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MSI Graphics Cards GTX 980 GAMING 4G

Description:
MSI NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Gaming 4GB GDDR5 DVI/HDMI/3DisplayPort PCI-Express Video Card

Details:
DetailValue
BindingPersonal Computers
BrandMSI
EAN0824142028841
FeatureMSI Gaming app EyeRest Tab
Eye Rest Mode
More intense colors and increased contrast lets you live the gaming life as the creators meant it
Dynamically adjusts Gamma and Contrast ratios for the clearest movie viewing experience
Chipset: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
Video Memory: 4GB GDDR5
Max. Resolution: 4096 x 2160, Support 4x Display Monitors
500W System Power Supply Requirement
LabelMSI COMPUTER
ManufacturerMSI COMPUTER
ModelGTX 980 GAMING 4G
MPNGTX 980 GAMING 4G
PublisherMSI COMPUTER
StudioMSI COMPUTER
TitleMSI Graphics Cards GTX 980 GAMING 4G
UPC729650586336
CatalogNumberList - CatalogNumberListElementGTX 980 GAMING 4G
Item Height1.5 inches
Item Length11 inches
Item Width5.6 inches
Package Height3.4 inches
Package Length13.6 inches
Package Weight3.95 pounds
Package Width10.6 inches
PackageQuantity1
PartNumberGTX 980 GAMING 4G
ProductGroupPersonal Computer
ProductTypeNameVIDEO_CARD
UPCList - UPCListElement729650586336
610556387403
012305007530
824142028841
012304120452
Item Weight3.5 pounds
 

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Great Upgrade from the previous GTX 660 I own.

review by obikenobi27

Opening Notes
This review is based around my upgrade from an EVGA Geforce GTX 660 SC to this card, the MSI Geforce GTX 980 Gaming 4G. I have owned three graphics cards since I started gaming on PC including my original EVGA Geforce GTS 250, my previous EVGA Geforce GTX 660 SC, and my current MSI Geforce GTX 980 Gaming 4G. All of cards, excluding the current MSI Geforce GTX 980 Gaming 4G, were used for at least two years. This shows that I do not upgrade often and that it takes very good reasons to force me to upgrade. The occasion that forced me to upgrade this time was the amount of VRAM that my EVGA Geforce GTX 660 SC contained. By upgrading, I went from 2GB of VRAM to 4GB of VRAM. The amount of VRAM in the EVGA Geforce GTX 660 SC caused textures to load in slowly and serious lag spikes that sometimes lasted up to five seconds. These problems consistently happened in games such as Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, Battlefield 4, and Sniper Elite 3. I traced these issues to a lack of VRAM in the card as the rest of my system is well equipped to handle these titles. Therefore, I upgraded to 4GB of VRAM in order to create a smoother gaming experience for myself.

My System
It is necessary to show what I am using so that those with similar setups can relate and benchmark scores can be explained. I play with two separate screens. One has a resolution of 1600x900 and is used when I play with a mouse and keyboard. My second screen has a resolution of 1920x1080 and is used when I want to play with a controller while laid back. These two screens will be referred to as ?desktop screen? (1600x900) and ?couch screen" (1920x1080). Beyond that, here is a description of my system without the GPU.

CPU: Intel i7 3770 (3.4GHz)
RAM: PNY XLR8 16GB (1600MHz)
PSU: Corsair CX750M (750W)

Physical Review
The card itself is much better in terms of aesthetics compared to my old cards. The red accents and LED lighting is not overdone whatsoever. I have no complaints over aesthetics. The card is equipped with two average sized fans that come stock with a zero RPM mode enabled. This feature is necessary as the fans produce a noticeable coil whine when they ramp up in intensive games and benchmarks. EDIT: There was no coil whine. The actual noise was coming from my mechanical hard drive. The card is a bit heavy with the Twin Frozr V cooler equipped, and this creates a noticeable, but not alarming, sag in the card when suspended. Overall the design is solid and doesn't have any negative aspects that deterred me from the product.

Installation
The installation of the card was a little difficult. When screwing in the I/O plate, I had a difficult time fitting my fingers between the rear panel of the Corsair Carbide Air 540 and the cooler of the card. In order to install the card, I had to use a screwdriver instead of my fingers to screw in the thumb screws of the case. Other than that small complaint, I have no issues with the installation process. Power cables connected easily and I already had the latest nVidia Geforce drivers thanks to my previous card being nVidia as well.

Performance
This card is fast. I easily doubled my framerate in the benchmarks. I used Unigine's Valley and Heaven benchmarks for a quick comparison on my desktop screen.

As for performance in games, I played Assassin's Creed: Unity, Battlefield 4, Sniper Elite 3, and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I also played Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Left 4 Dead 2, but those results are, as expected, well over 250 frames per second and don't really matter.

In summary, all results were consistently greater than 60 frames per second except for Assassin's Creed: Unity, which dipped to about 47 frames per second every once and awhile. The experiences were much smoother and more enjoyable than my previous cards. I found myself enjoying Battlefield 4 and Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor again without the headache inducing, cinematic 24 frames per second. I didn't test the GTX 660 or the GTS 250 since I don't have that much time between High School and sports.

Was it worth it?
In terms of performance increase percent per dollar, I spent about $4.91 per each percent increase. This was definitely worth it since the card not only performs better, but is quiet, cool, and nicer looking. One of the benefits over my older cards is heat output. I used to sweat when gaming, and there was no good fix. I thought it was the i7 3770 outputting excessive amounts of heat, but in reality it was my GTX 660. This card is so much cooler in comparison and delivers a more comfortable experience when gaming. Overall, I am very satisfied with my purchase and would definitely recommend this card to someone else using a 600 series GPU.

ProsCons
Great performance; zero RPM mode; good aestheticsNoticeable card sag; display output options

Ratings
Overall4
 
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