After reviewing the current generation of Graphics cards from Nvidia, we started reviewing the last generation of the Graphics cards from Nvidia that are still relevant for gaming today and provide much better price than the current generation, and since they are quite old, you can also find used Graphics cards that are very cheap.
We reviewed the last generation Flagship from Nvidia the GeForce GTX 980Ti following that we are looking to a Graphics card that was marketed with best 1080p gaming of the time. GeForce GTX 970 was released in September 2014, it was marketed as the best higher mid-range graphics cards at that time, it can still play a lot of new games not necessarily at 1440p but if you own this card, it will let you have fun with most titles with good framerates and better resolution than most of the mid-range current generation Graphics cards.
Nvidia debuted the GM 204 GPU with the GTX 970 and GTX 980, although the GM 204 works at its full potential in GeForce GTX 980 the configuration of GM 204 in GTX 970 is very interesting. With the Maxwell architecture and the 28nm TSMC manufacturing process, Nvidia was able to fit 128 CUDA cores, 32 load/store units, eight texture units and a single Polymorph engine.
Previously there was only one Polymorph engine per cluster of the Stream Multiprocessors (SMM) with the GM 204 there is a Polymorph engine with every SMM. GM 204 GPU houses a total of 16 SMMs the GM 204 featured in the GTX 970 is not in its full potential so that it does not sabotage the sales of the GTX 980. Nonetheless, the configuration of the GM 204 GPU is different in every piece as claimed by Nvidia there are 13 enabled SMMs while the L2 cache is restricted to 1.75MB.
The Graphics card was launched with a $330 and the specifications that it packed justified the price in this time. As a result, the Graphics card was claimed to be having the best price to performance ratio. There is a total of 1664 CUDA cores that are spread over 13 SMMs with a base clock speed of 1075MHz and boost clock speed of 1178MHz. The number of texture units is also reduced to 104 making the texture filtering rate 140.4GT/s accompanied by 56 rendering output units which will make the pixel filtering rate 56GPixel/s.
The memory that Nvidia provided to this card is a 4GB GDDR5 stack that is clocked at 1750MHz. The stack is such that the 3.5GB memory has bandwidth 196GB/s while the remaining 512MB memory has a bandwidth of 28GB/s the whole bus consists of 4 chunks of 64-bit making the overall bus speed 256-bit. The Graphics card is rated at 145 watts and requires 2x 6-pin power connectors to work at its full potential, Nvidia recommends a system power supply of minimum 500 Watts for this Graphics card.
The specifications pretty much dictate the performance of this card the specifications are 10% less than the GTX 980 the performance difference is also more or less 10% between both these cards. Our test started with the synthetic benchmark in 3DMark’s Vantage Texel Fill benchmark it scored even worse than its predecessor, it got a score of 105GPixel/s that was less than the GTX 770’s107.7GPixel/s.
However, in real life gaming, the story is a bit twisted, we started our test with EA’s frostbite masterpiece battlefield four at 1080p ultra settings it got an average framerate of 77 while 1% less result was in the mid 50s. Then we tested another game that is especially taxing on the hardware at higher resolution the Thief, we tested this game at 4k normal preset, and it got a result in respectable 40s since it’s a third person game anything above 40 is respectable.
Lastly we tested an open world game that requires very high texture filtering rate the Assassins Creed IV Black flag is an open world game that has beautiful textures and requires sheer GPU power to run at its highest details possible at 1080p medium settings we got framerates just hitting the 60FPS mark while at high settings we were facing difficulties to play the game at 1080p.
Again, the conclusion here is very simple if you want to ace your 1080p gaming than you are facing a tradeoff between the newer GTX 1060 and the GTX 970 both have proved quite well in the current generation gaming, both have different advantages over each other the GTX 970 has more CUDA cores hence it can provide better results in some games while the GTX 1060 has more VRAM available which can be the defining factor since new games require more VRAM to render their high definition textures. If you get GTX 970 at a price lower than the GTX 1060’s price than you should get this card. You can get it from Amazon here.