Round-Up: GeForce GTX 980 and 970 Cards From MSI, EVGA, and Zotac Reviewed

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Overclocking The GeForces

We spent a little time overclocking the GeForce GTX 980 to see what kind of additional frequency headroom it had left under its hood. For these tests, we used the latest edition of EVGA's Precision X GPU tweaking utility, which is designed to work with the new GeForce GTX 980.

Like Kepler, overclocking a Maxwell-based GeForce GTX series graphics card requires a bit more tweaking then previous-gen products, due to all of the new options available and the complexities associated with GPU Boost. Sometimes, you’ll find that increasing a particular voltage or frequency may appear to function properly, when in fact performance decreases due to errors or throttling. You may also find that the actual GPU Boost clock may travel above or below the designated offset value when the power and/or temperature targets are also increased.

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EVGA's Precision X Tweaking Utility

To push the card past their already factory-overclocked defaults, we increased the power and temperature targets to 110% and 91'C, respectively, and also increased the GPU and Memory clock offsets and re-ran a few tests.

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All of the cards we tested were very good overclocking. With the minimal effort outlined above (we could have also tweaked fan profiles and voltages), we were able to take the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G up for a 1467MHz boost clock, the Zotac GeForce GTX 980 AMP! Omega to 1429MHz, and the EVGA GeForce GTX 970 FTW up to 1466MHz. The memory on all of the cards had no trouble exceeding 3620MHz+ as well.

While overclocked even further then their default configurations, all of the cards showed nice performance improvements, as outlined in the charts above.

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