GTX 980 specs also (sort of) revealed

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Last week the specifications for Nvidia’s new, smaller 900-series card were apparently locked down by a very credible rumour. We’re literally two days way from seeing Nvidia reveal something formally, but that hasn’t prevented the supposedly final specs of the GTX 980 from leaking.

And to be entirely honest, they’re a little disappointing. At least if you were hoping for a massive leap forward.

For a while now it’s looked more and more likely that Nvidia is targeting power efficiency rather than massive performance gains with their 900-series. Which means if you’re the lucky owner of a late 700-series card, you might already have 900-series performance (or at least very close). That’s even more evident when you look at what the GTX 980 brings to the table.

The 980 will host 2048 Maxwell cores, with a core clock speed of around 1000MHz and a boost clock of 1127MHz. As rumored before, the 980 will feature 4GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit memory bus, although other leaks suggest that another variant will feature double that. When you put that up against the GTX 780Ti, you’re looking at near identical performance at stock clock speeds, albeit at a cheaper price.

The card will also be far less power hungry, featuring the same to 6-pin connections as the GTX 970. The leak speculates that the maximum power draw of the card will not be above 180 watts, which is almost unbelievably low. That may be a little higher in real testing, but there’s no doubt what Nvidia’s main focus is here.

Read  GTX 1070 Ti Founder’s Edition review–Impressively fast, confusing price

Which is, again, sad for those used to upgrading with each new series. However, it is fantastic news for people like me, who are still stuck on an old, aging 500-series card. Slightly better GTX 780Ti performance at a lower cost? I’m practically sold.

Last Updated: September 16, 2014

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Nvidia must be loving all these “leaks”.

    • JJ the Reus

      What heartless person could be leaking all these things that cause them so many problems?

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        I know. All that excitement building, terrible.

  • Ross Woofels Mason

    Personally I think it’s about time the concentrated on making the cards more efficient than powerful. PC graphics for those lucky enough to top range cars already wipes the floor even with ps4 and xb1 which quite frankly produce stunning graphics.

    So IMO there’s no need for the massive leaps we have been seeing with previous upgrades.

    • K4te

      For gaming at 1920×1080, I’d agree.
      But 2560×1440 (like 77% larger than 1080p), and 3840×2160 (400% larger than 1080p) resolutions are here *now*, at prices dropping into the reasonable range, for those who are buying currently marketed monitors or tv’s with low input lag. There’s also the multi-monitor crowd, which typically run 300% the resolution of 1080p.

      Even two of the best current graphics cards struggle to play modern high end games at those resolutions at good frame rates. I don’t think even 4 quad-sli Titan Black’s (that’s $4000 worth of GPU) could push 4k resolution at 120fps in more graphically challenging games. So there is definitely a market for a stronger top-end graphics card. Particularly in the mainstream pricing model (ie: not a titan series).

      If these cards have 3 x DP1.2 and 1 x HDMI 2.0 (both of which allow 4k resolution at 60fps) and their low power consumption allows for either A) very large overclocking headroom) or B) a much more powerful 980ti version with 8gb, about 25% more cudas, and perhaps even a 512 bit ram bus, or ideally “both A and B”… then the 900 series will prove very interesting, just not on launch day.

      It does seem like the reference cards on launch day though will offer nothing of interest for those who want more graphics processing power. Most estimates put the 980 on par with a 780ti, and the 970 on par with a regular 780. But I would love to see modern connection ports, and I do expect the lower power 900’s will have more overclocking headroom, and the relatively modest stats on the card should allow for a great deal more powerful variant to come out eventually. We (those who do want more graphics processing) are just annoyed that we’ve waited a pretty long time for something more powerful, and it appears we’ll continue waiting a while, as no one with a 780 or 780ti has any reason whatsoever to spend their money on the 900 series on launch day.

      • Ross Woofels Mason

        Yeah fair enough that’s true. Just for the average enthusiast gamer and not the guys who are IT NEEDS MORE POWER OAO! mad scientist types (which I am presuming there more of the regular chap), 1080 is fine.

        So I still say them skipping the insane power boosts till their next set of cards until 2560 or 3840 starts becoming the norm.

        I still see the average pc gamer playing in 1080 for quite some time and console guys have no option =p

  • th3SiCn3ss

    go red team!!!!!

    • Admiral Chief Assassin

      XD

    • K4te

      hehe, i’m not really red or green team myself, more an openminded rainbow hehe. But right now, I think red team owns the high end with the dual gpu R9 295×2, recently marked down to $999. Which beats any ‘titan’ type card in price/performance by a wide margin, and as a solo card is probably stronger than any crossfire or SLI settup. And of course if you have a nuclear power plant in your computer room, you could generate enough electricity to crossfire more than one 295X2 😛

      But if you’re at more of a $600 pricepoint, then green team has the best option in the 780ti over a 290x.

      Of course if your favorite game is one of the handful of games that takes advantage of AMD’s “Mantle” instruction set (like most notably BF4), then red is the only real option.

      Green really needs a big hit, maybe they’ll release a 990 for xmas? Any way you look at it though, fierce competition between red & green is good for everybody 🙂 I wish the high-end CPU market was as closely competitive.

  • Uberutang

    Mmm, tempted to flog my 2 x 670’s to get one 979 or 980 just to save on power

  • Viking Of Science

    Still saving up for the new build, a 900 series may be a option at that time…. 😀

  • SHREDDER

    Yes for me that i have a 560 ti and i aam going to upgrade now as next year some games are coming that will not run maxed. Yes i will buy 980 or 970 for sure

  • SHREDDER

    iti s perfect for all of us who still have a gtx 500 card

  • Garrett Miller

    If this thing costs $600 as reported, then I’ll be waiting for the “big” version to come out. Anymore than $500 and it’s not really worth getting right away. Especially the 8GB model that I plan on purchasing.

    • K4te

      I’d be interested in an 8GB model too, and it’s got to have HDMI 2.0. I need to upgrade my graphics card pretty badly, but I wanted to get a single card ‘now’ that’s powerful enough that I can later SLI/Crossfire and do 4k/60fps at relatively high settings. It’ll be about a year I think before I find a 40-50 inch 4k TV (28″ 4k monitors are a waste of resolution), WITH low input lag, in the right price range… But I’d like to plan ahead into that settup.

      6-8GB of ram would help a lot with 4k resolution gaming. When you SLI/CF, the extra ram of the second card contains only a duplicate of the data in the ram of the first card, so the amount of ram in your first card is the total functional graphics ram in your system (two 4GB cards in SLI does not give you 8GB of graphics ram, just a pair of redundant 4GB ram sets). Even dual GPU cards suffer from this, so the “8GB” 295×2 card only has 4GB of “functional” ram, 4 per GPU, mirrored.

      Having an 8GB card would go a long way to helping 4k performance when i later add a second card and get a 4k screen.

  • Joschua Loth

    “However, it is fantastic news for people like me, who are still stuck on an old, aging 500-series card.”
    Same here. With that powereffiency and relatively low cost, I’ll finally move from laptop to desktop. I’m not even able to IMAGE how big of a improve the 970 or 980 will be, compared to my gt 555m.

  • MakeItLegal

    cant wait to have an excuse to have an sli setup , Ryse almost wants me to do it , but 4gig of Gpu would seem to handle it , patiently waiting for ddr4…cant wait to build my next rig for 4k gaming !

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