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Nvidia reinvigorates the PC Master Race with the GTX 980 and 970 desktop GPUs

NVIDIA_GeForce_GTX_980

Nvidia officially revealed its two new graphic cards based on the Maxwell architecture- the GTX 980 and the GTX 970. Nvidia India is not very shy to express the exact words ‘THE most advanced single-core graphic card that they’ve made yet!’. Nvidia pitches these cards not just from a performance point of view, but also in regards to power consumption, just like how the green team does for a while.

GTX 980 GTX 970 GTX 780 Ti
Core Clock 1126MHz 1050MHz 875MHz
Boost Clock 1216MHz 1178MHz 928Mhz
Memory Clock

7GHz GDDR5

Memory Bus Width

256-bit

384-bit
CUDA Cores 2048 1664 2880
Texture Units 128 104 240
ROPs

64

48
VRAM

4GB

3GB
FP64

1/32 FP32

1/24 FP32
TDP 165W 145W 250W
GPU

GM204

GK110
Transistor Count

5.2B

7.1B

Starting off with specifications, both use the GM 204 based on Maxwell architecture. GTX 980 has a base core clocked 1126MHz with boost of up to 1216MHz. GTX 970 as expected has lesser base clock of 1050MHz with boost of up to 1178MHz. To me, its surprising to see these cards run at 256-bit bus whereas the older GTX 780Ti is straight-up 384bit. But the maximum TDP rating is what’s impressive. GTX 780Ti’s heat dissipation is rated at 250W, whereas its 165W for GTX 980 and 145W GTX 970.

nvidia-maxwell-architecture-performance-per-watt

One of the key features they’ve highlighted is that Maxwell’s potential allows them to deliver 2 times the performance-per-watt in comparison to its much older Kepler cores. They also said that this card couldn’t have come at a better moment, keeping in mind that gamers usually upgrade their existing system every once in 2-3 years  depending on the system they have.

Nvidia was also very excited when they talked about its new anti-aliasing innovation (judging by the way they expressed it) called MFAA.- Multi-framed Sampling Anti Aliasing. Maxwell architecture is the first to offer this implementation, keeping in mind that the new algorithm will not result to excessive performance loss. For example, MFAA can result in similar graphic output as MSAA, but with higher frame rates going up to 30%. There’s also Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR) where Nvidia India said that it would provide the quality that you would see normally on a 4K panel on a widely adopted/ generic 1080p resolution within realistic expectations. Though Nvidia India explained it with a screenshot, this link would give a much better interaction for readers to give the best impression of what Nvidia did.

Nvidia is pushing from its end to promote 4K gaming, considering that gaming PCs have the raw potential to give you the best you can buy- whether its a mid-end gaming rig or a filthy-rich man-cave! Along with 4K, G-sync was being told in a way that GTX 980 can do the needful for such a panel since the card provides 4GB of GDDR5 graphics memory.

vr-direct

If you’re talking about Virtual Reality- whether its Oculus Rift or Samsung’s counterpart- a lot of people would point a finger towards latency and other visual-related deficiencies. The only part that Nvidia addressed was latency. For virtual reality, that would create side-effects on the user- nausea, strain and stress while playing. Nobody wants that!

Maxwell is the first core that would address this issue related to VR. Since as of now, Oculus VR allows 75fps at 960x 1080 resolution, its necessary to have smoother framerates.

Apart from gaming, there are certain implementation that wasn’t really talked about. Maxwell ensures improved H.264 encoding, which is needed when you’re using ShadowPlay. With the help of the Maxwell, you can record up to 3840 x 2160 AT 60FPS with max bitrate of up to 130 Mbps. It also contains enhanced NVENC encoder for H.265 encoding.

Nvidia assures that we would be getting a sample, so when and/or if I get it- I can show you the performance it can provide.

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