Sunday, September 14th 2014

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Reference Board Pictured

Here are the first pictures of the reference-design GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. This gorgeous looking board is something to get used to, as it could be a while before we see non-reference boards for the GTX 980. Its smaller sibling, the GTX 970, could launch with non-reference design boards right off the bat. Outwardly, the GTX 980 looks exactly like a GeForce GTX 780 reference board, with NVIDIA's space-age cooling shroud.

The only difference here is a metal backplate decking up the card. This backplate isn't cooling anything, and traces reveal that the card is indeed holding just 8 memory chips, confirming its 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. The GeForce GTX 980 is based on NVIDIA's new GM204 silicon, a derivative of the company's new "Maxwell" architecture, which made its debut with the GeForce GTX 750 Ti. The package of GM204 looks roughly as big as a GK104. The card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors, and uses a 4+1 phase VRM to condition power.

Source: VideoCardz
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49 Comments on NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Reference Board Pictured

#1
HumanSmoke
Reference card with backplate - now that's something I'd like to see become a trend.
Posted on Reply
#2
LAN_deRf_HA
Looks like a new cutout pattern on the bracket.
Posted on Reply
#3
Scrizz
HumanSmoke said:
Reference card with backplate - now that's something I'd like to see become a trend.
Well, it's not the first and hopefully not the last.
Posted on Reply
#4
GhostRyder
Looks like the previous setup now with a backplate. I like the style although the grooving is a little interesting, not sure if I like it as much as smooth but it's still nice looking.
Posted on Reply
#5
THE_EGG
LAN_deRf_HA said:
Looks like a new cutout pattern on the bracket.
agreed it looks similar to the Titan Z for that.

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2x 6 pin PCIe is pretty awesome. I guess this is an indication of how efficient it should be.
Posted on Reply
#6
radrok
The cheaper the PCB is, the better, Nvidia!

HumanSmoke said:
Reference card with backplate - now that's something I'd like to see become a trend.
I honestly don't get what's all this fuss about backplates. They aren't functional in any way :|
Posted on Reply
#7
THE_EGG
radrok said:
The cheaper the PCB is, the better, Nvidia!



I honestly don't get what's all this fuss about backplates. They aren't functional in any way :|
Some backplates can help spread the heat around a bit (if it is set up to do this though with thermal pads or the like). But yes in most cases they aren't all that functional.
Posted on Reply
#8
Prima.Vera
Wow! It looks spectacular! A revolution in both design and performance! Outstanding!!!
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#9
tehehe
Nice but performance is shit. Waiting for 980ti.
Posted on Reply
#10
Kyuuba
I hope it's not another fail advertisement just like with the Titan Z promised.
Posted on Reply
#11
The Von Matrices
radrok said:
The cheaper the PCB is, the better, Nvidia!

I honestly don't get what's all this fuss about backplates. They aren't functional in any way :|
THE_EGG said:
Some backplates can help spread the heat around a bit (if it is set up to do this though with thermal pads or the like). But yes in most cases they aren't all that functional.
There's no memory chips or anything of value to cool on the back of this card. This backplate is purely aesthetic, and on top of that it likely hurts cooling performance if you have to put two cards right next to each other. I agree wholeheartedly - remove the backplate and price the card cheaper.
Posted on Reply
#12
HumanSmoke
radrok said:
I honestly don't get what's all this fuss about backplates. They aren't functional in any way :|
As someone who has to clean a lot of computers, I'd say that backplates make cleaning graphics cards much easier- so I judge that as a functional attribute as far as I'm concerned.
Posted on Reply
#13
radrok
HumanSmoke said:
As someone who has to clean a lot of computers, I'd say that backplates make cleaning graphics cards much easier- so I judge that as a functional attribute as far as I'm concerned.
Ehm what? You can just clean computers with compressed air, backplate or not, it will make no difference.
Posted on Reply
#14
HumanSmoke
radrok said:
Ehm what? You can just clean computers with compressed air, backplate or not, it will make no difference.
The difference is that (depending on chassis filtering and the fitting tolerance of the backplate) a light blast of contact cleaner/canned air is enough for a backplated card, where a naked PCB might need a more thorough drenching.
Posted on Reply
#15
thebluebumblebee
In image 3 of 4, the "980" has 2x6 pin. In image 4, it looks like it has 1x6 and 1x8 pin connectors. Something's not right.
Posted on Reply
#16
HumanSmoke
thebluebumblebee said:
In image 3 of 4, the "980" has 2x6 pin. In image 4, it looks like it has 1x6 and 1x8 pin connectors. Something's not right.
The 8-pin (facing forward) is for pro boards (Quadro) that often use a cable loom/holder off the back of the card and might use the rear facing 8pin to be used in conjuction with it. It isn't often used, but it does give the option for workstations and server racks. The second 6-pin (that is occupied) is set up for 6-pin or 8-pin usage for vendor boards based on the reference PCB but likely drawing more power from faster clocks.
Posted on Reply
#17
Lionheart
radrok said:
The cheaper the PCB is, the better, Nvidia!



I honestly don't get what's all this fuss about backplates. They aren't functional in any way :|
Aesthetics & heat dissipation? o_O
Posted on Reply
#18
1d10t
btarunr said:
The only difference here is a metal backplate decking up the card. This backplate isn't cooling anything, and traces reveal that the card is indeed holding just 8 memory chips, confirming its 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface. The GeForce GTX 980 is based on NVIDIA's new GM204 silicon, a derivative of the company's new "Maxwell" architecture, which made its debut with the GeForce GTX 750 Ti. The package of GM204 looks roughly as big as a GK104. The card draws power from a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors, and uses a 4+1 phase VRM to condition power.
Source: VideoCardz
I doubt it.nVidia made an incremental changes about power delivery.



They implement better dual-channel IC control voltage regulation module VRM (red boxes),but downsides is they ditch analog-digital VRM control and replaces with full digital (green box).Still using Foxconn Magic R22 buck converter,which is clearly inferior compare to Coiltronics, though they reduced down to 4 and add some +1 as backup.
This would translate nVidia is strictly-limitting power at certain value and forbidding user to overclock them.Even 5% OC could be impossible with reference cards.
Posted on Reply
#19
radrok
Lionheart said:
Aesthetics & heat dissipation? o_O
It has no memory chips on the backside and it is not making contact with any heat-generating part.

But you guys are free to ask for backplates, I'll be asking for better PCB components, which Nvidia hasn't been delivering in generations.
Posted on Reply
#20
HumanSmoke
radrok said:
But you guys are free to ask for backplates, I'll be asking for better PCB components, which Nvidia hasn't been delivering in generations.
And why does it have to be an either/or situation? Are wish lists limited to a single option?
Posted on Reply
#21
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
1d10t said:
I doubt it.nVidia made an incremental changes about power delivery.



They implement better dual-channel IC control voltage regulation module VRM (red boxes),but downsides is they ditch analog-digital VRM control and replaces with full digital (green box).Still using Foxconn Magic R22 buck converter,which is clearly inferior compare to Coiltronics, though they reduced down to 4 and add some +1 as backup.
This would translate nVidia is strictly-limitting power at certain value and forbidding user to overclock them.Even 5% OC could be impossible with reference cards.
I meant that the cooling solutions of the two cards look identical. Hence, "outwardly."
Posted on Reply
#22
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
radrok said:
It has no memory chips on the backside and it is not making contact with any heat-generating part.

But you guys are free to ask for backplates, I'll be asking for better PCB components, which Nvidia hasn't been delivering in generations.
Have you ever heard of non reference designs. It is why they are there.

1d10t said:
I doubt it.nVidia made an incremental changes about power delivery.



They implement better dual-channel IC control voltage regulation module VRM (red boxes),but downsides is they ditch analog-digital VRM control and replaces with full digital (green box).Still using Foxconn Magic R22 buck converter,which is clearly inferior compare to Coiltronics, though they reduced down to 4 and add some +1 as backup.
This would translate nVidia is strictly-limitting power at certain value and forbidding user to overclock them.Even 5% OC could be impossible with reference cards.
Id make that judgement when we actually see what the power consumption is out of the box. Until then its speculation, unless you know something we don't, and I hate speculation.
Posted on Reply
#23
Animalpak
Considering the better and improved power delivery system i think we will see a dual GTX 980 for summer 2015.
Posted on Reply
#24
HumanSmoke
Animalpak said:
Considering the better and improved power delivery system i think we will see a dual GTX 980 for summer 2015.
Probably a certainty. If Nvidia could double up full-fat GK 104's for the GTX 690, and GK 110's for the card-shall-not-be-named, a GTX 990 should be a distinct possibility. Hopefully for those who buy duallies, the pricing is more in line with former.
1d10t said:
This would translate nVidia is strictly-limitting power at certain value and forbidding user to overclock them.Even 5% OC could be impossible with reference cards.
Then again it might be able to produce a 20% overclock and blow your theory into the weeds
Posted on Reply
#25
buildzoid
I see another TITAN coming because this card is simply not pushing any 28nm manufacturing limits. There's still 38% more power draw available before hitting the 250W TDP so a maxwell card with a 384bit bus and 2300+ cores is very possible.
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