I am seeing different models and form factors of the GTX 980 and GTX 970 and I believe some of the 700 series cards. Wondering if they are interchangeable spec-wise and if the smaller size means less cooling, etc. I do kind of need a lower profile GPU for a portable build.
The various models will be similar, but not identical in performance. Differences include:
- "binning" - some vendors will test all the GPU chips that they receive and put the best ones (the ones that will clock the fastest without having issues) in their most expensive boards (i.e. EVGA Classified series)
- differences in cooling effectiveness will result in subtle differences in how fast the gpu can run for long periods of time (i.e. a long render to DVD format); if the GPU gets too hot, the video card will throttle (reduce speed) to prevent it from overheating
- form factors: reference (blows all hot air out the back of the case) - this may be the best for your travel case if you have limited space around the GPU card; dual/triple fan designs - often more efficient than the reference designs, but a good bit of the hot air just circulates inside of the case (these work well with large tower cases that already have excellent air flow); water cooled - these are the highest performing and allow for the cooling to be done in a radiator separated from the GPU card; most of these designs will exceed your height dimension due to water cooling fittings that extend past the board itself; for fun though, Google "Gigabyte Wagterforce" for a really clever design (only comes now with 3x cards and it is also very expensive per card, but it is a new lower height water cooled design)