NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M vs GeForce GTX 970M – benchmarks and gaming tests

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With the release of the new laptop-grade GeForce GTX 980 GPU, NVIDIA has set apart even further its top three mobile GPUs currently on the market and it’s about time we see the real difference between them. We will need some time to get our hands on the new mobile GTX 980 graphics card, but until then here’s a thorough comparison between the GTX 980M and GTX 970M.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M

geforce-gtx-970m-3qtrNVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M is a high-end graphics chip, announced on October 7, 2014. It will be available in models with up to 8GB of GDDR5 memory. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M uses the Maxwell GM204 architecture and has 1536 CUDA cores. All of them operate at 1038MHz, but NVIDIA’s GPU Boost 2.0 can dynamically increase that frequency.

The graphics card has a 256bit bus and supports DirectX 11.2, Pixel Shader 5.0, Optimus, SLI, PhysX, OpenCL 1.1, OpenGL 4.4, DirectCompute, CUDA, Blu-Ray 3D and 3D Vision. Memory bandwidth is 160GB/sec. Max resolutions (WxH) are 3840×2160 digital and 2048×1536 analog.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M

nvidia-gm204m-gpu-geforce-gtx-980mNVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M is a high-end graphics chip, announced on October 7, 2014. It will be available in models with up to 8GB of GDDR5 memory. NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M uses the Maxwell GM204 architecture and has 1280 CUDA cores. All of them operate at 924MHz, but NVIDIA’s GPU Boost 2.0 can dynamically increase that frequency.

The graphics card has a 198-bit bus and supports DirectX 11.2, Pixel Shader 5.0, Optimus, SLI, PhysX, OpenCL 1.1, OpenGL 4.4, DirectCompute, CUDA, Blu-Ray 3D and 3D Vision. Memory bandwidth is 120GB/sec. Max resolutions (WxH) are 3840×2160 digital and 2048×1536 analog.

Specs sheet

GTX 980M GTX 970M
GPU GM204 GM204
CUDA cores 1536 1280
Texture units 96 80
ROPs 64 48
Clock speed 1038 MHz 924 MHz
Memory 4GB GDDR5 3GB GDDR5
Memory bus 256-bit 192-bit
Memory frequency 5000 MHz 5000 MHz
Memory bandwidth 160 GB/s 120 GB/s
TDP 125W 100W

The clear winner will be the GTX 980M, without any doubt. The flagship features more CUDA cores, more texture units, ROPs, more memory and slightly wider bus width. Both graphics cards share the same GM207 GPU, but the GTX 980M’s core is clocked slightly higher, leading to higher energy consumption as well. But is it really worth the extra bucks as notebooks with the GTX 980M are significantly more expensive than the ones with GTX 970M. Let’s find out in the synthetic and gaming benchmarks below.

Benchmarks

Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)


Gaming tests

Metro-Last-Light-Cover

Metro Last Light (1080p, Low) Metro Last Light (1080p, Medium) Metro Last Light (1080p, Max)
NVIDIA GeForce 980M 72 fps 47 fps 37 fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 73 fps (+1%) 69 fps (+32%) 32 fps (-14%)

thief_4_wallpaper_by_christian2506-d5x4ppb1

Thief (1080p, Low) Thief (1080p, Medium) Thief (1080p, Max)
NVIDIA GeForce 980M 68 fps 66 fps 59 fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 57 fps (-16%) 55 fps (-17%) 46 fps (-22%)

gta-5-cover

GTA 5 (1080p, Low) GTA 5 (1080p, Medium) GTA 5 (1080p, Max)
NVIDIA GeForce 980M 125 fps 59 fps 32 fps
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 115 fps (-8%) 53 fps (-10%) 25 fps (-22%)
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