Over the weeks, the misfortunes of GTX 970 spread like wildfire and had new developments, and the amount of returns that are happening through multiple sources. However, it seems that there is no solution to address this issue in India. Such was the case with a user in Kolkata who faced stuttering issues with his Zotac GTX 970 in SLI, while playing in 4K. When the user contacted Zotac, the company ultimately directed him towards Nvidia as this was the issue with the GPU core and not the card. The user contacted me, and upon my recommendation he posted the entire story and the conversation with Zotac on out forum.
Note that the user didn’t mind to swap two of his GTX 970 in place of 2 units of GTX 980, and pay for the difference provided it’s reasonable. As mentioned earlier, Amazon is giving an option of accepting the returns and returning the amount in full, or having the user keep the card and get a 25% refund.
But when referred to Nvidia India, there was no clarity. Rather (according to the user), he was suggested to reduce the resolution from 4K. But when I spoke to the same person, he said there was no such advice given. But initially it was defended that there are a lot of reviews that apparently didn’t highlight the issue.
It should be noted that on January 25th, 2015- Nvidia’s senior VP of GPU Engineering Jonah Alben admitted (link in the paragraph below) that there is an issue with GTX 970 where the last 512MB of the 4GB VRAM ran much slower than the rest of it.
The reviews that I read did highlight the issue that there was something wrong when it crossed 3-3.5GB. Users also complained about micro-stuttering issues, depending on the in-game setting and the resolution of the game they were playing with. PC Perspective emphasized on this issue both in written format and via video while highlighting what Jonah Alben said at the time. Ultimately, around the time frame when GTX 960 was launched, Nvidia showed a corrected version of the block diagram.
This escalated the issue on all fronts. Apart from angering the users which triggered mass returns and also a class-action lawsuit, this also left reviewers who didn’t highlight the issue red-faced as it dented their credibility and/or ability to test hardware properly. Note that Hardware BBQ received the GTX 980 two months after its release, but not the GTX 970 or the GX 960. Furthermore, the other Indian-based review websites didn’t highlight the issue- most likely because of not having a panel with 4K resolution or using the setting that may trigger the usage of VRAM memory more than 3- 3.5GB. Note that one of the review websites which does scoop-whoop type poorly worded articles also takes care of Nvidia India’s Facebook page and also hosts contests on their behalf.
It’s another story with one particular review website which posts scoop whoop-type articles with poorly-constructed sentences that also handles Nvidia India’s Facebook page and also hosted few tournaments on behalf of Nvidia India. Some may call it as a conflict of interest, from a journalist point-of-view. An
It’s not THAT bad. An Indian-based gadget website received one of the AIB partner’s variant GTX 980 sample months after the release, but it did talk about the issue and said the following:
Even with the benefit of doubt in that this was a mistake rather than deliberate misdirection, we’re disappointed that Nvidia didn’t bother issuing a correction till it was caught.
But while things seem to be moving on over there, there is no clarity in India. In Zotac India’s case, they clearly said they cannot do anything as its not a defect on the graphic card, rather it’s the design flaw within the core that Nvidia made. Furthermore, according to them Nvidia did not give them any instructions on how to handle this situation. It should also be noted that everyone would be concerned about losses when it comes to recall- from dealers to distributors. Ultimately, it is one of those situations where the buck is passed around in an endless cycle.
The brief conversation with Nvidia India was unsettling, and it made an impression that nobody knew what to do. However, the chipmaker assured that there would be a conference in regards to how to handle this issue. If there’s any credible update, we’ll post here.
It should be noted that Intel had an issue with much older Cougar-Point 6-series chipset where the SATA performance ultimately degraded. Intel quickly recalled and introduced a newer revision. In the case of India, recalls were made quickly, over the counter did happen for those who returned the motherboard, and the existing products were replaced with updated chipset rev. All respective motherboard manufacturers, especially in India, even sent an update to tech journalists and reviewers on how to identify the motherboard with corrected chipset. Both Asus and Gigabyte had introduced a validation tool which helps to detect the issue. The damage and hassle were reduced to a minimum, and the news about the SATA degradation quickly disappeared into the oblivion. After all, most people have short attention span unless it makes a bad impression overall.
To be very clear- and fair, had the goof-up of not giving the right diagram block from the start to the reviews in their guide didn’t happen, Nvidia wouldn’t have faced an onslaught of curses and hisses from its users. Many times, both Nvidia and AMD had their share of flaws especially concerning with VRAM consumption, but at the time both sides disclosed the facts to reviewers who ultimately presented them in the review. In such situations in the past, depending on the real-world effects of the design, users had a choice- either to buy and use it until they reached a point where the flaw gets noticed in a distant future or look for alternatives, from the same chipset manufacturer or from its competitor. A win-win for everybody.
But revealing the updated GTX 970 block diagram and admitting the issue took a very long time. GTX 970 was released on September 2014 and the block diagram update came on January 2015- 5 months since its launch. The irreparable damage was already done.
It is not known how other AIB partners in India are handling this issue, or if they are making any effort. But what do you guys think? Should a company have proper and quick solution to tackle issues with customer who pay a premium for such hardware rather than waiting it to be escalated and posted in forums?