ZOTAC GTX 980 Extreme Hands-On, Unboxing, & Overview
GTX 980 Extreme Specs vs. GTX 980 Omega, GTX 980 Reference
|GTX 980 Extreme||GTX 980 Reference|
|Memory Config||4GB @ 256-bit
|4GB @ 256-bit
As many of you know at this point, nVidia develops a “reference card” for all of its flagship GPUs and most of its mid-range and high-end options. They sometimes skip low-end units (like the GTX 750 Ti), but the GTX 980, 780 Ti, Titan Z, and similar cards have all received reference models.
These reference cards use a specific board and cooler that manufacturers can source and reuse for aftermarket models. Manufacturers often sell the reference model under their own branding and under the same MSRP (~$550, in the case of the GTX 980). As for aftermarket units, it's largely up to board partners whether or not they'd like to use any of the reference design.
Zotac has opted for a custom cooler and PCB for the GTX 980 Extreme, a $610 version of the GTX 980 we've already reviewed. The increase in cost largely comes from the cooler, a triple-fan solution (“IceStrike,” if you're into marketing names) that uses a central fan to inject air and two flanking exhaust fans for better cooling. The idea is that using three intake fans wouldn't improve cooling noticeably, since air has historically had issues getting trapped in the heatsink when using such a design for video cards.
The GTX 980 Extreme is massive, though, and consumes a full 2.5 slots. This could potentially make SLI difficult or overly warm, but we'll know shortly.
Stay tuned for more information.
- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.