Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980 is a non-reference factory overclocked variant of the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 that was reviewed a long time ago. In comparison with the reference edition, the GPU cooler has multiple changes and would appeal to a good deal of end users. The metal backplate and the triple fan casing is one of the changes, but as the card gets opened, you will see a lot of cooling options that would keep this card away from few GPU maker’s non-reference counterparts.
- Packaging, Contents and Specification
The front packaging has the Gigabyte’s G1 Gaming logo, along with some of the feature listings. Along with the out-of-box-overclocked setting, Gigabyte claims that its WindForce 3X cooling system can dissipate heat from a graphic card that consumes up to 600w. The card is protected with two layers of boxes and a foam blck to prevent any possible physical damage. Its always good to see a product being packed properly to ensure that the card doesn’t get damaged due to transit from the factory to your system. The card is properly packed in an anti-static bag.
Chipset GeForce GTX 980 Core Clock Base / Boost clock：1228 /1329 MHz Process Technology 28 nm Memory Clock 7Gbps Memory Size 4 GB Memory Bus 256 bit Memory Type GDDR5 Card Bus PCI-E 3.0 DirectX 12 OpenGL 4.4 PCB Form ATX Digital max resolution 4096 X 2160 Analog max resolution 2048 x 1536 Multi-view 4 I/O Dual-link DVI-I / DVI-D / DisplayPort*3 / HDMI*1 Card size L=312mm, W=129mm, H=43mm Power requirement 600W(with two 8-pin external power connectors)
- Closer Look
Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980 4G card is a longer, broader card [312mm (L) x 129 mm (H)] compared to the reference counterpart [266.7 mm (L) x 111.15 mm (H)] and a noticeably bit heavier card compared to the reference version. The GPU also uses a 3 fan cooling setup with a long 5x 8mm thick copper heat pipe and 1x 6mm thick copper heat pipe with a big fin stack design covered by a metal shroud like we’ve seen with Zotac GTX 780Ti Extreme AMP! Edition. Unlike the reference version, the card has a full metal backplate and shroud for the heatsink and the fans. The “WindForce” logo has a blue LED backlit which can have either solid or different effects that can be changed via Nvidia GeForce experience’s ‘LED Visualizer’.
- Test Setup and Methodology
Hardware BBQ gets a very minimum support from hardware manufacturers since we have a no-strings-attached policy, and ended up blacklisting even tier 1 brands for improper misconduct. But thanks to a handful of companies who value the importance and benefits of providing components for the test bench, we do what we’re good at with the resources at hand. I would like to thank:
- Gigabyte India for providing Gigabyte 890GPA UD3H Rev 1.0 motherboard
- Kingston Taiwan for providing hardware support with memory kits and SSD drive.
- WD India for providing WD 300GB HLFS Velociraptor Hard Drive and 4x WD Red 3TB NAS drives
- Coolermaster India for providing Coolermaster GX450 RS-450-ACAA-D3 Power Supply
- 3DMark (2013): Sky Diver, Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme Presets
- 3DMark 11: Performance and Xtreme Preset
- 3Dmark Vantage: High and Performance Preset
- Cinebench 11.5 and Cinebench R15
- Unigine Benchmark: Heavens 3.0 with 3 presets and Sanctuary v2.3 2 presets
- Batman: Arkham City with 3 presets
- Hitman Absolution with 3 presets
- Metro 2033 with 2 presets
- Shadows of Mordor with 4 presets
- Sleeping Dogs with 3 presets
- Sniper Elite V2 with 3 presets
- Dirt 3 with 4 Presets
- 3DMark: Sky Diver, Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme
- Shadows of Mordor with 4 presets
- 3DMark (2013) Benchmark
- 3DMark Sky Diver is a DirectX 11 benchmark for gaming laptops and mid-range PCs. Use 3DMark Sky Diver to benchmark systems with mainstream graphics cards, mobile GPUs, or integrated graphics. It is especially suitable for DirectX 11 systems that cannot achieve more than single-digit frame rates in the more demanding Fire Strike test. Sky Diver is only available in the Windows editions at this time.
- Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today.
- 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme is an enhanced version of Fire Strike designed for high-end multi-GPU systems (SLI / Crossfire) and future hardware generations.
- 3DMark 11 Benchmark
- The Performance Preset is included in all editions and is the most suitable test for benchmarking DirectX 11 video cards in many PCs. It runs in 1280 x 720 (720p).
- The Extreme preset, included in the Advanced and Professional Editions, runs at 1920 x 1080 (1080p) resolution with settings designed to stress high-end gaming PCs.
- 3DMark Vantage Benchmark
- OpenGL Benchmark Cinebench 11.5
- OpenGL Benchmark Cinebench R15
- Heavens 3.0 Benchmark
- Sanctuary v2.3 Benchmark
- Heavens 4.0 Benchmark
- Game Benchmark: Batman- Arkham City
- Game Benchmark: Hitman- Absolution
- Game Benchmark: Metro 2033
- Game Benchmark: Shadows of Mordor
- Game Benchmark: Sleeping Dogs
- Game Benchmark: Sniper Elite V2
- Game Benchmark: Dirt 3
- OC Performance Analysis- 3DMark Benchmark
- OC Performance Analysis- Shadows of Mordor
- Excellent non-reference cooling design
- Metal Backplate
- Factory overclocked
- Potential for manual overclocking
- Easy-to-use BIOS flash utility @BIOS
- Stays cool even at load with high closed case ambient temperatures
- Fan is audible at 65% fan speed and above
- No factory overclocks for memory clock
- Gigabyte VGA’s GPU overclocking interface takes some time to get used to.
- Online Purchase Links
Whether its worth the money or not is your choice, here is the review of the G1 Gaming GTX 980.
Underneath the card, there’s an envelope with an instruction manual, an installation disk and 2 Molex to 8 pin PCIe power adapter. It will seem redundant to include a PCIe power adapter at a time when practically all well known and good enough power supplies have 1 or more 8 pin PCIe connector. Providing an output adapter wouldn’t make much sense either since this card comes with DVI-I, DVI-D, 3x DisplayPort and HDMI. Usually, GPU makers provide either one of the two or both. Maybe Gigabyte and other GPU makers could consider bundling a GPU support which can be used in many mid towers.
But there have been times when users want a good looking case badge. Motherboard makers provide a metal finish case badge. Noctua does the same with its CPU coolers and some case makers do the same. I am sure all VGA card makers should be able to do the same. Braggin’ power!!
The specifications are as follows:
The GPU’s output connectors are as same as the reference GTX 980– 2x dual-link DVI, 3x DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0. The card requires additional power via 2x 8 pin PCIe power connector.
The card’s design looks pretty good to look at. Even the backplate has passive vents done in the way that it compliments the shroud’s design. Along with a total of 6x copper heat pipes, there’s a special fan design that enhances cooling according to Gigabyte VGA.
Once the heatsink is removed, the internal PCB shows that the Maxwell core is surrounded with 8x SK Hynix H5GQ4H24MFR memory ICs, 8 phase Magic R15 phase, along with all Japanese solid caps, low resistance MOSFETs and ferrite core metal chokes.
|Test Setup for:||Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 980 4G|
|Processor + CPU Cooler+ MB||Intel i7 4790K + Noctua NH-U14S + Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming GT|
|GPU Drivers||Nvidia GeForce 350.05 WHQL Drivers|
|Memory||Kingston 16GB KHX24C11T3K2/16X 2400MHz DDR4 Memory|
|Primary OS drive||SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD + WD Red 3TB WD30EFRX NAS Drive|
|Power Supply||Corsair TX750|
|Chassis||Lian Li A70F Full Tower PC Case|
The Benchmarks are as follows:
According to Futuremark’s description:
“Can your PC handle the world’s first 4K gaming benchmark? Fire Strike Ultra’s 4K UHD rendering resolution is four times larger than the 1080p resolution used in Fire Strike.
A 4K monitor is not required, but your graphics card must have at least 3GB of memory to run this monstrously demanding benchmark.”
Overclocked Performance Analysis:
Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980 4G’s core has 1228 MHz base clock/ 1329 MHz boost clock and memory clock at 1753 MHz. I was able to overclock the card further and get it to stable in all benchmarks with 1350MHz (9.93% overclocked) base clock/ 1451 boost clock (9.17%) overclock and 1943 MHz memory clock (10.83%) boost.
If you compare the factory overclocked G1 Gaming with reference GTX 980, there is a 9.05% boost. But when comparing the manual overclocked G1 Gaming GTX 980 against reference counterpart with the base clock of 1126 MHz, that’s a total of 19.89% boost in base clock speed.
Judging by the graphics score in all the above tests between the reference GTX 980 and Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980, there is a very noticeable boost in performance.
Same is the case with 3DMark 11.
In this older DirectX 10 based benchmark, G1 Gaming GTX 980 takes a very good advantage of the core boost compared to its reference counterpart.
There’s 23.87% boost in performance between these GTX 980 cards.
Cinebench R15 reflects 18.46% performance boost.
Preset 2- API: DX11; Tessellation: Normal; Shaders: Medium; Anisotropy: 4X; Anti-Aliasing: 2x
Preset 3- API: DX11; Tessellation: Extreme; Shaders: High; Anisotropy: 16x; Anti-Aliasing: 8x
Preset 1- API: DX11; Ambient Occlusion: ON; Shaders: High; Anisotropy: 4x; Anti-Aliasing: 2x
Preset 2- API: DX11; Ambient Occlusion: ON; Shaders: High; Anisotropy: 16x; Anti-Aliasing: 8x
Preset 1- Quality: Medium; Tessellation: disabled; Anti-Aliasing: off
Preset 2- Quality: High; Tessellation: normal; Anti-Aliasing: 8X
Preset 3- Quality: Ultra; Tessellation: extreme; Anti-Aliasing: 8x
Preset 1- AA: Disabled; DX11 Features: off; DX11 Tessellation: Off; Detail Level: Very High; Dynamic Shadows: No; Motion Blur: No; Distortion: No; Lens Flares: No; Light Shafts: No; Reflections: No; Ambient Occlusion: No; PhysX: Off
Preset 2- AA: FXAA (medium); DX 11 Features: MVSS and HBAO; DX 11 Tessellation: Normal; Detail Level: Very High; Dynamic Shadows: Yes; Motion Blur: No; Distortion: No; Lens Flare: Yes; Light Shafts: Yes; Reflections: Yes; Ambient Occlusion: Yes; PhysX: Off
Preset 3- AA: 8x MSAA; DX 11 Features: MVSS and HBAO; DX 11 Tessellation: High; Detail Level: Very High; Dynamic Shadows: Yes; Motion Blur: No; Distortion: No; Lens Flare: Yes; Light Shaft: Yes; Reflections: Yes; Ambient Occlusion: Yes; PhysX: Off
There is a very good boost in performance observed in Batman: Arkham Asylum (24.63% in Preset 1. 23.87% boost in preset 2 and 22.48% with preset 3).
Preset 1- Quality Level: Medium; Shadow Quality: Medium; Level of Detail: Medium; Texture Quality: Normal; Depth of Field: Medium; Texture Filter: Anisotropic 2x; SSAO: Normal; Reflections: Medium; FXAA: On; Global Illumination: Off; Tessellation: Off
Preset 2- Quality Level: High; Shadow Quality: High; Level of Detail: High; Texture Quality: High; Depth of Field: High; Texture Filter: Anisotropic 8x; SSAO: High; Reflections: High; FXAA: On; Global Illumination: On; Tessellation: On
Preset 2- Quality Level: Ultra; Shadow Quality: Ultra; Level of Detail: Ultra; Texture Quality: Ultra; Depth of Field: High; Texture Filter: Anisotropic 16x; SSAO: High; Reflections: High; FXAA: On; Global Illumination: On; Tessellation: On
The factory overclocked card didn’t make any difference against GTX 980 reference version for Hitman Absolution. Strange!
Preset 1- DirectX: 11; Quality: Medium; Anti-Aliasing: MSAA 4X; Texture Filtering: AF 4X; DOF: Off
Preset 2- DirectX: 11; Quality: Very High; Anti-Aliasing: MSAA 4X; Texture Filtering: AF 16X; DOF: On
For Metro 2033, there’s barely a boost in performance between the reference and the non-reference GTX 980.
Preset 1- Graphic Quality: Low; Lighting Quality: Low; Mesh Quality: Medium; Motion Blur: Off; Shadow Quality: Low; Texture Filtering: Low; Texture Quality: Low; Ambient Occlusion: Off; Vegetation Range: Low; DOF: Off; Order Independent Transparency: Off; Tessellation: Off
Preset 2- Graphic Quality: High; Lighting Quality: High; Mesh Quality: High; Motion Blur: Camera and Objects; Shadow Quality: High; Texture Filtering: High; Texture Quality: High; Ambient Occlusion: Medium; Vegetation Range: High; DOF: On; Order Independent Transparency: On; Tessellation: On
Preset 3- Graphic Quality: Very High; Lighting Quality: High; Mesh Quality: Ultra; Motion Blur: Camera and Objects; Shadow Quality: High; Texture Filtering: Ultra; Texture Quality: High; Ambient Occlusion: Medium; Vegetation Range: Ultra; DOF: On; Order Independent Transparency: On; Tessellation: On
Preset 3- Graphic Quality: Ultra; Lighting Quality: High; Mesh Quality: Ultra; Motion Blur: Camera and Objects; Shadow Quality: Ultra; Texture Filtering: Ultra; Texture Quality: Ultra; Ambient Occlusion: High; Vegetation Range: Ultra; DOF: On; Order Independent Transparency: On; Tessellation: On
The low preset takes a good advantage of the factory overclocked graphic card, therefore giving a boost of up to 21.87%. In its ultra setting (preset 4), there’s only 7.49% boost.
Preset 1- Anti-Aliasing: Normal; High-Res Textures: Off; Shadow Resolution: Off; Shadow Filtering: Normal; Ambient Occlusion: Normal; V-Sync: Off; Motion Blur: Off; World Density: Normal; FPS Limiter: Off; 3D Depth: 1; 3D Convergence: 10
Preset 2- Anti-Aliasing: High; High-Res Textures: Off; Shadow Resolution: Normal; Shadow Filtering: Normal; Ambient Occlusion: Normal; V-Sync: Off; Motion Blur: Off; World Density: High; FPS Limiter: Off; 3D Depth: 10; 3D Convergence: 10
Preset 3- Preset 2- Anti-Aliasing: Extreme; High-Res Textures: On; Shadow Resolution: High; Shadow Filtering: High; Ambient Occlusion: High; V-Sync: Off; Motion Blur: Off; World Density: Extreme; FPS Limiter: Off; 3D Depth: 10; 3D Convergence: 10
For some reason, Sleeping Dogs didn’t perform the way I hoped it would. There’s a 7.57% gain with preset 3.
Preset 1: Texture Detail: Low; Shadow Detail: Low; Draw Distance: Low; AF: off; Motion Blur: off; Shader: On; Advance Shadows: off; Super Sampling: 0
Preset 2: Texture Detail: High; Shadow Detail: High; Draw Distance: High; AF: off; Motion Blur: on; Shader: On; Advance Shadows: High; Super Sampling: 2.25
Preset 3: Texture Detail: Ultra; Shadow Detail: Ultra; Draw Distance: Ultra; AF: 16x; Motion Blur: on; Shader: On; Advance Shadows: High; Super Sampling: 4x
A 7.14% boost is observed when compared against the Reference GTX 980 but only in Sniper Elite V2’s low preset.
Between the factory overclocked and manually overclocked speed with G1 Gaming GTX 980, Fire Strike Extreme reflects 11.46% performance boost, and in 4K based Fire Strike Ultra, there’s a 10.51% boost.
With Shadow of Mordor, Preset 1 gains 5.70% boost in performance, while its ultra setting (preset 4) reflects 9.99% boost.
Gigabyte has made some significant changes in the GPU, one of them is the entire cooling system and even more overclocking headroom for those who want to get more performance manually. At 37 degrees closed case ambient temperatures with 52% fan speed, the temperatures barely cross 56 degrees celsius. But it’s strange to see Gigabyte did not bump the memory clock speed at the same time, considering the price for this card.
The passive sink design is a very good one, even better compared to the non-reference coolers some manufacturers have made. It may seem a bit of an overkill for a factory overclocked GTX 980, but pushing it manually and increasing power delivery will require cool combination of active and passive cooling for proper dissipation. Anything more than 65% fan speed just makes it easier to hear even in closed case setup.
The card is also a good looking card and nicely design backplate. The card can be seen in full glory horizontally mounted motherboard in PC cases.
Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980 is honoured with a 3-year warranty. The graphic card carries a premium, but considering the difference and the potential overclocking one can do along with excellent passive cooler design, you get what you pay for.
Another con is more of a local issue. At the time of writing, you will not find this GPU sold online. Gigabyte VGA is a new entry in India, so it has a lot of catching up to do in an already crowded GeForce GPU market.