Very recently we took a long hard look at the XFX R9 280X Double D video cards and loved that series stunning good looks, decent overclocking abilities and all round good value. This however did beg the question on whether or not similar attributes could be found on team Green – or if it was only team Red that had such an excellent blend. After searching and reaching out to most of our contacts we found what on the surface seemed to tick all the right boxes: the PNY GeForce GTX 980 Pro.

intro - PNY XLR8 GTX 980 Pro

The PNY 980 Pro is not your average video card and even compared to the XFX Double D line it stands out. We must admit to being a sucker for industrial / naked aluminum color schemes so to us the 980 Pro perfectly fit the first of our criteria – unique and very aesthetically pleasing. Put simply it is drop dead gorgeous. However this card is not just a pretty face. Thanks to its custom heatsink and large fans this 980 should not only run cooler than the typical GeForce GTX 980 it should also overclock better as well – taking care of criteria #2.

This cooler running abilities certainly will be put to the test as, unlike the XFX R9 280X TDFD which was basically a reference speed model, the PNY GeForce GTX 980 Pro is an heavily factory overclocked model. Specifically PNY bestows upon every 980 Pro a clock speed of 1228MHz, a boost speed of 1329MHz, and even punches up the RAM speed to an effective 7,200MHz from the reference 7,010MHz. As a testament to the power and efficiency of the Maxwell core, all this comes at the cost of only 15 extra watts over what a reference 980’s 165 watt power requirement.

While the above certainly helped the 980 Pro get on our short list, its last feature is what sealed the deal for us: the price. Usually heavily overclocked, custom cooled models cost significantly more than their reference counterparts. Specifically you can count on a heavy surcharge for getting a guaranteed overclock. This to us is reasonable as guaranteeing a factory overclock setting takes time and costs money. In the case of the PNY 980 Pro, PNY only asks a mere 30$ more than what a reference GeForce GTX 980 goes for. When you take into account the lifetime warranty the PNY GeForce GTX 980 Pro one tempting video card and certainly one worthy of a closer investigation!