The Complete Maxwell Roundup – Geforce GTX 980 and GTX 970 AIB Variants Compared

Usman Pirzada
Posted Oct 4, 2014
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If you are one of those enthusiasts hoping to upgrade to Nvidia’s Maxwell GPUs and can’t make up your mind on which variant to buy, fear not, for we have come to your aid. Following our tradition, here is the awesome aggregation post featuring, and comparing different AIB Variants of Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 980 and Geforce GTX 970. These will span across EVGA, ASUS, Gigabyte, Galax and Zotac among others. We have decided to not include pricing since that seems to fluctuate constantly and varies across different retailers. However, we have noticed that on average Amazon is nearly always cheaper than Newegg.NVIDIA Maxwell GM204

Nvidia Geforce GTX 970 AIB Custom Variant Comparison

We will start with the smaller GM204 first, namely the Geforce GTX 970. The 970 has an MSRP of just $329 US. NVIDIA’s GeForce GX 970 features 13 SMM units placed in 4 GPC (Graphics Processing Clusters). Since each SMM unit has 128 CUDA cores, 32 in each logic unit (32 x 4), the total number of CUDA cores equates to 1664 on the die. From the first generation Maxwell core architecture, we learned that a Maxwell SMM (Streaming Multiprocessor Maxwell) unit has 128 cores compared to 192 on the current generation Kepler SMX units. The specifications equate to a total of 1664 CUDA Cores, 104 TMUs and 64 ROPs.

Along with that, we have a 4 GB GDDR5 memory running across a 256-Bit memory interface clocked at 1753 MHz (7.00 GHz Effective) which pumps out 224.4 GB/s bandwidth. Display ports on the reference models are DVI, HDMI and three display ports. The card uses HDMI 2.0 technology and will be powered by dual 6-Pin connectors and will be fully compatible with Nvidia G-Sync. Shown below is the gallery and the clock speed, memory clock,  form factor (2.5 slots have been counted as 3 slots) comparison table.

 

WCCFTech.comNvidia Geforce GTX 970 AIB Comparison Table
ModelCore Clock/ Turbo ClockMemory clockCooler
Asus GTX 970
Strix
1114/1253 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
EVGA GTX 970
ACX
1050/1178 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
EVGA GTX 970
ACX 2.0
1050/1178 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
EVGA GTX 970
ACX SuperClocked
1165/1317 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
EVGA GTX 970
SuperClocked ACX 2.0
1165/1317 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
EVGA GTX 970
FTW ACX 2.0
1216/1367 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
Gainward GTX 9701050/1178 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan
Gainward GTX 970
Phantom
1152/1304 MHz3500 MHzTriple Slot, Dual Fan
Galax GTX 9701050/1178 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan
Galax GTX 970
EX OC
1126/1266 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
Gigabyte GTX 970
Gaming G1
1178/1329 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Triple Fan
Inno3D GTX 970
X2 Hérculez
1088/1228 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
MSI GTX 970
Gaming 4G
1140/1279 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
Palit GTX 9701050/1178 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan
Palit GTX 970
JetStream
1152/1304 MHz3500 MHzTriple Slot, Dual Fan
Zotac GTX 9701076/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
Zotac GTX 970
AMP! Extreme
1203/1355 MHz3600 MHzTriple Slot, Triple Fan
Zotac GTX 970
AMP! Omega
1102/1241 MHz3522 MHzTriple Slot, Dual Fan

You might have noticed that we have not included price in the table. The reason for that is that this is something that is constantly changing and fluctuating as cards run out, and the demand-supply rules work their magic. However, as we mentioned above, on nearly every instance Amazon seems to be nearer the MSRP than Newegg or any other retailer. An interesting thing to note is that with 970s almost no AIB has a reference edition. As you can see in the comparison table the Zotac GTX 970 AMP! Extreme takes the performance crown as the AIB performance king with the EVGA GTX 970 FTW ACX 2.0 following in the runners up position. Though the FTW has a higher boost clock, the Zotac GTX 970 AMP! Extreme has +100 Mhz on the memory clock which is much more significant.

Nvidia Geforce GTX 980 AIB Custom and Reference Variant Comparison

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 is the flagship GeForce 900 series offering and the fastest Maxwell card to launch in the market. The 980 include 2048 CUDA Cores, 128 TMUs, 64 ROPs. The memory is clocked in at 7 GHz effective clock which results in 224 GB/s bandwidth. The TDP of the card is set at 165W while the power is fed through dual 6-Pin power connectors. The PCB has been modified to a more brute design, NVIDIA can be seen using eight Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 128M x 32. A total of eight of these modules have been featured which equate to 4 GB GDDR5 VRAM across a 256-bit bus.  The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 will retail at $549 US. Once again, given below is the gallery and the clock speed, memory clock,  form factor (2.5 slots have been counted as 3 slots) comparison table.

WCCFTech.comGeforce GTX 980 AIB Comparison Table
ModelCore Clock/ Turbo ClockMemory clockCooler
Asus GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Asus GTX 980
Strix
1178/1279 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
EVGA GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
EVGA GTX 980
SuperClocked
1241/1342 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Gainward GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Galax GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Galax GTX 980
SOC
? /? MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Triple Fan
Gigabyte GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Gigabyte GTX 980
G1 Gaming
1228/1366 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Triple Fan
Inno3D GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Inno3D GTX 980
iChill Air Boss
1228/1329 MHz3600 MHzTriple Slot, Single Fan
MSI GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
MSI GTX 980
Gaming
1216/1317 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Dual Fan
Palit GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Zotac GTX 9801126/1216 MHz3500 MHzDual Slot, Single Fan (Ref)
Zotac GTX 980
AMP! Extreme Edition
1291/1393 MHz3600 MHzTriple Slot, Triple Fan
Zotac GTX 980
AMP! Omega Edition
1202/1304 MHz3522 MHzTriple Slot, Dual Fan

This time however, we notice something very interesting. While as the GTX 970 variants were entirely non-reference in design, the GTX 980 AIB variants are in majority based on the official Nvidia OEM. The reference design of the GeForce GTX 980 is making use of an update revision of the NVTTM cooler introduced on the GeForce GTX Titan Black with a all black naming logo etched on the shroud near the I/O plate and a all black heatsink which can be spotted from the mirror cut out in the center of the shroud. We can see the trademark vapor chamber which is cooler off by a blower fan. Do consider the fact that the same cooler was capable of dissipating 275W and that the  GeForce GTX 980 will have a maximum thermal dissipation power of just under 170W. This allows for overclocking headroom even on reference designs.

The crown once again goes to the Zotac GTX 980 AMP! Extreme edition which boost clocks at an absolutely insane 1393 Mhz. That is a 1.4Ghz core clock on air, Holy Cow. And thats not all, the familiar +100 Mhz on the memory clock comes too. I would kill to review this card, but I doubt I an score a test sample from Zotac this late from the launch. Ah well, at any rate, now you guys know how the AIBs stack up against each other and which card to go for if you want the best GTX 980 or 970 out there: Zotac AMP! Extreme Edition. Although to be fair, I am pretty sure with an after market cooler and some high quality TIM, you should be able to hit 1.45Ghz+ on most cards, whichever you may go for.

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