We’ve been counting on Redline Technologies, our local PC enthusiast store, for a glimpse of Nvidia’s latest flagships, and they haven’t disappointed. Meet MSI’s GTX 980 and 970, two 4GB cards built on the Maxwell architecture. Of these, the GTX 980 effectively raises the bar on Nvidia’s single-GPU performance, beating the previous generation’s GTX 780 Ti by a small percentage. It also outperforms the rare GTX Titan Black for much less. The GTX 970 is approximately on par with AMD’s Radeon 290X.
However, before you go upgrade, let’s examine the context of these cards first. With the Maxwell architecture, Nvidia’s (very effectively) optimized for lesser power draws rather than the next leap in GPU power. Tom’s Hardware’s power consumption test clocks a reference GTX 980 using a mere 185 Watts on load while gaming, whereas both the GTX 780Ti and Radeon 290X use upwards of 240 Watts under the same load. In terms of frames per second, the difference is minor. At the same time, the Sri Lankan prices are significantly higher than their US counterparts – the GTX 980 is priced at LKR 110,000, which makes AMD’s lineup extremely competitive for someone who can deal with the electricity bill.
Therefore, the 7XX generation of cards still remain relevant: these two news cards are effectively almost the same amount of power for a significantly lesser power draw, especially ideal for dual-card setups. If you’re running a 7-series card, hang onto it a little bit longer. If you’re running anything below that – say, a 6-series – that upgrade might be due soon.