ASUS GeForce GTX 980 STRIX Review

As expected ASUS is also amongst NVIDIA’s launch partners for their new Maxwell based graphics cards. In this review we’re having a close look at the GTX 980 STRIX, which is ASUS’s flagship model for now. Therefore it features a custom PCB as well as ASUS’s semi-passive STRIX cooler. This should be a rather punch combination and we’re curious to learn more about this card.
ASUS is amongst the first Nvidia add-in-card (AIC) partners that have decided to introduce a new custom GTX 980 graphics card which is using NVIDIAs latest and greatest GM204 Maxwell chip. For this graphics card, ASUS makes use of a custom PCB paired with its own custom STRIX cooler and on the flip-side of the card, there is a good looking backplate. A quick glance at the specs also reveals that this card ships factory overclocked.

Browsing the specifications of this card we find 2048 CUDA cores, 128 TMUs and 64 ROPs. For comparison reasons, the GTX 780 features 2304 CUDA cores, 192 TMUs and 48 ROPs. This means that NVIDIA cut down the CUDA core count as well as TMU count, but at the same time increased the number of ROPs. Looking for reference clocks we find 1’126 MHz base clock and 1’216 MHz boost clock.

As you can see from the GPU-Z screenshot below, ASUS decided to use a factory-overclock on their new GTX 980 STRIX. While the reference GTX 980 with GM204 GPU is set to work at 1’126 MHz for the base clock and 1’216 MHz for the GPU boost clock, the GTX 980 STRIX runs at 1’178 MHz base clock and 1’279 MHz boost clock.

When it comes to memory clock speeds we see a tiny, 12 MHz frequency boost, which makes the chips run at 7’012 MHz. Combine this with a 256 Bit memory interface and you end up with a total of 224 Gigabyte of memory bandwidth.

The typical boost clock is set at 1’279 MHz, the maximum boost of 1’305 MHz was achieved quite easily and the GTX 980 STRIX held that clock most of the load time due to the capable STRIX cooler as well as good TDP target (nVidia’s Boost technology being power-based and not temperature-based on this card). At this point we also run Furmark to see how high the card overclocks, when the GPU is under full load. This way we can determine a worst case scenario regarding maximum boost clock. With the card we see clocks speeds of 1’178 MHz at 1.07v.




ASUS GTX 980 STRIX GeForce GTX 980 GeForce GTX 780
Chip GM204 Maxwell GM204 Maxwell GK110-300 Kepler
Process 28 nm 28 nm 28 nm
Transistors 5.20 billion 5.20 billion 7.10 billion
GPU clock 1’179 MHz 1’126 MHz 863 MHz
GPU Boost clock 1’279 MHz 1’216 MHz 900 MHz
Memory GDDR5 4’096 MB 3’072 MB 3’072 MB
Memory clock 1’753 (7’012) MHz 1’750 (7’000) MHz 1’502 (6’008) MHz
Memory interface 256 Bit 256 Bit 384 Bit
Memory bandwidth 224’000 MB/s 224’000 MB/s 288’400 MB/s
Shader Cores 2’048 (12 SMX) 2’048 (12 SMX) 2’304 (12 SMX)
TMUs 128 128 192
ROPs 64 64 48
TDP >165 Watt 165 Watt 250 Watt
PCB Type Custom Design Reference Design Reference Design
Slots 2 2 2
Cooler ASUS STRIX NVIDIA Reference NVIDIA Reference
Launch Price $ $599 $649