprocessors 8 16 13
CUDA Cores 1536 2048 1664
Base Clock 1006 mhz 1126 mhz 1050 mhz
GPU Boost Clock 1058 mhz 1216 mhz 1178 mhz
Total Video memory 2GB 4GB 4GB
Texel fill-rate 129 Gigatexels/Sec 144.1 Gigatexels/Sec 109.2 Gigatexels/Sec
Memory Clock 6000 mhz 7000 mhz 7000 mhz
Memory Bandwidth 192 GB/sec 224 GB/sec 224 GB/s
ROPs 32 64 64
Manufacturing Process 28nm 28nm 28nm
TDP 195 watts 165 watts 145 watts

The new GM204 GPU is very efficient. The Maxwell SM has been rebalanced so that the CUDA cores are fully utilised more often. Doing so saves power and enhances overall performance. The L2 cache size in the GM204 is 2MB, or four times larger than the GK104. The addition of extra cache means that fewer requests to the GPU memory are needed – again reducing power consumption and pushing more performance.

The Geforce GTX 980 is equipped with 7Gbps memory. Those of you with higher resolution monitors, or running in a multi screen configuration will also be pleased to hear that there is 4GB of GDDR5 memory on the card, not 3GB – this memory will push 224 GB/s sec. Nvidia have added a new compression engine to reduce the demand on DRAM bandwidth.

The Gigabyte GTX980 G1 Gaming has received a core clock enhancement to 1,228mhz, from 1,126mhz on the reference design. The GDDR5 memory is shipped at the default clock speeds of 1,753mhz (7Gbps effective).

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