ASUS turns the GTX 980 up to eleven

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Right up until Nvidia’s Titan X became a thing, its GTX 980 was its premium enthusiast-level card. Based on the company’s Maxwell GM204 core (the same one that powers its 970), the card packs  2048 CUDA Cores, 128 TMUs and 64 ROPs. It also has 4 GB (No, really!) of GDDR5 memory running across a 256-bit interface. It’s rather powerful card, with a rather hefty price tag. Not content, Asus has turned the 980 to 11 with its new 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GeForce GTX 980 – which marks the company’s 20th year making graphics cards.

It features a custom-designed PCB, some swanky cooling – and a rather substantial factory overclock. The core clocks are maintained at 1317 MHz (reference) and 1431 MHz (boost) frequencies, which borders on the insane for a factory clock – but Maxwell is rather efficient, and well suited to clocks that high.  Memory clocks remain untouched at  7 GHz, but the extra cooling afforded by ASUS design allow tinkerers to push it to 8GHZ.

Here are the specs at a glance:

ASUS GeForce GTX 980 20th Anniversary Gold Edition Specifications:

  • Nvidia GTX 980 GPU with 1317/1421 MHz GPU Boost Clock
  • 4GB, 7010 MHz (effective) GDDR5
  • 3 x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x dual-link DVI-I display outputs
  • DirectCU II with 0dB fan technology
  • ROG color-coded load Indicator
  • ROG Edition GPU Tweak
  • DirectCU II cooler with CoolTech fan, 10mm matt-black heatpipes
  • Extreme OC Features: Memory Defroster, Safe Mode,
  • DIGI+ VRM power control with 14-phase Super Alloy Power and Black Metallic capacitors.

We have no idea what the thing will cost, though the current estimates say about $600, excluding US sales tax. While that may equate to about R8000 in direct conversion, it’s far more likely we’d see the card retail locally for at least double that – which, much like Asus’ own GTX 980 Matrix, doesn’t make a great deal of market sense.

It’s an especially hard sell given that there could be – as rumours suggest – a new GTX 980Ti, based off of the GM200 that powers that Titan X. Rumoured specs for that include the full 3,074 CUDA cores and 6GB of RAM, coming in at a similar price point. Still, it’s hard to deny that it is one heck of a sexy card…like a 980 Matrix with a dash of bling.

Last Updated: April 1, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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