Nvidia recently released its newest lineup of premium graphics processors. The GTX 980 and 970 are now available and both boast impressive speeds that will help you take your PC gaming experience miles beyond “next gen” consoles.
How does the GTX 980 stack up against its competition? Is it worth an early buy? Here’s what you need to know about the GTX 980 and 970, Nvidia’s newest video cards:
-The GTX 980 and 970 are codenamed “Big Maxwell”.
-The GeForce GTX 980 costs $549 while the GeForce GTX 970 costs $329
-GTX 970 has 1664 processor cores running at a frequency of 1050MHz (boost clock of 1178MHz)
-GTX 980 has 2048 cores running at a frequency of 1126MHz (boost clock of 1216MHz)
-Both cards offer a 256-bit interface to 4GB of GDDR5 memory with an effective speed of 7Gbps
-Each card features Nvidia’s traditional reference design, which means you get one DVI connector, three DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, and one HDMI 2.0 port
-For those who don’t know, HDMI 2.0 means you can output 4K resolutions at a refresh rate of 60Hz – something you couldn’t do on HDMI 1.4b. HDMI 1.4b is limited to 30Hz, which was really bad for gaming but perfectly fine for movies.
Four new features to make gaming as realistic as possible
Every time a new video card is released, both AMD and Nvidia promise faster gaming performance and amazing graphics.
The GTX 980 and 970 release is no different in most ways. But for this release, Nvidia is showcasing four specific new features, including:
1) Dynamic Super Resolution: Downsamples 4K graphics to 1080p displays for superior quality. Can also be used to experience resolutions as high as 5K.
2) Multi-Frame-Sampled Anti-aliasing (MFAA): Advanced anti-aliasing features that reduce jagged edges and pixilation in games.
3) Voxel Global Illumination: New lightning technique which delivers superior shadows and illumination without a major performance impact.
4) VR Direct: Virtual reality toolset designed for headsets like the Oculus Rift (more details below)
It supports Oculus Rift
Nvidia is a huge supporter of virtual reality technology – something that is creeping closer and closer to becoming mainstream.
The Nvidia GTX 980 and 970 both feature VR Direct technology. This tech is a set of features and tools which optimize your system for virtual reality playback. The features will optimize speeds, reduce lag, and take full advantage of SLI (dual video cards) to make VR as awesome as possible.
The GTX 980 also has a number of power saving features which lower the overall power consumption of the card while improving its overall performance.
GTX 980 benchmarks
So what do all of those features mean for – you know – actual performance? Our friends at ExtremeTech.com recently tested the GTX 980 and benchmarked it in both 4K and 1080p resolutions. Here’s how those benchmarks worked for three popular, graphics-intensive games:
GTX 780Ti, 780, and 770 have all been discontinued
Just like with every video card announcement, Nvidia is discontinuing its previous flagship lineup of GeForce GTX 780Ti, GTX 780, and GTX 770 cards (there was no 800-series).
The GTX 760, however, is still kicking. Its price has been reduced to $219.
But if you want to get a good video card for cheap, then you might be able to find discounted GTX 700-series cards on sale over the next few weeks.