Nvidia sued over GeForce GTX 970 specifications

February 23, 2015 | 12:53

Tags: #class-action #geforce #geforce-gtx-970 #gtx-970 #lawsuit #legal #sue #us

Companies: #gigabyte #nvidia

Nvidia is facing a class-action lawsuit from disgruntled owners of its GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards, brought by a member who claims the boards 'were sold based on [...] misleading representation.'

Nvidia first raised a ruckus when it was discovered that it had communicated the specifications of its freshly-launched GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards incorrectly to reviewers. The company, it was discovered shortly after, had developed a new way to shut off portions of a given graphic processor's silicon in order to improve performance of chips that didn't meet the requirements of its top-end designs and boost overall yields. This resulted in the GPU used in the GeForce GTX 970 having a strange number of components disabled, which weren't correctly noted in the guide provided to reviewers: a claimed 64 raster operation pipelines (ROPs) in actuality numbered 56, the level two cache was limited to 1,792KB instead of 2,048KB, and a limitation in crossbar resources meant that only the first 3.5GB of VRAM could be accessed at full speed with the remaining 512MB being limited to somewhat reduced performance.

There have been plenty of arguments about how much difference these lower specifications make in the real world, but while the mistake in the documentation provided to reviewers meant mistakes in listed specifications they will have had no impact on measured performance. In other words, if a review claimed the boards as-reviewed hit 60 frames per second in Generic Shooter A the boards as-purchased will hit 60 frames per second in Generic Shooter A. Nevertheless, many buyers have felt misled - leading to numerous manufacturers and retailers agreeing to take the graphics cards back for refunds.

That's not enough for Andrew Ostrowski, however, who has instructed Whatley Kallas and Wiggins, Childs, Pantazis, Fisher, Goldfarb to file a class-action suit on behalf of all GeForce GTX 970 purchasers against both Nvidia and board partner Gigabyte, the manufacturer of Ostrowski's particular GTX 970. The US class-action suit alleges that the named defendants 'engaged in a scheme to mislead consumers nationwide about the characteristics, qualities and benefits of the GTX 970,' and that 'each Defendant was involved in the creation and dissemination of the misleading marketing regarding the GTX 970 and/or each Defendant was involved in or profited from the sales of same, and were likely aware that their marketing representations regarding the GTX 970 specifications were inaccurate. Further, each Defendant concealed material facts concerning the truth about the GTX 970's capabilities.'

Orstrowski has claimed that, as the purchaser of two Gigabyte-brand GeForce GTX 970 cards, he has been misled and seeks justice for himself and 'all persons residing in the United states who purchased a graphics or video card that contains a GTX 970 GPU at retail and not solely for purposes of resale or distribution since September 2014' The requested relief: 'full disgorgement and restitution of all monies wrongfully obtained from Plaintiff and the Class,' which is lawyer-speak for 'refunds for all,' along with a 'corrective advertising' campaign, Orstrowski's fees, interest, and 'all other relief that the Court deems necessary, just and proper.'

Neither Nvidia nor Gigabyte have responded to Orstrowski's filing, which can be read in full here.
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