Review: MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G



The MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G graphics card arrived us damage-free in a black coloured box featuring the GAMING series design and half of the box is illustrated with the a big picture of the MSI Dragon. The MSI logo is located on the top left of the box while the GAMING series logo is stamped on the top right as well as the product name on the middle of the box. On the bottom left of the box you can see a couple of logos showing that the graphics card comes with the MSI’s latest Twin Frozr cooler, 4GB GDDR5, PCIe 3.0 support, and OC Edition which indicates that the graphics card is factory overclocked out of the box. Across the bottom right of the box you can see some other features of the graphics card which are GameStream, GameWorks, G-Sync, and DirectX 12.


Flipping over to the back side of the retail packaging, MSI explains more features of the GTX 980 GAMING 4G which include Torx Fan technology, SuperSU Pipe, Hybrid Frozr and Gaming APP. We will discuss more about these features in the next chapter later. Some other features are listed here at the back of the box alongside the minimum system requirement and specifications of the graphics card.


Unboxing the packaging we get the accessories which include a 6-pin PCIe to 8-pin PCie adapter, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a quick user’s guide, the product manual and the driver/utility CD.


Out of the box, the DVI port, HDMI port, Displayports, and SLI connectors of the MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G are well protected by rubbery covers to avoid any damage during transportation.


The MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G comes with a dimension of 279 x 140 x 36 mm, with a total weight of 782 g. The MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G features a pair of 10 cm Torx fans, one of them has the Dragon logo sticker at the center and the other one features the MSI logo. The Twin Frozr V cooler comes in a black and red colour scheme. It implements Zero Frozr technology which means that both fans will be turned off during low load, keeping the graphics card silent during idle and low load. Once heavy load activity takes place, the fan will start spinning but still very silent.


The graphics card draws power from a pair of 8-pin power connectors as compared to 2x 6-pins on a reference GeForce GTX 980. This means that the MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G offers up to 375 Watts of power while the reference GeForce GTX 980 is limited to 225 Watts only.


There is a pair of SLI connectors on the top of the PCB for multi-GPU setup up to 4-way SLI configurations. You can also see the MSI Dragon logo which will glow white when the graphics card is powered up.


The MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G has a total of five video display interfaces which include a Dual-link DVI-I port, a native HDMI 2.0 port and three native DisplayPort 1.2.


Turning over to the rear of the graphics card you can see that all of components are well soldered on the matte-black PCB. There’s no backplate here as MSI would like to maintain its 2-slot design.


We then dismantled the Twin Frozr V cooler to investigate deeper on what’s sitting underneath the cooling chamber. Here you can see the massive radiator built with aluminium fins which are held together by four heat pipes called SuperSU Pipes. This cooling design will certainly dissipate heat more efficient than regular cooling solutions.


When it comes to the PCB itself, the NVIDIA’s GM204 GPU sits on the middle of the PCB. You can see the 7+1 phase power design which is responsible for stable power delivery during overclocking session. MSI employed high quality Military Class 4 components to withstand extreme condition during gaming and overclocking sessions.


Basically, there are three options of GDDR5 video memory chips available in the market, which are Elpida, Hynix and Samsung ICs. It is known that the Elpida chip really doesn’t seem to have a lot of potential for overclocking, and the Hynix IC has a good overclocking headroom but lacks of performance-per-clock efficiency. MSI decided to use the Samsung ICs specifically K4G41325FC-HC28 for their GTX 980 GAMING 4G because it is the best performing IC among these three memories.


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OverClocker, Reviewer at
One of the most respected OverClockers here in Malaysia with vast knowledge in Motherboard, Graphics Card and Memory. The nick "owikh84" is not only well known in local tech sites but also international forums such as, and so on.