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NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M is a 28 nm DirectX 11 graphics card for high-end notebooks. It was introduced in Fall of 2014 and is based on the Maxwell GM204 architecture. The clock rates specified by Nvidia are 1038 MHz (+ Boost) for the GPU and 1250 MHz (5000 MHz effective) for the up to 8 GB of GDDR5 memory.

Architecture

Just like the mid-range GM107 chip (GeForce GTX 860M), the GM204 is also based on Nvidia's new Maxwell architecture, which replaces the previous Kepler generation. Among other changes, Nvidia have restructured the streaming multi processors (SMM) in order to increase workload and efficiency. Now each SMM contains only 128 shader units and 8 TMUs, which is noticeably less than an equivalent Kepler GPU. The GM204 features four GPCs, and each consists of four SMMs. But, in the GeForce GTX 980M, Nvidia have deactivated 4 of 16 SMMs. As a result, only 1536 shader ALUs and 96 TMUs are active. In addition, there are 64 ROPs in four clusters with 16 units each.

The memory interface has a bandwidth of 256-bits (4x 64 bit). Thanks to an improved compression algorithm, the connection to the GDDR5 memory should be significantly more efficient per MHz. Furthermore, the L1 (96 KB per SMM) and L2 caches (2 MB) have been significantly increased to lower the needed bandwidth.

Although the GM107 and the GM204 both belong to the Maxwell generation, the newer and larger GM204 has several additional features and changes. Aside from the improved polymorphic engine in the SSMs, it is also the first Nvidia chip to support DirectX 12 Feature Level 12_1.

Performance

Thanks to the increased efficiency, the GeForce GTX 980M performs significantly faster than the former top model, the GTX 880M. Consequently, it is the fastest mobile graphics card as of 2014. According to our benchmarks, it is about 40 - 50 percent faster depending on the scenario. Thus, the GTX 980M is powerful enough to run even the most demanding games with highest details and FullHD resolution. Additional visual features like anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering are also not a problem for this card as of 2014.

3DMark (2013) - 1920x1080 Fire Strike Standard Graphics (sort by value)
GeForce GTX 880M SLI
11926 Points ∼51%
Radeon R9 M290X Crossfire
10551 Points ∼45%
GeForce GTX 780M SLI
10091 Points ∼43%
GeForce GTX 980M
9598 Points ∼41%
GeForce GTX 970M
7273 Points ∼31%
GeForce GTX 880M
6125 Points ∼26%
GeForce GTX 780M
5744 Points ∼25%
Radeon R9 M290X
5294 Points ∼23%

Features

Most of the features are identical to the GeForce GTX 800M series. With the GTX 980M, there can be up to 4 active displays possible, but this will likely decrease due to Optimus. Displays can be connected with a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels via DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 2.0 (no HDCP @ 4K). HD audio formats like Dolby True HD and DTS HD can be sent to a compatible receiver as bitstream. As with previous models, 3D Vision is not supported with Optimus.

The updated video processor VP6 supports the usual formats like H.264 and can also decode and encode H.265 with a resolution of up to 4K via the NVENC API. Several parallel streams, such as picture-in-picture in a Blu-Ray movie, are also possible.

Further features of the GTX 900M series, which are also partly supported by older cards, include Battery Boost (longer battery life during gaming), Shadowplay (recording of gaming videos up to 4K60p and 130 Mbit/s) and Gamestream (game streaming on Shield console). More information on these features are available here.

Power Consumption

The power consumption of the GeForce GTX 980M including its MXM board and memory should be about the same as a GTX 880M with a specified TDP of 122 W. Given the significantly higher performance despite the identical manufacturing process (28 nm TSMC), this can be considered a massive increase in performance-per-watt. Nevertheless, the graphics card can only be used in very large and heavy gaming notebooks with powerful cooling systems.

Under low load, dynamic clock rates help the GTX 980M to save energy. While idle, the Optimus technology also allows for the complete deactivation of the GPU in favor of the integrated processor graphics card.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M

 

ManufacturerNVIDIA
GeForce GTX 900M Series
GeForce GTX 980M SLI 3072 @ 1038 - 1127 (Boost) MHz2x 256 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 970M SLI 2560 @ 924 - 1038 (Boost) MHz2x 192 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 965M SLI 2048 @ 924 - 950 (Boost) MHz2x 128 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 980M 1536 @ 1038 - 1127 (Boost) MHz256 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 970M 1280 @ 924 - 1038 (Boost) MHz192 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 965M 1024 @ 924 / 935 - 950 / 1151 (Boost) MHz128 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 960M 640 @ 1029 - 1097 (Boost) MHz128 Bit @ 5000 MHz
GeForce GTX 950M 640 @ 914 - 993 - 1124 (Boost) MHz128 Bit @ 1800 - 5000 MHz
ArchitectureMaxwell
Pipelines1536 - unified
Core Speed *1038 - 1127 (Boost) MHz
Memory Speed *5000 MHz
Memory Bus Width256 Bit
Memory TypeGDDR5
Max. Amount of Memory8192 MB
Shared Memoryno
DirectXDirectX 12 (FL 12_1), Shader 5.0
Power Consumption100 Watt
Transistors5200 Million
technology28 nm
FeaturesBattery Boost, GameStream, ShadowPlay, GPU Boost 2.0, Optimus, PhysX, CUDA, SLI, GeForce Experience, VXGI
Notebook Sizelarge
Date of Announcement07.10.2014
* The specified clock rates are only guidelines for the manufacturer and can be altered by them.

Benchmarks

Cinebench R15 - Ref. Match 64Bit
0%
100%
min: 99.6     avg: 99.6 (100%)     median: 99.6 (100%)     max: 99.6 Points
Cinebench R15 - OpenGL 64Bit
0%
100%
min: 59.67     avg: 98.9 (63%)     median: 100.9 (64%)     max: 153.36 Points
3DMark (2013) - Fire Strike Standard Graphics 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 9227     avg: 9690.1 (41%)     median: 9675 (41%)     max: 10489 Points
3DMark (2013) - Fire Strike Standard Score 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 8095     avg: 8351.9 (36%)     median: 8339.5 (36%)     max: 8914 Points
3DMark (2013) - Cloud Gate Standard Graphics 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 36230     avg: 61636.8 (42%)     median: 65131.5 (44%)     max: 69696 Points
3DMark (2013) - Cloud Gate Standard Score 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 18666     avg: 22634 (70%)     median: 22149 (68%)     max: 27998 Points
3DMark (2013) - Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score 1280x720 offscreen
0%
100%
min: 286434     avg: 337819 (75%)     median: 317502 (71%)     max: 398761 Points
3DMark (2013) - Ice Storm Extreme Graphics 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 38312     avg: 180486 (49%)     median: 213556 (58%)     max: 280576 Points
3DMark (2013) - Ice Storm Standard Graphics 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 47124     avg: 208266 (28%)     median: 222655 (30%)     max: 377482 Points
Unigine Heaven 3.0 - DX 11, Normal Tessellation, High Shaders 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 103.7     avg: 112 (42%)     median: 110.6 (41%)     max: 119 fps
ComputeMark v2.1 - Normal, Score 1024x600
0%
100%
min: 6441     avg: 6698 (42%)     median: 6552 (41%)     max: 7330 Points
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit - Room Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
0%
100%
min: 1209     avg: 1322.1 (36%)     median: 1249 (34%)     max: 1538 Samples/s
LuxMark v2.0 64Bit - Sala Scene, OpenCL GPUs-only
0%
100%
min: 2258     avg: 2351.9 (40%)     median: 2299 (40%)     max: 2539 Samples/s
3DMark 11 - Performance GPU 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 11209     avg: 12459.2 (41%)     median: 12509 (42%)     max: 13581 points
3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720
0%
100%
min: 10464     avg: 11260.9 (53%)     median: 11175 (53%)     max: 12364 points
3DMark Vantage - P GPU no PhysX 1280x1024
0%
100%
min: 33856     avg: 35806.6 (52%)     median: 34695 (51%)     max: 40043 Points
3DMark Vantage - P Result no PhysX 1280x1024
0%
100%
min: 29807     avg: 32452.8 (61%)     median: 31944 (60%)     max: 37728 Points
3DMark 06
0%
100%
min: 24942     avg: 28513.6 (74%)     median: 26811 (70%)     max: 36363 Points
SPECviewperf 12 - Solidworks (sw-03) 1900x1060
0%
100%
min: 1.67     avg: 24.6 (23%)     median: 25.6 (24%)     max: 45.58 fps
SPECviewperf 12 - Siemens NX (snx-02) 1900x1060
0%
100%
min: 0.25     avg: 3.2 (4%)     median: 3.7 (4%)     max: 4.87 fps
SPECviewperf 12 - Showcase (showcase-01) 1900x1060
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100%
min: 4.84     avg: 30.2 (27%)     median: 34.4 (31%)     max: 47.02 fps
SPECviewperf 12 - Medical (medical-01) 1900x1060
0%
100%
min: 3.01     avg: 15.6 (34%)     median: 16.2 (35%)     max: 27.17 fps
SPECviewperf 12 - Maya (maya-04) 1900x1060
0%
100%
min: 21.79     avg: 63.4 (39%)     median: 83.7 (51%)     max: 84.6 fps
SPECviewperf 12 - Energy (energy-01) 1900x1060
0%
100%
min: 5.11     avg: 22.8 (41%)     median: 14.9 (26%)     max: 56.21 fps
SPECviewperf 12 - Creo (creo-01) 1900x1060
0%
100%
min: 26.13     avg: 35.7 (44%)     median: 27.1 (33%)     max: 53.92 fps
SPECviewperf 12 - Catia (catia-04) 1900x1060
0%
100%
min: 2.29     avg: 24.7 (25%)     median: 27.8 (28%)     max: 40.9 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - Siemens NX 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 8.55     avg: 8.6 (13%)     median: 8.6 (13%)     max: 8.55 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - Tcvis 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 2.45     avg: 2.5 (4%)     median: 2.5 (4%)     max: 2.47 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - SolidWorks 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 16.97     avg: 17 (23%)     median: 17 (23%)     max: 17.07 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - Pro/ENGINEER 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 2.63     avg: 2.6 (11%)     median: 2.6 (11%)     max: 2.64 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - Maya 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 22.58     avg: 22.8 (20%)     median: 22.7 (20%)     max: 22.91 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - Lightwave 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 21.12     avg: 21.1 (25%)     median: 21.1 (25%)     max: 21.13 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - Ensight 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 95.83     avg: 96.6 (97%)     median: 96.6 (97%)     max: 97.31 fps
SPECviewperf 11 - Catia 1920x1080
0%
100%
min: 21.57     avg: 22 (32%)     median: 22 (32%)     max: 22.49 fps
Cinebench R11.5 - OpenGL 64Bit
0%
100%
min: 49.14     avg: 64.5 (3%)     median: 62 (3%)     max: 82.88 Points
Cinebench R10 - Shading 32Bit
0%
100%
min: 6670     avg: 8135.1 (41%)     median: 6837 (34%)     max: 19842 Points
- Range of benchmark values for this graphics card
- Average benchmark values for this graphics card

Game Benchmarks

The following benchmarks stem from our benchmarks of review laptops. The performance depends on the used graphics memory, clock rate, processor, system settings, drivers, and operating systems. So the results don't have to be representative for all laptops with this GPU. For detailled information on the benchmark results, click on the fps number.

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

Mirror's Edge Catalyst

2016
low 1280x720
125  fps     Compare
med. 1366x768
112  fps     Compare
high 1920x1080
60.8  fps     Compare
ultra 1920x1080
53.8  fps     Compare
3840x2160
20.6  fps     Compare
» With all tested laptops playable in detail settings ultra.
Overwatch

Overwatch

2016
low 1280x720
231  fps     Compare