Week in Tech: Nvidia’s New GPUs Are Stupidly Good

Last week, Nvidia’s unstoppable NDA force ran up against the immovable object that is Week in Tech’s Thursday slot. Now it’s all out in the open and we can take in just what Nvidia has achieved with its new high performance Maxwell graphics. And not at an altogether offensive price either, at least for one of the new 3D chipsets Nvidia wheeled out last Friday, the £250 / $320 Nvidia GeForce GTX 970.

Is the 970 the new no brainer, the default weapon of choice for any of you lot with around £250 / $300 to spend on graphics? As I write these words, yes. Nvidia really has produced something very special. But then I’m writing these words roughly 24 hours before you’ll read them and by then it’s just faintly possible Nvidia’s main rival AMD might very well have buggered things up for me with its own announcement. Again! It was ever thus in the graphics card silly season…oh, and we have a little update on AMD vs Nvidia in the battle for virtual reality rendering supremacy.

Mighty Maxwell, part 2
Let’s put the latest round of rumours on the back burner for now and talk about what we actually know – Nvidia’s new graphics cards. As ever, I’ll stick a brief TL;DR précis at the bottom for those of you who simply want to be told what to think and whether to buy. For the rest, the full narrative now follows.

Mercifully, there are just two new graphics cards from Nvidia and they’re almost names we can all actually grasp. The newbies are the Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 and 970. They effectively replace Nvidia’s high-end GeForce GTX 700 series GPUs – cards like the GTX 780 and 780 Ti. The take home fact is this: you get more performance for less money. In some cases, a lot more for a lot less.

It all started with the dinky little 750 Ti back in February

So, what makes them tick? It’s the Maxwell architecture we first saw in the GTX 750 Ti back in February . Yup, that means the 750Ti is a Maxwell GPU. The new 980 and 970 are Maxwell. And the GeForce GTX 800 series has basically been skipped on the desktop (it’s been used as a badge for some mobile graphics chips).

It’s frustrating and I have no idea why Nvidia (and AMD, to be fair) insists on making its branding as confusing as possible. But it is what it is. Like I said, there are only two of them and 980 / 970 are at least unambiguously ‘newer’ than the old 700 series.

At this point I would normally drag you through the speeds and feeds. You know, the shader counts (sodding CUDA cores in Nvidia parlance), the ROPs, the textures, the clocks, the bus width. But not this time. Anandtech has a table that handles that well enough for those of you who want to tally up shader counts. Instead, I reckon it’s much more worthwhile to understand the character of these new chips.

What makes Maxwell so good?
What you need to grasp is that, in some areas, the new chips are less complex than the ones they replace. The new GTX 980 has fewer shaders than the old 780 Ti, for instance. And yet it’s faster pretty much all round in games. That’s the brilliance of Maxwell.

The performance for every watt of power used by these things is off the map. They are simply miles more efficient than before. You might think that doesn’t matter much on the desktop. We’re only talking about an energy-efficient light bulb or two at most in terms of the energy saved.

The £250 / $320 GTX 970 is a bona fide no brainer

In those terms, I’d agree. But where the efficiency really pays is pricing. Truth be told, the new GM204 graphics chip that underpins these new 3D cards (the ‘M’ in ‘GM’ stands for Maxwell) is really a mid-range item in terms of size and complexity. But it has ungodly high end performance thanks to that clever Maxwell architecture.

The sordid matter of money
And that’s why you can buy the GTX 970 version of GM204 for as little as £250 in the UK and $320 in the US. The 980 isn’t nearly as impressive value at £425 and $550.

Actually, there’s one more benefit to that efficiency – overclockability. I don’t normally even mention overclocking graphics cards given the typically meagre results. But everybody around the web seems to be consistently squeezing at least 1.4GHz out of these things. A GTX 970 running at 1.4GHz is an awful, awful lot of PC gaming grunt for the money.

Put it this way. The 970 overclocked is pretty much on a par with big money beasts from Nvidia’s outgoing generation, GPUs like the GTX 780 Ti and GTX Titan Black. It’s that good.

So, yes, I’m gushing despite being aware that £250/$320 is hardly throw-away money for most of us. I still believe £200/$250 should be the target for a GPU like the GTX 970. But it’s a while since we had something around that price point with anything like this much punch compared to the big money cards from the previous generation. And from such an efficient, relatively unstressed card, to boot. It’s a big step in the right direction.

As for the GTX 980, obviously it’s faster still. But it’s so much more money, I’m not sure I care.

Killer VR cards?
One final point involves VR and the Oculus Rift, the DK2 variant of which Alec happens to have recently had a sniff around. Among the usual guff related to new features – you know, spectacularly tedious new forms of anti-aliasing, lighting models you wish you never knew existed, that sort of thing – was one potentially valuable nugget.

Nvidia reckons Maxwell GPUs will be killer for VR gaming…

Nvidia claims to have hard wired Maxwell for virtual reality rendering. The details probably don’t matter, but the key claim is a halving in latency from 50ms on current hardware to 25ms with Maxwell GPUs.

What we’re talking about here is the time taken for the image to respond to a movement of your head. And that’s critical in terms of both immersion and minimising motion sickness. This is something I haven’t had a chance to verify. I’m also not sure if it’s truly a feature only Maxwell-based GPUs can deliver or something Nvidia is restricting to Maxwell for marketing purposes.

Moreover, having looked into this a little more it may be that this feature isn’t unique to Nvidia. See the AMD update below.

TL;DR

Nvidia GTX 970, £250 / $320
The new price-performance king. Similar performance to the mega-money cards from the outgoing generation for about half the price. Stupidly efficient. Overclocks like a mentalist. Crazy fast for the money. Buy one. Well, unless AMD has come up with something today (see below).

Nvidia GTX 980, £425 / $550
Nvidia’s new single-GPU killer. Super impressive technically. But stupidly over priced compared to the 970.

Relevant to both new GPUs:
Nvidia is claiming Maxwell GPUs will cut latency in half during virtual reality rendering (think Oculus Rift), increasing immersion and reducing motion sickness. Jury is out on this feature, but it could be critical.

AMD update:
False alarm. The announcement turned out to be some AMD FirePro cards being relaunched. In India.

However, the noise around a possible AMD launch did have me looking a little deeper into Nvidia’s claims for VR and Oculus Rift optimisations with Maxwell. According to Tom Forsyth, Oculus VR’s Software Architect, the very same lag-mitigating optimisations are already available in AMD’s GCN GPUs. So that’s Radeon HD 7000 series or newer. Oh, and GCN-based consoles, ie Xbox One and PS4. However, Forsyth also seemed to indicate that AMD may not have fully exposed its version in software.

This is very much emergent technology so it will take a while to unpick any technical advantages that may exist re AMD vs Nvidia and VR rendering. Which is probably fine since VR in general and products like the Oculus Rift aren’t ready for mainstream adoption. But it certainly wouldn’t be the first time Nvidia oversold a feature. And it equally wouldn’t be the first time AMD didn’t make the most of one.

89 Comments

  1. Killergran says:

    Sounds like i have to get me one of those 970 thingies then. Yes sir!

    • bglamb says:

      Yup! I think I am *just* within the 14 day money-back no-questions returns period for my GTX 780! Phew!

  2. BreadBitten says:

    The 750 Ti is anything but dinky, not a heavyweight by any degree but it’s been chewing through every game I’ve thrown at it at 1080p60 with some minor concessions to graphical detail (lowered AF, AA, LOD, etc.)

    • nrvsNRG says:

      minor concessions?….but u have too lower almost everything @ 1080p. Its dinky.

      • BreadBitten says:

        Nah. Been playing Titanfall recently with everything cranked up (‘cept them “insane” textures) and I can definitely play The Witcher 2 with all sliders to the right short of Ubersampling, and get around 45-60fps. It’s a great card, given the budget and considering its power-management capabilities.

      • rpsKman says:

        Does that mean AMD will come down in price a bit? Otherwise, what’s the point?

    • pepperfez says:

      But it’s so little! It’s definitely physically dinky compared to the metal-shrouded monstrosities at the high end.

    • Jade Raven says:

      1080p60 is pretty unimpressive these days. I’m preparing for 1440p90 as the new standard.

      4k seems a bit pointless to me until the graphics can properly power it without breaking a sweat in several years time.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Seeing that even the 970 and 980 can’t manage to hold 60 fps min regardless of game and setting (assuming a reasonable amount of MSAA, like 4x), it’s not exactly mainstream performance yet.

      • Alfius says:

        I’ve got a 750 (non-Ti) sitting in my media box. Perfect for Titan Quest with the gf (thanks for putting me back onto that one RPS!), works OKish on Just Cause 2 multi with a 360 controller plugged in, although I suspect the bottleneck might be the ancient Athlon X2 4200+ in there.

  3. Jae Armstrong says:

    Too late, Jeremy, my 970 arrived on Monday! :smug:

    I haven’t actually seen much in the way of a performance boost (my old 480 has been able to run basically anything from the last four years on max settings with no difficulty (come on Witcher 3)), but holy shit it is quiet.

    When that 480 shifted into high gear it sounded like the world was about to end.

    • whydidyoumakemeregister says:

      Oh really? I don’t have any PC gamer/builder friends so the two systems I’ve built were kind of just me taking a chance and praying online reviews were genuine. The increase in video card volume from my prebuilt 10 years ago to my first build 8 years ago to my “I’ll probably be bored with gaming by the time this goes obsolete” build about 4 years ago have been exponential, so I’ve just assumed these massive cards that are coming out now sound like a motorcycle or something. I honestly don’t care for super high resolutions or graphics all that much, I just want to play a game without being able to hear my video card screaming from across the house. Maybe I’ll dive back into this madness and try to see what’s out there these days.

      • Person of Interest says:

        It depends a lot on the particular card model. Techpowerup says the Asus GTX 970 Strix is fairly quiet [1] but it only applies to that specific model: other Asus GTX 970’s (if Asus releases others) may not be as quiet. MSI and Gigabyte also often have one particular model with a quiet cooler.

        Be skeptical when reading noise measurements published on review sites, because often they don’t have sensitive enough equipment, and don’t compensate by moving the SPL meter closer to the card. Silent PC Review has by far the best noise measurements and analysis, but their video card reviews lag far behind product launches.

        [1] link to techpowerup.com

      • MattM says:

        The GPU coolers of today are quieter than the ones used when the 480 series was around. Even if they have to dissipate the same amount of heat they use better heatsink technology and better fans. HIgh end GPUs aren’t completely silent but I think most people will find them very tolerable. Power use goes up and down as different technologies are used, but the current 980 has a 165W TDP compared to the 250W TDP of the 480. They also use a much smaller percentage of max power when idle so the fans can be spun down. My 570s were quieter than my 260s and my 770s are quieter than my 570’s were.

        • jezcentral says:

          I remember my 570. It was so quiet, I thought I had broken my computer when I fitted it. I switched it on, and…nothing. Finally the Windows logo came onscreen and I realised I was good to go.

      • Noxman says:

        Just bought the 970, very quiet, like a hushed gentleman’s club. Now this was an upgrade from a 660TI which was very quiet, but very quiet like a windless desert stretching off into eternity, the only sound the slow realisation that this is what nothingness is, your pupils dilate and your hands go sweaty, the grand expanse around you pressing down like a crushing pressure.

        So yeah it was quiet, it’s also now available! (Noxman wheel and Noxman deal!)

  4. Palimpsest says:

    Are your pound to dollar conversions off, or are these cards significantly cheaper stateside? A quick Google search puts the 970 at closer to $400, which is closer to 250 quid.

    • iyokus says:

      PC hardware is always significantly cheaper stateside, unfortunately.

    • amateurviking says:

      Remember the US price is typically quoted without sales tax/VAT (which is, annoyingly, added at the checkout even in the supermarket). Mind you sales tax is typically like a quarter of what it is in Europe in any case. 6% in Massachusetts for example iirc.

      • Kitsunin says:

        In some states there is no sales tax at all, too.

        I hate how they don’t put the tax onto the prices of items in the states that do, it’s annoying as hell.

        • Alfius says:

          It makes sense really, it allows nationwide advertising of prices for one thing. We might end up going that way if Scotland gets full power over VAT.

          • Kitsunin says:

            True, it’s good for companies…but going to the store with only a dollar, grabbing something that’s $.99, taking it to the register and then remembering you’re in Arizona, not Oregon, is probably one of the most irritating things I’ve experienced in my life. Yes exaggeration.

    • SuicideKing says:

      MSRP for the 970 is $330 in the US.

  5. ScottTFrazer says:

    I’m seeing the 970’s around $320ish when they are in stock. But Amazon is being taken over by people jacking the price because the supply is currently short.

    • Rizlar says:

      Yeah, these 970s look worth jumping on and my money-conscious conscience has failed to convince me otherwise. Time to upgrade my 560!

      But looking at the current prices they do seem to be jacked up, with many of them out of stock. The only ones under £250 I have seen were EVGA models that were possibly missing a backplate, with possible coil whine and which didn’t seem to overclock as well as MSI or ASUS models. Guess I will wait a week or two and see what happens to the prices…

  6. nrvsNRG says:

    Cant wait for the 980Ti (or possibly 990?). No point in buying 980 for just 5% increase. I wonder if they’ll spring that on us right after a new AMD reveal?
    edit-looks like its already ben tested and may be released in just 2 months :

  7. Premium User Badge

    samsharp99 says:

    Anyone know if the 970 will be a big step up from an AMD 7950? I recently bought a G-Sync monitor and obviously can’t take advantage of it with an AMD card but seeing as how my card is only about a year and half old I want to make sure I’m getting a decent improvement in frames as well as features.

    • amateurviking says:

      This: link to anandtech.com suggests probably yes, for certain values of worth .

      Anadtech don’t have the 970 in Bench yet but the 780 is near or slower than the 970, and the 780 beats the 7950 quite handily in that comparison. (FYI that tool is super useful for weighing up tech in general). You might be able to get a few quid for the old card too.

    • Damn Rookie says:

      From Techpowerup’s testing, the jump in performance when moving from a reference 7950 to a reference 970 is about 78% at 1080p. So pretty substantial! Source: link to techpowerup.com

      • All is Well says:

        But in that graph, the HD7950 is marked as being at 55% of relative performance, with the reference 970 being at 98%. Wouldn’t that make the relative gain ~45%? Or am I missing something here? That’s still a lot of performance gain mind you, and I’m pretty tempted to get one of these cards now as I also have a HD7950.

        • bhauck says:

          When you’re comparing numbers, you can look at it two ways. In one way, a move from 55 to 98 is a move of 43 percent because that’s the number of percents it moved. In another, a move from 55 to 98 is a 78% increase because 98 is 1.78x 55. The relative increase is usually more informative. Imagine if we were talking a move from 855 to 898: a “43-percent increase” would sound like a huge change, whereas a “5-percent increase” would better reflect the magnitude of the change.

          Hi, my name’s Byron, and I’m waiting for an email from my boss. Thank you for letting me be pedantic for a few minutes.

  8. derbefrier says:

    music to my ears. I have been thinking about replacing the old 560 and with black friday\cyber monday right around the corner maybe i can get some good rebates and get it for even cheaper.

  9. DrManhatten says:

    The biggest shock for me was to find out that Tom Forsyth now works for this shaddy company. Sad, sad, sad. What a waste of pure coding talent

  10. Scilantius says:

    *sniffles* And I just bought a 780 GTX three weeks ago,… Ah well, I’m still quite happy with that purchase, especially since the 970 GTX cards run for 400€ here. Which is quite a departure from £250 / $320. On the other hand, I paid 420€ for my current one soooo, maybe not quite as happy.

    Such is the incessant march of technology.

    • DanMan says:

      I think I better not tell you that you can have 780 cards starting from 280€ now. Blood pressure and all…

      Anyway, I was wondering if the cards with the reference cooler design are any good. Usually the custom ones have been more effective and more silent at the same time. Paying 50€ surcharge for those seems like a stretch though.

      • frenchy2k1 says:

        There is no such thing as a reference GTX970 as this was a “pure virtual” launch in Marketing parlance.
        Each manufacturer has their own coolers though and the price increase is $10-50 depending…

        Unless you are in an immediate need of a graphic card, I would wait a few weeks for demand to subside and prices to stabilize and fall to MSRP or lower.

        Current availability of the 970 is low as this is such a great perf/$ ratio card (beats AMD 290X for 20% less coins).

    • Colthor says:

      Yeah, I’m a bit sad I bought an R9 290 for £290 a couple of months ago. There’s not a huge performance difference, but it gets annoyingly noisy when the fans ramp up. Thank goodness it’s not the stock AMD cooler.

      Hey ho, progress.

  11. GenBanks says:

    I’ve got two GTX 670s at the moment, am contemplating selling them and getting a GTX 980, but I’m guessing the performance I’d get would be about the same…

  12. amateurviking says:

    Looks like the 970 for me too. Right time, right(ish) price, stonking performance by all accounts. Yessum. Recently upgraded to a 2.5k screen and the 560ti is starting to flag pretty badly now.

  13. thekeats1999 says:

    The other thing of interest, for me anyway, on the new Maxwell chips is the DSR stuff they have thrown into the latest drivers. Apparently allows for easy downsampling instead of having to use something like GeDoSaTo. Will probably give it a try when mine turns up over the weekend.

  14. golem09 says:

    Also interesting in terms of high efficiancy is the announcment of nvidias “VR SLI”, where each card renders one image for each eye. If this truly works as intended, I’d love to have the option to just buy another 970 for supercheap in 1.5 years or whenever the consumer Oculus arrives. As it stands, 970 in January it is. I’d buy it sooner if I wanted to play ANY game that would make use of a good GPU, but til then I’ll probably just play Persona 4 Golden, FF13 PC and the vita port of Binding of Isaac Rebirth. Maybe Wasteland 2.

  15. Premium User Badge

    serioussgtstu says:

    Hmm, I just sent off my six month old 760 which turned out to be defective. I might sell the new one they send me and upgrade to a 970 for an extra 100 quid. Then I a year or so, when VR and 4K are getting more consumer friendly, I can throw in another 970.

    >The announcement turned out to be some AMD FirePro cards being relaunched. In India.

    lol

  16. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    970 GTX should make a nice upgrade to my trusty old 580 GTX :)

  17. Person of Interest says:

    One alarming thing I noticed in the GTX 980/970 reviews was how widely varied the cards’ power consumption was from sample to sample. Tom’s Hardware and Techpowerup measured DC power to the card and, depending on the card, saw idle/load consumption of 10W/140W, or 20W/170W — and the higher-consumption card was the supposedly lower-powered GTX 970!

    Tom’s also investigated the power consumption under heavy synthetic load (GPGPU) and measured their GTX 970 at 240W, which is 165% of TDP. Under that test, the Maxwell cards were actually less efficient than the outgoing Kepler cards! They tentatively concluded that Maxwell’s power savings largely come from better power management of existing functional units, rather than improvements to the functional units themselves. My guess is that Nvidia reorganized the functional units into smaller groups so they could “power off” more of the chip on a tick-by-tick basis.

    However, it looks like the Maxwell cards use more power during typical gameplay, relative to their TDP, than the previous generation. For example, in gameplay tests Tom’s Hardware and Techpowerup found that most of the “145W TDP” GTX 970 cards on the market use more power than the GTX 680 and GTX 770 reference cards, even though those cards have 195W and 230W TDP! So the GTX 970 only has 20%-30% better performance-per-watt than the previous generation, whereas the GTX 980 samples are as much as 50% better.

    It makes me worried that there is a lot more luck-of-the-draw when buying a Maxwell card, especially with the lower-binned GTX 970 parts.

    • frenchy2k1 says:

      Depends what you are worried about: heat, noise, electricity bill?
      Most manufacturers have been reusing their cooler designs for several generation, building them for the 300W monster that is the AMD 290X. the 970 is specced at 145W. Even if it were to exceed this and reach 200W, it will still be easily cooled by the custom coolers.
      Lots of those even turn OFF the fans on low GPU loads, leading to silent gaming.

      None of that help your power bill though…

      • Person of Interest says:

        For idle, power bill. For load, noise. My needs are rather particular: I run my PC 24×7 and I estimate it’s under 20dBA idle, 25dBA during gaming.

        Currently I have an ATI HD 5850 with custom cooler in my computer and a GTX 970 in an unopened box. The new card should be 3x as fast but consumes 40% more power, so I may return it and wait for the GTX 960 Ti supposedly launching next month.

  18. dangel says:

    Got my 980 sc cards last Saturday 980 in sli a huge jump up from my 670s in sli and plenty enough to power the rog swift :-)

  19. Raoul Duke says:

    So, that’s a lot of hyperbole and no mention of the fact that the new 970 appears to perform almost identically to the very similarly priced AMD r9 290 and 290X, which has been available for quite some time.

    • Timbrelaine says:

      You know, almost identically. Or somewhat better. For about $170 less.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        Well, I’m in Australia, but locally:

        Nvidia 970 – $500-$520

        AMD r9 290 – $400-480

        AMD r9 290x – $570

        And the AMD prices are inflated because it’s been the card du jour for bitcoin miners for a while now.

        Edit: anyway, my point was that reading the article one would expect the 970s to cure cancer and develop machine sentience for $2.50, but in truth they are pretty much on par with the AMD r9s other than power use, and no doubt AMD will cut prices to compete in the near future.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Maybe the same performance, but using much less power, and consequently putting out much less heat. I had to add a whole extra radiator to my watercooling system to cope with my 290 (non X).
      And I have to say, (about) a year of AMD ownership has shown me, you get better compatibility with nVidia drivers.

  20. happycakes says:

    RPS Advertiser ftw. I hope you guys get some nice free GPU’s from nvidia for this shit.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Shhhh. Grown ups are talking.

      • Premium User Badge

        Phasma Felis says:

        What a perfect response. I’ll have to remember that one.

      • Goodtwist says:

        He’s just being hyperbolic. I can’t neither share Jeremy’s over the top enthusiasm because Nvidia again is selling its midrange cards for top prices. Not so much like the previous iteration but still.

        A fair author should have pointed that out in my view. I won’t call Jeremy being bribed, though.

        • Jeremy Laird says:

          Whoops. You missed the bits where I said the 970 should be £200/$250 and that the 980 is so much more money it’s not interesting. But never mind.

          In any case, the notion of what, exactly, qualifies as a high end or mid-range GPU has become blurred these days. GK110 (and GM210) have a lot of non-gaming features baked in. It’ll be interesting to see how GM210 (if that’s what it’s called) shapes up. But GM204 will on balance be Nvidia’s fastest single gaming GPU for a while now. GM204 is something of a tweener, I’d say. Narrow memory bus. Not that many textures. But a crap load of ROPs and loads of shader power in gaming terms. It’s not quite as simple as saying, ‘here lies another mid ranger masquerading as a high end GPU’.

  21. thebigJ_A says:

    But I *just* got a 4 gig 770 like, six months ago!

  22. fish99 says:

    Apparently my 660 2GB, which I thought was a good card, performs at 49% of a 970 :o The 970 does use significantly more power though by 55W.

    I think if I ever get a Rift, I’ll need the 970, otherwise I’ll wait for the mid-range card, the 960 or whatever they call it. TBH my 660 rarely struggles, even running games in 3D.

  23. Voice of Majority says:

    Everyone who just bought a GTX7XX should relax and wait for the anguish of their fellow people with shiny new GTX970s when the 20nm GPUs start rolling out next year this time. And no, I don’t really suggest anyone to wait for the fabled 20nm, just get a GTX970 now if you need a card (and can find one).

    • Christian says:

      Oh, you mean anguish like the “I’ll buy anything as long as it’s got a funky name”-kiddies feel right now seeing their precious 1000$-Titans equaled (or even surpassed) by a 300$-GPU? ;)

      But yeah, solid advice IMHO. If you’ve just bought a 780 you’ve still got a solid GPU with enough performance to last a good while..you’ve just paid a little too much for it. Happens all the time when buying gaming hardware :-/

  24. Christian says:

    Nice cards and a good replacement for my 560ti. The 970 looks like an instant classic.

    High enough performance for the next years, low power-consumption, and the price will also continue to drop, at the very latest when Nvidia release their ‘big’-Maxwells (Titan 2 or something). Also, the manufacturers finally start using the feature to turn of the fans completely when below a certain GPU-temperatur (e.g. the ASUS Strix).

  25. Low Life says:

    $320 sounds great, 390€ less so :(

  26. Eukatheude says:

    Anything to report on mobile GPUs?

  27. Threstle says:

    I bought a GTX770 4g three months ago for the price of a GTX 970. :(

    *Sigh*

    But wait 2016, when I will buy the no-brainer GTX1270. Every possessor of the GTX1170 will be like “Goddamit ! If only I had been more patient !”

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      As a consumer, there is rarely a sweet spot for buying electronics.

      • Threstle says:

        Yeah I know, but it’s always a bit frustrating. ;)

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          I know you knew that. I don’t know why I went to the bother of reaffirming it for you. I just can’t help myself sometimes.

          • Noxman says:

            I know what you mean, as a consumer there is rarely a sweet spot for buying electronics.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    As someone who just spent a bunch of money building a new computer :(

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Cheer up, if you’d waited and bought one of these as soon as they came out, you’d be unhappy in a month when they drop in price because of sales etc. and if you waited until then to buy you’d miss out on something else new and shiny that got released just afterwards and so on.
      There’s rarely a ‘good’ time to buy, you’re always going to see better bargains the week after you buy something in tech, it’s a combination of Moore’s law, and sods law.

  29. jrodman says:

    Let me know when the next fastest thing I can run fanless comes out.

    • Shadowcat says:

      What he said. Zero noise trumps performance for me, every time.

      But obviously having the best performance you can within those constraints is always nice. I’d be curious to know what the best video card in this esteemed class is.

      • jrodman says:

        I actually did some digging as a result. There are a bunch of 7xx fanless, and someone is coming out with a 970 fanless but it seems.. you know.. one of those things that’s fanless but requires more fans elsewhere.

        I’m sure where the downmarket version of these comes out it will be more amenable.

        • Person of Interest says:

          Fanless is much more difficult to achieve than near-silently fan cooled, especially for a retail card that must operate in a wide range of PC’s. I cannot believe a 970 will be sold fanless, unless you count pre-installed waterblocks: the fanless Palit 750 Ti [1] has a heatsink covering the entire card, and effectively disables GPU Boost to stay under thermal limits, yet the 970 would produce three times as much heat.

          But if you are willing to use quiet fans, there exist aftermarket heatsinks such as the Prolimatech MK-26 [2] that should cool a GTX 980 while generating fan noise probably quieter than the electronics buzz coming from your monitor.

          [1] link to techpowerup.com
          [2] link to silentpcreview.com

  30. FabriciusRex says:

    You overlooked one thing. Gaming on 1440 resolution. As I’ve been telling my friends. If you game on, and plan to stay on, 1080p then get the gtx 970. You can’t go wrong there.

    But.

    If you, like myself, game on 2560×1440 then the gtx 980 is worth considering due to the higher pixel count. And with the overclocking headroom there’s even more benefits for picking the gts 980.

    One more thing. I did the Unigine Vally benchmark 1.0. I’m getting circa 200 points less than expected. My guess is my Sandy bridge platform’s pci 2.0 bus is throttling the gtx 980. And I am not seeing the insane overclocking results as expected. Might also be the pci 2.0 bus holding it back (or poor overclocking?). Just speculations on my part though.

    • dangel says:

      Agreed, in fact I went Sli 980 for both resolution and 144fps

    • Raoul Duke says:

      I have an r9 290, almost exactly the same as the 970 performance wise, and I game perfectly well at 2560×1440. I just played through Bioshock Infinite at that resolution with everything cranked up to 11, it was glorious.

  31. Smoky_the_Bear says:

    Sick of getting screwed over compared to the US on prices tbh. How they get $550 converting to £430 is baffling and stupid.

    • Asurmen says:

      As has been pointed out, the US price is pretty sales tax because their taxes are variable.

  32. Wulfram says:

    That 4GB of v-ram is looking a bit small

  33. Moraven says:

    Seeing the GTX 970 going for $330-$360 in the states.

    Competition is good and it will bring the R9 290s down in price to match or be lower than. Similar performance, close to the same prices, difference in power use and noise. Most R9 290s are in the $350-$390 range and will likely drop in price.

    Looking forward to AMD’s next leap frog in new cards.

  34. sunaiac says:

    zOMG, a nVidia card with R9 290 perfs for R9 290 price !
    Let’s make a full page of how the messiah has arrived, life has changed and all !
    Let’s forget the rip of that was that 450€ 680 10% slower than a 350€ 7970 !
    Let’s forget the rip off that was that 450€ 780 10% slower than a 350€ 290 !
    All hail the great nVidia, and their RPS advanced marketing team !
    Let’s all get vendor locked into Gsync rip off screens too !

    • dangel says:

      So did you go for the 980 or 970 then?

      • peterako1989 says:

        I thik he missed the part where the entire internet is praising the new 9 series after testing. But then again, they might be all biased and bribed by nvidia and I got abducted by aliens.

  35. peterako1989 says:

    I think that Nvidia was working on maxwell when she released the 7 series. 7XX series propably served the role of filler until 9XX series could come out!

  36. TorpeAlex says:

    Can anyone point me towards a place that actually has the 970 in stock online?