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This review is from: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 04G-P4-2982-KR 4GB SC GAMING, Silent Cooling Graphics Card
Pros: I think I almost forgot about the fact that the GTX 980 is my next-gen console system - not the PS4 or Xbox One! It, along with the GTX 970, are ideal alternatives to today's next gen game consoles, as long as you've got pretty much the right computer hardware the rest of it. The PS4 (the most powerful gaming console) can produce "only" 1.84 teraflops (GTX 750 Ti: 1.3 teraflops), while the GTX 980 can produce 4.6 teraflops efficiently, which means a lot of graphical power to play games at the highest settings, and even ready for 1080p.
I'm not using SLI. Still, I played "The Crew", and it goes 60 FPS - even at 2715 x 1697 (higher than 2560 x 1600), despite the fact that I only have two 1920 x 1200 monitors! (I game through one monitor only.) This graphics card can max out settings at 1080p, and in some cases 1440p, and I'm pretty much all set.
Cons: As I said earlier, $630 is a premium, especially with the fact that this is the 'premium' reference NVTTM blower cooler (which I said it was the best), and it's factory overclocked (non-overclocked available for $600 with PNY, $610 with EVGA; I chose EVGA because that has been the manufacturer of my past two graphics cards, the GTS 250 from 2010, the time I first built my custom computer that I'm using, and the GTX 750 Ti FTW, the card that I used from February earlier this year to Friday before the delivery of the 980 yesterday). Cheaper 980s start at $550, but even that price is more than the PS4 or Xbox One ($350 to $400). The better value would be the GTX 970; at $330 to $350, the same price as a next-gen console, it offers a better price-to-performance ratio, and better performance compared to the GTX 780 (previous generation) or the R9 290, but most of the coolers are open-air, and I was looking for a blower fan just to keep the video card heat separate from the rest of the case. The NVTTM blower isn't available on the 970, so the 980 is the only one available with the magnesium alloy blower, but $630 is pretty high for a cooler like that.
Other Thoughts: If you're on a budget, stick to the GTX 970, but keep in mind that most of the coolers are open-air, and an NVTTM blower option isn't available. Both the GTX 970 and 980 (and even the 760/possible 960) are ideal alternatives to a PS4 or an Xbox One (unless if you're pretty much a fan of Gran Turismo, like me, then you have to go to PS4, specifically GT7).
Do check below for my initial write-up overall, but it's safe to say the GTX 980 is my next-gen gaming console system. I initially wanted a GTX 980 to replace my GTX 750 Ti for the what-it-could-be-demanding "Project Cars" racing simulation game (similar to Gran Turismo), and that's going to come March of 2015, but I was planning to move my computer to my office and I don't want to fuss around trying to remove the computer from the cabinet in my office and putting it back in.
This review is from: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 04G-P4-2982-KR 4GB SC GAMING, Silent Cooling Graphics Card
Pros: I was really hesitant to buy a graphics card more powerful than the 750 Ti (EVGA ACX FTW model that I bought at Newegg ten months ago, and up for auction at the time of writing), but I'm glad I'm a proud owner of the world's best graphics card out there. The GTX 980 can really run "The Crew" (one of the three games available to select for free) 60 frames per second easily in 1920 x 1200, with the graphics maxed out - and with only one card! Who really needs to use SLI for such racing games? (Unless if it's a racing game more complex...) At 1080p, it can pretty much max out any game from yesterday, and get an edge on today's newest games. Have to also appreciate the incredible power efficiency of the 980 - it beats the R9 290X hands down! Even triple DisplayPort for G-Sync Surround and HDMI 2.0 for another 4K 60Hz option as well.
When I compared the noise between my 750 Ti and this 980, I'm surprised how quiet it is - obviously way better than the 290X reference cooler from last year! Nvidia did carry over this NVTTM cooler from the Titan (Black) and 770/780 (Ti), since there's quite a lot of positive reviews. Okay, this is a blower design, and it will be a bit warmer than open-air coolers, and I don't overclock, but with the fact that I'm using a Fractal Design Define R4 quiet case that at times can heat up (especially hard drives recently!), if you're using such a quiet case and/or a case with poor airflow, and/or you're going to put them into SLI (which I don't intend to), then the blower design will be the better way to go.
All in all, it might not be the world's fastest graphics card outright, but it certainly is the world's fastest single GPU card. (The 295X2 and the Titan Z are faster than the 980, but keep in mind that they're dual GPU cards.) This is almost certain the last graphics card I'll ever have for the current build that I've been using since 2010.
Cons: You have to pay a premium. $630 is $80 higher than Nvidia's suggested retail price. The $550 cards here are Newegg are open-air coolers, such as EVGA's own ACX 2.0, but because I'm using a Fractal Design Define R4 case that heats up inside, I'd rather have a blower design. Among the blower design models available, the NVTTM cooler is pretty much the best of the best I've had, but be prepared to dig deeper out of your pocket.
In addition, Ubuntu is pretty much malfunctioned at the moment since installing the GTX 980...I'll need to re-install it.
Other Thoughts: It has been quite a long ways since I built my first custom computer (and the one that I'm currently using, with an Intel Core i7-860 processor). I started off with a GTS 250 back in April 2010, then upgraded to the 750 Ti FTW earlier in February of this year, until my "big" leap to the 980. I wanted to buy this beast of a graphics card now rather than this upcoming spring because I wanted to get ready for "Project CARS" game coming in March (and I heard it's pretty demanding), but I'm also going to move my computer soon from my bedroom to my office room, and I don't want to spend a lot of time and a lot of effort trying to take out my case from my new desk cabinet that we just built this fall, upgrade it and put it back - I'd rather just do it before my computer gets moved to the office for good. Also have to appreciate the fact that it has three DisplayPorts - I'm already using up two for my two PA248Q monitors (the other is a ten-year-old E193FP monitor using VGA).
Times sure have changed since I first built my computer and today. Almost five years have made a difference! Remember when people were criticizing about the GTX 480's infamous noise and power concerns? Since then Nvidia has pretty much learned a lot of lessons, and the GTX 980 is the pinnacle of it.
When I compared between the two blower graphics cards that I had - the GTS 250 from 2010 and this GTX 980, the GTS 250 was actually noisier. I'm impressed at how Nvidia designed this NVTTM cooler.
I've pretty much maxed out my computer - and dug up my bank account pretty deep - this could be the last upgrade I would ever make to my computer in its current form (other than storage). I don't intend to play around with SLI - a single card does enough for me. Next time I do a major upgrade, it could be a rebuild consisting of a new motherboard/processor and memory, and possibly carrying over the GTX 980.
Pros: This drive made a difference in my laptop compared to the 7200rpm hard drive that it had.
Cons: Nothing that I see as of now.
Other Thoughts: This drive had half the capacity of the hard drive I replaced on the laptop, but I don't intend to put large media (e.g. J-pop MP3s/CDs and videos/TV shows, in HD quality) into the SSD. I would store it into a large hard drive, even if it's slower, but then again an SSD isn't that necessary for storing as such.
The Magician software is top-notch, and it even offers me preset optimizations in just a few clicks. SSDs are fast these days, so I set the SSD into "reliability mode." I'm hoping that the SSD will extend the lifespan of my HP EliteBook 8560p notebook (that I bought at Newegg THREE YEARS AGO!) by another few years. Combined with 8GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory that I also ordered (but separately), that packs a one-two punch and it will get me (and my brother who is playing RuneScape on my laptop at the moment) moving pretty quickly compared to the hard drive and 4GB of RAM that I previously had.
Note: I did NOT use the data migration software. I checked the Tom's Guide forum and there was a recommendation to do a clean install. I also read the limitations to the data migration software that it wouldn't clone recovery partitions of a laptop (unless the laptop is a Samsung laptop), but it was better for me to do a clean install, even though I bought a notebook upgrade kit with a SATA-to-USB 3 adapter. The clean install allowed me to re-install Windows 7 without the unnecessary junkware, e.g. Norton Antivirus (I don't use Norton - I use Avira free antivirus!), PDF Complete, etc. I did re-install some HP utilities though along with the necessary drivers, as well as installing the latest AMD Catalyst graphics driver, something I couldn't do in the past with the hard drive installed. I'd highly recommend an SSD like this, whether it's a laptop upgrade or building a new computer.
As I said again, SSDs are pretty fast these days, so if you don't mind about performance differences between SSDs (since there are higher-performing SSDs, but may be more beneficial for "prosumer" users such as photo and video editing) and just want the lightning-fast response to your existing computer, I'd recommend the 840 EVO or any other similar SSDs priced at this point (e.g. Crucial MX100).