Nvidia GeForce GTX 980MX: Is It Worth Buying?

GeForce GTX 980MX

Nvidia GeForce GTX 980MX: Is It Worth Buying?

Key Points

  • GTX 980MX is currently in the end-of-life stage and will likely reach obsolescence in the next few years.
  • The GeForce GTX 980MX is one of NVIDIA’s proprietary mobile graphics chipsets, although a less powerful one than the fully unlocked GeForce GTX 980.
  • The 980MX also features compatibility with OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 3.0, Vulkan 1.3, CUDA 5.2, and Shader Model 6.4.

The GeForce GTX 980MX is one of NVIDIA’s proprietary mobile graphics chipsets. Since it’s a mobile chipset—designed for laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices—the 980MX is less powerful than the fully unlocked GeForce GTX 980. If you want to upgrade an older laptop, this chipset might be perfect. But anyone running a desktop setup or a newer laptop will probably want to pass on it.


Clock Speed1050 MHz
Boost Clock1178 MHz
Memory Clock1500 MHz
Effective Speed6 GB/s
Memory Size8 GB
Memory TypeGDDR5
Memory Bus256 bit
Bandwidth192.0 GB/s
Bus InterfacePCIe 3.0 x16
Shading Units1664
SMM Count13
L1 Cache48 KB/SMM
L2 Cache2 MB
Direct X12
Shader Model6.4
Slot WidthMXM Module
TDP148 W
ArchitectureMaxwell 2.0
Process Size28 mm
Transistors5,200 million
Die Size389 mm^2
GeForce GTX 980MX
The GTX 980MX was pre-installed in laptops.

History of the GTX 980MX: What to Know

This chipset was initially released on 1 June 2016, and it’s built based on the GM204 graphics processor using the 28-nanometre semiconductor manufacturing process. The GPU variant for the 980MX is the N16E-GXX-A1 which features DirectX 12 support, allowing the chipset to run modern games efficiently.

The 980MX also features compatibility with OpenGL 4.6, OpenCL 3.0, Vulkan 1.3, CUDA 5.2, and Shader Model 6.4.

Unlike the fully unlocked GTX 980, the 980MX does not require additional power connectors. However, its power draw is rated at a maximum of 148 W, and it has no display connectivity as it was intended to be used in laptops and notebooks, using the output of the host device.

It uses a PCIe 3.0 x16 interface to connect to the system. It has a base clock speed of 1050 MHz and can be boosted to upwards of 1178 MHz, with a 1500 MHz memory clock speed.

The GTX 980MX uses GDDR5 VRAM and has a comfy 8 GB of dedicated video memory. In addition, the chipset features a 256-bit memory bus width and 192.0 GB/s bandwidth.

One of the most significant differences between the GTX 980MX and the GTX 980 is the number of shading units unlocked in the chipset. The fully unlocked 980 has 2048 shaders enabled, but the 980MX has only 1664. However, it does feature 104 texture mapping units and 64 render output units. So, it’s not a complete loss to lose those locked shader units. The decision to lock a portion of shader units was to help the chipset reach its target shader counts.

Can You Run the GTX 980MX in SLI?

No. The GTX 980MX is a standalone laptop chipset with no SLI compatibility. Therefore, you cannot run this concurrently with another GTX 980MX. If you want to run your graphics card in SLI, you’ll need to purchase a GTX 980M SLI card. This laptop chipset features two 980M chipsets that are permanently locked into SLI with each other, allowing the chipset to run SLI natively.

Is the GTX 980MX Worth It? Should I Buy One?

At this point, we cannot recommend purchasing a GTX 980MX. The chipset is currently in the end-of-life stage and will likely reach obsolescence in the next few years. Additionally, more recent cards receiving firmware updates for a longer period are within the same price range as the 980MX. So if you’re looking for an upgrade, one of those cards will likely serve you better in the long term.

There’s also the factor of the card being a mobile chipset. These chipsets are much more limited and can’t be used in desktop rigs. So, you’ll need a laptop that you can effectively break open with a non-proprietary motherboard that is compatible with the chipset and doesn’t have a GPU already soldered onto the board.

In short, even if this was a recent, powerful card, most contemporary computer builders have no use for it. Unless you’re explicitly upgrading a gaming laptop, you probably don’t even have a compatible PC.

Even if you are upgrading a gaming laptop, there are just newer, better mobile chipsets on the market. So there is no need to purchase a chipset that will effectively brick itself in three years when a software update sneezes at it.

Final Thoughts

While the GeForce GTX 980MX made its mark on the world of laptops, it’s far past its heyday. So you’re probably better off investing in a newer card and not about to become obsolete. But that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the love and care that went into its architecture. Advancements from the 980MX were, like any engineering advancements, crucial to the architecture and design of modern mobile chipsets.

So, even if you don’t purchase a 980MX, it lives on through modern chipsets that use the engineering advancements from their predecessors.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is the GTX 980MX a good card?

For what it is, the GTX 980MX is an excellent card. However, like all technology, it’s slowly becoming obsolete as it gets replaced with newer, more efficient cards.

Is NVIDIA RTX or GTX better?

RTX cards are newer and more efficient than GTX cards.

Is NVIDIA GeForce good for gaming?

NVIDIA GeForce cards are excellent for gaming.

How much does an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980MX cost?

Prices vary for this card. You can find chipsets for as little as $500 on Newegg. However, it’s difficult to purchase these cards as they are laptop cards that are typically built into the motherboard.

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