Test Setup and Errata
Installation of this card hit a small hitch. Sometimes Win 8.1 would do some odd things when uninstalling and then re-installing drivers. It took more than a few reboots to get something other than a blank screen as well as swapping outputs and going into the BIOS to reset which controller (the Intel CPU or the GPU) would be in charge. Eventually I was able to re-enabled the GPU and disabled the CPU graphics. It is annoying, but a common occurrence on some systems with 8.1. This really is no fault of the graphics card as it often happens on both AMD and NVIDIA parts with Win 8.1.
The card does not go over two slots in height, which is a plus considering some of the competition.
My testing rig is getting a little long in the tooth, but it is still going strong and is representative of many systems currently in use. The GTX 970 was tested against a handful of cards in its class, but it is currently one of the fastest cards I actually have in my possession. I was unable to obtain either an R9 390 or 390X for comparative purposes. The R9 290X fills that particular void so we can see how well these two compete against each other. I also compared it to the lower priced, but still overclocked MSI GTX 970 4GD5T. I also used the Asus GTX 780 DC II, Asus R9 280X DC II, and the Sapphire R9 285 ITX.
Zotac has a very solid DVI implementation. That thing is not going to move.
The latest NVIDIA drivers were used at the time and run on Win8.1. During testing Win10 was not available to me. NVIDIA has since released WHQL Win10 drivers, so perhaps the next graphics card review will feature that new OS.
The single DVI with 3 DP and 1 HDMI is becoming a lot more common with modern graphics cards. Be prepared to use some active adapters if you have older monitors.
Intel i7 3770K
2 x 4 GB GSkill DDR-3 1866 Memory
Western Digital 1 TB Caviar Black HD
Corsair 1200AXP Power Supply
Enermax Fulmo GT Case
Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Catalyst 1.54 Beta Drivers
NVIDIA 352.86 Drivers