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Nvidia 900 Series Basic Performance Guide

This is a basic guide to Nvidia's 900 Graphics Card series. I will be giving my opinion on each separate card in addition to benchmarks. 

 

The 900 series is Nvidia's newest series (as of writing this). It is based on Maxwell Architecture which allows for improved FPS compared to the 700 series and drastically improved performance compared to the 600 series. These GPU's benefit from increased cudacores, shader models, and texture fill rate among many other improvements. 

 

lineup.png

(source: http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-titan-x/performance)

 

My guide will include in-game benchmarks. The source of each graph will be cited below it.

 

I will start with the lower-end 900 series GPU's, making my way up all the way to the Titan X. Keep in mind that there are many different versions of these cards from companies such as MSI, Gigabyte, EVGA, and ASUS. 

 

These are my personal opinions on these cards, please don't use this guide as an end-all-be-all for these cards, use your brain and be an informed consumer.

 

geforce-gtx-950-3qtr.png?itok=iFSUHaLq

(Reference GTX 950)

 

 

 

The 950 packs a lot for the asking price of $159.99-$169.99. This doesn't necessarily mean that it is the card you should get if you want a great gaming experience. At 1080p, it struggles to get up to that golden 60 FPS at max settings on newer games. This card is not an enthusiast card by any means and is meant more for people who are on a budget but still want an enjoyable experience at medium settings. The VRAM of 2GB is not a lot by today's standards and many games will go over 2GB at 1080p if one were to attempt to put them at maximum settings. Overall, this card has good bang for the buck but is not recommended if you are an enthusiast or if you're looking for a card that will last 2-3 years.

 

Benchmarks (1920x1080):

geforce-gtx-950-pdp-performance-chart-65

(credit: http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/introducing-the-geforce-gtx-950)

 

 

geforce-gtx-960-style1.png?itok=iweFD3At

(Reference GTX 960)

 

 

 

The GTX 960 is a tier above the 950 and offers increased gaming performance. With 2GB of VRAM and a 128-bit bus, this card can be seen as the sister of the 950. With an asking price of $199.99, it doesn't cost too much more than the 950 but only offers slight performance increases ranging from 10%-20% on most games. If you're looking for a mid-range GPU that can give you the ability to run modern games at close to maximum settings, this is the card for you. Just keep in mind that you will likely struggle with running games 1-2 years from now due to the low amount of VRAM.

 

Benchmarks (1920x1080):

 

geforce-gtx-960-pdp-performance-chart-65

(credit: http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-960/performance)

 

 

NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-970-front.png?itok=KB

(Reference GTX 970)

 

This card is notorious for the 3.5GB VRAM debacle. Basically, this card is listed as a 4GB card but only 3.5GB is really usable, as the other .5 GB run at 1/7 of the 3.5GB speed and cause lag. This card's asking price ranges from $310-$400 based on a variety of factors (company, location, etc.) The card absolutely destroys most games at 1080p and is even capable of getting a decent gaming experience at 2560x1600 resolution. This is a card that can be classified as enthusiast due to its overclock-ability and its FPS at higher settings. If you want an enthusiast card that won't break the bank, this is certainly a viable option. Just keep in mind that it really only has 3.5GB of VRAM.

 

Benchmarks (2560x1600):

 

geforce-gtx-970-pdp-performance-chart-65

(source: http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-970/performance)

 

 

NVIDIA-GeForce-GTX-980-stylized.png?itok

(Reference GTX 980)

 

The GTX 980 is an extremely powerful card and certainly a viable card for enthusiasts. It has 4GB of VRAM, which is more than enough for a card running below 4K. People who want to run 4K resolution with this card will find that it lags on most modern games. With an asking price of $500 and how far it lags behind the 980 Ti, I can't really justify buying this card. If you're looking for a high-end card, save up for the 980 Ti as it performs significantly better (~20%-25%) and is capable of running 4K resolution.

 

Benchmarks (2560x1600):

 

 

geforce-gtx-980-pdp-performance-chart-65

(source: http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-980/performance)

 

 

geforce-gtx-980-ti-front.png?itok=9vpOwS

(Reference GTX 980 Ti)

 

The GTX 980 Ti is a perfect card if you're willing to pay the hefty price of $650 to acquire one. The card runs at near-titan level for $350 less! In addition, it can run 4K well on most games and absolutely destroys all aforementioned cards in terms of performance at 1080p and above. With 6GB VRAM, you will not be running into any VRAM problems in the foreseeable future. If you are an enthusiast with money to spare, this is the card for you. This card made the Titan X a relic and is Nvidia's new flagship GPU.

 

Benchmarks (2560x1600):

 

geforce-gtx-980-ti-pdp-performance-chart

(source: http://www.geforce.com/hardware/desktop-gpus/geforce-gtx-980-ti/performance)

 

 

geforce-gtx-titanx-front.png?itok=ModHi_

(Reference Titan X)

 

The holy grail of video cards. The big kahuna. This card is the best consumer video card to date and is the best in the 900 series. But does that mean you should buy it? The 980 Ti has almost the exact same specs as the Titan, only with decreased VRAM and slightly less cudacores. While this card is packing a massive 12GB of VRAM, it's unlikely that you'll ever need that much for gaming in the foreseeable future, even with multiple 4K resolution monitors. The card destroys any game you throw at it, but is it worth the asking price of $1000? The short answer is no. The 980 Ti runs at basically the same rate as the Titan for significantly less, making this card just about obsolete. If you are living in your Billion Dollar Mansion and wish to have the best of the best, this is for you. If you want to be a smart consumer, steer away from this card and go with a 980 Ti.

 

Benchmarks (3840x2160):

 

nvidia-geforce-gtx-titan-x-3840x2160-per

(source: http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/nvidia-geforce-gtx-titan-x)

 

 

 

Conclusion:

 

The 900 Series has a wide range of cards. While they have some hiccups (the 3.5GB 970 debacle) they have managed to make a solid lineup. If you're considering upgrading your GPU, I encourage you to look at these cards as well as AMD's new lineup to see what's right for you. 

Guide to GTX 900 Series: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/457526-nvidia-900-series-basic-performance-guide/

Performance expert, building noob. 

There is no such thing as excess in hardware. 

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Awesome guide! Totally dig it!

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one for amd cards

PC Setup:

 

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT | GPU: MSI Radeon RX 580 V1 8GB | Motherboard: ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 | RAM: 2x8GB Patriot DDR4 at 2400MHz | Storage: 256GB Inland Professional NVMe SSD, 120GB Inland Professional SATA SSD and 2TB WD Blue 2.5" 5400rpm HDD | Case: Cooler Master N400 | Cooler: Cryorig H7 | PSU: EVGA G3 550 | Headphones: Sony MDR-7506 | Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K65 | Mouse: Logitech G502 Hero | Capture cards: StarTech PEXHDCAP2 (for HDMI and 480p analog captures) and AVerMedia C027 (for interlaced captures) | Monitor: Dell 3008WFP

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You should add to the 970 bit that it's more of a "your mileage may vary" with the "3.5 VRAM issue". Myself and others tested the thing and didn't come across any issues with framerates that wouldn't be present on other cards.

 

Also, inb4 "BUT MUH AMD IS CHEAPER"

 

Other than that, good post. I just don't think this is a necessary one in my opinion.

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I will be working on that in the future, thanks for reading!

No problemo :D

PC Setup:

 

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT | GPU: MSI Radeon RX 580 V1 8GB | Motherboard: ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 | RAM: 2x8GB Patriot DDR4 at 2400MHz | Storage: 256GB Inland Professional NVMe SSD, 120GB Inland Professional SATA SSD and 2TB WD Blue 2.5" 5400rpm HDD | Case: Cooler Master N400 | Cooler: Cryorig H7 | PSU: EVGA G3 550 | Headphones: Sony MDR-7506 | Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K65 | Mouse: Logitech G502 Hero | Capture cards: StarTech PEXHDCAP2 (for HDMI and 480p analog captures) and AVerMedia C027 (for interlaced captures) | Monitor: Dell 3008WFP

Local dickhead, PlayStation 2 enthusiast and VHS collector.

Volume / Normalized 100% / 67% (content loudness 3.4dB)

 

 

@handymanshandle x @pinksnowbirdie | Jake x Brendan :^

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i like the 700 series curve better

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If only you weren't using Nvidias benchmarks....

Main Gaming PC - i9 10850k @ 5GHz - EVGA Hybrid 2080 - Asrock Z490 Taichi - Corsair H115i - 32GB GSkill Ripjaws V 3600 CL16 OC'd to 3733 - HX850i - Samsung NVME 256GB SSD - Samsung 3.2TB PCIe 8x Enterprise NVMe - Toshiba 3TB 7200RPM HD - Lian Li Air

 

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It has 4 gb, the 970,went over 3.5 and didn't get any stuttering. The last .5 is slower but, the drivers have been updated to give priority to the 3.5 so you shouldn't have have anymore problems.

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You should add to the 970 bit that it's more of a "your mileage may vary" with the "3.5 VRAM issue". Myself and others tested the thing and didn't come across any issues with framerates that wouldn't be present on other cards.

 

Also, inb4 "BUT MUH AMD IS CHEAPER"

 

Other than that, good post. I just don't think this is a necessary one in my opinion.

BUT MUH AMD IS CHEAPER

:^)

 

yeah gotta agree here

PC Setup:

 

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT | GPU: MSI Radeon RX 580 V1 8GB | Motherboard: ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 | RAM: 2x8GB Patriot DDR4 at 2400MHz | Storage: 256GB Inland Professional NVMe SSD, 120GB Inland Professional SATA SSD and 2TB WD Blue 2.5" 5400rpm HDD | Case: Cooler Master N400 | Cooler: Cryorig H7 | PSU: EVGA G3 550 | Headphones: Sony MDR-7506 | Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K65 | Mouse: Logitech G502 Hero | Capture cards: StarTech PEXHDCAP2 (for HDMI and 480p analog captures) and AVerMedia C027 (for interlaced captures) | Monitor: Dell 3008WFP

Local dickhead, PlayStation 2 enthusiast and VHS collector.

Volume / Normalized 100% / 67% (content loudness 3.4dB)

 

 

@handymanshandle x @pinksnowbirdie | Jake x Brendan :^

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It's hard to find benchmarks that are consistent, their benchmarks are actually quite reliable despite their obvious bias. 

Anandtech reviews are fine, they show a chart where it compares with other cards with heat/power consumption and other applications. 

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Anandtech reviews are fine, they show a chart where it compares with other cards with heat/power consumption and other applications. 

 

I'll keep that in mind for the future, thanks for the tip  :)

Guide to GTX 900 Series: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/457526-nvidia-900-series-basic-performance-guide/

Performance expert, building noob. 

There is no such thing as excess in hardware. 

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I'll keep that in mind for the future, thanks for the tip :)

the only strange thing to look for would be of they use a test bed or a customer case. Sometimes they change cases too, mostly over years.
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the only strange thing to look for would be of they use a test bed or a customer case. Sometimes they change cases too, mostly over years.

 

Very true, but I like a benchmark with fairly consistent hardware. What some reviewers will do is switch out the CPU, RAM, etc. for each card which makes it hard to really compare them. 

Guide to GTX 900 Series: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/457526-nvidia-900-series-basic-performance-guide/

Performance expert, building noob. 

There is no such thing as excess in hardware. 

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Very good guide and well laid out.

CPU: Intel Core i7 7820X Cooling: Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX Mobo: MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 (3000MHz/16GB 2x8) SSD: 2x Samsung 850 Evo (250/250GB) + Samsung 850 Pro (512GB) GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti FE (W/ EVGA Hybrid Kit) Case: Corsair Graphite Series 760T (Black) PSU: SeaSonic Platinum Series (860W) Monitor: Acer Predator XB241YU (165Hz / G-Sync) Fan Controller: NZXT Sentry Mix 2 Case Fans: Intake - 2x Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM / Radiator - 2x Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM / Rear Exhaust - 1x Noctua NF-F12 iPPC-3000 PWM

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Solid guide - useful for anyone upgrading for Kepler indeed.

I'd really like to see you do a similar one for AMD :)

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Very good guide and well laid out.

 

Thanks for the kind words  :)

 

 

Solid guide - useful for anyone upgrading for Kepler indeed.

I'd really like to see you do a similar one for AMD :)

 

I will definitely be doing an AMD guide, although I'm a bit more knowledgeable in terms of Nvidia. 

Guide to GTX 900 Series: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/457526-nvidia-900-series-basic-performance-guide/

Performance expert, building noob. 

There is no such thing as excess in hardware. 

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Thanks for the kind words  :)

 

 

 

I will definitely be doing an AMD guide, although I'm a bit more knowledgeable in terms of Nvidia. 

More time spent researching :)

Archangel (Desktop) CPU: i5 4590 GPU:Asus R9 280  3GB RAM:HyperX Beast 2x4GBPSU:SeaSonic S12G 750W Mobo:GA-H97m-HD3 Case:CM Silencio 650 Storage:1 TB WD Red
Celestial (Laptop 1) CPU:i7 4720HQ GPU:GTX 860M 4GB RAM:2x4GB SK Hynix DDR3Storage: 250GB 850 EVO Model:Lenovo Y50-70
Seraph (Laptop 2) CPU:i7 6700HQ GPU:GTX 970M 3GB RAM:2x8GB DDR4Storage: 256GB Samsung 951 + 1TB Toshiba HDD Model:Asus GL502VT

Windows 10 is now MSX! - http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/440190-can-we-start-calling-windows-10/page-6

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BUT MUH AMD IS CHEAPER

:^)

 

yeah gotta agree here

 

That's very true, but I prefer having a lot of Nvidia features such as Shadowplay even if it means shilling out some more cash. 

Guide to GTX 900 Series: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/457526-nvidia-900-series-basic-performance-guide/

Performance expert, building noob. 

There is no such thing as excess in hardware. 

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That's very true, but I prefer having a lot of Nvidia features such as Shadowplay even if it means shilling out some more cash. 

Can't argue with that. Some people like options that aren't on their competitors, like I'd have more use for OpenCL rather than CUDA or I could really use the 8GB of VRAM on a 390 with 3D modeling.

PC Setup:

 

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT | GPU: MSI Radeon RX 580 V1 8GB | Motherboard: ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 | RAM: 2x8GB Patriot DDR4 at 2400MHz | Storage: 256GB Inland Professional NVMe SSD, 120GB Inland Professional SATA SSD and 2TB WD Blue 2.5" 5400rpm HDD | Case: Cooler Master N400 | Cooler: Cryorig H7 | PSU: EVGA G3 550 | Headphones: Sony MDR-7506 | Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K65 | Mouse: Logitech G502 Hero | Capture cards: StarTech PEXHDCAP2 (for HDMI and 480p analog captures) and AVerMedia C027 (for interlaced captures) | Monitor: Dell 3008WFP

Local dickhead, PlayStation 2 enthusiast and VHS collector.

Volume / Normalized 100% / 67% (content loudness 3.4dB)

 

 

@handymanshandle x @pinksnowbirdie | Jake x Brendan :^

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Can't argue with that. Some people like options that aren't on their competitors, like I'd have more use for OpenCL rather than CUDA or I could really use the 8GB of VRAM on a 390 with 3D modeling.

 

The 8GB VRAM is the bigger seller of the 390 and other AMD cards, since you can Crossfire it in the future to keep up with games while also having enough VRAM. 

Guide to GTX 900 Series: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/457526-nvidia-900-series-basic-performance-guide/

Performance expert, building noob. 

There is no such thing as excess in hardware. 

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The 8GB VRAM is the bigger seller of the 390 and other AMD cards, since you can Crossfire it in the future to keep up with games while also having enough VRAM.

agreed, most people on the fourms are reccomending them too. I hope amd gets some market share back. Also very good guide, forgot to say that earlier.
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agreed, most people on the fourms are reccomending them too. I hope amd gets some market share back. Also very good guide, forgot to say that earlier.

 

Competition would be good for all of us. If AMD continues to compete with Nvidia, prices will likely start going down as they trade blows. Good for us consumers  :)

Guide to GTX 900 Series: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/457526-nvidia-900-series-basic-performance-guide/

Performance expert, building noob. 

There is no such thing as excess in hardware. 

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The GTX950 looks like a fairly impressive improvement vs its older brothers while the GTX960 is a little bit of a let down.

The 960 is pretty close to the 950 in performance while the gap between the 960 and the 970 is relatively large.

Nvidia could have used a 960ti to bridge the gap between the 960 and 970 but I imagine they'll forgo such a thing and focus on the next line of cards.

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