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Video card ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Ti STRIX OC: review and testing

In early spring 2015, NVIDIA has pleased all their fans by announcing new flagship graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X, released on the basis of GPU NVIDIA GM200-400. Now it takes the leading position in terms of performance and cost, which is usual for such solution $ 999.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The new flagship graphics processor NVIDIA GM200-400 is based on 28-nm manufacturing technology and consists of 8 billion of transistors. It includes 24 SMM-blocks, each of which consists of 128 CUDA-cores and 8 texture units. As a result, the flagship product boasts of 3072 CUDA-cores and 192 texture units. Number of ROP-blocks has reached 96. The base GPU operating frequency is 1000 MHz and dynamic 1075 MHz. As for performance, it was on average 30% higher than the previous leader among single-chip solutions (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

It is logical that NVIDIA has decided not to stop on successes and use the flagship processor in a version. This is a new video card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, which was presented in the first days of summer 2015.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Unlike the flagship graphics processor NVIDIA GM200-310 in NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti has lost 2 SMM-blocks, ie 256 CUDA-cores with 16 texture units. At the same time the memory bus, the number of ROP-blocks and operating frequencies remain unchanged. If we recall the situation of the first "Titan", the followed NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti has come out with the full version of the chip NVIDIA GK110, therefore, it proved to be more productive. In this case everything is different: NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X acts as a top-end solution, while the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti is its cheaper version.

Let's look to the comparative table of characteristics of current high end video cards from NVIDIA:

 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti

GPU

GM200-400

GM200-310 

GM204-400

GK110-425

Quantity of CUDA-cores

3072

2816 

2048

2880

Quantity of texture units

192

176 

128

240

Quantity of ROP-blocks

96

96 

64

48

Basic frequency, MHz

1000

1000 

1126

875

Dynamic frequency, MHz

1075

1075 

1216

928

Memory bus, bit

384

384 

256

384

Effective memory frequency, MHz

7010

7010 

7010

7010

Memory capacity, GB

12

6 

4

3

As you can see, another difference of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti from NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X is reduced twice the amount of video memory.
ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

As stated by NVIDIA, the new product provides a significant performance boost compared to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti. The biggest gap is achieved at a resolution of 4K Ultra HD, which is rapidly gaining popularity among gamers. Also impressive is as a comparison of the performance per watt. At the same time TDP of new item is on identical level (250 W).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Another important advantage of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti is to support API DirectX 12 with the most comprehensive to date set of instructions (Feature Level 12_1).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

All GPUs of series NVIDIA GM2xx further support the technology Volume Tiled Resources that provides three-dimensional stencils (tiles) of the objects, which allows to load needed texture without expending the resources to load the texture as a whole.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Another technology from the set of Feature Level 12_1 is Conservative Raster, which provides precise location intersecting polygon boundaries, which helps to avoid artifacts with transparent textures and shadow.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Also here is a well-known technology NVIDIA G-SYNC, which provides full synchronization with the output frame rate of the monitor, neutralizing the effect breaking frames. The technology is proper for applications running in window mode. Don’t forget that NVIDIA G-SYNC requires not only video card but monitor equipped with the appropriate hardware module. The range of such displays is constantly growing, and even includes a model with a resolution of 4K Ultra HD.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

And now let's get to the review and testing versions of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti powered by ASUS. We are talking about the model ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING).

Model

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti 

(ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM200-310 (Maxwell)

Quantity of CUDA-cores

2816

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12 (Shader Model 5.0), OpenGL 4.5, NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Nominal/dynamic frequency of graphics core, MHz

«OC»

1216 / 1317

«Gaming»

1190 / 1291

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1800 (7200)

Memory capacity, GB

6

Memory type

GDDR5

Memory bus, bit

384

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

345,6

Bus type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening interfaces

1 x DVI-I

1 x HDMI 2.0

3 x DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal capacity of PSU, W

600

Additional PCIe power sockets

2 x 8-pin

Dimensions from the official site (measured in our lab), mm

305 х 152,2 x 39,8 (317 x 152)

Drivers

Available drivers ASUS or GPU

Producer website

ASUS

Since we have almost completely rebalanced modification NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti, there is no sense to talk about any compliance to reference model. We can directly comparable only operating frequencies. In this case, the graphics core of video card in mode «OC» boasts of a notable level of factory overclocking - up to 1216 MHz (increase of 21.6% relative to recommended 1000 MHz), and taking into account the work of technology NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, the average value is 1317 MHz (1075 MHz for the reference sample). Video memory can be overclocked from 7010 to 7200 MHz.

Package and content

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti is available in its large cardboard box decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic arts industry with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the names of the manufacturer and model of the device, note the reference to the support of technologies NVIDIA G-SYNC, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream and DirectX 12.

The major advantages of a novelty is a proprietary cooling system DirectCU III with technology 0dB FAN, which provides 30% lower temperature compared to the reference cooler of radial type.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the more detailed description of the advantages of new item. Also, there is a schematic diagram of the interface panel, and the mention of the features of proprietary utility GPU Tweak with functions of Online Streaming and switching between modes mentioned above «Gaming» and «OC».
As for the benefits, they include:

  • ASUS Auto Extreme with Super Alloy Power II - model ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING is one of the world's first graphics card built on a fully automated line, which guarantees consistently high quality and ensures the rejection of aggressive chemicals in the production process. In addition, it is based on using high-quality electronic components (Super Alloy Power II), allowing further improve the reliability of the new item.
  • GPU-Fortifier and Backplate - thanks to the support plate and the frame around the GPU we have greatly increased rigidity and reduced risk of curvature of the printed circuit board with the times of the weight of the cooling system.
  • 10mm Mega Heatpipes - radiator of cooling system includes five copper heat pipes, two of which have a diameter of 10 mm and provides a more efficient heat transfer from GPU.
  • STRIX LED - the cooler is equipped with red LED-display.
  • Triple Wing-blade 0db Fans - three axial fan with a special shape of the impeller provide a more powerful air flow, helping to improve the efficiency of the cooler. In addition, at low loads turntables completely stopped to ensure a comfortable background noise.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply must have a capacity at least 600 W and provide 42 A on +12 V line. Also tested model requires connecting two 8-pin PCIe.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Also we found the standard documentation, CD with software and adapter for power.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

To display the image the product uses a standard set of interfaces:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0;
  • 3 x DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Dial up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Model ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING is made on the original black circuit board, with a standard layout principle. Used electronic components correspond to the branded concept Super Alloy Power II and include only high-quality components: solid and tantalum-polymer capacitors, advanced MOSFETs and ferrite core chokes. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics and prolongs its life.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Power of product is made according enhanced 12+2-phase scheme, where 12 power phases are responsible for the GPU and 2 are designed for video memory subsystem. Recall that the power of the reference NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti is realized by 6+2-phase scheme.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Digital PWM controller is presented by chip ASP1500U.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

To power test graphics there is PCI Express x16 slot, and two 8-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Due to the large dimensions the cooler complicates the disconnection of cables PCIe. The standard version uses only one powered 8-pin and one 6-pin connector.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide technology NVIDIA SLI ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti uses two connectors for connecting the respective bridges, which allow you to combine up to three graphics cards for the joint calculation of graphical effect.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The reverse side of the product is initially covered with the base plate, notable for the above-mentioned polymer tantalum capacitors, next to other electrical components, as well as the support of frame for the GPU.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The tested model is based on GPU NVIDIA GM200-310 (Maxwell), produced by 28-nm manufacturing technology. It includes 2816 CUDA cores, 96 ROP units and 176 texture units. As we have said, the video card has factory overclocked of graphics core frequency of the mode is «OC» in value of 1216 and 1317 MHz.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Memory of model ASUS STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING (6GB) is realized due to 12 chips SK hynix H5GQ4H24MFR-R2C with capacity 4 GB each. According to the documentation, their effective frequency is 7000 MHz, but in our case it was increased to 7200 MHz. Communication between the graphics processor and memory is realized via 384-bit bus, which is capable of flowing 345.6 GB of information per second.

Cooling system

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The video card including installed cooling system DirectCU III occupies two expansion slots and has a total length of 305 mm according to the official website of ASUS (317 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The cooler consists of a fairly massive radiator, which uses 49 longitudinally spaced aluminum fins, and three 88-mm axial fans with an improved form of blades mounted on a plastic casing.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

The fans are made by Everflow and are labeled «T129215SU». Rated voltage of operation is 12 V, and the current 0.5 A, which gives the final output of 6 W.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In order to provide uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator there are five copper heat pipes of different diameter, two 10 mm and two 8 mm and one 6 mm. Fins and heat pipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the drop in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, due to the oxidation of metals. The coolers DirectCU use the scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste to accelerate removal of excess heat.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

To improve the efficiency of heat exchange the pipes are soldered to the ribs of aluminum radiator and copper heat sink base.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Note that the primary cooling system is directly in contact with the power supply subsystem components using thermal interface. But memory chips are unfortunately devoid of any additional cooling.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In case of the automatic speed control of the fan blades, at maximum load, the graphics core is heated to 79°C, and cooler, as indicated by the monitoring work while 55% of its maximum capacity. The noise level at the same time was low and quite comfortable.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Under the maximum speed fan blades GPU temperature dropped to 71°C. This noise rose above average, and ceased to be comfortable for extended use near PC.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

In case of load absence the operating frequencies of the graphics core and memory are automatically reduced, allowing them to reduce power consumption and heat. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 49°C because the fans stopped to rotate and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. The above-mentioned technology 0dB FAN provides silent operation of video at low loads.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980 Ti (STRIX-GTX980TI-DC3OC-6GD5-GAMING)

Read the full review >>>

Monitor Acer XG270HU: review and testing

In addition to direct competition in the market of graphics card, the companies AMD and NVIDIA are also in constant competition in the field of technology. Until recently, this "war" mainly related to methods for improving the quality of the graphics and games optimization. But now the opposition reached a new level, and has involved the manufacturers of other components. We are talking about the dynamic vertical synchronization technology of the monitor. And quite interesting is that two irreconcilable competitors went separate ways. The company NVIDIA developed its own module and technology of data exchange between it and the graphics card, while AMD used open standard Adaptive Sync. We have already tested the features of NVIDIA G-SYNC. Now it’s time to consider the response from AMD - technology AMD FreeSync. And we decided to learn it on the example of monitor Acer XG270HU with its support.

Acer XG270HU

We would like to recall that we have learnt the theoretical aspects of the technology AMD FreeSync in the material «AMD FreeSync is a reasonable response of NVIDIA G-SYNC». Therefore, in this case we would like to focus on the features of its implementation. And, of course we will learn the capabilities of the monitor Acer XG270HU.

The specs:

Model

tags: acer   amd freesync   tn   srgb   hdmi   dvi-d   nvidia g-sync   adobe rgb   mhl   wqhd   
Read the full review >>>

AMD FreeSync is a reasonable response of NVIDIA G-SYNC 

At the end of 2013 for the conference NVIDIA Editor's Day the NVIDIA has told about the technology NVIDIA G-SYNC, designed to make a real revolution in the world of dynamic synchronization of the image between the graphics card and monitor. Up to this point the struggle for the purity of the frame without any noticeable discontinuities and other artifacts was conducted exclusively on the side of the graphics card. NVIDIA offered to synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor with a frequency GPU frame rendering, to remove not only the gap frame, but slowdown, as well as delays. The technology NVIDIA G-SYNC in more detail is described in this review, so let's move on to the goal of this review - familiarity with the main competitor in the form of AMD FreeSync.

AMD FreeSync

Surely the AMD management immediately realized the full extent of the potential impact of NVIDIA G-SYNC to compete for the hearts and minds of gamers worldwide. Furthermore, this technology requires a license, ie, AMD would have to pay a pretty penny for its adaptation to graphics cards. Given the precarious financial position of AMD, the question of such a scenario may not even raised in the leadership.

However, it was necessary intelligently to create an alternative: if consider the market of only video cards (not taking into account the integrated graphics core processor), the NVIDIA company occupies a dominant position. This means that the analog of NVIDIA G-SYNC with additional module is unlikely to appeal to many monitor manufacturers. Therefore, AMD has chosen a different path - an open standard, which does not require for additional fees and integration of special module.

So in May 2014 such review appeared «Adaptive-Sync» to the VESA-standard DisplayPort 1.2a, which realizes the technology AMD FreeSync. This means that all members of the organization VESA (which includes AMD and key players in the market monitors) may free use a new standard in the production of their monitors and to choose: to enable or disable support for this technology. Furthermore, AMD FreeSync was interested for company Intel, so the graphics core of processors Intel Broadwell will support it.

Open and free access of standard DisplayPort 1.2a Adaptive-Sync provides another competitive advantage: to reduce the final cost of the monitor that can serve for many key factor.

AMD FreeSync

Now let's look at the technical details of AMD FreeSync in more details. As many already know, conventional monitors has constant refresh rate (usually 60 or 75 Hz, although there is a version with an index of 120 and 144 Hz). But the graphics card renders frames at different rates. First of all it is important in games where we want to get the maximum quality of image, that is, with the best graphics settings and acceptable speed of playback (up to 24 fps). The comfortable readings are above 30 - 40 fps. Since many of today's games are very demanding on system resources, and the scenes are very difficult to handle even high-performance adapters, the speed of rendering frames is dynamically changed. Due to this, there are gaps frames (Tearing), when one part of the monitor shows the current frame, and the other the next.

AMD FreeSync

To remove this effect a VSYNC technology was developed: if the new frame is not ready at the time of refresh, the system duplicates the old one. This approach is effective in dealing with gaps, but creates new problems: Stuttering and Lag. In turn, this reduces the responsiveness of the mouse, so players later react to real changes in the virtual world, where one moment may divide winners from the losers.

AMD FreeSync

Technology AMD FreeSync allows you to synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor with the speed of rendering images, eliminating the effects of gap frame and lagging. In fact, the same thing performs NVIDIA G-SYNC. But AMD FreeSync has a number of additional advantages.

AMD FreeSync

We have already mentioned that it does not require the integration of additional modules and license fees, as well as based on open standards. It also supports a wide range of monitor refresh rate: 9 - 240 Hz vs. 30 - 144 Hz at a competitive counterpart. Of course, the implementation of a specific frequency range depends solely on the monitor manufacturer, but in a way they always have the opportunity to go beyond the standard framework or create a product in the frequency range where fit in terms of its price positioning.

AMD FreeSync

Another important advantage of AMD FreeSync is the support for the standard features of the monitor and the lack of impact on performance of gameplay. Firstly, it means that compatible displays can use more color profiles (for example, "Video", "Read", "Theatre", "Night view" and others), DisplayPort port can transmit audio along with the video, and the manufacturer can integrate additional video interfaces (though technology AMD FreeSync work will be supported only when using the DisplayPort 1.2a). Monitors with support for NVIDIA G-SYNC use only one color profile and one video interface DisplayPort 1.2a.

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

As for the impact to performance, AMD has even provided a comparative test, the results of which are displayed in the following table:

Game

AMD FreeSync Off (FPS average number)

AMD FreeSync On (FPS average number)

Difference

NVIDIA G-SYNC Off (FPS average number)

NVIDIA G-SYNC On (FPS average number)

Difference

Alien Isolation

87,68

87,89

0,24

73,21

72,16

-1,43

BioShock Infinite

92,53

92,63

0,11

83,13

81,15

-2,38

Tomb Raider

87,1

87,5

0,46

74,5

73,5

-1,34

Sniper Elite 3

68,3

68,4

0,15

52,7

52,2

-0,95

Thief

71,4

71,7

0,42

61,9

61,2

-1,13

As you can see, NVIDIA G-SYNC reduces the average number of FPS in the specified game only by 1-2%, which will not be seen in reality. At the same time, the use of technology AMD FreeSync does not allow increase playback speed even at 1%. That is the point of comparison is purely symbolic.

AMD FreeSync

We are talking about the behavior of technologies outside the designated frequency band. NVIDIA G-SYNC behaves if VSYNC is permanently activated when output for the specified range: if the frame rate is lower than 30 Hz, you can notice stuttering and lagging. Above 144 Hz frame rate does not rise simply because the GPU limits it at this point. That is, the priority is the picture without breaks.

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

AMD FreeSync allows the user to decide on their own how the system should behave outside the supported range: activate VSYNC, reducing the responsiveness of the mouse and their own actions, or not to use VSYNC, faced with a possible rupture of the image. In the second case, the upper limit is removed and the level of FPS can go beyond it.

AMD FreeSync

Take advantage of the new technology will not only owners of the top-end graphics cards, but the owners middle range graphics cards, as well as a series of APU AMD Kaveri. Do add also the above-mentioned series of processors Intel Broadwell. Many have a question: "Why the list includes the processor with features not enough for comfortable play of modern games?" The answer lies in the use of technology AMD FreeSync and other content. For example, you can synchronize the refresh rate of the monitor with a fixed video frequency without re-encoding of the file.

AMD FreeSync

Moreover, this opens the way to further reduce the energy consumption, which is particularly important in mobile systems. The fact that the standard DisplayPort 1.2a Adaptive-Sync is already compatible with the Embedded DisplayPort interface and supports «Static Screen State»: if the picture is static (no new content, for example, while reading a document), the frequency of updating is reduced to the minimum level. In conventional displays it is 60 Hz, and compatible with AMD FreeSync it is theoretically 9 Hz.

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

AMD FreeSyncAMD FreeSync

And finally, let's look at the issue of price. In the past, AMD has repeatedly stated that the above indicated benefits of AMD FreeSync will provide accessible compatibility of monitors. Is that true?

AMD FreeSync

The NVIDIA site has a list of currently available monitors with support for NVIDIA G-SYNC. As you can see, the cheapest is 24-inch AOC G2460PG with a suggested price of $ 399, TN-panel resolution of Full HD (1920 x 1080) and refresh rate to 144 Hz. The most accessible in the published list is AMD model LG 29UM67 at an estimated price of $ 449. Stated dynamic range is 48 - 75 Hz, but it has a 29-inch IPS-panel with a resolution of 2560 x 1080 pixels. If you need the display with 144 Hz dynamic refresh rate, while Acer XG270HU with a 27-inch TN-panel and resolution of 2560 x 1440 looks good alternative for $ 499.

AMD FreeSync

In general, manufacturers very warmly received the technology AMD FreeSync. AMD has reported at least about 11 models of top vendors with different diagonals (from 23.6 to 34 inches), resolution (from 1920 x 1080 to 3840 x 2160) and a range of frequencies (from 60 to 144 Hz), which have already been announced or will soon appear on the market. It is possible that many other players just wait; analyzing consumer demands, and soon they join one of two groups.

AMD FreeSync

tags: amd   nvidia   amd freesync   nvidia g-sync   vesa   intel   aoc   full hd   lg   ips   acer   
Read the full review >>>

Graphics card ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC: review and testing

ASUS company continues to rejoice its fans by extending the relatively young lineup of graphics cards ASUS STRIX via new solutions. Another addition of the family was the version of the graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960, with key features described in the review Inno3D GeForce GTX 960 iChill Ultra.

As for the tested model ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5), it has not only the factory overclocking, but also high-quality circuitry, as well as proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with integrated technology 0dB FAN, which allows to use cooling system in the passive mode at low load. Let's move to a more detailed examination of all the special features.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The specs:

Model

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC  

(ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM206 (Maxwell)

Q-ty of shader processors

1024

Supported API and technologies

DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Basic /dynamic graphics core frequency, MHz

«Gaming»

1228 / 1291

«OC»

1253 / 1317

Memory frequency (effective), MHz

1800 (7200)

Memory capacity, GB

2

Memory type

GDDR5

Bus memory width, bit

128

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

115,2

Bus type

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Max resolution

Digital up to 4096 x 2160

Analog up to 2048 x 1536

Screening  interfaces

1 х DVI-I

1 х HDMI 2.0

3 х DisplayPort

HDCP support and HD-video decoding

Yes

Minimal PSU capacity, W

400

Additional PCIe sockets

1 x 6-pin

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

215 х 121

(225 х 122)

Drivers

ASUS or GPU

Website

ASUS

Tested modification of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 compares favorably not only due to proprietary cooling system, but the presence of factory overclocking of the GPU from the standard 1126 to 1228 MHz (mode «Gaming», which is selected by default). Given the technology NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 graphics core is clocked at 1291 MHz instead of recommended 1178 MHz. Also video memory subsystem, which operates at a frequency of 7200 MHz effective instead of the recommended 7010 MHz received acceleration.

Do note that the graphics card was tested by us in a more productive mode «OC», where the nominal and dynamic GPU frequency is 1253 MHz and 1317 MHz, respectively. It will be activated by the complete utility ASUS GPU Tweak by selecting a preset profile «O». 

Package and content

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Graphics card ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 comes in fairly compact cardboard box and decorated with original and stylish line of the graphic printing with logo ASUS STRIX. In addition to the manufacturer and model of the device do note the reference about the capacity and type of video memory and the ownership of the solutions to the line «OC» (factory overclocked graphics cards). Also in the bottom right corner is specified the support for technologies NVIDIA G-SYNC, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream and DirectX 12.

The main advantages of new item are: a proprietary cooling system DirectCU II with technology 0dB FAN, digital power system DIGI+ VRM and improved circuitry made in accordance with the concept of Super Alloy Power. It includes:

  • solid capacitors Super Alloy Capacitors with increased life up to 2.5;
  • ferrite core choke Super Alloy Chokes;
  • FETs Super Alloy MOS with an increase of 30% voltage threshold;
  • polymer tantalum capacitors SAP CAP, which possess high stability and efficiency even when working in a mode of extreme acceleration.

In daily use the above-described advantages make a 15% increase in performance by 35 degrees lower operating temperatures, and 2.5 increased service life of the graphic adapter.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The reverse side of the box is traditionally reserved for the slightly more detailed description of the benefits listed on the front side. Also here is a schematic representation of the interface board and mention of the capabilities of proprietary utility GPU Tweak with functions of Online Streaming and switching between the above-mentioned modes «Gaming» and «OC».

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

A list of system requirements for the computer is located on one side of the box. Based on the recommendations, the power supply in such a system should have a capacity of at least 400 W and provide at least 38 A on the +12V line. Also tested model requires connection only one 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The supplied set of the graphics card ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC contains the standard documentation, CD with software and adapter from DVI-I to D-Sub, which is quite sufficient set of accessories. You won’t have problems for connecting additional power supply, as almost all modern power supplies are equipped with at least one 6-pin cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

To output images the product has quite standard set of interfaces:

  • 1 х DVI-I;
  • 1 х HDMI 2.0;
  • 3 х DisplayPort.

The following resolutions are supported:

  • Digital up to 4096 x 2160;
  • Analog up to 2048 x 1536.

Design and circuitry

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Model ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 is performed on a compact black PCB with standard layout principle. Used circuitry corresponds to the proprietary concept Super Alloy Power and includes only high quality components: solid capacitors, advanced MOSFETs, Ferrite Core Choke, and tantalum-polymer capacitors. This increases the stability and reliability of the graphics card as a whole, as well as prolongs its life.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Power supplying of a new product is made via quite a standard five-phase scheme, where four phases are responsible for the power of the graphics core and one for the video memory subsystem.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

A digital PWM controller is a chip uP1608TK produced by company uPI Semiconductor.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In accordance with NVIDIA recommendations the power of graphics card is provided by slot PCI Express x16 and one 6-pin PCIe, located on the side of the board. Due to its arrangement the cooler does not discomfort the disconnection of the cable PCIe.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In order to the operation of technology NVIDIA SLI the ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 uses one connector for the corresponding bridge that allows to combine two video accelerators for joint calculation of graphical effects. Don’t forget that you can see the testing results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 in mode 2-Way NVIDIA SLI in the review GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 960 WINDFORCE OC.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

 

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The reverse side of a novelty, originally covered with a base plate is notable by two of the four video memory chips, the above-mentioned tantalum polymer capacitors and some other electrical components.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The heart of the tested model is the graphics chip NVIDIA GM206-300-A1 (Maxwell), produced by 28-nm process. It includes 1024 unified shader pipes (CUDA cores in the terminology of NVIDIA), 32 blocks rasterization and 64 texture units. As we have said, the graphics card stands by a factory overclocking of graphics core with frequency in the mode «OC» in 1253 and 1317 MHz.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Total volume of Memory of model ASUS STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5 is 2 GB and it is collected with the help of the 4 chips Samsung K4G41325FC-HC28 with capacity of 512 MB each. According to the documentation, their effective frequency is 7000 MHz, but in our case it was increased up to 7200 MHz. The data exchange between the graphics processor and memory is realized through a 128-bit bus, which is capable of passing of 115.2 GB per second.

Cooling system

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Graphics card with installed cooling system DirectCU II takes up two expansion slots and has a total length of 215 mm according to the official website of the company ASUS (225 mm as measured in our lab).

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The cooler consists of a fairly compact radiator, which uses 47 longitudinally spaced aluminum plates, two 75-mm axial fans with support for technology 0dB FAN, as well as the plastic casing that cover the entire structure above.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The fans are made by FirstDo and are labeled as «FD7010H12S». Rated voltage of their work is 12, and the current is 0.35 A, which gives the final output of 4.2 W. Judging by the letter «S» in the title, they are built sleeve bearing.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

The uniform distribution of heat over the whole area of the radiator is realized by four copper heat pipes of different diameters: two 8 mm and two 6 mm. Note that the fins and heatpipes are covered with a layer of nickel, which is designed to reduce the decrease in the efficiency of cooling system during the operation, caused by the oxidation of metals. Here is a scheme of direct contact of heat pipes to the surface of the GPU through a small layer of thermal paste for rapid removal of excess heat.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In order to improve the efficiency of heat transfer the pipes are securely soldered to the edges of aluminum radiator and copper base.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Since the primary cooling system is not in contact directly with any force elements of stabilization module power or memory chips, the first is used for cooling a separate element in the form of a low-profile heatsink with thermal interface on the back side. But memory chips do not have any additional cooling.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Under automatic speed control of fan blades in the maximum load, the graphics core was warmed to 62 degrees and cooler worked with the 57% of its maximum capacity. The noise level at the same time can be described as quiet.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

Under the maximum speed of the fan blades, the GPU temperature dropped to 54 degrees. In this case, the noise rose to an average level, but remained comfortable enough for continuous work with the PC.

ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX DirectCU II OC (STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5)

In case of absence of load the frequency of the graphics core and memory were automatically lowered, allowing lower power consumption and heat generation of the graphics core. In this mode, the GPU temperature did not exceed 39 degrees, as fans generally stop spinning and cooling system operates in a completely passive mode. Here the the above-mentioned technology is 0dB FAN activated which provides silent operation of graphics card at low loads.

Read the full review >>>

 

Graphics card Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra: review and testing  

This material will be devoted to an unusual version of the graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980. Modification of the company Inno3D called «Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra» has a very original proprietary cooling system. A special attention is paid not only blowing of the GPU and memory chips, but also there is a separate unit for cooling elements of the power subsystem.

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

In addition, thanks to its original design and the presence of lighting the product will look spectacular even after installation on the computer case. There is a protective plate on the back of the PCB, which not only dissipates the excess heat, but also protects the contacts from dust and damage as a result of a short circuit.

The specs: 

Model

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra 

Graphics core

NVIDIA GM204-400-A1 (Maxwell)

Manufacturing process, mm

28

Q-ty of universal shader processors (CUDA-cores)

2048

Support of technologies and API

DirectX 12 (Shader Model 5.0), OpenGL 4.4, NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround, NVIDIA PhysX, NVIDIA TXAA, NVIDIA FXAA, NVIDIA MFAA, NVIDIA 3D Vision, NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync, NVIDIA SLI, NVIDIA CUDA, NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA GameStream

Rated/dynamic graphics core frequency, MHz

1266 / 1367

Memory capacity, GB

4

Memory type

GDDR5

Rated/effective video memory frequency, MHz

1800 / 7200

Memory bus size, bit

256

Memory carrying capacity, GB/s

230,4

Internal interface

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Screening interfaces

1 х HDMI 2.0

3 x DisplayPort 1.2

1 х DVI-I

Minimal PSU capacity, W

500

Dimensions taken from official website (according measurements in own test lab) , mm

300 x 115 (315 x 130)

Drivers

Drivers can be downloaded here:  Inno3D or GPU

Producer website

Inno3D

According to the information provided above, the novelty has a significant GPU overclocking: 140 MHz at rated speed and 151 MHz in the dynamic mode. In addition, effective frequency of video memory was increased by 200 MHz (from 7000 to 7200 MHz), which also resulted in an increase memory bandwidth from 224 to 230.4 GB/s.

Packaging and content

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Graphics card Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra is sold in a large cardboard box. Its front side contains support for technologies NVIDIA GameStream, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA G-SYNC and DirectX 12. Separately is indicated the presence of a complete full version benchmark 3DMark Advanced Edition and gaming pad, as well as the use of a unique cooling system HerculeZ X4 Air Boss. The inscription «Ultra» in the upper left corner reports about the presence of factory overclocking.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

On the reverse side of the package there is a brief description of the graphics card in different languages.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Inside the box the graphics accelerator is secured using foam shapes. Here there are two sections: the first is the graphics card, and the second is a set of accessories. This helps to protect against shock and damage during transportation.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Supplied set of Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra includes:

  • adapter for additional power connection;
  • adapter DVI to D-Sub;
  • gaming mouse pad;
  • key for the dismantling of the cooling system;
  • CD with software and drivers;
  • a code for a free download of full version benchmark 3DMark Advanced Edition;
  • table with recommendations for the power supply.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

It is quite interesting that the graphics card’s case has a special slot for storing the hex key. This ensures its safety and allows to use it at any time.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The interface panel has a reference set of connectors to output video:

  • 1 x DVI-I;
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0;
  • 3 x DisplayPort 1.2.

This configuration makes it possible to connect almost any modern monitor or TV and for old displays the kit contains an adapter DVI to D-Sub.

Design and circuitry

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The graphics card is made on a black board. The height of the printed circuit board is 112 mm. The graphics processor is equipped with a metal frame, which is designed to protect the chip against chipping and damage during removal and installation of the cooling system.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The power subsystem of Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra is performed by five-phase scheme: four are for the GPU and one is designed for the memory chip. Each of them uses two MOSFET M3058M and separate driver M3054M. Pay attention to the use of qualitative tantalum polymer capacitors (POSCAP).

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The power subsystem is based on the controller produced by a reputable manufacturer ON Semiconductor NCP81174. It is wired to a separate board and is able to support the work of up to four phases.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

To power supplying of the video card is provided by the opportunity of the slot PCI Express 3.0 x16 and two additional 6-pin PCIe. Close proximity of cooling system to the radiator difficults to connect and disconnect data connectors.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Near is a switch that controls the lights of the cooling system. It can be active, gently flicker or completely deactivated.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Support for technology NVIDIA SLI offers two corresponding connector. Using bridges you can form from two to four adapters for common graphics processing.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The reverse side of the PCB has a protective metal plate, which additionally serves for heat dissipation. The board includes a small number of components of the power subsystem.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The heart of Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra is GPU NVIDIA GM204-400-A1, made according to 28-nm process. This chip has 2048 cores CUDA, 128 texture units and 64 ROP units. GPU is clocked at 1266 MHz in the nominal mode and accelerates up to 1367 MHz with the activation of dynamic overclocking. 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Memory is collected by 8 chips SK Hynix H5GQ4H24MFR-R2C with capacity of 512 MB each. Data exchange with the GPU is realized through a 256-bit bus, the capacity of which is 230.4 GB/s.

Cooling system

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Model Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra is equipped with proprietary three-slot overall cooling system HerculeZ X4 Air Boss. On top its plastic case is covered by aluminum inlays, and the total height of the graphics accelerator with installed cooling system is 130 mm. It is long enough, which is limited to 315 mm, so you should check whether this card is fully compatible with your case.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The main blowing is performed by three fans Colorful CF-12915S (12 V, 0.35 A), which are mounted on a plastic frame. They have the original shape of the blades, thereby creating a good air flow. The heart of fans is a sleeve bearing.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The side has a separate small cooler Colorful CF-12510M (12 V, 0.15 A) on the basis of a ball bearing, which cools the radiator of the power subsystem. It rotates at a constant speed of about 2800 rpm, which is not dependent on the GPU temperature and can not be changed.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The main heat sink contacts with the graphics core through a small metal plate and a thin layer of thermal paste. The cooling system includes five copper heat pipes: two with a diameter of 8 mm and three are 6-mm. They are covered with a layer of nickel, which enables them to keep longer performance during operation.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Heat pipes are soldered firmly to the edges of the radiator as well as to its base, which further improves the heat transfer.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

As mentioned earlier, the individual radiators are responsible for cooling elements of the power subsystem and memory chips. They contact through special thermo pads.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

The reverse side has a metal plate, which is also involved in the dissipation of heat, although not directly contacted with textolite.

 

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

In case of automatic rotation of the fan blades (1542 rpm), the GPU temperature at maximum load did not exceed 64°C. Fans rotated at 43% of maximum speed and worked quietly. The noise was enough for a comfortable level.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

After installing the fan to the maximum speed (2735 rpm), the core temperature is dropped to 54°C. Noise of the cooling system has risen above average and became too comfortable for long-term work in front of the computer.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

In idle mode, by reducing the frequency of the graphics processor, the temperature decreased to 33°C. In this mode the card hardly stood out from the other components of the system that is perfectly suited for working with documents or watching videos.

In general, the cooling system HerculeZ X4 Air Boss of model Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra coped with the responsibilities as everyday use, and at high load.

Inno3D iChill GeForce GTX 980 4GB Ultra

 

Read the full review >>>

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