It’s been an interesting review to say the least and I have had a fair amount of time to spend with the latest in a long potential line of Strix products left to come from ASUS. The GTX 980 is a powerful card and no-one can deny it; this means pure performance isn’t the only basis for analysis here, but many different variables etc. So what have I been looking for? Well aside from performance I feel that the general overall experience is a huge factor and with some very interesting features included with the ASUS card, it’s time to see if it can better the last GTX 980 card I looked at, the ZOTAC AMP! Extreme…
Starting out with the features just mentioned, the ASUS GTX 980 Strix OC comes with ASUS GPU Tweak which essentially replicates MSI afterburner with a nicer ASUS themed GUI. Is it better in terms of functionality? It’s around the same, but one nice feature is the ability to live stream straight from the software. I am an avid fan of OBS but for those looking just to jump straight into it, then GPU Tweak opens up new possibilities from overclocking software. Next in line is the semi-passive design of the GTX 980 Strix which isn’t exactly a new technology but with Maxwell having a lower TDP which of course is an attribute which aids in temperatures, it really does shine through on the Maxwell architecture.
The features aside and touching more on the performance, for what the Strix lacks in out of the box overclocks, certainly makes up for it in overclocking headroom. When compared to the ZOTAC GTX 980 AMP! Extreme edition graphics card, the ZOTAC variant has some very impressive out of the box clocks which certainly does hold the advantage over the Strix in that regard but overall, the ASUS Strix stands out as the better card; no gimmicks, no flashy bling, just oodles of performance in games. Now synthetics are a little hazy in terms of scores and there doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement in terms of overclocking, well at least not as much as expected. Games and real world scenarios certainly do benefit and with the slightly better overhead on the ASUS Strix card which is primarily due to the use of better components, ASUS has the advantage this time around.
The pricing is another important factor and with that in mind, you can pick up the ASUS GTX 980 Strix for around £479.98 which might not put this particular model into the “value” category but certainly remains competitive when you consider the overall package on offer. ASUS have given users the option to customise the look of the card via the stickers which aren’t mandatory and I actually prefer the look of the card without them; has a much cleaner look about it. Also the included back plate adds to the value and as I have previously mentioned, I really like it and I feel it adds an extra element of class to what is already an awesome card.
Overall the ASUS GTX 980 Strix looks great, performs brilliantly, has some amazing features and is topped off with a full semi-passive cooling design which effectively eliminates any noise from the GPU when less intensive tasks are being completed; I noticed the fans would kick in around 65c and to be honest, the card doesn’t get much hotter so I think this particular card more than deserves our Gold award but in addition, I am also awarding ASUS our performance award based on the fantastic overall performance of the card; mainly attributed to the design work ASUS have put into it.
Huge thanks to ASUS for sending the GTX 980 Strix in for review and I look forward to seeing more in the future.