Nvidia Adds Two GPUs To Its Family, The GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970
While gamers are having good time with competitive gaming tournaments like DOTA 2 The International, which had a prize pool of $10 million, and on-going League of Legends World Championship, Nvidia unveils its latest graphic cards — GTX 980 and GTX 970 — at a 24-hour gaming event in Los Angeles sponsored by the company itself.
The GTX 980 features 2048 cores clocked at 1126MHz while its younger brother GTX 970 has 1664 cores running at base frequency of 1050 MHz. Both graphic cards have 4GB of GDDR5 memory which have 256-bit interface. These cards have one HDMI 2.0 port that supports 4K resolution at a refresh rate of 60GHz.
Both cards are able to support 4K resolution on a 1080p display maintaining an effective frame rate, thanks to a new feature called Dynamic Super Resolution. It works by rendering 4K resolution in GPU’s frame buffer and then downsampling the image to 1080p when it is displayed on the monitor. The user can set the resolution as high as 5K!
Another interesting feature is Multi-Frame-Sampled Anti-aliasing (MFAA). To understand its advantage, let’s first discuss a limitation that previous GPUs had.
You might have seen that “Anti-Aliasing” bar in graphics settings in most of the games. It solves the problem of Aliasing — distortion that occurs when GPU renders images. Aliasing makes non-square images’ edges appear like jagged. Anti-Aliasing techniques are used to solve this issue and multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) is the best one. However, it has a drawback.
MSAA is computationally very expensive.
MFAA works much like MSAA but it uses an optimized approach. According to Nvidia, MFAA is 30 percent faster than MSAA.
Other interesting and new features added to GTX 980 and 970 are Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI) and VR Direct. VXGI is a new lighting technique that also uses an optimized approach in providing better image quality with less performance hit. It basically helps developers in setting light conditions of environment and the reflections made by the objects.
VR Direct supports the virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift. These headsets require powerful processing power and graphics rendering abilities. With VR Direct, GTX 980 and 970 look forward to support the next-big-thing — VR games.
You might be thinking that to support all these features, these GPUs would require a lot of power. Fortunately, Nvidia has made these cards much more power efficient than their predecessors. This is the thing I like the most about these cards.
Older cards like GeForce GTX needed 195 watts, and GeForce GTX 780 needed 250 watts. On the other hand, GTX 980 with 4GB has just 165 watts thermal design power (TDP).
You can get your hands on GeForce GTX 970 for $329, while GeForce GTX 980 would cost you $549.