Nvidia GTX 970 have made a good impression on gamers who want a more balanced GPU- price and performance wise. However, it’s been found recently that despite with a 4GB VRAM, a major amount of video memory is not utilized at all.
Various reports have been documented in various tech forums and even Reddit where Nvidia GTX 970 are not very happy. The Tech Report did a detailed analysis despite finishing up with the review as they were ‘under the gun’. While on specs GTX 970 should be awfully closer with GTX 980 in terms of performance, the memory is seriously underutilized. The Tech Report was able to simulate it using Asus Strix 970 and used 3DMark Vantage Colour fill to highlight the performance difference. Despite on paper being awfully close with GTX 980, there is a significant difference in pixel throughput between the cards.
Different GTX 970 users have different complaints, irrespective of the variant they have. The post in Reddit indicated that although Memory Burner was able to run up to 3979 Mb, other GTX 970 users noticed that their graphic card failed beyond 3000Mb memory consumption. It was also observed that when games like Hitman Absolution and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare cross 3.5GB VRAM utilization, the performance degrades to a point that it uses memory space from the system’s RAMs. In many cases, once it crosses 3.5GB, there is a dramatic change in frame rate. Few reported that Shadows of Mordor at 4K resulted in unplayable situation once over 3.5GB of VRAM is utilized.
Nvidia GTX 970 was pitched to be an affordable option for 4K Gaming and with 4GB GDDR5 VRAMs. However, throttling of VRAMs results in stifling in gameplay experience when it shouldn’t.
Before conspiracy theorists jump the gun, they need to take a step back and acknowledge one point. If Nvidia REALLY wanted to stifle the GTX 970 to make GTX 980 ‘look good’ (as some people in certain forums speculated), they would have easily stifled the performance from the cores rather than on the VRAMs where it shows signs of degrading performance and frame rates once its crosses 3- 3.5GB. It should also be taken into an account that some users reported that they did have issues with it (though some of those turned out to be SLI users). In any case, it’s highly unlikely Nvidia would be doing this on purpose.
So far, there has been no response from Nvidia to address the issue. Giving a silent treatment in the matter simply annoy its users and even affect the loyal green fanbase. It’s another part of the discussion if the problem can be solved to a certain point using an updated GPU BIOS or drivers.