Score Card and Summary
Packaging & Accessories:8 out of 10.
The shipping container and accessories are classic PNY XLR8’er. That is to say above average bordering on great. The only thing we dislike about it is that it seems that no matter what price point PNY uses the same darn box and just takes a magic eraser and sub’s in the proper model number! On the positive side the box does offer good protection to the card while in transit and finding room to store this box – in case you need to RMA this lifetime warrantied card – will be a snap.
Functionality & Aesthetics:17 out of 20
While it is odd to say it, the factory blower style cooler is more than enough to handle the new breed of Maxwell GPU and while the noise levels could have been even lower if PNY had opted for a custom design at the end of the day this design is powerful as it is pretty. That is to say very good.
Build Quality & Warranty: 18 out of 20
When you fuse a standout warranty to a very robust physical design there really is not much to dislike about the PNY GTX 980 XCLR8 from either a build quality or warranty point of view.
Performance: 28 out of 30
When you can meet and exceed the performance of a GeForce 780Ti and do so at only 2/3rds the power consumption there is very little reasons to complain about the performance of the 980 XLR8. By the same token a slightly higher TDP would have resulted in much better performance results and would have made it easier to justify to 780Ti owners.
Value: 16 out of 20
Value is a nebulous term at the best of times and how big a value the PNY 980 XLR8 is to you depends on how big a premium you put on the upfront cost. If the idea of spending an extra $220 over the 970’s high asking price is a non-starter, even if it nets you an extra 12-19% performance, than this card will not represent that good a value to you. On the other hand for only an extra XX you get a much better cooling solution, much higher performance and nearly as good power consumption.
Final Score: 87 out of 100
The Pny GeForce GTX 980 XLR8 will not be right for every enthusiast and 780Ti owners will want to wait to see what the second wave of Maxwell cards bring to the table. For everyone else, the combination of “high speed, low drag” abilities of this prenominal card will change your preconceptions of what an enthusiast grade card has to look, act, and sound like.