MSI GeForce GTX 980 Gaming 4G Review


With the GTX 980 Gaming 4G, MSI has a Maxwell based graphics card in their portfolio, which features a rather high factory overclocking and apart from that there is the brand new Twin Frozr V cooler. MSI is combining a custom PCB with a custom cooler in order to allow for great overclocking potential and we’re really curious to find out what this beast can do.

The MSI GeForce GTX 980 Gaming 4G was amongst the very most anticipated GTX 980 graphics cards. When the manufacturer communicated that there will not be a Lightning version of the GTX 980 expectations on the this particular card skyrocketed. In the past the receipe for the MSI’s Gaming cards was actually pretty simple, since there was a reference PCB and a custom cooler. With the GTX 980 Gaming 4G this appears to have changed radically, since there is a custom PCB, which is by far closer to a Lightning card than to a NVIDIA reference design. Apart from that there is the latest incarnation of MSI’s Twin Frozr cooler, which is meanwhile available in version V. Overall it sound like MSI has quite a weapon ready and we’re sure that it won’t just be firing blanks.


MSI provided the GTX 980 Gaming 4G with a really steep factory overclock. This GPU on this particular card is set to run a 1216 MHz base clock and a whopping 1317 MHz boost clock. In the case of the maximum boost clock, which is actually achieved while gaming we see our sample running at 1354 MHz. The clock speeds we’re only lower when we were running Furmark and it this case the card was still capable of pushing out 1342 MHz. If you keep in mind, that NVIDIA’s reference card runs 1126 MHz base clock and 1216 MHz boost clock you see that MSI’s maximum boost clock is more than 11 percent higher and this is going to make for a well measurable difference.

Unfortunately MSI did not overclock the 4GB of GDDR5 memory although there is quite some potential slumbering in the chips the maker is using they’re set to run at 1’753 MHz (7’012 MHz effective).





MSI GTX 980 Gaming 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 1’216 MHz 1’126 MHz 863 MHz
GPU Boost clock 1’317 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 Twin Frozr V NVIDIA Reference NVIDIA Reference
Launch Price $ $599 $649