Asus STRIX GTX 970 DirectCU II OC Review – Still Worth Getting One?

The GeForce GTX 970 is a very interesting graphics card, not to mention quite controversial as well. Although its bigger brother, the GTX 980 is the faster card, the GTX 970 offers a better price/performance ratio. Today we are going to look at and review the Asus STRIX GTX 970 DirectCU II OC 4GB graphics card. Technically speaking, it does have 4GB of VRAM, but the GTX 970 was designed by the NVIDIA to have a 3.5GB + 0.5GB VRAM architecture. More on that later. When the STRIX GTX 970 was first introduced in the market, it had a retail price of $349. Most probably, by the time you stumble upon this review, it may have a lower retail price already. The Asus STRIX GTX 970 comes with a factory overclocked settings, meaning higher clock speeds compared to the reference one, and features 0dB fan technology. Please continue reading my review below and find out if this is the graphics card for your gaming system.

Asus Strix GTX 970 DirectCU II OC Review

Asus STRIX GTX 970 OC Review

The Asus STRIX GTX 970 (STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5) features a factory overclock settings of 1253MHz Boost clock speed, which is only a tad higher (specifically 75MHz) than the reference one. Like all the STRIX graphics card, the STRIX 970 is using a DirectCU II cooler design with 0dB fan technology. This means that the fans on this graphics card won’t run, unless it hits a certain temperature, around ~65° degree Celsius. The cooler is basically 30% cooler and 3x lesser noise compared to the reference one (according to the company).

It also features DIGI+ VRAM with 6-phase Super Alloy Power that uses digital voltage regulators to minimize power noise by 30%, enhance power efficiency by 15%, widen voltage modulation tolerance, and improve overall stability and longevity by 2.5x compared to the reference GTX 970. It also supports GPU Tweak, where you can modify some of the settings of the graphics card like clock speeds, fan speed and voltage settings.
The Asus STRIX GTX 970 has a base clock speed of 1114MHz and a boost clock speed of 1253MHz which are slightly higher compared to the reference one. It also has an effective memory clock speed of 7010MHz running on a 256-bit memory interface. Like all GeForce GTX 970s, it is based on Maxwell architecture with a GM204 chip in its core. It’s actually a trimmed down version of a GTX 980, with only 1664 CUDA cores and the memory is 4GB, but only 3.5GB is the faster portion. In addition, the GTX 970 doesn’t have the same number of ROPs and L2 Cache than the GTX 980. The updated specification of the GTX 970 shows that it has 56 ROP units and 1792 KB L2 Cache only and not 64 ROPs / 2048KB L2 Cache.

By now, you probably have heard about the VRAM controversy regarding the GTX 970s. Below is a diagram of how the memory works in the GTX 970. PCPer.com has done an extensive explanation about this issue and I recommend that you visit their site if you want to dig in more about how the memory really works in the GTX 970.

NVIDIA Maxwell GM204 Memory Architecture

Moving on, the Asus STRIX GTX 970 comes with new technologies that were not available in the previous generation of GeForce GTX graphics cards. These new features include:

Dynamic Super Resolution – This feature can deliver 4K-quality images to 1080p displays for exceptional detail and fidelity.

Multi-Frame sampled Anti-Aliasing (MFAA) – MFAA delivers a 30% boost in performance while maintaining smooth, high-quality edges (reduced “jaggies”) by alternating sample calculations across each frame and each pixel.

Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI) – Part of the NVIDIA GameWorks™ library for developers, VXGI accelerates dynamic lighting effects for a truly immersive, cinematic experience.

GeForce Experience – Optimizes you games and keeps your drivers up to date.

NVIDIA Shadow Play – Let’s you record gaming footage or stream content in real time, with a minimal performance drop to the game. This feature in included in GeForce Experience.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 Maxwell GPU Features-01 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 Maxwell GPU Features-14
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 Maxwell GPU Features-11 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 Maxwell GPU Features-15
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 Maxwell Voxel Global Illumination (VXGI)

NVIDIA G-SYNC – This display technology delivers the smoothest and fastest gaming experience. G-SYNC’s revolutionary performance is achieved by synchronizing display refresh rates to the GPU in your GeForce® GTX™-powered PC, eliminating screen tearing and minimizing display stutter and input lag. Scenes render instantly, objects look sharper, and gameplay is super smooth, giving you a stunning visual experience and a serious competitive edge.

NVIDIA GameStream – Stream extreme GeForce GTX PC gaming experiences to portable game-playing devices like NVIDIA SHIELD™ with super-smooth, low-latency performance.

NVIDIA GPU Boost 2.0 – This technology allows gamers to push PC performance to the maximum with precise controls. It monitors work with advanced controls like GPU temperature target, overclocking, and overvoltage to ensure that the GPU works at peak performance.

NVIDIA Adaptive VSync – Nothing is more distracting than frame rate stuttering and screen tearing. The first tends to occur when frame rates are low, the second when frame rates are high. Adaptive VSync is a smarter way to render frames. At high framerates, VSync is enabled to eliminate tearing. At low frame rates, it’s disabled to minimize stuttering.

NVIDIA Surround with up to Four Monitors – Play your favorite games across four monitors. At 5760 x 1080, the expanded field of view fully engages peripheral vision and provides for the most immersive experience in racing and flight simulators.

NVIDIA SLI Technology – SLI technology lets you link up to four NVIDIA SLI-ready cards together for astounding performance.

I’ll discuss more of the Asus STRIX GTX 970 features as we take a closer look on the graphics card.

Asus STRIX GTX 970 DC2OC Specifications

Model nameNVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Asus STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970Asus STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5
Graphics EngineNVIDIA GeForce GTX 980NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960
Graphics ProcessorGM204 MaxwellGM204 MaxwellGM204 MaxwellGM206 Maxwell
Bus standardPCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0PCI Express 3.0
CUDA Core2048166416641024
Video memory4GB GDDR54GB GDDR54GB GDDR52GB GDDR5
GPU base Clock1126 MHz1114 MHz1050 MHz1253MHz
GPU boost Clock1216 MHz1253 MHz1178 MHz1317MHz
Memory clock7000 MHz7010 MHz7000 MHz7200 MHz
Memory interface256-bit256-bit256-bit128-bit
DVI output1x Dual-link DVI-I1x (DVI-I), 1x (DVI-D)1x Dual-link DVI-I1x Native Dual-link DVI-I
HDMI output1x HDMI 2.01x HDMI 2.01x HDMI 2.01x HDMI 2.0
HDCP compliantYESYesYESYES
DisplayPort3x DisplayPort 1.21x DisplayPort3x DisplayPort 1.23x Native DisplayPort 1.2
Power Consumption165 W, 2x 6-pin PCIE power, requires 500W PSU1x 8-pin PCIE power, at least 500W PSU145 W, 2x 6-pin PCIE power, requires 500W PSUup to 120W additional 6 pin PCIe power required, at least 400W PSU
Adapters/cables bundledASUS GPU Tweak Driver
Quick Start Guide
1x DVI to VGA adaptor
1x STRIX Laser Sticker
ASUS GPU Tweak & Driver
Dimensions4.38 " x 10.5 " x dual width5.5 " x 11 " x 1.57 " Inch4.38 " x 10.5 " x dual width8.47 " x 4.77 " x 1.61 " Inches
Affiliate Link Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
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2 Comments
  1. Adi Haha says

    to all those who want to buy a gtx 970 strix. DON’T! just don;t, it looks awesome, it runs games very nice, but the heat is absolute incredible….. i have a 7870 saphire, i play gta v with settings on normal and some on high, it’s decent gameplay, decent meaning i don’t have ultra settings, my fps is around 70 78 on this settings with 7870 saphire, the thing is my 7870 get;s to 68 degrees celsius which is ok, last day my gtx 970 strix arrived, i installed it in my case opened gta v crank up the settings to ultra started playing the game, everything wonderful, after 10 minutes i exit the game open my case touch the backplate, guess what, i was burning hot, i am going to apologies for my english. so the thing is: when i run asus gpu tweek it says my gpu is 65 degrees celsius, but i can tell you that is bullshit because on my 7870 when i touch the gpu and it says it is at 65 degrees well it doesn’;t feel like the gtx does. the gtx feels like 100 degrees. i serched the web for information about the 970 s, and everywhere they said that it runs cool and shit, fuck them! i had to choose between gygabite g1 gaming msi and asus strix, everybody sayd: the strix has the less performance of the 3, but it runs the coolest. so i sayd, ok i will buy the strix i don’t give a fuck about oc and 5 9 fps more, i rather have a cool gpu than 10 more fps and a hot as fuck gpu, so i bought this piece of shit! i am really sorry for the way i’ve tryied expressing i hope everybody reads this, i am NOT A FANBOY! i just was surprised of the gtx of how hot its the backplate. the vrm are not cooled properly on this card….. don’t believe people on youtube when they say, well the gtx it’s the coolesyt than and this, it’s all marketing shit! how the fuck my 7870 4 year old gpu can do 65 degrees in games and this new gpu is doing 65 and the backplate 100. if you wanna buy it, try to buy it from a retailer that offers a good customer service. buy it, try it, return it. i am not hating on nvidia or amd. i just told you my story….. so others know this problem with the backplate.

    1. Jeff says

      Not sure how hot was your backplate but yes, it does get hot and it’s not limited to the strix alone. You also need a good air flow inside your chassis since the GPU’s cooler doesn’t blow or exhaust the heat at the back. It will just circulate within your chassis, thus the need for a good air in and exhaust in your chassis. my only prob with this is (and you are right) the VRMs are not cooled. Better get the Zotac GTX 970! Amp Extreme Core https://thepcenthusiast.com/zotac-geforce-gtx-970-amp-extreme-core-edition-review/ much cooler than the Strix and runs faster as well.

      For those who are planning to buy a GTX 970 better wait for the next gen cards which is just a few months a way. But if you are looking for a cheaper card, I guess the GTX 970’s prices will go down once the new cards are released.

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