The latest update regarding NVIDIA's Maxwell generation of graphics cards is upon us with Videocardz bringing in first pictures of the reference based GeForce GTX 980. The GeForce GTX 980 will be NVIDIA's flagship graphics of the GeForce 900 series lineup followed by the GeForce GTX 970 and GeForce GTX 960. NVIDIA's GeForce 900 series Maxwell will be tuned for gaming performance delivering performance on par with the GK110 core under 180W for the GeForce GTX 980 and under 150W for the GeForce GTX 970.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 "Maxwell" Pictured - Features NVTTM Cooler
Let's start with the design which is the focus of this leak. NVIDIA is reintroducing their NVTTM cooler on their GeForce 900 series cards. While the GeForce GTX 970 uses a reference design carried over from the GeForce GTX 660/760, the GeForce GTX 980 will make use of an update and denser NVTTM cooler which we have seen on the GeForce GTX Titan Z, GeForce GTX Titan Black, GeForce GTX Titan, GeForce GTX 780 Ti, GeForce GTX 780, GeForce GTX 770 and the GeForce GTX 690. Now the dual chip models have made use of a redesigned version of this cooler, their implementation remains the same and both coolers are the longest running in the graphics industry spanning a good 2 years. The GeForce GTX Titan was the first to introduce the single chip design of this cooler back in February 2013.
The GeForce GTX 980 is making use of an update revision of the 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. The card obviously makes of vapor chamber which is cooler off by a blower fan. We were unable to find the Dual Axial fan design which NVIDIA had patented back a few months and was rumored to be a part of the new graphics card series but I expect the card even as it is will do a great job cooling the card considering it can dissipate heat of up to 275W while GeForce GTX 980 will have a maximum thermal dissipation power of just under 180W. So that's a ton of cooling being supplied to the core and we can expect massive overclocking headroom for a card which is already clocked past the 1050 MHz barrier.
Back to the cooler design, the NVTTM does include some minor changes along the display ports isolating it inside the shroud entirely. One of the changes I like the most is the addition of the backplate which is carried over from the GeForce GTX Titan Z. The card features two SLI Gold fingers which will allow 4-Way SLI Multi GPU functionality. The GeForce GTX 980 is fed power through dual 6-Pin connectors and while there is space for an 8-Pin connector, NVIDIA will just feature two 6-Pin as a reference design leaving its AIB partners to do the rest in the form of custom designs. Display outputs include DVI, HDMI and three display ports which is one reason for the unusually large size of the display connector. The bracket is also updated with a new layout since the cut outs for exhaust look similar to the ones featured on the GeForce GTX Titan Z.
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 voltage controller has been moved below the power connectors and the power delivery includes 5 Phases compared to 6 on the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. At the same time, we can see a large array of VRMs aside the chokes which will deliver unprecedented amount of overclocking performance even on the reference designs.
The GM204 SKU featured on the GeForce GTx 970 fuses 1664 CUDA Cores on the die along with 32 ROPs and 138 TMUs. 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 TMU count is a bit off since the maxwell core architecture holds 8 TMUs per SMX so we were supposed to see 104 TMUs in total instead of 138 so it could be a GPU-Z fault which could mean that these specifications might not be the actual deal.
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. The core clock is maintained at 1051 MHz and 1178 MHz boost clock something which I was expecting if the cards were to be able to take on the GK110 core based graphics cards. Lastly, we have the fill rate numbers which amount to 33.6 GPixels/s Pixel and 145.0 GTexels/s Texture fill rates. The best thing about Maxwell GM204? The chip on the GeForce GTX 970 is reported to feature a TDP of just 148W. Our source confirm that non-reference models may go slightly higher than 150W but if we are seeing Titan like performance from a 150W chip at $399 US, then who needs 20nm?
However, we were updated that the actual price of the GeForce GTX 970 might end up lesser than the $399 US around $349 US. The non-reference models will retail around the $399 US mark while the reference models will cost just $349 US at launch. We are trying to confirm this but if its real, then the GTX 970 may actually be a deal breaker.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 Specifications (What We Know So Far):
|GeForce GTX 470||GeForce GTX 480||GeForce GTX 570||GeForce GTX 580||GeForce GTX 670||GeForce GTX 680||GeForce GTX 770||GeForce GTX 780||GeForce GTX 780 Ti||GeForce GTX 970||GeForce GTX 980|
|SM Units||14 x 32||15 x 32||15 x 32||16 x 32||7 x 192||8 x 192||8 x 192||12 x 192||14 x 192||13 x 128||16 x 128|
|Core Clock||607 MHz||700 MHz||732 MHz||772 MHz||915 MHz||1006 MHz||1046 MHz||863 MHz||875 MHz||1051 MHz||TBC|
|Boost Clock||1215 MHz||1401 MHz (Shader Clock)||1464 MHz||1544 MHz (Shader Clock)||980 MHz||1058 MHz||1085 MHz||900 MHz||928 MHz||1178 MHz||TBC|
|Memory||1.2 GB GDDR5||1.5 GB GDDR5||1.2 GB GDDR5||1.5 GB GDDR5||2 GB GDDR5||2 GB GDDR5||2 GB GDDR5||3 GB GDDR5||3 GB GDDR5||4 GB GDDR5||4 GB GDDR5|
|Memory Clock||3.34 GB/s||3.69 GB/s||3.80 GB/s||4.0 GB/s||6.0 GHz||6.0 GHz||7.0 GHz||6.0 GHz||7.0 GHz||7.0 GHz||7.0 GHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||133.34 GB/s||177.4 GB/s||152.00 GB/s||192.4 GB/s||192.0 GB/s||192.0 GB/s||224.5 GB/s||288.6 GB/s||336.0 GB/s||224.5 GB/s||224.5 GB/s|
|Texture Fill Rate GT/s||34||42||43.92||49.41||102.5||128.8||134||166||210||145.0||TBC|
|Power Connectors||8+6 Pin||8+6 Pin||6+6 Pin||8+6 Pin||6+6 Pin||6+6 Pin||8+6 Pin||8+6 Pin||8+6 Pin||6+6 Pin||6+6 Pin|
|DirectX 12 Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Launch||March 26th 2010||March 26th 2010||December 7th 2010||November 09 2010||May 10th 2012||March 22nd 2012||May 30th 2013||May 23rd 2013||December 2013||September/October 2014||September/October 2014|
|Price||$349 US||$499 US||$349 US||$499 US||$349 US||$499 US||$349 US||$499 US||$699 US||$299 Reference