NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 & 970 Maxwell GPU Reviews

Article Index

Our Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: NVIDIA’s new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 performed exceptionally well considering their respective price points. To put it simply, the GeForce GTX 980 is the fastest single-GPU powered graphics card we’ve tested—bar none. Although there were a couple of instances where the GeForce GTX 780 Ti or Radeon R9 290X were able to pull ahead (i.e. Hitman), far more often than not the GeForce GTX 980 led the pack at every resolution from 1920x1200 on up to 4K. Couple two GeForce GTX 980’s together in an SLI configuration, and their faster than the Radeon R9 295X2.

The GeForce GTX 970 isn’t quite as dominant overall, but its performance was impressive nonetheless. The GeForce GTX 970 typically performed about on par with a GeForce GTX Titan (non-Black) and traded blows with the Radeon R9 290X.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980  - Find It @ Amazon

NVIDIA expects GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 cards to hit store shelves almost immediately, though it might be a couple of weeks before we see an influx of custom GeForce GTX 980s. The MSRP for the GeForce GTX 980 is $549; the GeForce GTX 970’s MSRP is an aggressive $329. Looking back at the performance, the GeForce GTX 980’s MSRP is easily justified in light of competing offerings. GeForce GTX 780 Ti cards (which are now going EOL) are in the same price range and Radeon R9 290X cards can be had for about $430 to $500. All things considered, the GeForce GTX 980 is clearly the more attractive product—it’s quite, power consumption is relatively low, it’s highly overclockable, and ushers in support for a number of new features.

At $329, the GeForce GTX 970 is somewhat of a game changer in our opinion. For literally hundreds of dollars less than competing cards, the GeForce GTX 970 offers similar, and sometimes better performance. In its price range, the GeForce GTX 970 is easily one of the most attractive products available.

Obviously, we’re impressed by NVIDIA’s new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970. We are somewhat conflicted, however. Though the GM204 powering these cards is the technical cousin of the GK104 used in the GeForce GTX 680 and GTX 770, we can’t help but draw comparisons to the GK110 powering the Titan and GTX 780 Ti. Versus those to products, the GeForce GTX 980 doesn’t offer the kind of generational leap in performance we’ve come to expect from a new GPU architecture. It does versus the GK104, however, and a GM210 is probably in the works, but when/if it arrives is anyone’s guess at this point. That doesn’t make the GeForce GTX 980 any less impressive though—this is one sexy piece of hardware and we can’t wait to see what NVIDIA’s board partners have in store for this thing.


  • Great Performance
  • Cool and Quiet
  • Power Efficient
  • New Features
  • Very Overclockable
  • Incremental Performance Improvement Over Previous-Gen
  • I Don't Have Two In All Of My PCs

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