Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

They make noise, too.

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Placid
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Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Thu Jul 16, 2015 3:29 pm

For my new build, I am trying to choose between the MSI NVIDIA Geforce GTX 970 and 980 with the Twin Frozr V. It will be used for graphic design, gaming, some video editing, and some 3D rendering. My intended life-cycle for the video card is 5+ years, so I would like to keep overall temps low enough to maintain reasonable acoustics and lifespan.

I do like the 970's temps, so it should be easier to keep cool and quiet, and the price is at the sweet spot, although that is not high in my priority. Budget-wise, I could go up to the 980 Ti, but the significant jump in heat and power draw of this card makes it unattractive. For performance, the next choice is the 980, which will certainly help with video and 3D rendering, at the cost of more heat and power draw.

Since I will be keeping it for the long run, maybe I should go with the 980, but the whole system will run hotter and noisier. I have grown accustomed to my current low power, low heat rig, so while I am willing to trade some noise for performance in the new build, I don't know how much hotter and noisier it could get. Any thoughts?

Quinnbeast
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Quinnbeast » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:58 am

For most uses, there may well be no discernible difference between them. Gaming will probably be the area when you'd be able to see the difference (framerate etc), but you're generally talking about a 10-20% jump between the 970 and 980 depending on the game. The type of outputs may have some impact on any monitor purchases you might make in the future (or your current needs); 970s generally have 2xDVI, 1xHDMI & 1xDP whereas the 980s that I've looked at (MSI, Asus, G1) seem to have 3xDP, 1xHDMI & 1xDVI. What's your monitor setup and resolution?

Realistically, choosing between similar cards on the same GPU core isn't going to offer up a night-and-day change in the long term. There's some logic to buying the best you can afford if it's a long term investment. But, the 970 does offer the lowest power draw and best price v performance ratio. Personally, I try not to get too attached to my kit. In some circumstances I'd rather sell things on while they still hold some value, rather than use them until they become borderline obsolete. I recall picking up an Asus 660Ti in 2011 and ignoring the 670 because I knew that my base system had plenty of mileage in it, with the GPU being the one component that might show it's age first; I sold it last year for a little under half of what I paid for it.

dr_traktor
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by dr_traktor » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:26 am

Keep in mind that many 970s suffer from disturbing levels of coil whine. This seem to be much less prevalent with 980s since those have better power circuitry. You can find a list of good and problematic 970s at the bottom of this topic: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=68043

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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:05 am

There's only a 20W difference in TDP between the two cards. That won't make much difference in temps and noise in a well ventilated case. The crux of the matter is whether the extra $175 buys you extra performance you need now for your tasks and/or gaming. Expecting a video card to last 5 years w/o needing an upgrade is unrealistic...unless you completely overspec the initial need.

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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Quinnbeast » Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:31 am

Slightly off-topic:

Ohh, all good info. I'm actually waiting on RMA results for an MSI 780, and had half-expected the 970 to be the likely replacement. I'll definitely be checking out that link on coil whine!

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:51 am

Quinnbeast wrote:What's your monitor setup and resolution?
I will be getting a new Dell Ultrasharp U2413, 24 inch, 1920 x 1200, entry-level professional IPS monitor. It has 6ms overdrive, so it can decently game as well. I'm staring with a single monitor setup, with the possibility of a second monitor but I don't have a compelling reason to justify that at the moment. For connectivity, it has everything but VGA, so I'm set. It can even daisy chain a display port. It also has hardware 1:1 scaling so I can run natively at 1200, 1080, or any other resolution for frame rate if needed. Great for DOS games, too.
Quinnbeast wrote:Realistically, choosing between similar cards on the same GPU core isn't going to offer up a night-and-day change in the long term. There's some logic to buying the best you can afford if it's a long term investment. But, the 970 does offer the lowest power draw and best price v performance ratio.
The 970 can handle max settings at 1080 for current games, so it's more than enough for 60Hz refresh rate. Of course, its performance will taper-off with future games, and the last 0.5GB VRAM debacle will definitely show up by then. The 980 is able to age a little better and has all 4GB of full speed VRAM. Gaming is only a tertiary role. The extra performance for encoding and rendering is what also interests me. I'm aware that it's not night and day, that's why I'm at odds trying to choose between them. I may have the budget, but justifying the purchase is a different story.
Quinnbeast wrote:Personally, I try not to get too attached to my kit. In some circumstances I'd rather sell things on while they still hold some value, rather than use them until they become borderline obsolete. I recall picking up an Asus 660Ti in 2011 and ignoring the 670 because I knew that my base system had plenty of mileage in it, with the GPU being the one component that might show it's age first; I sold it last year for a little under half of what I paid for it.
The video card is always the weakest link. For me, I tend to stay with it until the market price becomes dirt cheap, then I continue to milk the base system until it becomes too slow, rather than spending on incremental upgrades. That's why I allow myself a large budget, because I have not upgraded in many years. Naturally, reason comes into play and tells me to keep it down and not squander it. Hardware within the last decade don't become obsolete as quickly as the years before that, so the base components might last me quite a while before a complete overhaul is needed.

I appreciate your comments. Your perspective makes me seriously think about my upgrade cycle.
Last edited by Placid on Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:10 pm

dr_traktor wrote:Keep in mind that many 970s suffer from disturbing levels of coil whine. This seem to be much less prevalent with 980s since those have better power circuitry. You can find a list of good and problematic 970s at the bottom of this topic: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=68043
I read the Hardware Canucks article when I was researching video cards two weeks ago. It seems to be a lottery we all have to play for the time being. Not exactly conclusive, but I guess it's one extra point for the 980.

I remember the PSU from a very old computer that I quieted down. The squealing was extremely annoying when the case was open. Good thing it was significantly masked by the thick steel panels with another panel of plastic while under a wooden desk.

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:15 pm

CA_Steve wrote:There's only a 20W difference in TDP between the two cards. That won't make much difference in temps and noise in a well ventilated case. The crux of the matter is whether the extra $175 buys you extra performance you need now for your tasks and/or gaming. Expecting a video card to last 5 years w/o needing an upgrade is unrealistic...unless you completely overspec the initial need.
The 20W difference in TDP can vary to 40W in reviews, but yeah, that's still not a lot. The thing is, this won't be housed in a case with good airflow. It's going in a quiet case which tend to have poorer airflow (I will be starting a new thread on that), as I prefer to have no open front vents which leaks a lot of noise.

The 970 definitely has the price to performance ratio with a little less heat and power draw, so it is very easy to justify. Unfortunately, it is hampered by the 0.5GB VRAM issue in which reaching that threshold will result in a serious performance hit, and that last section of VRAM can't even be disabled. This will become more apparent in the future.

For the 980, the premium pays for a little more performance, no 0.5GB VRAM issue of the 970, possibly a lower chance of coil whine, and may not become obsolete as quickly. I tend to keep my components longer than most people do, but I'm aware that video cards are the most sensitive to obsolescence. The drawback is a little more heat and power draw, which may exacerbate the heat and noise in a stuffy quiet case, and the hard-to-justify price.

At the moment, I'm leaning a bit to the 980 side.

Quinnbeast
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Quinnbeast » Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:24 pm

The coil whine is an odd one. On the one hand I've seen a thread where a setup with 2x Strix 970s resulted in one perfectly quiet card and one with modest coil whine. On the other hand, I've also read a post where someone has gone through 4 different cards from 3 manufacturers (EVGA/MSI/Gigabyte) in a bid to try and get a whine-less card, and each one produced broadly similar results. It certainly does point towards other factors, such as how the PSU handles a potentially whiny card. In other words, it's a bit of a lottery.

A thought on the case/airflow front: I'm definitely seeing some mileage in shifting towards a more open airflow-friendly layout with my Fractal R4. I've been trialing it without the door in place, which greatly improves the effect of two 5v fans in the front slot, and lessens the need to adjust the fan speed for gaming use. That said, I've increasingly shifted away from 3.5" mechanical drives so I've no real need for the hard drive cage or a door to muffle seek noise etc. I'm definitely coming round to the Katana Man approach. At the moment it's easily as quiet as my old Antec Solo, but with cooling potential the puts it to shame.

I'm a sucker for a Dell monitor too. Still enjoying my 2312HM (budget IPS) after 3-4 years. I think I'll be sticking with it until 4K monitors can be comfortably driven by single-GPU setups. Let us know how the decision-making goes.

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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by NeilBlanchard » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:38 am

The Zotac 970 and the SeaSonic 520W passive PSU were a bad combo for coil whine. The 2 solutions I have heard about are using kneaded eraser or super glue on the coils on the card.

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:33 pm

Good to know. There certainly won't be any combos of Zotacs or Seasonic passive PSUs for me.

I've read about people using super glue and even epoxy on noisy coils. A last resort if the manufacturer refuses to RMA, though I'm not sure if I can be adventurous enough to risk such a mod. I do have a kneaded eraser on hand. Less mess and reversible if it doesn't work.

kater
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by kater » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:18 am

But wouldn't such glue/putty solutions be actually only usable on "open" coils? AFAIK now they only use those neat, cube coils on VGAs. In PSUs I guess those "old" design coils are found. I never had to deal with squealing myself and only read about ppl putting glue on PSU coils, but I guess putting anything on those closed, cube coils won't help much? Or will it?

Regarding LCDs - what about WQHD/QHD screens? Such as Dell U2515H? Seems a nice deal for sb who, for any reason, does not want a 27" beast but still wants sth better than FHD. And a 970/980 can handle 1440p very nicely. 4K is still the future for 90% of us, not just because the screens are expensive but mainly because you'd need dual/triple top VGA to enjoy it.

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:43 am

kater wrote:I never had to deal with squealing myself and only read about ppl putting glue on PSU coils, but I guess putting anything on those closed, cube coils won't help much?
I had forgotten that the coils of a graphics card are not the same as that of a PSU. I suspect that putting anything on it, be it a kneaded eraser or snake oil, would probably be as helpful as a voodoo ritual.
kater wrote:Regarding LCDs - what about WQHD/QHD screens? Such as Dell U2515H?
For me, I need a professional level IPS at a pixel pitch that wasn't too small, 16:10 ratio, and reasonable response times. The U2413 met all those requirements.
Last edited by Placid on Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:58 am

I decided on getting the GTX 970, despite its flaws. If I was going to spend that kind of money on a 980, I should really be looking into a Quadro and building a full blown workstation, which was not my overall goal.

So far, I just lost the PSU lottery. Once I get all the components together, I'll be testing the 970. Fingers and toes crossed.

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:54 pm

Finally stressed test the heck out of it. Yep, it's got a little bit of coil whine, slightly audible on idle with my ear next to it. On load, it makes a sizzling noise, audible with the case open, and inaudible from where I'm sitting with the case closed and under the desk. The 7200 RPM HDD's noise out-ranged the video card's whine. Not too bad, but I would rather it didn't have any coil whine in the first place. Don't know if its a keeper as I haven't had any gaming sessions just yet.

karkee
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by karkee » Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:05 am

Quinnbeast wrote:The coil whine is an odd one. On the one hand I've seen a thread where a setup with 2x Strix 970s resulted in one perfectly quiet card and one with modest coil whine. On the other hand, I've also read a post where someone has gone through 4 different cards from 3 manufacturers (EVGA/MSI/Gigabyte) in a bid to try and get a whine-less card, and each one produced broadly similar results. It certainly does point towards other factors, such as how the PSU handles a potentially whiny card. In other words, it's a bit of a lottery.

A thought on the case/airflow front: I'm definitely seeing some mileage in shifting towards a more open airflow-friendly layout with my Fractal R4. I've been trialing it without the door in place, which greatly improves the effect of two 5v fans in the front slot, and lessens the need to adjust the fan speed for gaming use. That said, I've increasingly shifted away from 3.5" mechanical drives so I've no real need for the hard drive cage or a door to muffle seek noise etc. I'm definitely coming round to the Katana Man approach. At the moment it's easily as quiet as my old Antec Solo, but with cooling potential the puts it to shame.

I'm a sucker for a Dell monitor too. Still enjoying my 2312HM (budget IPS) after 3-4 years. I think I'll be sticking with it until 4K monitors can be comfortably driven by single-GPU setups. Let us know how the decision-making goes.
The coil whine is there on both 970 and 980. And any of them have it above 300FPS, below that there should be only a mild coil whine.

I have tested in the shop about 15 970's and 20 980's and all of them had coil whine and I have tested all of them with different PSU's (seasonic, EVGA, superflower, bequiet). It did not matter much if it had different PSU actually.

Sure some was louder than others, but the same amount of buzz and coil whine was there in games that go above 300FPS ( league, CS GO etc).

I don't know what is up with these cards compare to previous generation. And if you read people saying mine has no coil whine it is 100% bullshit.

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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Quinnbeast » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:39 am

karkee wrote:And if you read people saying mine has no coil whine it is 100% bullshit.
That's quite a claim.

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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by karkee » Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:17 am

Quinnbeast wrote:
karkee wrote:And if you read people saying mine has no coil whine it is 100% bullshit.
That's quite a claim.
Yes it is, if someone can send me any GTX970 or 980 and his config with PSU/mobo that has 0 coil whine above 300/400FPS I will pay 4x the card :-)

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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:24 am

Ok, I'll bite...what's the benefit of driving the gfx card to 300fps? I'm not sure this kind of corner condition stress test is representative of actual use. It's like saying "hey, my car makes a lot of horrible noises at 8000rpm in neutral".

Placid
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Re: Choosing between a Geforce GTX 970 and 980

Post by Placid » Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:23 am

I've been pretty busy so I haven't had a lot of gaming sessions. Some serious coil whine reared its ugly head a few times, but when it does, its high pitched whine is extremely loud and annoying, and it also emanates from the speakers for a two-pronged assault on the ears. I've got a 5.1 setup; it's more like a six-pronged massacre. SWAT 4 was particularly susceptible to this so I have to avoid that game. Stress tests also does this although it's at a lower intensity and still very annoying. Otherwise, under most conditions, it's usually lighter and not audible all the time, but I'm not happy that the 970 does this in the first place.

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