The PNY GeForce GTX 980 Pro is everything anyone could ask for in a video card. Its gorgeous good looks make it the perfect finishing touch to any custom PC. Its excellent custom cooler is not only quiet but supremely capable at cooling its overclocked Maxwell core, and the factory overclocking means that you don’t even have to bother with overclocking if you don’t want to – as the hard work has been done for you.
The only positive down side to buying this card over a reference card is the fact that nearly all the fun of overclocking has been taken from you. While yes there is still going to be some room left you will not get the massive gains that you can sometimes discover with reference ‘golden’ GeForce GTX 980s. Of course, not every 980 will be able to beat this cards factory settings and for $30 you get assurances on exactly what levels of performance you are buying before you even pay for the card.
All these facts are certainly true and yet only tells half the story, and maybe a quarter of why we love this card so much and how it was able to quickly impress us like few before it have been able to do. Put bluntly this level of performance is what all GeForce GTX 980’s should offer, and the PNY 980 Pro should be nothing special. Sadly NVIDIA were once again overly conservative in their reference speeds and the end result was that when first released the GeForce 980 was not a slam dunk success over its predecessor it should have been. In fact there were times when its CUDA cores and Texture Units resulted in a loss to the previous GeForce GTX 780. Compare and contrast that with this 980 that, even when compared to the massive GeForce GTX 780Ti, consistently beat everything else at all resolutions. This is what a new generation should do, yet sadly it was left to PNY and other bold companies to find the true potential of Maxwell architecture.
When you take all that into consideration and then mix in the fact that it only costs a piddly thirty dollars more than reference cards there really is not much to complain about. To be perfectly candid this card has spoiled us and we can never imagine buying another reference 980 card again. So be warned, once you experience this level of performance going back to ‘normal’ levels is going to be damn difficult and your wallet will quickly hate you- we know ours does as we now have to find a ‘mate’ for this bad boy so we can retire our personal 780 Ti SLI cards!
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