GeForce GTX 970 Retail Cards
The GTX 970 reference specifications are listed here and I did, in fact, get a card from EVGA that is clocked at reference speeds in order to do our baselines testing (thanks!)
Shader count drops from 2048 to 1664, a 23% decrease in available performance. The clock speed dips a bit as well, going from a 1126 MHz base clock to a 1050 MHz base clock. You still get 4GB of memory running at 7.0 GHz
Our situation with the GTX 970 was a bit different – we didn't get any cards from NVIDIA but instead got a handful of retail options – one from MSI and two from EVGA. These come in various clock rates and with unique coolers, features which I won't be testing today but, rather, with separate articles in the not too distant future. But for now, feast your eyes…
The EVGA GeForce GTX 970 ACX 2.0 card has a unique fan design and comes overclocked right out of the box, as you'd expect.
Neither of the GTX 970 designs we have here use back planes, though.
EVGA stuck with the dual 6-pin power connection, more than enough for the 145 watt TDP of the GPU.
Also changed is the display output configuration. Instead of the new Maxwell style, EVGA has gone with the Kepler style that includes two dual-link DVI outputs, a single DP, and a single HDMI 2.0. This might make more sense for $329 card, where buyers are not interested in a triple G-Sync configuration.
Next up is the MSI GeForce GTX 970 4G Gaming card, with its customary bright red accents to highlight the MSI branding. It's a taller card for sure and its heatpipe is extended out the top.
I am very curious to see how these two coolers perform and compare to each other.
Clearly, vendors are ready with unique GTX 970 designs.