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Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980 39
Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980

Gigabyte G1 Gaming GeForce GTX 980 GPU Review

  • Introduction
  • 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.

    Whether its worth the money or not is your choice, here is the review of the G1 Gaming GTX 980.

    Gigabyte G1 Gaming GTX 980 39

  • 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.

    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:

    • 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)
    • GPUZ 1
  • 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’.

    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 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
    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:

    Futuremark Benchmarks:

    • 3DMark (2013): Sky Diver, Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme Presets
    • 3DMark 11: Performance and Xtreme Preset
    • 3Dmark Vantage: High and Performance Preset
    The new 3DMark update now includes Fire Strike Ultra. The best part about this test is that you don’t need a 4K panel (3840 x 2160) to run this 4K test.
    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.”

    OpenGL Benchmarks:

    • Cinebench 11.5 and Cinebench R15
    • Unigine Benchmark: Heavens 3.0 with 3 presets and Sanctuary v2.3 2 presets

    Game Benchmarks:

    • 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

    Overclocked Performance Analysis:

    • 3DMark: Sky Diver, Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme
    • Shadows of Mordor with 4 presets

    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.

    gpuz oc

    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.

  • 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.

      3DM fire strike extreme

    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.

  • 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.

    Same is the case with 3DMark 11.

  • 3DMark Vantage Benchmark
    • The Performance preset, designed for mid-range hardware is included in all editions. It runs at 1280×1024.

    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.

  • OpenGL Benchmark Cinebench 11.5
  • CINEBENCH 11.5 is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

    There’s 23.87% boost in performance between these GTX 980 cards.

  • OpenGL Benchmark Cinebench R15
  • CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

    Cinebench R15 reflects 18.46% performance boost.

  • Heavens 3.0 Benchmark
  • Heaven Benchmark  3.0 is a GPU-intensive benchmark that hammers graphics cards to the limits. This powerful tool can be effectively used to determine the stability of a GPU under extremely stressful conditions, as well as check the cooling system’s potential under maximum heat output. It provides completely unbiased results and generates true in-game rendering workloads across all platforms, such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
    Preset 1- API: DX11; Tessellation: Disabled; Shaders: Low; Anisotropy: Off; Anti-Aliasing: off

    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

  • Sanctuary v2.3 Benchmark
  • Sanctuary Benchmark is a first GPU benchmark based on advanced Unigine™ engine fromUnigine Corp., original version was released in 2007.

    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

  • Heavens 4.0 Benchmark
  • Heaven Benchmark with its current version 4.0 is a GPU-intensive benchmark that hammers graphics cards to the limits. This powerful tool can be effectively used to determine the stability of a GPU under extremely stressful conditions, as well as check the cooling system’s potential under maximum heat output. It provides completely unbiased results and generates true in-game rendering workloads across all platforms, such as Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

    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

  • Game Benchmark: Batman- Arkham City
  • Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and Microsoft Windows.

    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).

  • Game Benchmark: Hitman- Absolution
  • Hitman: Absolution is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth installment in the Hitman game series and runs on IO Interactive ‘s proprietary Glacier 2 game engine.

    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!

  • Game Benchmark: Metro 2033
  • Metro 2033 is a survival horror first-person shooter video game, based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Metro 2033 was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and was released on Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 in March 2010.

    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.

  • Game Benchmark: Shadows of Mordor
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is an action role-playing video game set in an off-canon version of The Lord of the Rings universe, developed by Monolith Productions and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

    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

    Shadow of Mordor

    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.

  • Game Benchmark: Sleeping Dogs
  • Sleeping Dogs is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games and Square Enix London. It was published by Square Enix and Bandai Namco Games for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.

    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.

  • Game Benchmark: Sniper Elite V2
  • Sniper Elite V2 is a 2012 tactical shooter video game developed by Rebellion Developments and published by 505 Games for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and later Wii U consoles and a developer self-published version for Microsoft Windows.

    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

    Sniper Elite V2

    A 7.14% boost is observed when compared against the Reference GTX 980 but only in Sniper Elite V2’s low preset.

  • Game Benchmark: Dirt 3
  • DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport. With more than double the track content of 2009’s hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

    Dirt 3

  • OC Performance Analysis- 3DMark Benchmark
  • 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.

  • OC Performance Analysis- Shadows of Mordor
  • OC Shadow of Mordor

    With Shadow of Mordor, Preset 1 gains 5.70% boost in performance, while its ultra setting (preset 4) reflects 9.99% boost.

  • Conclusion
  • 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.

    • 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.
    India US UK France
    $569.99 £509.40 EUR 579.90
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About Roshan Ashraf Shaikh

A fan of computer systems, components, peripherals and phones. Co-incidentally the owner of Hardware BBQ and Dawn of Tech

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