Update: OCUK has mentioned that the reported information was nothing more than speculation and that their is no hard fact to consider the GeForce GTX 980 less powerful than the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. NVIDIA has proved each passing generation that their flagship cards have out performed the generation released prior to them. Regardless of the specifications, the GeForce GTX 680 which had a smaller memory bus and weaker cores turned out to be faster than its predecessor, the GeForce GTX 580 which was the flagship GF110 based GPU.
There's not reason to believe that just like the GeForce GTX 285, GeForce GTX 480, GeForce GTX 580, GeForce GTX 680 and GeForce GTX 780 Ti before it, the GeForce GTX 980 will be a good percentage faster than its predecessor and will feature a price point of around $499 US. You can still read out the information reported in the article below but do note that the information is not valid and should be discredited to avoid confusion to consumers.
[Original Article] A recent leak by OverclockersUK which Videocardz managed to snag revealed that the GTX 980 will actually be replacing the GTX 780 in Nvidia's stack. It may have seemed quite obvious based on the naming scheme but it's actually not that simple. Remember the GTX 780 ? it debuted at $650 and didn't actually replace the 680 which it succeeded. It came at a $150 higher price point so gamers actually had to pay for the additional performance rather than reap the usual benefits of new generation launches.
So the fact that Nvidia actually intends to slot the GTX 980 right in the 780's place is good news. It means you'll get more performance for your hard earned dollar but it also leaves a very crucial question unanswered... does it outperform the GTX 780 Ti ? and the answer is we don't really know yet !
GTX 980 4GB Replacing 780, Custom Cooled 8GB Versions Coming Out Later
Acoording to the leak we're going to actually be seeing reference designs coming out unlike AMD's R9 285 where only custom cooled versions were released to the channel and very much unlike Nvidia's own GTX 770 and 760 which saw a massive wave of custom cooled designs being released first. So expect a new reference cooler design possibly featuring Nvidia's latest patented turbo fan and the latest Twin Frozr V cooler which MSI teased a few days back.
This quote is taken directly from the leaker.
980 / 970 4GB reference cards with 8GB coming at a later date with custom coolers. Can’t say any more but don’t expect a huge leap in performance over current single GPU stuff.
Performance wise, my lips are sealed on how it compares to 780Ti, but of course 980 is quicker than 780 for sure!
So the leaker warns us not to expect a huge leap in performance with the new GTX 980 & 970 cards over current top end single GPU offerings. Namely the 780 Ti and 290X but also reminds us that the 980 will be replacing the 780 and that it will definitely be faster. Faster cards at the same or perhaps even lower price points is always good news. Remember the GM204 GPU which the GTX 980 & 970 cards are based on isn't actually Nvidia's largest Maxwell, that's the GM200. So Nvidia can come out with really aggressive pricing.