It was that time of year again when it’s time to upgrade the graphics card to stay current to the performance demands of the latest games (read GTA V). I must admit I was a bit disappointed when first started to dig through the current market of graphics cards. I’ve always been Radeon user, not because I’m a fanboy for the red team, but just that they happened to give the most bang for the buck at those times. On the other hand, I have to admit that it was with a heavy heart that I found that it was time to switch sides. Early on in my research I put the Radeon 290X head-to-head with the GTX 970, and found pretty quickly that NVIDIAs offer had some obvious advantages, especially considering noise levels and heat generation.
What’s that? AMD is soon releasing a new generation of graphics cards? Unfortunately they seem to be going the way that their CPU’s are. The 400-series will for the most part simply be rebranded 200-series cards with some tacked on memory and tweaked clock frequencies. Unfortunately that’s not how you make next generation graphics cards, and it certainly doesn’t help that you claim that they’re supposed to run at 95 degrees Celsius and consume the power to run a small farm. </rant>
So the choice landed on the GTX 970, a good balance between price, performance and quality. It also meant a 2-3x framerate boost compared to my old Radeon HD 7850. Nice times all around!
Anyways, let’s look at some numbers.
|Model||Sapphire Radeon HD 7850||Geforce GTX 970 reference||ASUS GTX 970 Strix|
You may have noticed that asterix (*) in the memory amount entry. There was a lot of controversy around the fact that although the card has 4GB of memory, not all is used the same way. In fact only 3,5GB can run at full speed, while the remaining 0,5GB runs at a significantly lower speed. My opinion on the matter is simply that this is completely irrelevant when it comes to in-game performance, and it’s obvious in the way it shreds any game it comes into contact with, regardless of the fact.
Anyway, this is not an in-depth review, so I won’t post any benchmarks or similar. If you feel the need to crunch numbers, check out the links at the bottom of the post.
My impressions so far have been really good. The card performs like a beast, and is quieter and more energy efficient to boot. The actual hardware itself feels robust with the fan housing and back-plate in solid metal. It is, as you can see from the pictures above, a quite large card too, and if anything it felt like pure luck that it fit on my motherboard.
I will update this posts as I get more familiar with the card, but as it stands now, it’s a damn fine card.