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 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.
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 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 name||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980||Asus STRIX-GTX970-DC2OC-4GD5||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970||Asus STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-2GD5|
|Graphics Engine||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960|
|Graphics Processor||GM204 Maxwell||GM204 Maxwell||GM204 Maxwell||GM206 Maxwell|
|Bus standard||PCI Express 3.0||PCI Express 3.0||PCI Express 3.0||PCI Express 3.0|
|Video memory||4GB GDDR5||4GB GDDR5||4GB GDDR5||2GB GDDR5|
|GPU base Clock||1126 MHz||1114 MHz||1050 MHz||1253MHz|
|GPU boost Clock||1216 MHz||1253 MHz||1178 MHz||1317MHz|
|Memory clock||7000 MHz||7010 MHz||7000 MHz||7200 MHz|
|DVI output||1x Dual-link DVI-I||1x (DVI-I), 1x (DVI-D)||1x Dual-link DVI-I||1x Native Dual-link DVI-I|
|HDMI output||1x HDMI 2.0||1x HDMI 2.0||1x HDMI 2.0||1x HDMI 2.0|
|DisplayPort||3x DisplayPort 1.2||1x DisplayPort||3x DisplayPort 1.2||3x Native DisplayPort 1.2|
|Power Consumption||165 W, 2x 6-pin PCIE power, requires 500W PSU||1x 8-pin PCIE power, at least 500W PSU||145 W, 2x 6-pin PCIE power, requires 500W PSU||up to 120W additional 6 pin PCIe power required, at least 400W PSU|
|Adapters/cables bundled||ASUS GPU Tweak Driver|
Quick Start Guide
|1x DVI to VGA adaptor
1x STRIX Laser Sticker
ASUS GPU Tweak & Driver
|Dimensions||4.38 " x 10.5 " x dual width||5.5 " x 11 " x 1.57 " Inch||4.38 " x 10.5 " x dual width||8.47 " x 4.77 " x 1.61 " Inches|