Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Review Roundup: feat. ASUS, EVGA and MSI

September 19, 2014 | 16:56

Tags: #best-gtx-970 #directx-12 #geforce #gm204 #graphics-card #g-sync #gtx-970 #maxwell #nvidia-geforce-gtx-970-review #strix

Companies: #asus #evga #msi #nvidia

Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 Roundup Overclocking Results

To overclock our trio of contenders, we used the latest versions of the respective overclocking tools that each one produces: ASUS GPU Tweak, EVGA Precision X 16 and MSI Afterburner. The following table shows the highest stable overclocked settings we were able to achieve with each card.

 ASUS Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OCEVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G
Factory Settings
Base clock1,114MHz1,165MHz1,140MHz
Boost clock1,253MHz1,317MHz1,279MHz
Memory clock1.75GHz (7GHz effective)1.75GHz (7GHz effective)1.75GHz (7GHz effective)
Maximum Overclocked Settings
Base clock1,279MHz1,290MHz1,315MHz
Rated boost clock1,418MHz1,442MHz1,454MHz
Observed boost clock~1,430MHz~1,430MHz~1,504MHz
Memory clock1.95GHz (7.8GHz effective)1.925GHz (7.7GHz effective)1.95GHz (7.8GHz effective)
Base clock increase165MHz (14.8%)125MHz (10.7%)175MHz (15.4%)
Memory clock increase800MHz effective (11.4%)700MHz effective (10%)800MHz effective (11.4%)
Other Settings
Power limit120%110%110%
Temperature limit91°C91°C91°C
GPU voltage increase87mV37mV50mV
Fan speedManual (50%)AutoAuto

As you can see, the best overclocker is the MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G, as it reaches the highest base clock and the joint highest memory clock. It's the only card to reach a base clock greater than 1,300Mhz, which is just insane for a GPU. Even crazier is the fact that it was happy to boost to a constant 1.5GHz! Such frequencies are almost unheard of for graphics cards, especially for bog standard air cooled ones with no voltage modifications. The combination of Maxwell's efficiency and MSI's hefty power delivery system clearly serves it well.

However, that's not to say that the ASUS or EVGA cards are slouches when it comes to overclocking. We were able to increase the ASUS base frequency by 15 percent. However, the higher original base clock of the EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2 meant that an 11 percent increase here was enough to surpass by the ASUS card. However, in practice the two perform almost identically, as both were boosting to around 1,430MHz under load. The ASUS Strix card has a minor advantage on memory frequency too, as it's able to match the MSI's effective frequency of 7.8GHz whereas the EVGA edition only hits 7.7GHz – this is most likely due to the luck of the drawer.

One issue we did notice with the ASUS card is that it initially wasn't boosting as high as we'd have expected. We noticed that the fans didn't seem to want to spin beyond 42 percent, apparently prioritising low noise over boost frequency. As such, we set the fans manually to 50 percent, which saw a higher and more constant boost clock emerge. The downside to this is that the fan speed is locked, and won't slow down or enter its passive mode, even when idle.

Overclocking - Battlefield 4

2,560 x 1,440, DirectX 11, 'Ultra' Settings

  • AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Black 6GB
  • MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G 4GB (OC)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4GB
  • ASUS Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC 4GB (OC)
  • EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2 4GB (OC)
  • AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB
  • EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2 4GB
  • MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G 4GB
  • ASUS Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC 4GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB
  • AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB
    • 75
    • 91
    • 44
    • 54
    • 43
    • 56
    • 43
    • 54
    • 42
    • 57
    • 42
    • 55
    • 42
    • 55
    • 40
    • 48
    • 39
    • 50
    • 38
    • 50
    • 38
    • 49
    • 38
    • 46
    • 37
    • 45
0
25
50
75
100
Frames Per Second
  • Minimum
  • Average

Overclocking - Crysis 3

2,560 x 1,440, 0x AA, 16x AF, 'Very High' Settings

  • AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4GB
  • EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2 4GB (OC)
  • MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G 4GB (OC)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Black 6GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB
  • ASUS Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC 4GB (OC)
  • AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB
  • EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2 4GB
  • MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G 4GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB
  • AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB
  • ASUS Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC 4GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 770 2GB
  • AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB
    • 64
    • 80
    • 42
    • 49
    • 40
    • 47
    • 39
    • 48
    • 39
    • 47
    • 38
    • 46
    • 37
    • 47
    • 36
    • 43
    • 36
    • 43
    • 35
    • 43
    • 34
    • 41
    • 33
    • 41
    • 33
    • 41
    • 29
    • 35
    • 28
    • 33
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
Frames Per Second
  • Minimum
  • Average

Overclocking - Unigine Valley 1.0

2,560 x 1,440, 0x AA, 'Ultra' Quality

  • AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB
  • MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G 4GB (OC)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 4GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan Black 6GB
  • ASUS Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC 4GB (OC)
  • EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2 4GB (OC)
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Ti 3GB
  • EVGA GTX 970 SC ACX2 4GB
  • MSI GTX 970 Gaming 4G 4GB
  • ASUS Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC 4GB
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 3GB
  • AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB
    • 4313
    • 3094
    • 3047
    • 3000
    • 2986
    • 2963
    • 2947
    • 2718
    • 2717
    • 2604
    • 2487
    • 2378
0
1000
2000
3000
4000
Score (higher is beter)
  • Score

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